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Rebuilding a VC Vigilant.

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by Viggyowner, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Viggyowner

    Viggyowner New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Newmarket,England
    Hi everybody, I have a 1977 Vigilant that I think needs cleaning out and re-gasketting. Could some kind person who has a rebuild manual email a copy to me? I know it keeps being asked for, but I could not find it in the archive.
    Love the forums, spent most of the weekend reading up stuff. I was amused by the way a lot of comments mention how much heat the Vig puts out. My problem is running it cool enough so that we can keep the patio doors shut. I inherited it when we bought the bungalow and the previous owner oversized it by about a factor of 4. Yes I know it creates creosote,smoke and the rest but the one time, years ago, when I let it rip it nearly melted the wife, me and the paintwork on the opposite wall. I suppose the heat output will only get even greater when I manage to season the wood properly. I have taken your advice about this on this on board.
    Regards Peter

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  2. innkeeper

    innkeeper Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    midcoast maine
    Peter,
    Sorry to be so long in replying to your request....
    I am a vigilant owner on the coast of Maine. Our weather is very different here and after looking for Newmarket on the Weather Channel, it looks like your January/February is about equal to our October...I own an Inn and guests like to have fire in the parlor as soon as our nights get down into the 40s F. What I do to accomodate them and to keep from roasting everyone in the inn is to run it with the doors open and the screen in place and burn small intense fires with just a few small to medium splits. At night after having tucked them in for the night I just close the doors up and toddle off myself. The Vigilant burns beautifully with the doors open and as it is out in the room produces a fair amount of heat...enough to keep a 25'x15' room comfortable. Then after I close the doors it can get hotter for the night and help lower my fuel costs.
    As far as rebuilding the stove goes...it depends on if there is something major wrong with the stove but it doesn't sound as if your stove has ever had the opportunity to be overheated and it may simply need new gaskets and some furnace cement to seal up the joints from the outside of the stove. The first time I did this my Vigilant went from a scary raging beast to a very controllably pussycat. So long as you burn good seasoned wood you can burn small very controlable hot fires that will not goop up your stove or flue. The mass of the stove will keep it from getting too hot in the room.
    If your wood is not seasoned well try some compressed wood blocks...not the ones held together with wax or composits. I use them often when it's warmer and they burn nicely and hot but if you only use a few at a time they will give you just enough heat and they burn very clean.
    You will have to feed the stove often while burning small and hot but it will give you the results that you want.
    I have not seen a rebuild manual for the Vigilant bot operating instructions are available at the Vermont Castings website or if you look around the forum i'm sure someone has a link.
  3. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,732
    Loc:
    Just Outside the Blue Line
    I have a PDF of the Vigilant rebuild manual I can send you, but unless you are having trouble controlling the stove with the primary air shut all the way it is likely that you will only need new gaskets and a thorough cleaning. You will need a special gasket for the griddle top as it has a wire running through its length.
  4. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,459
    Loc:
    Southwest NH
    I had a copy but mushave deleted it when I got the new stove. Wish I could help.

    It really is not that hard to do, and if you pay attention when taking it apart you should be able to get it back together. You will Ned some rope/strapping to hold the sides in place when placing the top back onto the stove. Other than that, it. Is just a big jigsaw puzzle :)

    Have fun with the rebuild!
  5. Viggyowner

    Viggyowner New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Newmarket,England
    Thanks for your replies guys. I will try small fires with the doors open. Must admit to not trying this since the early days when I had a lot of draft problems.
    As to rebuilding it or regasketting it:- I have to move the thing to get the chimneys cleaned, so I thought that as it would be out from under the fireplace and in a more accessible location then I could inspect it and do some preventitative maintenance.
    The chimney from the stove exits up a standard 8inch pipe for one foot. It then enters the bottom centre of a rectangular chamber about 2.5ft x 2ft x ??ft. Two 10inch ceramic flue pipes then exit this chamber vertically to the roof and beyond. These pipes are about 11foot long I guess in total. One is already blocked by creosote, birds nests or whatever else blocks flue pipes and the other will deserve a clean after this winter. It's all in a vast brick fireplace/chimney big enough to roast a small ox.
  6. innkeeper

    innkeeper Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    midcoast maine
    Peter,
    Let me see if I have this right....You have the stove set inside the big old FP and from the fireplace you have 2 10" flues, one of which is full of creosote and other stuff and one that is open enough to vent....Correct? If this is the case I would not use the stove again till I had a sweep checkout your setup. You could be in danger of a chimney fire or having gasses back up into the house. Please have it looked at. It sounds like you will have to choose one flue, install a liner all the way from the stove to chimney top.
    For the safety and comfort this will give you the expense will be minor. Please have it looked at.

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