Cat issue with Woodstock Keystone?

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Dec 12, 2020
Missouri Ozarks
We've had a Woodstock Keystone stove since 2010. We LOVE it! Two years ago in 2018 I ordered and installed a new metal catalytic converter to replace the older ceramic one. The ceramic one was starting to crack and disintigrate. The metal cat worked just fine for a couple years. This season it's been harder to get the catalytic converter to "catch" and start working. I have to get the stove quite warm with the stove top (not firebox) thermometer up to 350-400 before the cat will catch and even then it sometimes won't. I'm judging this by looking at the smoke from the flue. The stovetop thermometer will even get up to 500 and still there will be visible smoke from the flue. I've never had the stove get this warm before with visible smoke. Is there an air leak somewhere that could do this? I'm burning good dry wood, properly seasoned and at 20% moisture or less. The wood is mostly ash with a little oak.

I cleaned the cat out with the shop vac just last week and there's no blockages or anything. It looks good. It has a tight fit so I don't think there's any air leakage around the cat. The damper seems to work as it should too.

Is there something I'm doing wrong? Any advice? Is the cat defective?
How many hours are on the second cat? They are a consumable item and in my experience the steel has a much shorter life than the ceramic.
A 50/50 water/vinegar spray & soak followed by a distilled water rinse will wake up a sleeping cat.
I do it once a year burning full time.
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A 50/50 water/vinegar spray & soak followed by a distilled vinegar rinse will wake up a sleeping cat.
I do it once a year burning full time.

The rinse is distilled water right?
Good catch yes distilled water!
Good catch yes distilled water!

I must admit, if the Bk cat was as easy and cheap to remove as the Woodstock cats I would do this light acid bath every few weeks!
I used to do the 50/50 rinse on my Keystone once every year but after 2.5 years of primary heat use it was just time to replace the cat and not try and squeak out a couple more months of cat life.
Thanks all. I'll try a vinegar/distilled water rinse. We do run the stove pretty much full time here during the season, but our heating season here in south central Missouri isn't what it would be in New England or the Upper Midwest. I'm pretty sure the cat has a 3 year warranty so I may just replace it.
I have tried ceramic and metal and I like ceramic better.
I had trouble with ceramic cats cracking but that was before I had really dry wood.