Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what?

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Don2222

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Feb 1, 2010
9,144
Salem NH
Hello
Is this trash or treasure?
This is a 2/1997 Quadra-Fire serial # 350513
The heat exchanger tubes are solid steel and in good shape. However the weld on the 1st tube on the left in the right bank broke so the tube fell into the heat box on top of the fire box where the heat from the fire warms the air in the tubes that blows out the front.
This problem was not easy because even though the curved part of the tube that pushes the hot air straight out the front pulled out easily, I could not get the heavy heat tube in the firebox pushed back into the heat box hole to weld it back together!
The first step, I went to Harbor Freight and purchased a Pneumatic Air grinder with 3” extension and a good set of carbide grinding bits.
Then I wire wheeled the end of the tube and used the new grinding bit to clean and grind a bit so the the tube easily pushed back into the firebox hole.
The only trick was, I had to rotate the tube a bit so it would push back on. It is not perfectly round I guess after 26 years! Lol
Now just some Mig welding and it should be good?
Has anyone else had this problem??
Pic 1 - Stove model
Pic 2 - Broken heat tube
Pic 3 - Cannot get tube back thru heat box hole!
Pic 4 - wire wheel ash
Pic 5 & 6 - use new die grinder and carbide grinding bit
Pic 7 - Got it through the fire box hole and ready for a little Mig Welding
:)

Pic 8 & 9 - New pneumatic air grinder & carbide grinding bits with storage pouch!

Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what? Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what? Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what? Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what? Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what? Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what? Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what? Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what? Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what?
 
So let me understand this, the inner tube broke in 2? And you will butt weld them together? And you ground out the upper hole so the swedged end will slide back in/up?
 
Hi Bob
Actually no, it did not break. I did not know this at first but the curved section of the tube fits inside the much heavier strait section of tube that is inside the fire box above the top baffles. This strait section weld is what broke and fell in. So I pulled on the curved section and it pulled out! This makes it a lot easier to fix because not only do I have room to get my grinder in there and clean it good but I made it easy to pull the heavy tube back into place. It sticks thru about 1/4” where it is now clean and room to weld it back in properly!!
Then I can slide the curved section back in and it will be good as new!!
 
Well that makes more sense. Yes, the curved sections only need to be tacked in, I think on some of them they were not even welded, just pressed or tapped in a bit.
But, herein lies the problem, getting the bottom to seal(the loose tube. They were swedged on the bottom,also. Quad came up with a set of tools to do a field fix, as this was a common issue on 1200's. It was some sort of puller, that pulls the tube upwards, holds it under tension, then you used a hammer and curved punch, to "reswedge" the top of the tube. This way you were assured of no exhaust getting into the house, and the whole exchanger did not need replaced.
 
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Well that makes more sense. Yes, the curved sections only need to be tacked in, I think on some of them they were not even welded, just pressed or tapped in a bit.
But, herein lies the problem, getting the bottom to seal(the loose tube. They were swedged on the bottom,also. Quad came up with a set of tools to do a field fix, as this was a common issue on 1200's. It was some sort of puller, that pulls the tube upwards, holds it under tension, then you used a hammer and curved punch, to "reswedge" the top of the tube. This way you were assured of no exhaust getting into the house, and the whole exchanger did not need replaced.
Very Interesting Bob!
One thing I noticed is the top of the tubes are tapered so when they are pulled thru the top hole, they make a better seal. :)
It seems that the bottom of the tubes are not tapered since they fell down, however all the air and smoke are flowing upward so the seal may not be critical? Like the small hole for the exhaust blower shaft. If that was sealed the exhaust blower would not work! LOL
How do you know this?
Do you have any documentation on it?
 
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I'm just kinda remembering from older threads on here, years ago. On the bottom, the swedge is to the outside, just like at the top, so when tube is pulled up, the "taper" reseals it. What happened on the 1200's, is my understanding, the tops were not swedged, just a press fit. so they would cone loose and fall down. And, Quad did not want to have to tear down every stove to replace the exchanger. Perhaps they used less metal in the heat exhanger "top", where the tubes come out? Anyway,I have no idea what the "puller" looked like, but pretty sure to swedge the top, techs just used a hammer and a curved punch. I would think a cable with a hook or 2 could be lowered inside the tubes, then used with a inverted u to hold tension up on the tubes. If was mine,I also would make sure other tubes are tight, no gaps, and give them a tack/spot weld or 2. I imagine an older Quad tech would know precisely what tools were used. I do know some of these stoves were junked because of the tubes coming loose, which is a shame.
Good luck!
 
