Quadra- fire 1200 Classic Bay Loose heat exchanger tubes.

yulester

Member
Oct 30, 2011
32
North Central Ohio
Seems I have encountered the loose exchanger tube situation.

The curved tubes at the top have a small flange ring that appears to be caulked to the top of the heat exchanger box. the cleaning rod will not travel up to the top on the one side any more. The other side seems to be intact, but the caulking material is coming loose.I can see where ash has blown out of this area around this flange ring.

What made me find this issue is that the fire bowl has been having an issue with lazy flame and a pellet buildup last year. If we didn't pay attention to this stove, we would get smoke in the house during thermostat shutdown.

I will be pulling this stove apart to review the options and repair possibilities. Buying a new stove is not an option. Finding a Quadrafire authorized repair/service person has been a fruitless endeavor in the past.

From other posts I've seen, these tubes don't look like they were swagged in place - more like epoxy caulked.

Any comments or input would be appreciated.
 

yulester

Member
Oct 30, 2011
32
North Central Ohio
Buy a small exhaust pipe expander and re-expand it to lock in place at the top of tube
So what about the bottom of the tube? It appears to have some movement there, and I would have to expect it's for expansion. Is there something we should be addressing here, or even a way to get access to this area.
 

yulester

Member
Oct 30, 2011
32
North Central Ohio
OK - - So we purchased some of the Red Devil 1000 degree fire place and wood stove caulk. It's like a mortar in a tube. Hint - you definitely need water to work with this stuff. Next problem was getting the tubes back up in place. Tried doing it bare handed by pulling and twisting - - didn't work as expected. Started to work at taking apart the input side of the exchange by the convection fan. The screws are not easily accessible even with the stove pulled out a few inches.

Came up with a different plan. I took a plumbers basin wrench and thinned it out a bit so I could get a grip around the tubes, and with the encouragement of a small dead blow hammer, they popped right up in place. Used a small pinch to prick the surfaces of the tubes to help hold them in place. Next - - caulk. Ended up using a small painters pallet knife and an old butter knife bent at a 90 degree on the end - - about a 1/4" up. Cheap tamper paddle to get into the tight spaces. We wrapped the pull rods with aluminum foil to keep the caulk from making contact. We will see how this works in a bit.

Caulk directions state to start a small fire for two hours and then crank it up. So far I'm happy with the Red Devil Caulk, but it appears the initial issue hasn't been solved. Still have a flame a bit too lazy, and the pot will overflow if I'm not watching it. We don't have outside combustion air hookup (seems it wasn't an option when we bought this stove).

As much as Quadra-Fire tells me to call in a technician, we don't have any nearby. Closest guy sells some parts, but he hasn't impressed me in the past, so I'm on my own (I'm considering taking the technicians class in the near future).

If anyone needs pictures of the tools used, let me know.

Meanwhile, one issue fixed - - Initial problem not solved.
 

bob bare

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
2,957
park county montana
I read this thread,sealer does not fix metal to metal contact(well,temporarily),I think there is other threads that show a proper repair.You always want the combustion gases to be separate from the room heating.Swaging the tubes( as jzm described) is the proper way,In my thinking.Just the same as old railroad technology "swaged new tubes into the boiler housing.If it was not welded from the factory,it was swagded,not welded,therefore was not expected to last.Just my 2 cents.
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
2,230
Lorraine NY
I agree with what your saying Bob but there is no way to get to the back side of the tubes without cutting the stove apart. Stove cement is going to age and crack/fall apart. So gotta try cement or replace the stove is the only options.if its an older stove it’s probably better to just get a new one or a clean used one and have extra parts
 
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bob bare

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
2,957
park county montana
I agree with what your saying Bob but there is no way to get to the back side of the tubes without cutting the stove apart. Stove cement is going to age and crack/fall apart. So gotta try cement or replace the stove is the only options.if its an older stove it’s probably better to just get a new one or a clean used one and have extra parts
Ah,thanks.Would not be the first stove that has been cut open,to repair a problem,I seem to remember a few posts on this,years ago.There is glue,and sealer,and a permanent repair.A "temporary" repair is not allowed on an automobile.A "compression" fitting is not allowed on a brake line.But,I also understand peoples financial stiuations,and,agree,as long as they know it is a temporary repair.
 

