New to pellet stoves, Quad Castile questions

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I'm a long-time wood heat veteran, but new to pellet stoves. I picked up a used Quadra Fire Castile and I'm having some teething pains. I went through all the resources I could find on the forum, but I could use a little help / reassurance. Thanks in advance for any forum wisdom.

Initial Condition:
The stove hasn't been used in years, and was stored in a dry garage. It has very minor rust on some of the screws and unpainted metal panels. The fire pot had a fair amount of rust / scale. It was very clean - no debris in the feeder mechanism, no visible ash anywhere. The ash door was frozen in the closed position. It's installed in a basement with 6' of vertical flue and plenty of available air (drafty / leaky basement).

First Fire:
When first plugged in, the combustion blower did not turn. Manually rotating it got it spinning with a fair amount of bearing noise. With a small handful of pellets in the fire pot, the stove started, but no pellets fed. With a few more manually added pellets, it got hot enough for the circulation blower to come on.

I tore it pretty completely apart. I lubed the bearings on the two blowers and the pellet feeder, and made sure they all turned freely. I freed up the ash door (Just had to loosen the pivot bolt a little). I took out the top baffle and the 'cast brick' panels. Almost no ash behind them. I cleaned up the fire pot and made sure the air holes were clear. All gaskets looked almost new.

Current Condition:
It starts, runs, and feeds pellets. However, it has the 'lazy flame' condition and generates a lot of soot - especially on the 'medium' setting. Haven't tried 'low' yet. I went through the lazy flame sticky thread, and I don't see anything else that I missed. This stove has no inlet air control that I can determine. The pellet feed rate is adjusted by a sliding gate that is already in the lowest feed position.

  • Does it make sense to try and restrict pellet feed a bit more? I could extend the existing gate a bit.
  • What is the approximate expected rate of pellet consumption for the Castile when running on 'high'? I could see if my feed rate is at least rational.
  • I'm still hearing a bit of bearing noise on the combustion fan. Is it worth just replacing it on the assumption that it's running slow?
Lazy flame as you know is indicative of a lack of combustion air
In most cases is a dirty stove (hidden ash traps full of ash)
Your combustion fan may need replacing (you say noisy bearings)
If you replace it keep the old one because if you are handy the
bearings can be replaced. The feed rate I can not help you with
I know that this is not your stove but it is the best flame
characteristics there are on the internet and are applicable
to all stoves
Is the stove installed in the house or are you testing it elsewhere? Is there adaquate air supply for the stove? Maybe the combustion fan cannot get enough air for fire to burn properly. Or the combustion fan maybe turning slower than normal. What is your venting setup? Size and lengths of pipes, number of 90's or tee's, etc?
Also check the door on the bottom of the burnpot. You should have a gap of the thickness of a dime between the door and the bottom of the burnpot.