Make sure you have the hot & neutral oriented correctly on the timer. If it is backwards the wheel will turn backwards, and the switch will catch the wheel and stall it.
Get that bagged coal stacked someplace warm and get it thawed out. Dump the bags into a drum or a tote so the water can drain. Yes on the indirect, you could easily have 30,50, 80, or even 120 gallons of 160F water on hand. About the dark spot, it is tough to see sometimes...when the stoker shuts down after a long run the coal in the middle should be darker than the rest.
Here is a map of the coal breakers: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&ms ... urce=embed