Weil-McLain GV-3, Series 2, ignitor, relay chatter

Evening, gentlemen and gentleladies. I’m new on this forum. Although I’m a writer of novels and short stories, I’ll try to keep this shorter than either. Have a Weil-McLain GV-3, Series 2 propane boiler, input: 70Kbtu, DOE: 61Kbtu, output: 53Kbtu.

Bought it used (only 1-1/2 years old) o/a spring ’00 and had knowledgeable man install it after I pulled all the cast iron baseboard, pressure tested, reassembled in some cases and repiped (3/4" copper) in this 115yo farm house. I understand electric all day long, but, no offense to any pipe jockeys, I despise plumbing. Definition: If it’s designed to hold any liquid and it can leak, it’s plumbing and it WILL leak. So, to me, domestic water, drains, rain gutters, garden hoses, buckets, etc. are all plumbing. I was also unfamiliar with gas until the last couple years.

Heat worked fine for 13 years or so until January ’14, no heat. Called my man who sent out his nephew who didn’t know how to use a VOM I guess. He "checked" the ignitor and pronounced it good. He didn’t return (had a real job somewhere). I started digging into the plumbing and the gas controls (mostly research and testing electrics). After ten days, I decided to double-check the ignitor – it was open. Ordered another (271Y/41-406), installed it and all’s good for the rest of the heating season. Cheap paper gasket vice the foam type and needed to add spacers to the two bolts – not exact replacement. Yeah, I know, I should’ve second-guessed the nephew and checked the ignitor myself.

That’s the first reason I’m writing – to let folks, as inexperienced as I am, know that it’s possible to save a bunch of bucks for your child’s college or whatever.

Everything’s good during the ’14-’15 season until March of this year. Lost heat. Waiting for my man, I called one of the franchised fix-anything companies. They wanted to put in all-new everything for $9500. My man showed up later and wanted to install a new system for $5000 +/- $1000 (I forgit). Anyway, I think it was on this forum that I stumbled across a thread about zone valve power heads, testing them, changing them out, like that. Zone #2, 2nd floor, has been out for several years due to a frozen return pipe (long story, don’t really need heat in two bedrooms, master suite is electric baseboard). I used the inactive power head and we got heat.

That’s the second reason I’m writing – to thank all you folks who help so many others with your advice and, again, save a bunch of bucks. Also, the background might help with my third reason for writing.

Turned power on about three weeks ago when temps started down. Worked for about a week, then lost heat, kept locking out. Indication was failed power head again which made sense since both power heads were same age, although second one used about 4 years less. Got new power head last week, installed it, same lock out symptoms. I checked air pressure switch, shows 26 volts when it’s supposed to. Checked water temp limit switch (aquastat?), in series with block temp limit switch, got continuity.

Checked ignitor, 79.6 ohms, but it looked tired, i.e., some of the sparkle gone with a dull area. Aware of the sensitivity of flame rectification feedback to prove flame, I thought the impedance for rectification might be high. Ordered another ignitor, meanwhile checking everything I could. Last couple days, while waiting, I fired it up several times to take the chill off and then shut it down ’cause it wanted to cycle more often than I thought it should. Got new ignitor (49.5 ohms) today and installed. Fired up and everything went well – it shut down with water temp at 135 degrees. When it fired up again, an hour later, a relay somewhere started chattering like one of those little mechanical monkeys with the cymbals. It finally fired up again, but doesn’t seem happy.

Chill’s off the house. Everything is fairly much under control, nothing urgent, but why would a relay start chattering but not until after I installed a new ignitor? I have since double checked all connections, wire nuts, etc. Haven’t fired it up since then. I haven’t pinpointed the relay yet but it could be the t-stat relay (don’t think so) or aquastat or air pressure switch if it sounds like a relay. Don’t think it’s a relay on the gas valve since it starts chattering as soon as the purge blower comes on – or while it’s on. I’ll put the old ignitor on tomorrow and see if the chatter goes away. I’m too tired now. I’m 69yo with a four-year-old daughter who wears me out, but I don’t want her to get cold this winter.

That’s my third reason for writing – to ask for any insight on the chattering while I’m checking whatever I can think of tomorrow. Sorry, out of a dozen or so of my short stories, one is shorter than this posting. I know that Trooper will insist on pictures and schematic which I’ll try to get tomorrow after a pot of coffee.

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