Vigilant (1977) Conversion to Coal Stove

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New Member
Jan 23, 2018
Annapolis, MD
I recently acquired a Vigilant Stove configured for coal. It had ash everywhere (like piled up solid between all the walls), so I took it apart to clean. Back firewall has "1977" stamped on it and is two part. The shaker rack for the coals is three bars from side to side (not the multiple ones from front to back on newer stoves). I have the following questions:

1) How do I determine the model number? There is an easy to read metal label on the back that has a bunch of report numbers, a serial number (074292) and clearances. However I do not see any model number.

2) Where can I get a pdf of the manual to convert to coal stove (which has been done)?

3) On the back label it says to use conversion kit 63, but all I can find online is information on conversion kit 0054, which appears to be about the same parts. What is the difference in these two kits?

4) When taking it apart I noticed two items apparently missing (from matching up to exploded parts view of the 0054 kit, which seems to be similar). The first missing piece is item 16 (Retainer Shelf Leg) which appears from the exploded view to be just a flat piece of metal to hold the left side up. The part number on the 0054 conversion kit list is 130-4582, but is no longer available, but appears to be easy to recreate, if I knew the length from the bolt hole to the bottom. If someone has this info, I could make one up.

5) The other piece missing is item 19 (Exhaust manifold extension). This seems to be a bit more involved, is on the list as part number 130-4634, but also is not available. I thought if I just make a 2-3/4" spacer to hold that panel from the outside wall of the stove this might suffice. But from the exploded parts list (of the 0054 kit) it appears to be some sort of tube. My question is that if I don't have this how would it affect operation?

6) Finally, if I chose to remove the coal stove conversion parts and convert it back into a wood stove, are there instructions how to do that and where could I obtain the parts required?

I know this is a lot of questions, but I am new to this and have run into these problems. I'm sure several of you out there are very familiar with this stove and might be able to help. If so, thank you!
Bill if you are 100% sure you have a 2 piece fireback, then you have either a Vig. IC, or a Vigilant II. Actual model numbers can be confusing with Vigilants, so it's generally advantageous to use the numeric suffix instead.

On the left side is a smallish hole with a teardrop shaped cover. If this hole is round, you have a IC, if it is oval shaped then it's a II.

I gotta dig deeper forreference material on coal kits, bit the differences between the 0054, 0060, and 0063 reflect the different configurations of the side castings of the different versions of the Vigilants and how the coal parts fit the respective models. I probably have the parts you need but I'm not sure. Gotta paw through some old boxes of parts. I'll keep you posted, please be patient, my shop is not that tidy since I let the maids go.
Thank you defiant3 for the info. I definitely have a two piece fireback as I've taken them out when cleaning. The top one has the shell shape image and the lower section has "1977" on it. The hole under the teardrop cover is round, so you are saying I have the Vigilant IC. There is no part number anywhere on the label or stove? That seems pretty confusing way to release products. And while you mention it, what is that small hole on the side used for?

You say the difference in the conversion kits has to do with the side panels. I have both side panels, and all other parts except those two I mentioned. The "leg" to be bolted to the front of the left panel to hold it up and the metal bracket that is bolted to the lower right of the right panel. The "leg" on the left I can make up and I can just bolt a spacer to the right side to hold it in place, but would like to know if that would cause a problem not having that metal fitting on the right.

Thanks again for your help!
Thanks for looking, Defiant3. I made up some pieces that looked like what was missing, but still having problems. A few questions still:

1) What is that teardrop hole on the bottom left side for? Should it stay shut normally?
2) If I try to use it for coal I understand to make a wood fire to get some heat, embers and flame, and then add coal (a few at a time) and then after putting enough in, it should keep going for 24 hours. How much coal do I add at a time and how much total for a "full load"?
3) If I can't get this coal working and want to use this for wood, can I just take out the grates and chute in the top and put a small wood grate where the dust pan is now?

I figured this forum would have more users with the old Defiant and surprised I've had so little replies to my post. Did I post this in the right place?
defiant3 know these stoves in his sleep. i have a old defiant but they never burnt coal just the vigilant and i think one of the smaller stoves they produced. on my stove and yours if you burn wood in it the small hole next to the side door is for secondary air when the damper is closed. i'm not sure how that would be used with coal. sorry.
Thanks, Frank. So I open the damper when I first start the fire and then when the chimney gets good and hot I close the damper and open the small hole on the left side? Seems like a small amount of air - especially compared to thermostatic damper on the back, but I guess helps.

I'm going to try one more time with coal, but was hoping to find out the correct procedure in this forum from someone who uses these for coal regularly.

If I can't get it working that way I'll have to guess how to convert back to wood. Without any pointers from this forum I'm thinking it would be to take out all the items shown in the coal conversion kit (grates, magazine, two side panels and ash tray) then only set in a small wood grate where the ash tray was.

I have not been able to find any manuals about how to use with fire or wood. All the manuals I come up with have been how to clean or clearances for installation.
Surely somewhere there is an old Vigilant Operation Manual? No?

That would answer all your questons pretty much, although to convert to wood will require a primray air tube to be installed which would have come with the stove but may be missing. Easy to get from Woodmans Parts Plus. Otherwise I think it's all set, no need for a grate in there just a good bed of ashes or sand to protect the bottom.
this manual is for all their old stoves.
hope this helps
don't ask me why they are separated but that's how i got them.
download these PDF files and you got a manual


  • Vermont Castings Manual pages 1-8.pdf
    865 KB · Views: 524
  • Vermont Castings Manual pages 9-15.pdf
    1,011.6 KB · Views: 420
Hello All!
So, just to confirm everything I am reading here... this is a Vigilant 1C (?) with a coal conversion kit (?) BUT if I remove the coal grates etc. I can use it for wood?
Sorry to belabor the conversation lol, I just want to make sure!!! ☺️
Ps- Defiant3... you're awesome! ☺️

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