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Replace the burner on a 20yo furnace?

rpm773
rpm773 Member Posts: 10
edited January 2015 in Oil Heating
Hi all
I have a 20-year old Vaillant furnace with a Beckett RWB burner on it. My system is oil/hot water/gravity-fed. I've lived in the house 8 years, and get the annual service done fairly regularly.

I placed an emergency service call with my oil provider yesterday: I had been hearing a buzzing noise coming from the burner since the day before, and witnessed black smoke billowing out my chimney. My guy came out, and the plastic air intake dial appears to have broken, causing the system to run too rich. It will now spin all the way around continuously. He made the adjustment and got it to stay in place, and that got me through the night.

He then told me they don't make the burner anymore, parts are had to find, and that he'd like to install a new burner. I'm a little skeptical: he's a good guy but he *does* work for the company, etc. On the other hand, not having to think about the issue has some benefits to me.

But the furnace is 20 years old....if I have him put a new burner on there and I replace the furnace in 5 or so years, do I get any of that value back? Can I put a used burner on a new furnace? Or, maybe the better question is, would I want to?

I'm going to talk to them today about it. I'm just looking for some second opinions, and if I go with his recommendation, how to get some value out of the part.

Thanks!

Comments

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    The coupler stripped/wore out and you need a new burner? If he didn't have a universal coupling set in his service truck, he should go back to carpentry or working at an auto dealership. Maybe operating a 5' Banjo or becoming a musician in a dirt band.

    And then some wonder why so many oil customers are switching to gas.

    At first I thought that maybe it was the plastic air shutter that failed and he told you that aren't available anymore so you needed to replace the burner. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO REMOVE THE AIR SHUTTER. THEY DIDN'T WORK!!!!. THAT'S WHY YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO REMOVE THEM.
  • rpm773
    rpm773 Member Posts: 10
    Hatterasguy
    I don't have a model # or a price yet. I'm talking to them today.

    Here are some pix




    Thanks for the feedback!
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    AF-2 parts can still be had. He must not like this burner, and I must agree. Not my favorite Beckett product, but they work
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Looks like an Inlet air scoop part# 51485
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    That might be a tricky find. You may need to find a used one here or somewhere. I have no old AF-2's kicking around here. You may end up with an NX
  • rpm773
    rpm773 Member Posts: 10
    Billtwocase
    > Looks like an Inlet air scoop part# 51485

    Help me understand...
    I do have that scoop - it's not on the unit as we took it off yesterday.

    The guy implied that the dial is broken, and closed up too much. It just spins now very loosely...maybe that's the part that needs replacing?

    Or are the dial and the scoop all the same part?

    Thanks!

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited January 2015
    Another one of Beckett's better ideas. How do you get the fan cage out? Remove the motor and pump and take it out through the transformer opening? Did they make a special adapter plate to adapt the motor to the burner housing? What were they thinking?

    It still should be able to use a standard cut to fit universal coupler to connect the two parts. Everything isn't shown in the photo. That black thing shown off center inside the housing must be the air damper that fails. And the blower fan, usually connected to the motor, must be connected to the pump shaft. Just thinking about what those folks in R&D were thinking when they dumped that on me would have given me a headache and chest pains.

    Bless their hearts.

    When they recommended a new burner, I hope that they didn't recommend another from them. That they recommended a Carlin EZ1 or Riello. Even the boiler is 20 years old, it appears to be in fine shape. I'd put a better burner on it.

    Or as an old equestrian friend is fond of saying,
    "Lets kick some dirt on this and be gone".
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    I would be shopping for a new boiler/burner. Both Vailant and the AF2 are (thankfully) obsolete. They were a fussy couple from the getgo, only got worse as they aged
    icesailor
  • rpm773
    rpm773 Member Posts: 10
    Icesailor
    I'm reading into your comment here that this is a bad design. Is it still serviceable? Could this be the start of several failures?

    If I can get more pictures, I will

    Thanks!
  • rpm773
    rpm773 Member Posts: 10
    Here are more pix that may or may not be helpful


  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Looks like a joy to remove the pump cover every year or more to service the strainer ;)
    icesailor
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited January 2015
    Well, I don't want to be too critical of the idea behind the design. R&D is always right. You don't see any burners today that look like that. They stopped making Edsels too.

    I sold a lot of burners and boilers when the burners were really bad and problematic by saying that you can change the burner, and if you plan, use the new burner on a new boiler when you change it. Many boilers (Weil-McLain WGO's) come without a burner and you choose what you want. If I/we use a Carlin EZ-1 (or Riello) to replace your old POS burner, the new burner can fire the new boiler too. Gives you time for an unplanned financial expense.

    Before that, I always bought "A" blocks, and installed what I wanted because it had so many more options than a standard package boiler. Like boiler replacements with the additional 1 1/2" NPT pipe tapping in the back for replacements where the old boiler was piped into the back.

    If you really felt adventuresome, you could tie the front and back together in the return and have almost no restriction going back into the boiler. With the circulator(s) already on the return, why it almost made that hot water flow by that air scoop with the Extrol hanging off the bottom like a warm summer breeze.
  • burnerman_2
    burnerman_2 Member Posts: 297
    I had this Boilers sister ..lol.. do the same thing 3 years ago phone call to beckett .. part was shipped boiler repaired,, they
    are a great company...
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    If it was a residential burner, and I didn't carry the needed parts in my truck, or the supply house I dealt with didn't carry a part, I wanted nothing to do with it. If I called the manufacturer, it would be at least 3 working days before I got the part. Not many people are happy going without heat for 3 or 4 days.

    I've seen a lot of oil burners. I've never seen one that remotely matches that one. Nice they had parts for it and they sent them too you.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,857
    The Vaillant was one of the first European boiler designs to come here. I've seen them with both the Beckett AF-II and the AFG. They run well if properly set up, but you had to get the setup just right. They're not very forgiving. Just like the Weil-McLain 68.

    If you really can't get the air intake dial or shutter, I'd go with either a Beckett NX or a Riello burner. They both can develop more static air pressure than the two original burners, and if you set them up properly you'll have no problem with sooting up a properly baffled Vaillant.

    "Properly baffled" is key. The uptakes from the firebox to the upper flue passages are supposed to have baffles ("flue turbulators") in them. Many flameheads remove these baffles, which results in high stack temperatures (which I've seen as high as 800 degrees!). This can also cause the flame to blow off the retention head, due to lack of proper resistance, which will cause sooting.

    As of a few months ago, replacement baffles were available from "Parts to your Door".
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailor
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Good to see your post Frank. How is the winter treating you?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,857
    Busy!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting