VC Encore Door Handle Loose?

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Apr 8, 2012
This year is the 21st season for my trusty Vermont Encore 2550. Been very happy with this stove which is our primary heat source.

Have a new issue this year, though. I changed the door gaskets in October and noticed right away that even with the door latch adjusted all the way "in" it was a very tight fit getting the door to latch because of the new gaskets. Maybe I didn't seat them properly? I changed them on my workbench and tapped them into the grooves with a small ball peen hammer after installation but didn't actually install the doors on the stove until the next day.

In any case it took some force to engage the door latch and I couldn't close it all the way (but the doors were sealing well). Eventually the gaskets seemed to compress and it got easier but now I'm noticing that there's enough play in the latch that it makes it hard to fully close--I posted a short video below to show you what I mean.

I can close the door and get a good seal, it's just that it's hard to turn the latch all the way closed because of the play (instead of rotating the last bit the latch will "rock" to the side which just increases the friction.

I can't remember if the latch always had play or whether my manhandling it shut somehow enlarged the threaded hole in the cast iron door. Is that possible? Maybe it always had that much play but I'm thinking I made it worse.

Any ideas for solutions (other than buying a new door!)? Was wondering if I could wrap the male threads on the stud with some heat-proof material to reduce the amount of play.

Thanks for any tips. Hope everyone's stoves are working well as we head into the holidays. Nothing like a nice fire at Christmastime.

I have a 2550 and mine has the same amount of play in the handle as well
Thanks. OK, so maybe I didn't mess anything up and it's still just too tight.

You ever run into issues closing it all the way?

I used 5/16" gasket, same as always, not sure why suddenly this has become an issue.
Gasket looks a little hairy, might need a trim. Too much cement behind the gasket if it hardened before you installed the door would make it tight. I use a wire brush on a drill to clean the old cement out completely, if the old cement is there it will hold the new gasket out.
Good thoughts, thanks. Yes, the cut end of the gasket there has gotten a little frayed. I trimmed it once but it looks like it needs it again.

I cleaned out the channels in the door well before installing the new gasket and tried to go pretty light on the cement.

Maybe that gasket material was extra thick? I believe it came out of VC gasket kit. I've almost been wondering if something is mechanically blocking the door but I've checked and don't see anything, plus I would think I'd be having air leaks around the door if that were the case.
The latch on the VC are adjustable. If the handle is loose there is a set screw on the inside that may need to be tightened.
I don't think the Encore 2550 has any set screw on the latch. It's just a threaded stud that fits in a threaded hole in the door and the actual latch threads onto the portion of the stud that protrudes outside the door. It's adjustable in the sense that you can thread the latch all the way tight against the door or back it off any number of turns to keep the doors closed tightly after the gaskets compress. But I don't see any way to adjust the "looseness."
On my Intrepid a set screw controls how loose the door latches. There's also a spring washer on the stud to help with that.
Interesting...sounds like maybe VC made some improvements since I bought my stove in 2002.
Although there were definitely some lost years there a while back where the company seemed to be on the ropes and changing owners every few years. Seemed like quality control and customer service were getting pretty rough. Hopefully things have stabilized now. Personally I think the Encore 2550 is a superb product--not without its flaws, of course, but ours has really been rock-solid serving as primary heat for our house through over 20 Maine winters. Probably helps that I stay on top of maintenance pretty well but I have to admit the 2550 has been very good to us.

I'll see what I can come up with to improve that latch. It works, just takes a certain touch to close all the way and I'm afraid when wife or kids are operating it when I'm not around might be an issue.