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Just got a 1986 VC Defiant Encore: Levers stuck?

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by Tippyman, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    Hello all! New to the forum and wood-burning. I was dissapointed my fireplace turned out to be only good for looks and not warming my house. I went out and got a V.C. Defiant Encore hoping it would actually put out some heat instead of just looking pretty.

    I am getting ready to paint and clean it to get it ready for installation, and was wondering what the levers on the sides are. Both of them are stuck completely, so they aren't much good for now. From what I've read, they are the air-control and damper-control? If so, which is which?

    I looked at a PDF owners manual but was instantly overwhelmed with parts diagrams and complicated pictures. Anyone had similar issues and know a fix or easy way to take apart what I need to see the problem? It is a model #0028 from what I've read.

    Thanks in advance! I'm sure I'll be posting here alot in the near future! She is a biscuit color, all chipped up, so restoration will be a challenge, just in time for winter!

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  2. geoxman

    geoxman Feeling the Heat

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    Defiant will chime in soon but the stove will more than likely need a complete rebuild. You can do it and it should be under 600. good luck
  3. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Dear God, don't try to rebuild your Encore!!! If you live in the northeast try grahamthestoveman.com for help.
  4. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    Oh god, what have I done? Are you saying I should just run it as is, or scrap the rebuild altogether? I'm already $500 into this.
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Facing the stove, the handle on the left is the damper. Air control on the right. If both are stuck, I'd be worried about some sort of rust and corrosion.

    I did a partial rebuild of the same model. I removed the back casting, the fireback, the damper, damper control cover, and the ash pan casting. Cleaned everything out, applied new gaskets and cement throughout. I did not mess with the air controls as they worked just fine.

    All said, the rebuild wasn't complicated, but re-installing the fireback was a pain in the ass as I already put on the back casting which caused me to have to deal with the damper flopping around on me as I attempted to align the upper fireback.

    Bottom line; if I can do it, than anyone can. I'm not far off from a disabled chimp and I managed to reassemble the stove and have it working properly.
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The catalyst will run you $240 (if needed).
    The Assembly will run you $275 (if needed).
    Probably about $50 in gaskets.
    Three tubes of gasket cement.

    If you do not plan on having a functioning catalitic combustor, then you should scrap this idea as the stove is not worth running without these parts.

    If the stove is in structurally good shape, that should be all that is needed.

    For additional parts, you can go here (though, Defiant may have some parts, as well):
    http://www.blackswanhome.com/encore-0028-2140.html
  7. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    You mean it just isn't efficient enough to make it worth it? I was told the stove would run either with or without it, but if it doesn't put out any heat without it, I'll make sure I fix all that stuff too. Forgive my ignorance, but what is the point of a damper valve? I understand letting more air in or out with the air valve, but why would you want to close the damper?
  8. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    I believe it's called a "Bypass Damper." Similar to the Harman Oakwood. You leave the damper open until you get the fire established, then you close it to make it burn cleaner...
  9. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    Well, I don't think I'll be entrely sure what I'm in for until I remove some stuff after work today and see what's what inside. I thinking the levers are just frozen solid from sitting around unused and need a good scrubbing on the components with a wire brush.
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    It will be hideously inefficient and incredibly hard to control. The vast majority of your heat will go up the pipe/chimney.

    As Daksy highlighted, it is a bypass damper. When you close the damper it goes into downdraft mode which activates the catalyst. With the bypass open the fire and heat is just going right up the chimney/pipe.
  11. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    w/o the catalyst, it's just an iron box. BAR is right, control will likely be an issue. Also, your $500.00 is likely just the beginning. This is a complicated stove, there could be alot wrong, and it may cost a bunch of cake. ALSO, if you end up using it full time for heat, burn like 3 cords or more, then it's a matter of time before the catalyst and related parts wear out again, and you're another $500-$700 in the hole. Great stove, but they can be a great nuisance. I've made a fortune repairing them for the last 20 years, and my sage advice to you is: punt! Good luck, and happy heating!
  12. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    $500 for the stove is pretty high to start with considering it needs a rebuild. The Encore I picked up was $350 with two cats and an intact assembly.

    But, it can be done, and it will still be a lot cheaper than a new Encore. You just need to figure out where your limit is for putting money into this particular stove.
  13. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    OK! I got it disassembled, and when I say disassembled, I mean it! All of the sides, the top, front, back, fireback (top and bottom), damper, thermostat, damper linkage, cat, etc.

    The cat looks intact and the "styrofoam" stuff housing it seems ok. It's broken a little on the back side underneath the damper, but other than that it's ok. The cat is ashy but not clogged or cracked. That's not to say that the catalyst material is any good, but I'll give it a shot anyway. The reason the handles are stuck were the handles themselves. They were rusted into the side of the stove. I'm gonna clean the hole up and sand the handle's down where they go through until they spin freely. The linkages were fine. The thermostat seemed fine. There was a TON of ash buildup behind the fireback and the "air panels," so it's good I took it apart to clean.

    The only bad thing about the disassembly was the broken bolts. The bolt holding the clip holding down the damper rod broke, a couple fireback bolts broke, a flue bolt broke, yada yada yada. That's going to suck to fix.

    Guess I'm buying some stove caulk and gasket rope!
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Post pics of the cat and the "styrofoam" housing. We can give you a better idea if they are in good shape.
  15. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    I'll take a picture when I get home. I was actually suprised with how smoothly the dissasembly went. Aside from the broken bolts, it was fairly straightforward. I think you guys hyped me up for the worse so I was expecting Armageddon inside there, haha. I'm sure reassembly will be more complicated but we'll see. Im a little confused as to the thermostat/air handle and the cable that goes to the flap on the bottom rear of the stove. Should be interesting reassembling that. Not sure if the handle needs to be clocked correctly during installation or if there is a special adjustment for the cable I need to do?

    That website you posted has a full gasket kit for $26, so thats good. Unfortunately everything is cemented together as well, so I need some tubes of that too. Thanks for the help, this forum has been great! Whodathunk there'd be a forum online for old woodstoves?
  16. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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  17. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    Guess I need to use photobucket or something, attachments work for anyone else?
  18. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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  19. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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  20. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    I've seen lots worse! Just need the refractory cover.
  21. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, you're good to go for at least another year or two. The cat looks to be in good shape and should last a few more years.
  22. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    Woo-hoo! Made my night... time to order some parts and cement!
  23. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Did nyou get the thermostat thing working and the cable figured out? What waswrong there?
  24. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    The lever wouldnt move because it was seized into the stove body. The spring/cable moved if I pushed it and moved the lower flap. I just dont really know if it needs to be adjusted or installed a certain way.
  25. Tippyman

    Tippyman New Member

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    Loooong overdue work done on the stove. Got the main body (the outer panels, back, and top) all bolted together and cemented in place. Gotta put the internals and the air wear plates in and figure out these air flaps. I vaguely remember how they worked before I took it apart. Shouldn't have procrastinated in putting it back together, but I'll admit I was a little scared!:eek: I've got the cable for the main air flap ran already, just need to hook it to the thermostat when it's time for that.

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