E Classic 2400 Probs

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The Weimar

Member
Oct 16, 2014
78
MASS
www.hearth.com
Hello, Any one having any issues with their Central Boiler product? I don't necessarily mean hardware, it can be problems with warranty, CB service or your dealers service. I have an E Classic 2400 that worked really well for 1 year, and then the gremlins started. First, the Firestar controller 'died', as in it only flashed its many lights at me and did not do any controlling. CB's warranty process for this is not a friendly one, as they want the consumer to pay for the new controller, including the shipping, and then after they determine that the controller is bad, they reimburse. My local dealer was nice enough to absorb that cost for me, but they still had to pay for an item that is covered.
Second prob: I have a leak! Yes, a firebox leak that is letting water from the jacket into the firebox. I noticed a lot of steam coming out the chimney last week, wouldn't build the temp like usual, and then the low water alarm. I went inside looking and found wet ashes which when removed showed the leak. It is in the floor of the firebox, to the left of the charge tube, closest to the door. I heat my home with this and right now, I am not.
Just wondering what your opinion is as to how long this 'warranty' repair will take? 1 day, week, month? These guys may send me a bill for this work, I wouldn't be surprised. When it works, it works great, but I didn't realize that the amount of repairs to it were going to be like working on a helicopter, with about the same customer service and availability as if it was a Russian chopper.
Any thoughts?

The Weimar
 

Eric Johnson

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
5,871
Central NYS
You could try pouring a few bottles of boiler stop leak into the system to see if it will stop the leak while you wait on the repair, which I certainly hope is under warranty. (Those things are designed to start leaking after the warranty is up). The stuff works pretty well when it works. Find it at any plumbing/heating outlet, or in selected Big Box stores.
 

stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,648
West Michigan
When the eClassic was brand new there were a few folks around here that had some problems getting it to run properly but I don't recall hearing any complaints about leaks. I know plenty of folks that have had CB's for 10+ years without leaks. I hope they take care of you...
 

Clarkbug

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2010
1,216
Upstate NY
Talk to your dealer and see what they have to say.
 

The Weimar

Member
Oct 16, 2014
78
MASS
www.hearth.com
The Drama begins, boys.... So I shut her down, only to find a horizontal geyser coming out of a filler plate right under the door. No wonder there was steam coming out of the chimney! have posted some pics for your enjoyment. I think the photos clearly show that the firebox/water jacket has a leak, yes? CB service gent responds to my local dealer that there must be a full inspection done to see if there are more problems. He also states that if a field repair can be made, CB would cover up to $150 of it.....hows that for a warranty? I am a project manager for a construction co and I hire welders on a weekly basis. I can tell you, $150 is usually an hourly charge. I did some inspecting and it seems as though the steel in that area just failed....3 inches either way is fine, the welds all around it are like new. Once again, the unit itself has been for the most part great, and I understand that stuff happens but, the customer service/warranty service from Central Boiler just plain stinks. Feel free to comment, I would really like to hear what you have to say. I'm not from Minnesota but are things really inexpensive there, or are the people just plain cheap? 20141225_105006.jpeg 20141225_104718.jpeg
 

Fred61

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2008
2,444
Southeastern Vt.
They will test the water and find inadequate chemicals in it now that it has been diluted and refuse to give you that generous $150.00. And the winner is - -- - - - - - ???????????
 

Clarkbug

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2010
1,216
Upstate NY
Did they say what they would do if you cant fix it in the field? $150 is nowhere near what I would think it costs to get that fixed...
 

cityboy172

Feeling the Heat
Feb 6, 2014
275
NW Indiana
1. Get it fixed yourself.
2. Make sure they grind everything real smooth.
3. Burn the rest of the season.
4. 4-sale in the spring- lightly used.
5. Buy indoor gasser and storage.
6. ????
7. Profit.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,783
Nova Scotia
That's harsh - hope you get something sorted out.

How old is it? I see mention above on problems starting after year one, but not sure how old it is.

If you can't get any satisfaction from/through the dealer, you'd likely just have to do what you can to get fixed, thoroughly document everything, then go after cb & hope for the best. You're pretty well at the mercy of the weather with the timing, unfortunately.
 

flyingcow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2008
2,545
northern-half of maine
That sucks. If everything else fails, maybe look into your homeowners ins? Long shot? yes. but it doesn't hurt to try.


Be nice to get most of your cost back, hard to recover from that.
 

The Weimar

Member
Oct 16, 2014
78
MASS
www.hearth.com
Hi Guys, just to clarify, I bought the furnace on November 14, 2013 and fired it up on Thanksgiving and it ran awesome. House and garage at 72 and zero oil burnt. Oct 2014 comes around and after a thorough cleaning of everything AND a re-calibration of the chemicals in the water, we light her up. Well, doesn't the Firestar controller not 'fire up'. It just beeps and blinks uncontrollably at me. I remove it and drive the 60 mile round trip to my dealer, who is nice enough to absorb the cost of the controller (thats right, CB charges for it and then reimburses you after they determine that the unit failed), I install the new one and off we go. Running great and then I notice steam coming out the chimney and it won't build temp above 725 degrees (it usually hits 1250-1300). Upon investigation I find what you see in the pics. Now CB either wants the unit back or $150 towards the repair. Neither one of those ideas are realistic 'WARRANTY' options, yes?
I spent 2 hours this morning cleaning other sites inside the fire box just to see if it is the whole unit or just in the front. Check the pics and you make your own assumptions.

