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Vermont Castings Warranty Woes

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by petrusboots, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. STOVEGUY11

    STOVEGUY11 Feeling the Heat

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    The Company CFM you bought your Dutchwest from no longer exists. The new company MHSC that currently owns them sent out a news letter dated July 25th stating no warranites would be held proior to January 1st 2008. If you find a dealer to replace your parts, jump on it. Cuz your not going to get another chance. It sounds like that dealer is going to eat the cost in parts, not many would be willing to do that.

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  2. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Hey Petrus - well I see you've read some of the other threads now. I have the same stove as you, if you follow the link in my signature it gives a whole lot more info, but in particular if you scroll down to the very bottom of that page, I link to another page I created that shows step by step with pictures how to make your own replacement refractory pieces - this could be useful to you.

    I feel your pain and I'm very sad to hear it. This line of stoves, as I'm sure you've figured out by now, has had some pretty bad feedback on the forums, although your problems are more extreme than most have reported. I would like to see pictures of the damage if possible. You said the side door was warped - this and other damage could have been caused by an over-fire. The over-fire could have been caused by leaky seals. These stoves are well known for coming straight from the factory with bad seals and gaskets that stick to the cast iron and pull loose after the first couple fires (I personally hate the rutland gasket cement they use and I hope no one uses that junk when they replace their gaskets, just use 100% slicone like the other stove manufacturers are doing).

    You mentioned that you put new gaskets on it, so maybe this stopped the leak, but the damage was already done? Don't know. You did not mention if you are using a temperature monitor - but you should be, and it would also be helpful to know what temps you have been seeing (and how they were measured) to help determine if there is still a leak.

    Anyway, its good to hear that some dealers are still reporting that warranties will be honored for stoves bought before 2008. Keep us updated on your progress. And yea if there is still any chance that you can get a different model replacement stove, by all means take advantage of the offer.

    As far as safety goes - I'm still not sure there is a safety issue - if its over firing, or you see glowing metal parts, then you have a safety concern and should not use the stove. Otherwise, cracks in refractory parts are pretty normal and do not affect operation.

    And like others said - if you can remain calm you're going to get better help all around (from dealers, from the company itself, or from people on an internet forum) despite the fact that you have every right to be angry.

    p.s. You mentioned several times about checking your wood moisture - I don't see the relevance here at all, even if you were burning wet wood (which it doesn't sound like you are) that has no relevance to the damage to your stove. Or was the guy from the dealer trying to see if your wood was excessively dry? :)
  3. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    ^Dude that wood crane you made is the cats meow...excellent solution for that dirty long haul. Yeah Petrus check out tradergordo's site lot of info there on your stove.
  4. petrusboots

    petrusboots New Member

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    First of all thanks for the info tradergordo it looks like I am going need all the info I can get. Because here is The Word (taking a page from Cobert).
    I was wrong and everyone else who said that the warranties previous 2008 are void, are right. After following the new dealers advice of going to the Vermont Castings site to find contact information in reaching the company directly, all I wanted was a number and this I could not find. So I called the new dealer to ask if he could give me one and that is when he filled me in on a recent meeting he had concerning Vermont Castings and CFM. He told me the bad news. They have left me and I am sure, more of us, in the cold. For anyone who has run into warranty issues, check this number out 1-800-525-1898. The best they could do was a recording. I suppose in a lame effort providing no one to yell at.
    For anyone concerned about my tempermental nature, not to worry, because my anger has been replaced by acceptance of the fact that in the end anyone who has wood heat, cuts, splits and is prepared for winters without the worry of what price oil is, tend to have a self-sufficient nature. Which I have long held.
    Regarding the initial dealer, who's service left much to be desired despite offering to replace all parts voiding the voided warranty, that bridge (pardon the pun) has been burned, torched and laid to waste. His antics of casting all blame in my direction are a seperate issue, which I will deal with in the way I see fit. I will work with the new dealer but when I asked if he could rebuild the defective product he said that was not his forte. So there we are again, (short of this community) on my own. I can get the parts (who knows for how long) but it is up to me to put them in and make this stove (I was once proud of, but now am trying hard not to despise) work. I look at it now and it just reminds me of the fact that yes, to quote a recent decent man, "We are in the, you are on your own society." Corporations, what is wrong with them, are they not made up and run by fellow humans?
    Well... seems I am going too deep into this and I have to come back to the basics of keeping my family and I warm through this coming winter. Bread and butter, I think it's called and I will end this thread with this. If the company which purchased Vermont Castings feels they can do it once and get away with it, be assured that they will do it again. It's quite simple really. If I let my child get away with something, her bad habits persist and won't change. I say it now, to anyone who is in the market for a new stove, stay away from Vermont Castings and the new company, Monessen Hearth Systems Company (MSHC) Dave Barrett President and CEO, which bought it, they have taken the name but do not stand behind the product. Just my opinion and what should I know, I am just a consumer who bought their product. That number once again, CFM Corp 1-800-525-1898
    Now it's my wife who's angry. Woo-Hoo.
    Leaving on a positive note. The one good thing about all this is? Finding this site and I will go through tradergordo's links but for now I have to lick my wounds and chill the vibe which is running through my house.

