fixing the jammed damper on fireplace xtrordinair elite 33 (FPX 33) aka lopi declaration

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maverick06

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Sep 27, 2008
827
media, pa
Hi All,
I have a fireplace xtrordinair elite 33 (FPX 33) which is the same stove as the Lopi Declaration, just a different faceplate. It’s a great stove, but like a lot of other people, the damper jams on it. The damper moves relatively freely when the stove is cold, and when it is hot. But at medium temperatures, it will jam open. I don’t know if it is a safety hazard, but it is annoying and not very efficient with the damper open.

Here is how I fixed it. You have to get the damper out, this requires a good bit of work.
1) Remove the face plate of the stove
2) Remove the first 2 air tubes
3) Now it gets a bit hard, you have to remove the front baffle support. There is a little lip on the bottom of the support, if you push up here, it should rotate so that you can remove it. This is awkward, its not easy to do, the baffle is quite heavy to lift too. I am sure that there is the "easy" direction to rotate it, but I was able to remove it a few different ways. You might have to hold the lip and pull it forward to help disengage it. This actually would have been removed easily when the stove was new, but at least my baffle has sagged a little under the weight and the 3 years of fires. This deformation made it a pain in the butt to remove.
4) pull out the first 6 fire bricks. Then remove the back 4.
5) unscrew the damper rod. It might be pretty tight after all the use. I used vice grips and it popped free pretty quick. Unscrew and remove it.
6) now stick your hand in on top of the baffle to remove the funky looking damper yoke that connects the damper rod to the damper assembly. it has 2 legs that just sit in 2 little collars on the damper assembly. If you lift it up it will come out. But it is a confined space and hard to see, so this might take a while. And not being able to see sure makes it fun. I had to do this with bare hands, the gloves just made it too hard.
**If all you want to do is fix the jamming problem, you don’t need to disassemble more, but why not take it all out and clean the whole thing**
7) Now you can remove the damper assembly and the bypass plate.
8) at this point the baffle rear should be all thats left, pull it out.

Ok, disassembly is complete, might as well clean out the inside of the stove. I had used mine for 3 years and there really was just about nothing up there. I don’t think I will bother cleaning it out for at least a decade.... I will probably blast it with compressed air, but no need for anything more.

The problem that causes the jamming is that the 2 legs on the damper yoke are a bit too long. As the stove heats up and with a little ash buildup in the collars on the damper assembly doesnt help. I used an angle grinder to cut off about a 1/4" from each of the 2 legs. This will allow for much more expansion without any problems.

Now, if you are like me, you will have a small problem, the rear baffle was sagged a little, this will prevent it from being connected to the front baffle support when you reassemble (I reassembled it and found i couldn’t connect it. So, I took eth rear baffle and bent it back. Just holding the 2 edges and putting my knee in the middle and yanking did the trick. (well i tried to bend it a dozen times, that made all the difference.

clean everything, make sure to clean the collars on the damper plate.

Reassembly:
1)rear baffle plate goes back in, make sure you don’t put it in upside down, otherwise the firebricks wont fit (made that mistake).
2) bypass plate and damper assembly go back in
3) put the bypass yoke in, this is a pain for all the same reasons as getting it out. Once you get the legs in the collars, get the top rod through the hole in the stove collar.
4) connect the damper rod to the damper yoke so that it is held in place.
5) put in all the fire bricks
6) reconnect the front baffle support to the rear baffle plate. You might want to practice this with the two pieces out since its a little tricky. If the rear baffle is sagged, it is nearly impossible, I couldn’t get it to go together. Once i straightened it, it was simple, first try.
7) put the air tubes back in
8) put the face back on
9) wonder where the past 6 hours went.

This is a pretty complete disassembly of the stove, might as well clean out everything when its apart. Here are a few pictures for the process as well.
These 3 pictures show:
1) the fireplace without the face on it
2) Here are the two air tubes after removal
3) Here is the front damper support and the first 6 fire bricks after removal
 

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These two pictures (sort of) show the rear baffle after the front has been removed and the front 6 bricks are out. In the second picture you can barely see the damper yoke.
 

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Here are the last two pictures. You can see the damper yoke that needs its legs trimmed. There is also the damper asembly. The collars had a little assh in them, that didnt help the jamming issue at all, make sure they are clean too.

Thats about it. Thats how you do it. I have to thanks Budman since he let me know how to do it. Hope this guide helps. At least for my stove, I dont think I will have to go back up there since just about nothing was ontop of the baffle. Once I get some more fires in there, and confim that this works, I will let you know. Of course, use this info at your own risk. I am not a sweep, just an engineer who owns a wood stove.

Best of luck, its not an easy nor short job, but should be a big help to using hte stove!

Rick
 

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Gee, i wonder were you got this from. :mad: From the looks of that stove for only 3 burn
seasons it is in rough shape.I think you better get some dry wood.
 