yulester

Member
Oct 30, 2011
32
North Central Ohio
Ah,thanks.Would not be the first stove that has been cut open,to repair a problem,I seem to remember a few posts on this,years ago.There is glue,and sealer,and a permanent repair.A "temporary" repair is not allowed on an automobile.A "compression" fitting is not allowed on a brake line.But,I also understand peoples financial stiuations,and,agree,as long as they know it is a temporary repair.
There was a hard caulk like substance at the top of the heat exchanger around the swagged tubes. most of it was cracked and loose. Three of the eight tubes were loose. Designing with a swagged fitting such as this wasn't a great idea in my thinking. Sooner or later the connection would come loose as it did. As of now, I'm happy with the seal at the top of the tubes after the above mentioned repair. I may take this stove completely apart this next spring and see about having the tubes tig welded or possibly brazed in place. If I can get access to the tubes at the bottom of the heat exchanger, we may do something with this too. Has anyone done this before??

This stove is still in great condition. The exterior still looks almost new, the gold plated door only has one spot on it, and we have been running this stove since about 2001. Right now, buying a replacement is out of the question.

As for what we have found so far. The gasket under the firepot appears to be in good condition. Can't push it or move it, but a replacement on Amazon is about $12.00 - - I'll get one. I may have to redo the door gaskets again, and this was somewhat of a pain last time. I may do this a bit differently as it appeared to be done from the factory in such a way as to let air in on the bottom edge of the glass - - like it was meant to allow air flow to keep the glass clean. It worked fine for the last few years after I re-did the doors this way.

Ash tray / pan - I'll be replacing this. I ran a Bic lighter along the seam while it was running, and saw a couple places where the flame pulled into the seam. After doing some looking around, it appears I may have a stove that has the rubber gasket instead of the fiberglass rope. So my next question would be, can I use the fiberglass rope instead of the rubber gasket.
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
2,230
Lorraine NY
I don’t know about the rubber gasket replacment, mine has rope. If the surface is flat I would think it would work. Check the little door under your burn pot, pot clean out rod opens it along with the bottom of the pot. If that is loose or not closing that kills the draft faster than anything else.
 

yulester

Member
Oct 30, 2011
32
North Central Ohio
I don’t know about the rubber gasket replacment, mine has rope. If the surface is flat I would think it would work. Check the little door under your burn pot, pot clean out rod opens it along with the bottom of the pot. If that is loose or not closing that kills the draft faster than anything else.
Mine does have the rubber like gasket on the tray - - - it's getting glass rope. Found huge chunks out of the rubber gasket along with cracking

Ordered 1/2" graphite impregnated for the tray and same stuff in 3/4 for the door. Picked up the firepot gasket too. The slide(s) seem to be working fine. Some seasons. I have to free it up first time of the season. The little access panel seems to be fine gasket wise although I may change it

I don't take the tray out more than 3 or 4 times a season. When I sweep out the stove, I usually sweep out a bunch out of the tray.

We will start with the tray and see if this solves the problem.
 

yulester

Member
Oct 30, 2011
32
North Central Ohio
Ash tray new rope gasket helped, but didn't solve the problem. Dollar bill in the door test showed the door gasket is fine as I suspected.

I believe I found the problem. When I started looking for issues, the heat exchanger tubes at the top were loose, an we fixed that. What we didn't address, and I don't believe anyone discussed was the tubes at the bottom.

I have one of those neat little "in the wall" video cameras that are great for looking in places you can't normally see.. Pulled the fan off the back and ran this up into the transition area and looked at the bottom of the heat exchanger tubes. It looks like they used high temp silicon to seal around the tube ends after they swagged them in place - - and it looks like it's all screwed up. Looks like I will have to tear into this section and re-seal these surfaces.

Not sure who's bright idea it was to swage these tubes in place and expect them to last any length of time. In my mind, they should have have been brazed or tig welded in, and then maybe use a high temp substance like silicon or the Red Devil stuff to confirm seal. Not impressed with this part of the stove at all now.
 

yulester

Member
Oct 30, 2011
32
North Central Ohio
UPDATE:

Pulled the stove away from the wall and got access to the bottom of the heat exchanger tubes - - - they are not swaged in place at all. Just Permatex red silicon. a lot of this is loose which could cause a draft issue, but I don't believe it was the whole issue yet. Auto parts store had the caulking gun size industrial tubes - - that should do it. Now for the fun time removing the old stuff.

Probably the final update:

Seems we have solved 90% of the problem. Stove seems to be working properly. I'll give it a few more trial runs before I set the thermostat and let it go.
 
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