Vermont Castings Reliant cleaning question

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Sep 15, 2019
Allegany, NY
I cleaned my chimney today for the first time since I installed my used VC Reliant (with a top draft). When I went to clean out the stove, I wasn't sure if I was actually getting all of the soot and creosote or it if was going back behind a steel (or probably cast iron) plate that has a row of 1/4-inch holes in it (see picture). I'm wondering if those holes which now appear to be blocked are necessary for the draft. There was a bolt (5/16, i think) dead center on the back of the inside of the stove right below where it says 1988 (see picture). I tried to remove that bolt, thinking it would give me access to clean out the area behind those plates, but nothing moved. after I took out the bolt (which might actually have just broken off, since now I can't put it back in. Along the way, reaching up behind the metal plates at the back of the stove, I out some broken pieces of some kind of white material. Maybe it's firebrick, but it's whiter, thinner, and more crumbly that the firebrick I'm used to.

Can anyone with more experience with these stoves give me any advice?
  • what is that white stuff, and do I need to replace it?
  • can I / should I remove any of the pieces from the back of the stove to clean out ashes and creosote crumbs?
  • Is that bolt I removed (and can't replace) critical for anything? (nothing moves that didn't move before I removed the bolt)
Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm attaching a picture of the back of this stove. From having owned an earlier Reliant, I know they varied from year to year.


VC Reliant draft holes.jpg VC Reliant back of firebox.jpg
Did you mean a VC Defiant? Do you know the model number? The back of the stove's UL label picture did not post.

Yes, those holes are important for secondary combustion. Unfortunately, it sounds like some of the refractory material in the combustion package has been damaged. This stove may be ready for a full rebuild $$ now.
My mistake. It’s a Resolute. (I was mixing that up with the Defiant!)

What’s involved in a full rebuild? Is that something any VC dealer can do? Is it a homeowner job?