The inside of the stove was pretty gross and black. Last year i ran out of dry stuff and was working off some less than ideal wood. Also I use the fireplace to dispose of all the bills and other pieces of paper I dont want to trash, thats kind of gross to burn. It is pretty amazing though, a good hot long burn will burn off most of the black crud on the inside. Will post some, in-operation pics soon
 
I'm very interested in seeing the pics - I just purchased the Avalon Perfect fit, which is also the same model with a different face. Ours is being installed on 11/3
 
CiscoKid said:
I'm very interested in seeing the pics - I just purchased the Avalon Perfect fit, which is also the same model with a different face. Ours is being installed on 11/3
Your new stove will not have this problem.
 
Budman--what's different with the new stove? Why are you so confident that Ciscokid won't have this problem?
maverick06
Here are the last two pictures. You can see the damper yoke that needs its legs trimmed. There is also the damper asembly. The collars had a little assh in them, that didnt help the jamming issue at all, make sure they are clean too.

Thats about it. Thats how you do it. I have to thanks Budman since he let me know how to do it. Hope this guide helps. At least for my stove, I dont think I will have to go back up there since just about nothing was ontop of the baffle. Once I get some more fires in there, and confim that this works, I will let you know. Of course, use this info at your own risk. I am not a sweep, just an engineer who owns a wood stove.

Best of luck, its not an easy nor short job, but should be a big help to using hte stove!

Rick

Rick--how do you know that shortening the yoke legs fixed this problem? It sounds like you changed two things: you shortened the yoke legs and you straightened out the rear baffle. I recently took my stove apart to investigate this problem and I tentatively concluded that it was caused by the warpage of the rear baffle. I took the front baffle off and removed the bricks and then cleaned everything up there. The damper moved smoothly.

Then I put the bricks and the front baffle back in place and the damper stuck. It appeared to me that, after I got the baffles hooked into each other (not easy), the rear baffle was contorted so that the damper would jam in the full open position.
 
Hi everybody. I got a new rear baffle for my Declaration. I had the sweep install it when he cleaned the chimney this fall. But the damper still stuck a little when the stove was hot. But it was different this time. It didn't come and go as the stove heated and cooled. It was better than last season though, when this problem was at its worst. I took the front baffle off and removed the front row of bricks from on top of the baffle. One brick did not have the notched corner aligned correctly. (Check the exploded diagram in your owner's manual if you don't know what I mean about the notch.) And, there was some crud in the tubes of the damper where the yoke fits in. I fixed both of those things, and I made sure that the bottom plate of the damper (the stationary piece) was right in the middle of the stove. I also made sure that the damper and yoke were right in the middle of the stationary damper plate. After everything was assembled, the damper movement was much better. I lit a fire and checked the damper at many different temperatures as the stove warmed and cooled. It works much better, I might even say "good as new." I think that the problem after the cleaning was that the damper was rubbing against one of the vertical sides of the stationary damper plate.

To me, it looks like there are two important things to check if you have the the sticky damper problem:
--warped rear baffle
--crud in the damper assembly where the yoke fits in

A third possibility is
--alignment of bricks and damper parts on top of the rear baffle

One last thing--the Lopi dealer gave me a new rear baffle with no hassle. I didn't even have to bring in the old one. That makes me think that maybe I'm not the first person to have this problem. Also, for those of you still having trouble with this condition, the baffle would not have been that expensive to buy--I think it was only $60 or so. I was so irritated with this problem that I would have gladly spent $60 just to eliminate this as a potential cause.

Thanks

Pete
 
Your new stove will not have this problem.
I wouldn't be so sure. Travis is pretty good with addressing problems. We get stoves in all the time that are marked with a revision number on the ID tag, showing that they have changed something in the design.
 
well, i havent checked this thread in a while. The theory with the legs is good, and has been backed by myself and others. I think they are seperate problems. I also do not feel that I was able to bend the baffle, the distortion just made it miserable to reinstall, distortion only seemed to be at the forward side as well. I contest that it is two seperate problems, could be wrong. my damper is getting a bit stiff again, indicating (in my mind) that maybe there is getting to be more junk (ash) in the damper/yoke connection. I have been thinking about a way to blow it out without disassembly....
 
Bringing back this thread!
I shortened the legs as discussed above a few years ago. Well the damper started getting hard again last year. Today i figured it was time to fix it. By shortening the legs, you only delay the damper getting jammed. I did figure out that you could remove the damper and the yoke without pulling out the baffle (huge time savings). I had to clean out the little buckets on the damper plate with an awe as the ash and whatnot was really solid in there.

Now that it was cleaned out, I figured that I will weld a washer on the yoke, above the cups to minimize the amount of ash that falls back in. I will try to take pictures and post later. Pretty easy just to remove and clean, but welding the washers on, might prevent it from needing to be done.
 
attached is what i did. There are 2 washers stacked up on either side, welded in place. Now as ash/rain/whatever falls back, it wont get in the little cups.

The weld sure splattered a lot. I didnt bother to clean the washers or the yoke, surprised how much splatter that generated. .Not pretty, but its a junk excluding washer on the fireplace, certainly more than adequate.

The fireplace as designed required this to be cleaned before the first burn season was over. I modified the legs and that got me 3 years before i had to clean it. I think this will push cleaning the damper (not chimney) a lot longer!

note, you have to open the thumbnail to see what i am talking bout, i guess the whole image wasnt resized for it, justa piece of it.
 

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