    "We are very excited to be adding the Vermont Castings and Majestic lines
    to our extensive selection of fireplace and hearth products," says Dave
    Barrett, President and CEO of MHSC. "These brands are exceptionally
    well-respected in the marketplace, and have a loyal following among
    distributors, dealers, retailers and consumers." Reuters
  5. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    If you follow my links - in my "review" thread, I post a link to the service manual. It has complete step by step instructions with pictures that describe how to completely rebuild your stove.

    Also, I called the 800 number you posted, pushed 1 for "homeowner". I don't know if we heard the same message - but the message as it exists currently, says if you bought your stove from a dealer, go back to the dealer for support and warranty work. It does NOT say your warranty is void, or your stove is no longer supported. Going though the dealer you purchased your stove from for support and warranty work was ALWAYS the CFM policy, this is not new.
  6. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    My sympathy for your issues Petrus. What a royal pain!

    Just to say this again so folks understand - often times folks like Monessen purchases Assets through a fire sale or bankruptcy or whatever - Assets Only. Not Liabilities. If they had to take the liabilities, they would not purchase it - or would maybe take it for free. This is indeed part of this great big evil world...
  7. STOVEGUY11

    STOVEGUY11 Feeling the Heat

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    VC will continue to live on as it has over the years just in yet another form. Its a good American name product.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, I was right, wrong and then right again!

    As of now, I must agree with Petrus and others - would not suggest that people look at a VC or Dutch product because any company that would leave their existing customers behind is just as likely to do the same with their new ones! The record has been poor the last few years anyway (they tripled some parts prices, etc.)

    I wish them well, but would not tell anyone in my family to buy one, and by extension no one here.

    As to assets and liabilities and ethics and morality - if a company wants the goodwill and reputation of a well-regarded brand, they have to obviously please the customers who spent money on that brand. They do not appear to be doing so....

    Oh well, probably more business for our community....helping people solve their VC and Dutch problems.
  9. petrusboots

