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Vigilant 1977 damper issue

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by billh2, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. billh2

    billh2 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
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    This problem just cropped up this morning. When I tried to switch the damper to vertical position, it wouldn't stay in place, just falling back to horizontal. I had a hot fire so I couldn't look to see what was going on. The damper seems to go completely vertical, just won't stay that way. The quick peek I took didn't show any obvious blockage.

    This stove has probably been here for 30 years. I've lived here for 5. I assume that the previous owners never refurbished it. I'm guessing that there is a build up on the edge of the damper that prevents it staying in the full upright position. It's going to be several hours before it cools down enough to check it out. What should I be looking for?

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  2. billh2

    billh2 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2013
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    Just a follow-up. When my stove cooled down to 450 degrees, I got the damper to stay in the vertical position. This seems to suggest the hot fireback expanded to block the damper. I'm reluctant to spend $400 on a new fireback. Perhaps I can grind down the pinch point. I'm guessing a 100 degrees expanded the fireback less than 1/16 of a inch. Any suggestions?
  3. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
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    414
    Loc:
    No. NH
    Unfortunately, this is a classic case of warped fireback. Replacing it could be fairly minor,or require major surgery depending on whether it's a 1 piece or 2 piece fireback. 1 piece must be converted to 2 as that's all that's available anymore and is way better AND way less than $400.00. Look for the head of a bolt (7/16" hex) in the upper right corner of the fireback. Shouldn't be hard to find. Use a flashlight if you need to, stove must be cold of course. If it's there, yay, you have a 2 pc. If not, suckin wind w/an old 1 pc. Let us know, we can talk further bout what to do! Grinding ain't gonna get the "biscuit buttered".
  4. billh2

    billh2 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2013
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    Well, I do have the 1 piece. But if the horizontal hairline crack I found continues across, I will someday have a 2 piece fireback. So what do I do? I see fireback kits for $423. Can I just replace the fireback and not the sides, etc.? I was planning to rebuild the stove this summer anyway.

    I notice that the IC has something called a "damper retainer" that my IA doesn't have. Does the 2 piece fireback come with that retainer? Is it needed?

    Thanks.
  5. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Dec 23, 2010
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    414
    Loc:
    No. NH
    That fireback kit comes with everything you need, including tie rods and cement. And yes, when it'sover and the dust clears, you'll have a damper retainer and much more. This is good business. Compared to the cost of replacement, it's not alot of money, and what you end up with is a fully rebuilt stove that should work as new and be good for 5-10 years or so before it needs anything substantial. By the way, next time all you'll need will be upper and lower fireback, currently about $150.00 wotrh.
  6. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Dec 23, 2010
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    Loc:
    No. NH
    There are 2 things that can make this not worth doing:

    1 look carefully to be SURE there isn't a crack in the bottom. It's a thing that happens and the bottoms are NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

    2 check the bottom edge of the doors to be SURE that they close as tightly there as at the top. On many old Vig.s, the doors warp so there isn't a seal at he bottom any longer. Front & door assy. can be replaced, but now we're into more $, maybe too much.
  7. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Southwest NH
    Good luck with that fireback. The kit makes it easy to do.
  8. billh2

    billh2 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2013
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    I'll check the bottom before I order the kit. The doors look fine.

    Is there any advice (or a thread) about removing old cement and cleaning (eg. wire wheel brushing) the exterior surfaces in preparation for repainting?

    Thanks for the guidance.
  9. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Texas- West of Houston
    I'm curious how you get the thing out of the house. Heavy monster, isn't it?
  10. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    it's easy to remove the stove by yourself. i took out my defiant myself. a piece at a time outside for a deep cleaning then back inside for reassemble.

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