Finally got around to cleaning out the Hitzer last week. Pulled out all the bricks, vacuumed out the loose ash, wiped the inside down with a damp sponge & dried the inside thoroughly with my heat gun. The coal acids had eaten the paint off & created some ugly surface rust around the inside of the hopper opening in the top, inside of the hopper lid & parts of the area where the hopper lid gasket sit on the top. I removed the rust on the stove body using a phosphoric acid based rust remover/metal prep http://www.masterseriescoatings.com/ind ... etal-prep/
and a brush. The hopper lid went into my blast cabinet for cleaning. Ash door also had rust forming/paint peeling around the vent holes so that came off & got the Metal Prep treatment. All damaged areas got new paint & I'll be replacing a couple gaskets (hopper lid & glass) as soon as I pick up a new tube of glue.
I looked at the different products I've seen mentioned on here & ended up buying a few cans of the http://www.theruststore.com/Cortec-EcoA ... 49C28.aspx
as I wanted a low odor rust preventative. Coated all surfaces inside the stove but I still need to vacuum out the black pipe connecting the stove to my liner & coat that also.
The 2 13" firebricks that sit under the load door were both broken in half. I'm guessing that I did that early in the season when I was using the poker & pressing down too hard. As the season progressed & I figured out how to shake properly I seldom used the poker. Since the bricks fit in there snugly & the breaks are clean I'll just glue them back together with some furnace cement for the coming season.
Still haven't bought a chimney brush kit so I think I'll try my shop vac idea. Plan is to reverse the hose on the 6.5hp vac & use it as a blower. With my two long hose sections I should be able to run the hose at least 3/4 of the way up through the liner from the bottom which "should" blow any loose ash out through the top. I'll let you know if I see an ash cloud coming out the top.