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Vermont Castings Vigilant Door Handle Problem

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by myselfnjit, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. myselfnjit

    myselfnjit New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
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    Loc:
    Central NY
    After 7 years use by me, this stove decides to almost lock up! the front door handle takes two hands for me to move it and I often slide a pipe over it to get a little leverage! I dont want to break it so I need to know how to fix it.

    I have already had the door off and WD40ed the crap out of it and worked it back and forth a bunch of times. It got better until the first fire and then back to tight. adjusted the latch on it, no difference.

    any ideas? can I take it out to clean it up? if anyone knows how I would love to hear it. I was trying to pound it out with a mallet and wood block when I had the door off but didnt want to crack the door if it was not the right way to get it out.

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  2. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Remove the handle, use as much PB or WD as you need to. Then, lightly file the shaft to remove such rust and irregularities there may be. Lightly dress the inside of the hole in the door with a rat-tail file and when you reassembvle the whole mess, liberally grease the shaft with high temp. never sieze, available from auto parts store. Regular never sieze is good, but high temp. is better.
  3. myselfnjit

    myselfnjit New Member

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    does it just slide out? like, take off the latch, wd a lot, maybe a little torch heat and then hit it with a mallet, but not too hard?
  4. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Are you sure you don't have a warped door?
  5. myselfnjit

    myselfnjit New Member

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    It seals all of the way around and has always worked fine until first use this fall. over the summer my dehumidifier died and the vc is in the basement so I imagine a little rust in that area could have happened. it moved better after I WD40ed and worked it a lot, until the WD burned off from the next fire. it is not turning hard because of the latch catching early or anything, since it turns just as hard with the door and/or latch off. do these facts change your thoughts or might it still be warped and if so how can I check?
  6. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    If you can turn it ,like it's not siezed in there, then yes, lube it and whack it.
  7. springer

    springer New Member

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    Dec 23, 2008
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    hudson valley NY
    I had the same problem with mine lube does nothing but make smoke when its fired. I removed the assembly and cleaned the shaft with a file and used a rattail file on the door opening . Seems a little moisture over the summer rusted it up Had to take the doors off and clean the pins and hinges, doors were hard to open and close too
  8. myselfnjit

    myselfnjit New Member

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    Dec 6, 2011
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    Central NY
    thanks for all of the replies. I will have to wait for a day when it is not running=) and then start lubing and hammering!
    Ill let you know how it turns out.
  9. myselfnjit

    myselfnjit New Member

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    Loc:
    Central NY
    well looks like I am just using the leverage pipe and hoping not to break the handle of until this summer! I worked on it this evening, hitting it until the bolt started to bend. I gently bent it back and that is that=(
  10. nearnuf

    nearnuf New Member

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    Nov 12, 2011
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    Loc:
    TN
    When I found my old Defiant II, the door handles were frozen. Like you, I was hesitant to put too much pressure on the handles trying to open them. The handle stubs on my old Defiant have a square sectional shape. This allowed me use a wrench (12" adjustable) on the handle stub instead of the handle (the ceramic part) to get the doors open. Take a look at the handle stub on your Vigilant and see if the stub is not square section also... might save the handle from bending or shearing.
  11. fraxinus

    fraxinus Feeling the Heat

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    Sometimes it's not the handle, it's warpage within the stove. This causes the damper itself to bind against other internal parts. Does the difficulty happen in both directions - when opening and closing the damper - or just one? I've seen it happen that when closed the damper catches on the casting beneath rather than resting on it as intended. Once it's pried away, it works freely until the next time you close it. In any case, the fact that it's so tight that it requires this much leverage suggests warping rather than just a need for lubrication.
  12. myselfnjit

    myselfnjit New Member

    Joined:
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    its not the damper, it is the front door handle. as for a square portion, nope! not on the outside of the stove anyway. inside it is two side flat but that does not help open the stove=)

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