  1. shows how deteriorated the steel plate is; I'm using a hacksaw blade for a straight edge. Definitely didn't rot through from the water side,eh?
P1060458.JPG

2. You can see how the steel has almost 'worn' away in this shot

P1060438.JPG

#3 Another angle of the bad steel spot

P1060439.JPG

4.This is the same strip but on the right wall; looks like new! P1060449.JPG

5 The left side, same height.....Once again, like new! P1060451.JPG

6. The tools I used during the inquisition....

P1060433.JPG

7. And this is what I feed it, all cut in the summer of 2013 in West Warren, MA, and all hardwood.

P1060434.JPG

So, here we are again. I have no problems with fixing the furnace. As you all know, SHI_ happens. The problem lies in the fact that Central Boiler claims to have a 20 year warranty on this product. So far, the warranty seems to be a semi-warranty, which is only part of the problem. The service, or lack of it, is the real problem. I called my dealer, who has been very helpful. I have also called and emailed CB, only to have the service dude call my dealer back and not respond to my email. Bad business brothers....bad business. At least talk to me, I'm willing to work with them, but no such luck.
To address some of the questions and comments previously posted....
1. The water jacket is not pressurized, nor should it be
2. Homeowners insurance is not an option; deductibles etc.
3. Repair, sell and indoor gasser?? I don't quit that easily.
I think the EClassic 2400 is a great furnace. I will fix it and continue to burn wood to heat my home and garage. The problem is that the filler plate (picture 3) that they used in the construction is NOT made of the same type of steel that the rest of the firebox is and it is quite obvious to anybody that is a welder or has some metallurgical experience. The Problem: Central Boiler's customer service is terrible and they should be ashamed of themselves. As of this writing, their 'warranty' is useless and quite honestly, is blatant false advertisement.
Thanks for listening to my rant, I will keep y'all posted.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!

The Weimar
 

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,374
Falmouth, Michigan
If you read through the fine print in their warranty it has plenty of wiggle room in it. Sad to say it but that is a fact. It's just barely worth the paper it's printed on.
Have to add this is the case with every OWB warranty I have ever read through. If they choose to opt out and not help you, they can. It's really at the discretion of any company regardless of whether they are making wood stoves or cars or chain saws.....whatever.
The issue with any brand is how well it's designed and built in the first place and that is very tough to determine for anyone not experienced with gassers and how they work. CB's design leaves a lot to be desired. The local dealer here (very high volume) said he is thinking of getting out of the biz when he can't get the old non-gasser style anymore. The few E models he has sold are head aches for him.

I can't give you any help here other than to say keep all repair receipts, all receipts for Central's water treatment (no warranty at all if you don't use their product) and document all cleaning and maintenance you do on it.
One customer of mine (now) had a CB pellet/corn boiler that cost him nearly $3,800 in out of warranty repairs, while it was under warranty...... He kept meticulous records of everything and when he finally took CB to court he got a judgement of $5,000 against them, which is the maximum small claims amount here in Michigan.They did pay it. That is the only thing they would do for him and he wound up having us install something else after scrapping the CB.

Looking at your pictures, it appears pretty cut and dried that you have some severe fire side erosion going on in that area. It didn't perforate from the back/water side.


I have to add this as an illustration of how warranties work...........
Garn has a written 5 year warranty on their boiler. There is no warranty for water side corrosion. They flatly and honestly state that they have no control over your water chemistry and it's up to the owner to keep tabs on it.
That being said, we had a customer whose Garn developed a crack in the air collar. I went and took pictures of it and sent them to Martin Lunde, the owner of Garn. Together, we figured out that the owner was loading his Garn by hand stacking wood in the firebox sideways nearly full front to back/bottom to top.
Loading in that manner exposed a much larger than normal fuel surface area to the incoming air and created near blast furnace temperatures on a section of the fire box which was not designed to see anything close to that.
After figuring that out Martin simply said, "have him get it welded up and repaired and send me the bill." Which we did and he reimbursed the owner directly.
That is a company choosing to stand behind their product and reputation. Plain and simple.

The best warranty in the business is the one you never need.
 
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cityboy172

Feeling the Heat
Feb 6, 2014
275
NW Indiana
For me, repair and sell isn't about giving up. If I own something that should go 10-15 years, relatively issue free, and I have 2 major issues with the product in 14 months of use (more like 7? Months actual use) I'm going to be looking for a way out. Especially the steel issue. Structural failure that early on is unacceptable. Top that off with the way they stand behind their product... yeah, I'm out.
 

The Weimar

Member
Oct 16, 2014
78
MASS
www.hearth.com
I don't disagree with your ideas, Cityboy, especially the statistics of the 15 years expected vs. 14 months actual. Central Boiler uses the words "at its option" and "reserves the right" in its warranty page, in hopes of preventing a large financial loss to itself, not its agents. Unfortunately for CB, these words do not prevent the 'loss of social aspect', as bad publicity is not very good for business. If there was lots of bad publicity about CB before I had purchased, I wouldn't have bought it. I now see that CB is having some legal issues as a result of their 'warranty' and I don't want to go to court but, I will if I have to. All of this aside, it just sucks that a company like this doesn't stand behind their product and try to make it right.
I, personally, have the technology to fix it. I will use a higher grade of steel, most likely a bit thicker, and will continue to monitor the entire furnace and its condition.
Most of all, I appreciate all of your thoughts, comments and suggestions. Keep up the good work and stay tuned, Monday ought to bring some updates as I begin to break some balls....

The Weimar iphonepics 7212 129.JPG
 

haveissues

New Member
Dec 5, 2014
8
ny
My brother just put the same boiler into service yesterday. Hopefully he has better luck than you. I know it won't fix your boiler but I guarantee this thread with your very clear pictures of what happened will cost central boiler some sales.
 

Fred61

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2008
2,444
Southeastern Vt.
For me, repair and sell isn't about giving up. If I own something that should go 10-15 years, relatively issue free, and I have 2 major issues with the product in 14 months of use (more like 7? Months actual use) I'm going to be looking for a way out. Especially the steel issue. Structural failure that early on is unacceptable. Top that off with the way they stand behind their product... yeah, I'm out.
Something for those folks to keep in mind when they find a nearly new Central Boiler for sale on Craigs List for a great price.
 

The Weimar

Member
Oct 16, 2014
78
MASS
www.hearth.com
Update 2015,

I have gotten my CB E Classic 2400 repaired. After some deep investigation which included a lot of cutting and grinding on my 1 year old wood furnace, the inadequate filler plate that had been welded into the front of the firebox, just below the door, has been removed and replaced with a much more substantial piece of steel. I estimate that CB used 1/8" flat stock to fill in the area, which is just not thick enough to withstand that constant, high heat. It has been replaced with 5/16'' flat stock, which is thicker than the rest of the furnace. No leaks as of this writing and not much in the way of satisfaction from CB, but I am yet to send of the bill. Check out the pics. Just in time too, it is supposed to be single digits if not below zero here in the next couple of days..

Left front corner with new steel..
. P1060481.JPG

Right side front, all patched up.

P1060483.JPG

Here is what came out.....

P1060485.JPG

Hows that for corroded away, eh?

P1060489.JPG

On the left is what came out, on the right is what went in.....

P1060496.JPG

And lastly, the spot that was leaking.....Good stuff, yes?

P1060497.JPG


Thanks for watching this, I will continue to post updates about the sterling service that CB is so famous for.

The Weimar
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,783
Nova Scotia
If that's replaced with the same type of material (albeit thicker) - will the problem not re-occur but just take longer to get through the metal? Seems there would be some kind of fundamental flaw in the boiler design to cause it to erode like that in those particular spots.

Good luck, in any event!
 

The Weimar

Member
Oct 16, 2014
78
MASS
www.hearth.com
I think the problem lies in the fact that the thinner material is unable to transfer the heat energy without over heating. What I mean by this is if you have ever used an acetylene torch to cut steel, you know that it is easier to cut thin stock than it is to cut thick stuff. In that same way, the thicker steel is able to transfer the heat energy to the water jacket without over heating and deteriorating like mine did. There is a happy medium though, as 1" plate would hold so much heat that it would take forever to heat the water and much of that energy would go up the pipe.
We will see what happens but at least I'm back off the Black Gold.....and on the wood....

Thanks
 

Eric Johnson

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
5,871
Central NYS
Because of the new EPA regs that went into effect first of this year, the older-style OWBs are going to be in high demand, I believe, from those who want to burn green wood, roadkill deer, garbage, etc. Probably no better time to sell a newer, used OWB than next spring/summer. In short, "They don't make 'em like this anymore."

I'd be concerned that this thing is a lemon (CB has a pretty good rep for quality, or always has) best unloaded asap--preferably to someone far away who also has welding skills.
 

The Weimar

Member
Oct 16, 2014
78
MASS
www.hearth.com
Eric,

You are not the first to advise me to get rid of it asap....But the question remains, what would I replace it with? Can't buy an old model, as it must be a gasifier here in MA. It does seem t work well, even if it has been constructed with recycled steel out of old
toyotas and nissans. And how would I recoup the loss? $14k is a lot to spend on two years of use.... by my gorilla math, that could have been a brand new Escalade....Maybe I will cut the entire firebox out of it and replace with a custom bent, tempered steel piece....nothing to it, right? As far as CB's quality, I do not disagree, it is their customer service that leaves quite a bit to be desired......As I said before, I do not quit easily, sometimes for the best, other times just because I am stubborn....

The Weimar
 
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