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New (to me) Isle Royale--another Craigslist Score!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Nonprophet, Sep 18, 2011.

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  1. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    Some of you may remember my saga with a used Jotul Oslo that we bought 2 years ago. After fussing and fussing with it, I decided that I'd keep my eye open for a nice replacement stove as we just weren't all that happy with the Oslo.

    Well, the Craigslist gods were smiling upon us and I just bought a used Quadrafire Isle Royale. I prefer cast iron over a steel stove, and I really liked the top load feature of our Defiant-Encore, so the Isle Royale seems like a great replacement for our Oslo. I especially like the ability to open the "start-up air" to get things going--that was always a major complaint with our Oslo is that it was quite sluggish on a cold start--we just couldn't get ours going without either the side or front door open for a good 20 mins or so.......

    Anyway, we got a killer deal on the Isle Royale, in large part because even though it hasn't be used much ( it's a 2005 model that was used in a guest house) it needs some things fixed. For starters, at one point the previous owners had their hardwood floors refinished and when the floor guys moved the stove they broke the ash lip. Next, there is no baffle board on the baffle assembly (between the tubes and the cast baffle piece) and one of the tubes (the rear one) is missing altogether--they say it was like that (only 2 tubes!) when they bought it new!! It's also missing the griddle tool.

    does anyone have a good photo of their IR with the baffle assembly raised so I can see how it's supposed to look?

    Everything else is in real good shape, the glass, bricks, gaskets, etc all seem really good. So, being the el cheapo that I am, I'm tempted to just buy some replacement pipe and drill the holes to make a replacement rear burn tube--has anyone tried this? Second, how does the fiber baffle board attach to the cast baffle assembly? Adhesive or some kind of clips? I've used hardibacker board to replace baffle board in the past, that's probably what I'll do for this as well. Lastly, has anyone had to replace their ash lip? How hard is it to access the bolts/nuts?

    Looking forward to learning more about the Isle Royales!!


    NP

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Calling Jags to the front desk, IR here.

    Congrats NP, that is a great stove. It should work well for you, but fix it up right so that you have trouble-free heat from the get-go.
  3. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    Thanks BeGreen! I'm looking forward to getting it fixed up and burning well. Would love to hear from other IR owners about burn tube replacement and baffle assembly fiberboard.


    NP
  4. latitude45

    latitude45 Member

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    I have yet to replace anything on my IR.. going on season #4.. I could replace some of the firebricks.. The baffle board has bits missing from me smacking it with wood, but its still solid..
  5. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    Lattitude does the baffle board rest above the burn tubes? How is it attached to the cast piece of the baffle? Does the IR have a "blanket" that sits on top of the baffle assembly? If someone could take some photos for me and post them here I sure would be thankful!!

    NP
  6. maxed_out

    maxed_out New Member

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    Non Prophet, I picked up an Isle Royale last summer and havent looked back. Jags and Northwinds (and a few others) will eventually chime in and tell you that its an awesome heater and thats all true. The big box, big heat, load e-w or n-s, long burn times and ooohhh the secondaries. Plenty of hot coals in the morning for an easy relight. The box is so big we figured out a way to cook pizza's on a pizza stone inside the stove. Do a search and you'll see the pics.

    On the baffle, I did mine and it was easy. One thing I was warned about was using the OEM stuff and nothing else. I think it was 50 bucks. I took out the burn tube assembly (theres a couple of bolts I think). Once the assembly is out the baffle is held in place by a friction fit. The clearance between the tubes and the top of the plate is tight and with 3 rows of burn tubes its not going anywhere. I added some dots of stove cement to the back of the baffle board and it hasnt moved. The baffle board is required for proper burning.

    Indicentally, Jags told me about front loading and I'd have to agree with him that its a nice way to go. We very rarely use the top loading. I can fit 4+ nice splits in on a reload and she'll burn a long time. I think Shawney boy told us about loading the first course n-s and a layer on top of that e-w. Depending on conditions thats our favorite setup for re-loads. If you choose your splits wisley you can really pack the box quite nicely.

    If I were you I'd do all the gaskets before we all light up. Again just some piece of mind.

