Each year I disassemble the stove in the fall to give it a good once over. The first year I learned a good lesson. The threads on the 4 bolts that hold the stoker assembly to the stove body on my Hearth model are exposed to the internals of the stove. Upon trying to remove these I snapped 2 of them off (yes, I used penetrating oil and was gentle) I suppose this is due to at least 2 issues:
1) The hardware is inexpensive and exposed to a corrosive environment which causes it to break down very quickly thus making removal difficult.
2) The heat cycling that the hardware is exposed to must cause significant degradation of the temper/hardness of the material, thus making it quite weak and easy to snap under torque.
I drilled out the damaged bolts, and ran a tap through the nuts which are welded onto the stove in such a way as to make them nearly impossible to replace. I switched to stainless bolts and began using high temp anti seize which seems to work pretty well. I had one bolt this fall that took me about 20 minutes to remove as even coated with anti seize it had corroded badly and had to be worked gently back and forth to remove it. The threads were badly galled so I replaced it.
I may have missed it in the initial setup guide, but does/did LL recommend coating these bolts? Are the new Hearth models built the same way with these bolts exposed? Are the attachment nuts still welded in placed in the same fashion?