    petrusboots New Member

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    Just to follow up on some of what tradergordo mentioned.
    "Side door 'brick' cracked and warped." Not the door itself but as I have mentioned I have never overfired the store.
    "New gasket" Yes I did put a new gasket on, and played with it to try and fill up the area at the centre of the door where the leak was. You see, that is where I thought the problem might have been, that I had a leak. The paper test still did not pass after I tried that. But then I noticed that one of the hinge pins was not seated in the door hinge as the other was. And if I lift up on the door, it actually moves up and down. Those hinges leave something to be desired if you ask me. The two other older stoves I have, have more substantial hinges that have never had a problem. Also, they have two doors rather then that one big one. A better design in my opinion.
    "Temp monitor." Don't have one, guess I will get one.
    "remain calm" Too late for that. And regarding the wood moisture test, that occurred when the original dealer's (who sold me the stove) "inspection team" came over in the guise of checking out the stove but where really looking for a way out of responsibilities in proving anything I might have done to create the problem. And that, more than anything else, is what pissed me off regarding the dealer. He tried to play me for a fool, instead of just being honest and doing his best to help me. Voiding a warranty I bought into was not an option as far as I was concerned. Little did I know.
    When I bought this house it had two stoves on one chimney. One in the basement the other on the second floor. I've made it through ten Canadian winters and two chimney fires until I had had enough of that. That is why I bought the large Dutchwest, to replace the two I was using. I put it in the basement removing the the 90% in the chimney and have vented the room, exchanging and filtering the air throughout the house. I have to say, my plan worked good but for one weak link. The Dutchwest stove. Although I will say this in its defence. The amount of energy I save in cutting and splitting is phenomenal. I get a load of logs dumped in my yard when needed and do the work by myself. Anything to ease that pain is a bonus.
    "The 1-800-number" Ya I got it. They passed responsibility off onto the dealer. But what do you mean? Do you mean that that is always the way it was? That the dealer had to eat the cost of manufacturing defects? Well if that is the case, no wonder he ignored me for months, tried to pull the wool over my eyes and shaft my ass. Excuse language, but I think considering... I have done well with that so far.
    Tradergrodo you asked for pictures and I feel that one (which I had sent to the dealer at the end of last winter along with others) is the one most relevant to my problems. I can only suspect though. It is of the chip out of the back of the stove. The "inspection team" said that it could have happened when I laid the stove on its back to put the legs on. I did not. I followed the instructions to the letter. That is the way the stove came out of the crate. I only noticed it after messing around with all that was going wrong. And although the dealer said, "the chip was not a problem", (which might be true) how it got there and what it might have done to the delicate nature of this stove quite possibly could be. Here is a pic. It should never have left the factory.

    Attached Files:

  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't see a problem with the chip (operationally)......which may not help much, but take it for what it is worth....those ribs seem overbuilt....heck, if I was at the factory, I'd have ground this one smooth and the other side to match......
    :coolsmile:

    (I assume this is the exposed rear of the stove?)

    It definitely could have happened (and in fact probably did happen) after it left the factory...after all, castings are cheap (to them) and they have no reason to pass something like this through, as opposed to throwing it back in the pot.

    I can assure you that the dealer was never supposed to assume any "pass-off" of such responsibility....and I was (and my store still is) a VC dealer since 1985. It's fine for manufacturers to have inside agreements with dealers about what the factory expectations are, but that stuff is not supposed to be public or a reason to deny or make excuses.
  11. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Your stove may have some problems, but that chipped corner of that casting isn't one of them. Rick
  12. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I read everything you posted including your website, and I'm still not sure what is wrong with your stove? Maybe I just don't have the attention span. I thought you said warped door, but apparently that is not the case. As others said, that chip in your picture, is not a big deal and won't affect the stove operation. Cracked side door refractory is so common that in the 2008 model they added a protective cover over this piece. In another thread I posted a link to the new manual where you can see this. On my website I gave my own instructions with pictures on how you can protect this piece on your own with a $2 bracket found at home depot, and I also gave step by step instructions for casting your own complete replacement part.

    As for warrany policy, no you still have things confused, the policy was always to go to your dealer for waranty claims - this apparently has not changed (according to the message at the 800 number you posted). That does NOT mean the dealer is stuck with the bill, they just fill out the paper work and get replacement parts for you, etc. In other words, they are the middle man between you and the manufacturer. There have been reports that warranties would not be honored, but that isn't the message in that recording you mentioned, and didn't that other dealer also say they could do waranty work?

    It sounds like you believe there is still something wrong with your gaskets- if there is no damage to the cast iron (no warping) you should be able to fix the gaskets fairly easily yourself. I can only reiterate that you should use pure silicone sealant and not rutland gasket cement. Silicon sealant is like $2-3 a tube, the 3/8" premium graphite impregnated fiberglass rope gasket should be around $10 from any stove shop with a spool or even ace hardware. Also, the paper doesn't have to tear, it should just not pull out easily (I know the manual says tear, but some paper tears more easily than others). You'll also have to adjust the door latches. The owners manual describes adjusting the door latches and even what to do if replacing the gaskets and adjusting the door latches isn't enough.
  13. petrusboots

    petrusboots New Member

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    I know the chip has nothing to do with how the stove performs. My point was... what did it take to make that sort of damage? And what other damage to the stove could have occured as a result? I don't know. All I do know, is that it was shipped from the factory that way. It was let through. Unless of course, the dealer had the stove out of the crate, broke it, put it back in the crate, while waiting for a likely victim (like myself) to come along and buy it cash and carry. You see, I transported and installed it to save myself some money. That just leaves it at my word against a figment of my imagination. The chipped piece was not in the crate.

    Tradergordo. Sorry you had to go through my diatribe. So far you have given me the most hope in keeping warm this winter. The new dealer is coming to have a look at it when I get the WETT inspection done. I will see what he can do for me. And although I have not done it yet, I will go through all your stuff to learn more about my stove and most likely do the work myself. Because as far as I can see, there ain't no warranty on this beast. Can you believe it though? I bought this thing three months before CFM went bankrupt and the fun began. Someone has a sick sense of humor and all I can say is, it's a good thing I still have mine.
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    A forklift fork could have done it - or it could have been packed that way at the factory - QC is usually better than that, though...but maybe it was getting near the end and they slacked off....

    I'm a little confused once again. I though stoves sold in 2008 WERE fully covered......or maybe even in the last year. Was I wrong? We have the exact document on display somewhere here.....
  15. petrusboots

    petrusboots New Member

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    I bought mine in September of 2007. As I mentioned three months before the full throated run around began. Just my luck. If you believe in luck?
    Here is a serious question I would like an answer to. I am not quite sure how to describe it but will do my best. It regards the fire and how it burns. My previous stoves did not have windows so I could never see what was happening inside. So a window on the fire was new to me. This is what I see happening and am not sure if it is normal.
    With the everburn engaged and the stove hot, sometimes the fire seems lazy and moves like a mushroom cloud off the logs causing the fire to slowly hoover at the top and go down the sides in blue fames. It does this in waves. It seems like it is burning off gases within the box. Makes me a little nervous, considering I do not trust the stove. Is this normal?
    Or I have this happening. The fire shoots up into the lower refractory when the everburn is engaged. Is this normal?
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, the dancing flames are normal - had it in my Resolute Acclaim, which uses a similar combustion design.

    And, yes, the flames are supposed to go up the lower refractory chamber....when the downdraft lever is engaged.
  17. petrusboots

    petrusboots New Member

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    Thank you. That is all I needed to know and along with Tradergordo's help I think I can manage with the stove I've got. So a message to you Rudy, laugh all you want but community service is where it's at.
  18. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    If that stove will burn without smoking and keep you warm...it's doing its job. Done! Glad it all worked out Petrus stick around and keep us posted.
  19. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Yep, thats what you should be aiming for. Sometimes the gases burn at a consistent rate (real hot) so you dont get the mushroom cloud effect. When you damper down to get the long burns, what I find happens in my DW is that the gases build up in the top of the firebox which has the closed bypass door. A random flame or pressure will then ignite those gases and you see a slow motion combustion that gets sucked 'downhill' towards the secondary chamber. As long as those combustion moments arent too extreme, e.g. you can see them but not really HEAR them, and the emissions coming out of the top of the stack are clean, then you are golden. If those moments produce a louder, auditory roar, then sometimes it can back puff through the air control level as the small secondary chamber doesnt have enough bore to vent those gases quickly enough, and it comes back out the air valve. In this case, just open the bypass, let the fire visibly build up in the firebox, then close the bypass again.

    The most desirable (I find) that gets me the huge amounts of BTUs and 10+ hour burns is when those 'phantom flames' are small & consistently showing up every few seconds. That is the sweet spot. You dont want to see lots of flames attached to burning splits, as that means you are burning through the fuel too quickly and get shorter burn times.

