Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: mmackay On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:22 pm

I’ve used a variant of Vermont’s Vigilant Multifuel stove for twenty years now …. thankfully, with very few problems …… however I have one now, water leakage, and wonder if any forum members could guide me on how to tackle this problem ????.

The variant of the Vigilant is one that’s probably unique to the UK where a thin water-jacket boiler was placed in the firebox. Like any other boiler, this arrangement heats water that distributes heat throughout the house from radiators. In my case, I have seven radiators linked to the stove with relative large bore copper pipes and the water circulates slowly by gravity alone ….. and offers continuous low grade heating.

Without dismantling the stove, its difficult to know the exact detail of the water jacket, but in the areas where I can measure the thickness is about 30mm and guessing the boiler plate is 5mm, this would leave a typical section with about 20mm core space for water. The shape is complicated, wrapping round each side, back and top of the firebox, with a 160mm fuelling hole for feeding the anthracite cut in the top member and plugged by a sliding cover.

At the time I bought the stove, Vermonts were imported into UK through a distributing agent and they arrived in UK without boilers but a local UK Company (?) converted those requiring “back-boilers”. No one in the present Vermont organisation seems to know anything about these variants.

Anyway that’s the background …. the problem is that my boiler has sprung a pin-hole water leak inside the firebox. I plan to go on burning through this winter with the problem no more than a very slight weep, but I recognise that I will need to address the problem in the spring.

With no spare boilers on the shelf and no desire to install a different looking stove (if anyone even offers them like this, these days), I’ve decided that having the boiler repaired or replaced is the best route in the circumstances. Instincts tell me that more pin hole leaks are likely to be near at hand in other water-jacket areas …… and I’d like to dismantle the stove and get a new copy of the boiler made.

Does this sound feasible? …. in these days where throw-away and start again seems to be the norm? If so, how would I go about it?

All views on alternative approaches also welcome.

Thanks in advance.


Mel Mackay.
mmackay
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Vigilant
Stove/Furnace Model: Vermont Vigilant

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:45 pm

Is it a pinhole or a crack? If its a pinhole and you can access it easily, I would just drill it out and tap it for a pipe thread and install a pipe plug. 1/8" or maybe 1/4" NPT should do it. A crack is trickier, You would need to drill both ends to keep it from running and then heat it to about 850* and weld it at that temp and let it cool slowly. You will need a good welder that knows what he is doing.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: bksaun On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:04 pm

Mel,

Any Blacksmith/ Metal fabrication shop should be able to help. It sounds feasable, it also sounds expensive, so if you get this done, in the future when you shut it down in the spring make sure you wash everything you can reach with baking soda and water to stop the acidic reaction of the coal. spay it down with oil after it dries.

Are you burning anthracite in the U.K.?

BK
bksaun
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Hybrid, Gentleman Janitor GJ-6RSU/ EFM 700
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503
Coal Size/Type: Pea Stoker/Bit, Pea or Nut Anthracite
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer/ EFM-Gentleman Janitor
Stove/Furnace Model: 503 Insert/ 700/GJ-62

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Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:02 pm

The problem with the drill, tap and plug method is that the corrosion all around the hole may have the metal so thin that if you drill it you won't have enough metal [too thin] to get a decent thread cut so that you can seal the leak.

I'd reserve the above method untill you don't need the stove for heat [springtime]. The drill, tap and plug method may work perfectly well, but I wouldn't risk it right now.

If you have a slight pressure on the water system, and it is an otherwise solid leak free system, you may be able to seal the leak using some of the automotive 'stop-leak' products like Bars-Leak, or similar. You need to be able to get the product into the system and this will require opening the system where you can pour the product into the system.

I've used this method in an old boiler that had a bad casting and it helped slow the leaks down, but didn'tseal it completely, It gave me time to save the $$ for a new boiler though.

Anybody else used a stop-leak product??

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: mmackay On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:48 pm

bksaun wrote:Are you burning anthracite in the U.K.?


I believe it is re-constituted anthracite .... called Phurnicite ..... factory made into egg-shaped pieces about 40mm x 40mm x 30mm. We burn these in the AGA cooker too. They used to be manufactured in the UK in South Wales, but I think they are all imported now. Judged from the ash, the quality of these varies from delivery to delivery.

Mel Mackay
mmackay
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Vigilant
Stove/Furnace Model: Vermont Vigilant

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: traderfjp On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:31 pm

This is an interesting thread. Is there anyway to post a pic? Can you weld new steel plates to rebuild the inside of the firebox?
traderfjp
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:45 pm

LsFarm wrote:The problem with the drill, tap and plug method is that the corrosion all around the hole may have the metal so thin that if you drill it you won't have enough metal [too thin] to get a decent thread cut so that you can seal the leak.


If its that thin, it probably needs more than what a minor repair could do for it.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:32 pm

Hi Ian, yep I agree, I just had a bad experience with the drill, tap and plug method with a corroded-too-thin piece on an old tractor...

Greg L

.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:12 pm

Do you think a light peening with a small ball hammer? It could just be some porosity. Hit it with a torch maybe and just a little tap tap tap to close it up? Probably best to do it running and full of water, just to make it exciting. :)
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:20 pm

What might work would be a 1/8" pop rivet covered with RTV, inserted into a 1/8" hole drilled through the pinhole.

Or maybe a sheetmetal screw?

Greg L

.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:55 pm

If the metal is that thin it will probably spring a leak close by the repaired area. If I tried the sheet metal screw I'd probably end up soaking wet because of the ensuing flood.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Vigilant Water Leak - Advice, please.

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:17 pm

A pop rivet is steel core and an aluminum rivet, installed in iron, the three metals would worry at different rates. you would have a leak in a short time for that reason. Plus there are two larger paths for leaks, the hole you drill in the cast and the hole for the pull pin in the rivet. A solid steel rivet installed hot in cold iron would do it.

The sheetmetal screw would have about 2 threads and no taper in say a 1/4-5/16 thick casting. An 1/8" pipe plug would have 4 maybe 5 threads. The pipe plug is the correct hole plug in a pressure vessel.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

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