Lopi Freedom cracks in firebox and rusted damper

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bob95065

Burning Hunk
Aug 13, 2013
237
Felton, CA
I picked up a Lopi Freedom yesterday for free from Craigslist. I went outside today to take a closer look at ot.

This is how it came off the truck:

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Inside:

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Missing bypass:

20170326_165405_zpsxpml6fne.jpg

This stove was neglected and beat up. The firebrick was cracked and it was rusty from the leaking flue cap. The air damper at the bottom is rusted and won't move. I thought I would clean it up and see what I have. I scooped up at much ash as I could then I opened the door and blew it out through the top exhaust with a leaf blower. I also blew out the passages between the firebox and outside metal. Tons of dust and debris came out. This is what I have:

Cleaned up:

20170326_171405_zpsv6sn07ah.jpg

Then I looked inside and found the cracks:

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This was a discouraging find. Has anyone had success welding cracks like this or welding in repair plates? I would like to save this stove if I can. Please share your experience with this type of problem.

Also has anyone freed up a rusted air damper on a Lopi stove? Can you take the stove apart to get to the damper mechanism?

Thanks,

Bob
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
11,133
Indiana
Yes you can have those cracks welded up. It's normal for an abused Lopi..
The bricks, I'd leave them be considering its a free stove. Cracks in the bricks won't hurt a thing.

There is a set screw the acts as the stop on the air control mechanism. Remove it and the whole air control assembly will slide out the front of the stove. Pay close attention to how the plates and springs are assembled. This control operates the secondary and primary air, so placement is critical.
 

bob95065

Burning Hunk
Aug 13, 2013
237
Felton, CA
Thanks for the reply. Is welding the cracks something others have had done or is this a DIY job? I want to do this myself if there isn't anything tricky about it.

Thanks for the tip on the set screw. Is it in the front of the stove? If not where can I find it? If I can pull out the air control assembly I am certain I can fix it.
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
11,133
Indiana
Thanks for the reply. Is welding the cracks something others have had done or is this a DIY job? I want to do this myself if there isn't anything tricky about it.

Thanks for the tip on the set screw. Is it in the front of the stove? If not where can I find it? If I can pull out the air control assembly I am certain I can fix it.
It's front and center.
 

bob95065

Burning Hunk
Aug 13, 2013
237
Felton, CA
I just went out to the garage. The metal below the air control was bent. I didn't see a set screw. I got the metal bent down and the air control came right out. Would you mind taking a picture of what the set screw should look like? I assume it should go in the hole in the center below the handle. The metal there is thin there are no threads tapped in it.

20170326_194458_zpsyiwthzp2.jpg

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webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
11,133
Indiana
I just went out to the garage. The metal below the air control was bent. I didn't see a set screw. I got the metal bent down and the air control came right out. Would you mind taking a picture of what the set screw should look like? I assume it should go in the hole in the center below the handle. The metal there is thin there are no threads tapped in it.

View attachment 196525

View attachment 196526
I can't take a pic, I don't have a Freedom anymore. Just going off memory from my experience.
 

bob95065

Burning Hunk
Aug 13, 2013
237
Felton, CA
Thanks anyway. I think what I'll do it put a small bolt and nut through the hole. It will stop the air control from coming out when it is pulled forward.

Any thoughts on the welding questions I asked?
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
11,133
Indiana
Thanks anyway. I think what I'll do it put a small bolt and nut through the hole. It will stop the air control from coming out when it is pulled forward.

Any thoughts on the welding questions I asked?
I'm sure that hole is where the screw would have been originally.

I'm no welder, I've just heard of others having it done. A stick welder is what I would think is best.
 

NateB

Feeling the Heat
Mar 5, 2013
294
South Central Pennsylvania
I don't know your welding skill set. I recommend you get someone experienced to show you how to weld it up. You can make it worse if you don't know what you're doing.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,989
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
That metal is likely pretty thin so an arc welder will just blow a bigger hole in the crack. If you're really good with a stick you can probably do it but you will have to turn down the amps so low that you will likely end up with bird poop welds. I've welded exhaust tubing with my Lincoln stick welder, it works but is not pretty.

Wire feed is the better tool here. Less heat. No reason you couldn't add cover plates and weld them over the cracks if you find that easier.

It looks pretty destroyed.
 

bob95065

Burning Hunk
Aug 13, 2013
237
Felton, CA
I have a friend that is very good wth a mig welder. I'm going to call him tomorrow. I talked to a friend that owns a used tool store. He has a small wire welder he said I can borrow. I have options.

If I can get those cracks welded I can restore this stove.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,253
South Puget Sound, WA
Good advice. I've never seen a stove with more weld cracks.
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
11,133
Indiana
Really? Do you guys think it is too far gone to repair?
I don't. It might not be as good as new, but it'll still heat. And the price was right!
 

bob95065

Burning Hunk
Aug 13, 2013
237
Felton, CA
Good. I'll talk to my friend to get it welded. Once I get that dome I'll sand the rust off and paint it. I need to buy a bypass because it's missing on this stove. I think with some firebricks it should be back in order.

It's sad to see something nice like this so trashed.

BTW I tested the blower last night. I disconnected the heat sensor and jumped the wires. I put a plug in the cord and plugged it in. The fans work with no noise.
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
11,133
Indiana
Good. I'll talk to my friend to get it welded. Once I get that dome I'll sand the rust off and paint it. I need to buy a bypass because it's missing on this stove. I think with some firebricks it should be back in order.

It's sad to see something nice like this so trashed.

BTW I tested the blower last night. I disconnected the heat sensor and jumped the wires. I put a plug in the cord and plugged it in. The fans work with no noise.
Good deal. For future reference, you can just use a lighter to heat up the snap switch.
 

bob95065

Burning Hunk
Aug 13, 2013
237
Felton, CA
Good deal. For future reference, you can just use a lighter to heat up the snap switch.

I didn't have a lighter handy and it was only two screws to get to the wires. I wanted to see if the fans worked. I bought a blower for my Avalon Rainier for $$$ and if the Freedom fans didn't work that would have been a deal breaker on this stove. Having the blower with it was a big plus for me.

I'll bring a lighter out to the garage and test it again to be sure the snap switch works too.
 

bob95065

Burning Hunk
Aug 13, 2013
237
Felton, CA
I visited a friend that had a wire welder this morning. The cracks are welded. Now I need to get a bypass and bricks for the stove.

The next step will be sanding and painting. It is a relief to get the cracks closed up. I am confident I can save this stove now.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,106
central pa
I visited a friend that had a wire welder this morning. The cracks are welded. Now I need to get a bypass and bricks for the stove.

The next step will be sanding and painting. It is a relief to get the cracks closed up. I am confident I can save this stove now.
Welding the cracks is easy welding them well enough they will hold is a very different story. Most repair welds on stoves i have seen have failed.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,106
central pa
What should I look for in a proper repair?
one that doesn't crack. It is next to impossible to tell how good the repair is from the surface there are many things that could go wrong from inadequate penetration to overheating the metal next to the weld weakening it. that being said those cracks are in no way a safety issue and will only affect performance a little bit. If it cracks again I would just have some stainless cover plates made up to protect those areas and minimize air leakage.
 

bob95065

Burning Hunk
Aug 13, 2013
237
Felton, CA
Thanks for the advice.

I started going over the rust with a grinder and flip disc. It is cleaning up better than I thought it would.

The bypass and plate are missing. I need to get emplacements after paint and I should have everything I need to put in my fireplace.