    For all the quirks in this stove, the one thing I have never once found it lacking in is producing heat. My large DW heats 3000 square feet effectively, to the point where I have to open windows & doors even on the coldest nights to keep the rooms from getting too hot.
  20. FireWalker

    FireWalker New Member

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    You are sooooo right about that sweet spot. It is effected not only by fresh air damper opening, but also by outside air pressure, temprature and wind speed/gusts. If you can sustain the floating blue/yellow flames, your stove is working very well indeed.
  21. petrusboots

    petrusboots New Member

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    Again thanks for the info and confirmation. It eases my worries about any secondary damage which may have resulted from the chip and my suspicions of how it got there. As long as it is working right, that is all I needed to know, really. Wish my dealer had been as much help as I have found here. It would have served him better.
    I will keep the post running, when I have the new dealer look at things and if any warranty still applies but I don't hold out much hope on that count.
    Also, with all the help I have received here I feel I should add something of my own sometime. Someday I will post on how I ran the heat and cold air exchange throughout my house producing the same heat with one stove instead of two, while cutting fuel consumption by at least half, if not more.
  22. ilmbg

    ilmbg New Member

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    Petrus- I am so glad you posted your trial and tribulations with this stove- I just posted a question last night about VC- I did not know about the taking over by another company and the poor service of the past. I was looking at a smaller stove- the Intrepid II, but now I think I will bypass the company. I want the 'look' of this type of stove, though. I too, would have ranted and raged- I fully agree that if you let that dealer get away with it (I bet he has been getting away with it for YEARS), he will continue to do so. SOMEBODY has to try to put a stop to it- if many people follow your lead the USA would be a better place. Cuddos! Perfect timing for me!
  23. petrusboots

    petrusboots New Member

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    ilmbg... glad to be of service but I wish I didn't have to be.
    I have finally gotten word back from the other dealer who I thought might be of service to me. They did the WETT and to get there... it has taken this long. Word on the warranty was this "Unfortunately the warranty is no longer in effect. It would be the selling dealers discression to service the parts." As mentioned, I have long since burned the bridge as far as the "selling dealer". And to put the final stamp on this, I have put up a "consumer report" on the dealer. Since I put it up, it has made it to the first page of search results.
    Also, I have moved on. I have gone to tradergordo's site and must thank him for going through all the trouble to be of service. Thanks. I quickly checked out how you made your bricks. Although I wonder how you might make a lower or upper refractory, being that they are more complex than the loading door brick. I have an idea for that. I worked in a boat works and have worked with fiberglass. When it comes time to replace those bricks my plan is to use the original brick as a plug by covering it with fiberglass creating a mold which can be used time and again, whenever needed. When it comes to that point, I will post the process on this site.
    Until then, lets all keep warm, hopefully this winter won't be to cold.
  24. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Just read your consumer report & looked at the images. While not commenting on the seemingly painful experience you had w/ your dealer, just a quick comment.

    On the image you have entitled "replacement brick crack appeared.....", I have some similar hairline cracks on my refractory brick as viewed w/o removing the refractory material. So far to date, those small hairline cracks have not impacted the performance of the stove, as they do not penetrate all the way through the refractory material to the backside and do not appear to be growing any larger. That said, it is disturbing that they appeared immediately after a break in fire.
  25. petrusboots

    petrusboots New Member

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    Yeah I'm not too worried about the cracks at this point. I'm going to burn the stove as it is this winter. Keeping a close eye.
    Sometime soon I am going to make some replicas of the bricks out of wood (instead of casting the mold off an old brick). Then as mentioned I will use them as plugs to make a fiberglass mold. Once I do that I will follow tadergordo's instructions with regard to the material needed to make the bricks. I feel after I do that and am able to take care of things myself I will feel much better regarding the stove.
    The only thing I still wonder about with making the bricks is how I will drill the holes. But I guess I will cross that bridge when I get there.
    With regard to the report, I am surprised to see that it comes up on the second search page in google by typing in Vermont Castings Warranty. Wonder if anyone will notice.

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