First time ever participating in a forum like this. So, last week (on Monday) I had the oil company technician out for a regular annual cleaning and tune up of the furnace. It's a WM, WTGO Series 3 oil fired boiler with a QB-180 burner. The system was here in the house when we bought it in 2007, and I suspect it was pretty newly installed. The boiler system had worked very well for as long as we've lived here and we were diligent about annual inspections, maintenance and cleaning. After the most recent cleaning the tech said everything looked good and we shouldn't expect any issues; this was a Monday. By Tuesday evening we had no heat/hot water. I was at work, wife called, I told her to hit the reset button on the primary control once. She did, boiler fired and seemed to work all night. Wednesday morning boiler not working again, so I called the service company and they sent a tech over to inspect. He looked things over and replaced the CAD-cell eye, cycled boiled, working fine, then he left. My wife had a cold shower that night. Boiler still not working Thursday morning. Called service company again; tech came over Thursday morning (I was not there) and he replaced the nozzle (1.00x70A) and said he tightened some "lose wiring connections," cycled boiler, working fine, he left. Cold shower again by afternoon. I tried the reset button when I got home - no fire. I called service company again, they sent another tech. This is tech #3 (not including the one who did the scheduled maintenance Monday). This gentleman went over things well from what I could see. His theory was that the fuel/air mixture was off; perhaps the first guy tried to make an adjustment to increase efficiency and did just the opposite. He said,"I've got spark, I've got fuel, I just don't have fire. But we'll get it!" There was a very loud boom when he was in the basement and fired it up; enough I thought to go down and ask if he was alright (suspect excess fuel in the chamber from resets without ignition? Would that cause additional damage?) The boiler was working fine again when he left. Boiler working fine through the night and morning, but by 9:30am the next day (Friday) I had a cold shower. Hit reset button, furnace fired, working fine again. By night time though the system isn't firing up on its own again. Call service company Friday night, tech on call isn't really available so I wait till morning. Saturday, technician comes over (this is tech #4) and replaces a clogged nozzle, gives "a thorough inspection." Cycles boiler and says everything looks fine. First one to say these WM burners are troublesome. By Saturday afternoon the boiler isn't working. I call the tech back directly and speak with him, he's perplexed and says he's going to make some calls and get back to me. An hour later this service company's "Ace Technician" calls back and says he'd like to see it. I agree to have him come over and that I would also like their service manager to give me a call. The Service Manager did call and was very nice (this is a Saturday) saying she really wanted her Ace to look at it before deciding what the next step should be. At this point I'm a little grouchy with everyone - not rude or disrespectful - but probably not pleasant either. So the Ace shows up with the tech that was at the house earlier. He goes downstairs with a screwdriver and a crescent wrench and deduces in five minute that the transformer is bad (he did hit the reset button and it fired, but was pretty smoky - smoke coming out the flu vent and a small hole in the smoke pipe; then immediately shut it down). No multi-meter, no other tools or gauges, just, "you're transformer is bad and we can't get parts for this anymore."
They ended up doing a "crash install" of a new Becket burner, which the service manager said would never happen on a weekend. I'll give it to those techs, they worked on this till 10:30 on a Saturday night after going on a 1-hour parts chasing mission. When they left, I had heat and hot water and everything has been working great ever since.
Doing some research it seems these QB-180's aren't well respected by the pros and they were discontinued. That said, what I am really seeking advice on: was it really time for a new burner? Did the tech that did the cleaning mess something up? Were the other techs that looked at it not as thorough as they led on? Should they have tried some additional troubleshooting or replaced cheaper parts (electrode, wire assembly, tank filter)? I will be speaking with the Service Manager again this week - she did call Monday to see that my boiler was working - and we'll be going over the invoicing I suppose. I am fine paying for work and parts as long as it's fair, but I can't help thinking the first guy that came Monday messed something up and the others were unwilling to dig deep enough to fix it. Again, it was working fine before the cleaning/tune-up. Any advice would be very appreciated.