Pellet blockage at feed gate ... Vermont Castings Reliance?

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Feeling the Heat
My 1992 V C Reliance 2220 has done a strange thing. Today, it stopped feeding, but the auger motor is running, the auger is turning. It's built a lot like a Harman Accentra free standing stove, many parts even swap. I spent the day today wrestling with the 400 pound beast and it's full hopper. I burn Hamers Hot Ones out of Ripley, WV. It's always done well with them. I had a new auger motor on hand as I thought it was going out years ago, but not ... so today I swapped it in ... but I think the old one was /is OK. I can see the auger turn, but it's not pushing pellets through? I know there is a "gate" or block that opens to let pellets drop into the auger shoot, it seems to be OK but I won't get a good look until I get a hopper emptied tomorrow afternoon. I do see some, not all, of these pellets this year look longer than normal.

Anyone out there have a picture of the feed gate sliding block maybe? I know Bill A. was here last year, I expect he's pretty well versed.

That's what it was. 31 years plus, and the first time ever that I had a blockage in the feed block. Never "saw" it, but spent a couple hours trying to get to it with mirror and flashlight (did not want to move that stove again), checking movement, scraped feed block run, vacuumed the feed block, it's running like gang busters now!

Book said pellets over an inch long can bridge the opening and cause a back up. It's just returned to load position by a spring, but a cam does the pushing stroke. If it can't return, it can't push anything into the auger below. Was some stuff keeping the block from a full return stroke, near to no stroke. It was performing a full push stroke, but just not returning completely under spring power only.

After clearing 10 gallons of wood pellets, I tested it empty, feed block barely moved ... maybe 1/8" ... from rest to push more in ... but t's stroking a good half inch or maybe more now. First time ever pulling the feed block cover, it's a Harman part. Built like a tank inside, I figured was gonna have to remove it, maybe weld something ... like that paddel looking lever that moves the block, but all looked fine.

I knew it was simple, how it works, etc. ... so it kept me awake last night trying to cipher the problem. Yeah!
Last edited:
Just a quick update, old stove is running about perfect still.
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