    Enjoy the stove and take some pics when you can. You got a winner.
  7. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    Wow. What a pain in the rear trying to get parts for this stove!!! Really, really, REALLY makes me want to ditch the darn thing and go with another manufacturer---I just get so damned tired of manufacturers making it as hard as possible for their customers just to protect the "turf" of dealers........

    So, I need some parts for this IR we just bought. Fiberboard baffle is pretty straightforward, though IMHO pretty ridiculously priced at $85 shipped for a 14.5" x 8.75" piece of material....

    One of the burn tubes is missing, seems like they are only interested in selling me the complete set of 3 for $220.80!!!

    We're also missing the griddle tool--can't tell from the parts list if we're getting the whole griddle tool (including handle) for $28 or if we need to buy the "tool" and the "tool handle" for an extra $25 bucks......

    I called Wood Heat Stoves and Solar, they were really not at all helpful and would NOT answer my questions about these items. Seems that in order to buy Quadrafire parts, I have to:

    1. email Quadrafire customer service with my make, model, and year.
    2. Identify the parts I need.
    3. they will email Wood Heat Stoves and Solar....
    4. who will then email Quadrafire.....
    5. who will then email me back with the answer!!!

    Are you freaking kidding me???

    I'm just getting started, but this stove is already leaving a really, really bad taste in my mouth.........



    NP
  8. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    All I can say is that I feel your pain, as I am having a similar situation in trying to get parts for a stove and you can only get the parts through an "authorized dealer"
    I'm sure some folks here will chime in and have some words of encouragement and or solutions to the parts you need.
    Good luck.
  9. latitude45

    latitude45 Member

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    my griddle tool was around $45 from the dealer.. waste of money.. when the time comes to order a baffle and bricks its DIY time for me..
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Well, looks like I need to stop complaining about parts costs on VC stoves...
  11. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    As if it wasn't bad enough, just try finding a phone number to call Quadrafire customer service.....I finally found one 800 926 4356, and gave them a call, not very impressed at ALL. After being on hold for over 20 mins with constant recordings telling me to go through my dealer (whom I already called--it's a huge farm and ranch supply store and they had NO clue about ordering parts for my stove even though they're listed as a "Platinum Dealer") Quadrafire said that they MIGHT be willing to sell me one burn tube instead of the entire baffle assembly for $220, but that it's on a case by case basis as the individual burn tubes (which they have part numbers for!!) are a "non-sellable item." I was polite, and explained that I only need the one tube--but I still have to go through my dealer who will take down the info and then email Quadrafite Tech support who will then check to see if they can make an exception, and if they can they will email the dealer, who in turn will email me back............I asked them if I snapped one leg on the stove moving it if I'd have to buy a set of four---she said YES! They are only sold in sets of 4!!!

    What a joke! Even though we got a killer deal on this stove and I know that people like them, at this point I think I'm done before I even get started---I just don't think I want to do business with a company that makes it so difficult for their customers......



    NP
  12. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Well, looks like I need to stop complaining about the customer service from VC...
  13. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I hear ya on that one BB! We got rid of our Defiant-Encore 2 years ago because even though it was a good stove and burning pretty good, we knew that we were looking at spending $700+ in the next few years on a new refractory box and cat, and just couldn't see spending that kind of money in upkeep.

    That being said, at least with the VC Defiant-Encore you could buy just about any part online and you could shop for competitive prices and the parts you needed. Similarly, with the Jotul our local dealer is a bona-fide stove dealer, and they've been good about ordering things for us at reasonable prices.

    Before I ever plunk down thousands on a new stove, I'm going to make darn sure that parts are readily available and competitively priced, and, that the manufacturer doesn't try to nickel and dime you to death by forcing you to buy parts you don't even need.......


    NP
  14. maxed_out

    maxed_out New Member

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    NP,I have to agree with yah that going through this stinks. Kind of surprising to me. Once you cool down I'd like to suggest you write a nice letter to QF CEO and see what happens. Who knows maybe you'll be surprised. Sometimes the guys at the top have no idea where their problems lie becasue no one tells them.
  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Non-P, that sucks. You have a terrific stove in your hands that needs a little TLC and you have to jump through hoops to do it. It ain't right. That said, Have you tried other Quad stores? I don't know if you have any choice, but it sounds like your dealer is clueless. I am not defending quad, but I believe that they are heavily dealer dependent. You get a crappy dealer, you get crappy service.