I'm just kinda remembering from older threads on here, years ago. On the bottom, the swedge is to the outside, just like at the top, so when tube is pulled up, the "taper" reseals it. What happened on the 1200's, is my understanding, the tops were not swedged, just a press fit. so they would cone loose and fall down. And, Quad did not want to have to tear down every stove to replace the exchanger. Perhaps they used less metal in the heat exhanger "top", where the tubes come out? Anyway,I have no idea what the "puller" looked like, but pretty sure to swedge the top, techs just used a hammer and a curved punch. I would think a cable with a hook or 2 could be lowered inside the tubes, then used with a inverted u to hold tension up on the tubes. If was mine,I also would make sure other tubes are tight, no gaps, and give them a tack/spot weld or 2. I imagine an older Quad tech would know precisely what tools were used. I do know some of these stoves were junked because of the tubes coming loose, which is a shame.
Good luck!
Thanks for all your imput Bob!
SmokeyTheBear showed me a link where the Quad expert Kap had some input on this problem too!
Kap said the pipes at the top are friction fit and he is always correct!
I see they are, the curved tube just fits into the heavier steel tube in the firebox and that tube is tapered and fits into the top hole in the heat box. I also see some type of wry old sealant that is supposed to hold the heavier fire box tube in the hole. See the first pic below. However this sealant gets very very brittle and breaks apart very easily! So this can be the problem! So I need a good solution like using high temp silicon or a good tac weld or even both?? I will try something and let you know!

Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what? Weld broke on the Aladdin & heat exchanger tube fell in with smoke came pouring out! Now what?
 
Your biggest problem is holding pressure up on the inner tube, to make sure the bottom is sealed. At the top, where you enlarged it, just weld. If you ground out the inside too much for the divertor pipe to fit snug, just put a few spot welds on it, it really is kinda irrelevant if it leaks a little,it's just hot air for the room, but if I was to reseal them,I would just use hi temp silicone.
 
Your biggest problem is holding pressure up on the inner tube, to make sure the bottom is sealed. At the top, where you enlarged it, just weld. If you ground out the inside too much for the divertor pipe to fit snug, just put a few spot welds on it, it really is kinda irrelevant if it leaks a little,it's just hot air for the room, but if I was to reseal them,I would just use hi temp silicone.
Hi Bob - Don’t forget there is only clean warm air inside the tubes. All around the tube is dirty smoky fiery hot air. Therefore when the straight part of the tube is welded to the hole it must be sealed to keep any smoke from escaping the fire box around the outside of the tube. So if a put a couple tac welds, I must seal it with silicone. Actually since all that wacky brittle sealant used in 1997 is almost all fallen off, it is probably a very good idea to seal all the tubes so smoke will not escape??
 
The one that you enlarged,the loose one, I would weld all the way around it. Then, if there are doubts about sealing, I would probably try rutland 500f silicone, as, with air always blowing through, I would bet it would be fine. You could always try it, and tell the people you will stop back in 3 months, and check it. But, you could always use what was on there, was more than likely a refractory cement.
And/but, I also would put a few spot welds on the other tubes, where they come out of the firebox.
 
Hi Bob - Don’t forget there is only clean warm air inside the tubes. All around the tube is dirty smoky fiery hot air. Therefore when the straight part of the tube is welded to the hole it must be sealed to keep any smoke from escaping the fire box around the outside of the tube. So if a put a couple tac welds, I must seal it with silicone. Actually since all that wacky brittle sealant used in 1997 is almost all fallen off, it is probably a very good idea to seal all the tubes so smoke will not escape??
Don correct me if I am wrong! With air being blown through the heat exchanger and the stove being under a slight vac.
would any air escaping from the heat exchanger be sucked into the firebox and not out of the heat exchange.
But I do agree that the pipes should be sealed in any case
 
Don correct me if I am wrong! With air being blown through the heat exchanger and the stove being under a slight vac.
would any air escaping from the heat exchanger be sucked into the firebox and not out of the heat exchange.
But I do agree that the pipes should be sealed in any case
I'll give my 2 cents, yes,I agree, BUT, the big issue could be, the lower end of the tubes, if one is not sealed, they are in a box that the room fan blows into, so, with a big enough leak, pressure could be blown into the stove/firebox, creating strange running/burning issues. That would be my worry.
 
J B Weld, the slow set stuff, rated to 600 degrees.