    Make a few calls to other dealers - you may have to ummm...make up your address, but see if they can talk "parts".
  16. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    I hear ya Jags, it shouldn't be this hard. It seems like the IR is a pretty straightforward and reliable burner and hopefully I won't have to buy many parts, but I must admit even though we got a killer deal on this stove I'm tempted to pack it in just to not have to deal with these guys in the future. When a company lists a part number for an item (i.e. single burn tube) but then tells their customer that it's a "non-sellable item" and that you have to buy all three tubes for $220 bucks, well, I'm thinking this is a company I don't want to do business with....

    I did call another dealer about an hour away, we'll see what he's able to come up with on prices, but I'm not very optimistic--hopefully he'll surprise me!

    One last thing, on my IR there are only 3 burn tubes, and indeed the exploded parts diagram for my IR shows 3 tubes. But when I was talking to Quadrafire yesterday, she kept insisting that my stove (based on the serial number) has 4 tubes. I kept telling her: "Ma'am, I'm standing right here looking at the stove--it only has three tubes." It's an issue because IF they agree to sell me the one I'm missing, I need to get the right one as they are each different in terms of length, thickness, the size of the holes and at what angle the holes are drilled.

    So, how many burn tubes do others IRs have?

    Thanks!


    NP
  17. latitude45

    latitude45 Member

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    Well mine has 4.
  18. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Latitude. In looking more closely, mine does too--there's 3 on the baffle assembly and a 4th one that's mounted to the stove body itself in the very back.

    So, I got some decent news--the dealer an hour away seems pretty decent. He quoted me $55 for the baffle board, $28 for the griddle tool w/handle, and $106 for the ash lip, which, isn't too bad, really. I don't know if I have to pay shipping on top of that or not--we'll see.

    I might try to see if I can get a welder to braise/repair the ash lip as the tabs broke off cleanly and it's a non load bearing piece that shouldn't get too hot during use, so there's a good chance the repair would hold just fine. The "good" dealer is going to check and see IF they will sell me the 3rd burn tube by itself, if they won't, or it's an extremely high price, I think I'll just make one.



    NP
  19. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    I know that welding/brazing cast iron can be tricky, especially if it's to the stove body that gets very hot and also expands and contracts. But with the ash lip from my IR, I'm thinking that maybe it could be repaired? It's $110 for a new one (and maybe another $15 in shipping) so if it's possible to fix this one it sure would be nice......

    So, those of you who've had experience with repairing cast iron, do you think this is repairable?


    Thanks!


    NP

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  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's certainly worth a try. Take it to a shop that does this regularly. Maybe one that repairs automotive headers. If the price it too high to fix, then as a last resort I would try JB Weld epoxy and a reinforcement strap before scrapping it.

    http://www.muggyweld.com/castiron.html
  21. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I would say it's repairable. I had the cast iron gearbox on our hay rake bind and break the whole corner of the bearing carriage out and to make a long story short I brazed it all back together built it up with more braze material and then ground it back down with a die grinder to the original dimensions and six years later when we sold it it was still functioning fine. That was a part that had stress on it so that ash lip should not have a problem at all.
  22. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I was thinking about JB Weld too, I've fixed a fair amount of stuff with it that held up for an amazingly long time......Given that the ash lip won't be exposed to super high temps and it's not really taking any load/weight, it might repair pretty well. I also thought about drilling it and putting pins in it......any thoughts on that?


    NP
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You can tell better than I with the pieces at hand. And you can see how the tabs mate to the main body of the stove. I like the idea of reinforcing an epoxy joint to strengthen it mechanically if you choose that route. Pinning could be tricky for exact alignment but it would work. Or perhaps screwing a stiffening plate on the bottom that connects both pieces is possible? Get it mechanically as solid as possible, then separate and glue. Rejoin and screw while the glue is fresh and rescrew. Still, I'd speak to a good welding shop first to see what they think and to see if they are set up for this type of weld.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Edit: PM sent.
  25. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    BeGreen probably has the best idea I would definitely try drilling the two pieces and adding some round stock steel to act as a dowel rod between the two pieces.
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