Used Johnson little John OWB

General Outdoor Boiler Discussion
larryjbjr
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:17 pm
OWB brand: Johnson
OWB Model: Little John
Location: A bit north of Milwaukee WI

Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by larryjbjr » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:22 am


I found a used Johnson Little John OWB on Craigslist for $500.

The man selling it says that there were no leaks when he drained it 2 years ago. So, it has sat for 2 years. He says that he is selling it for a friend who just is gettting too old and wants to get out of wood burning. He said it's about 11 years old.

I know the old saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But, not always, so it's worth taking a look at I think.

Anyways, I understand the basic operation of an OWB (I was planning to try building my own this weekend, but decided it was gonna costs way more than $500) and as far as I can figure, as long as the thing is structurally sound, there ain't that much more can go wrong with it that I couldn't fix myself.

So, am I right? What should I be looking at and for when I go see it?


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Last edited by larryjbjr on Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

RSI
Posts: 308
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:51 am
OWB brand: HeatMaster
OWB Model: G200
Location: South central Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by RSI » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:51 pm

On those I have seen the cross ways tubes in the top of the firebox rust through and the door flange corrode real bad. Those are the places I would look closest at.

You can fix the leaking tubes at the top by just cutting them out and welding a plate across the holes. The door flange problem is harder to fix.

larryjbjr
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:17 pm
OWB brand: Johnson
OWB Model: Little John
Location: A bit north of Milwaukee WI

Re: Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by larryjbjr » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:53 pm

OK he did mention that it had a new door frame installed on it. That may be what he is talking about. He said it was a couple years ago.


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RSI
Posts: 308
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:51 am
OWB brand: HeatMaster
OWB Model: G200
Location: South central Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by RSI » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:58 pm

If it was done right that would be a good thing but if he just slapped another layer over the top it isn't. My brother has the same stove and just put the extra layer over it and got a couple extra years out of it but rotted between the sheets of steel.

larryjbjr
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:17 pm
OWB brand: Johnson
OWB Model: Little John
Location: A bit north of Milwaukee WI

Re: Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by larryjbjr » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:42 pm

OK, thanks for the input. I will definitely look at that.


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larryjbjr
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:17 pm
OWB brand: Johnson
OWB Model: Little John
Location: A bit north of Milwaukee WI

Re: Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by larryjbjr » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:05 am

Ok, I bought it. To me it looks like a really good "boiler". Especially for $500! Apparently, here is the story.

John bought a house that came with a Little John OWB. John did not want the OWB, so in Oct 2013 he drained it and put a cover over the flue. John had a friend, Dave, who used to be a Johnson dealer, who also had a big yard by the major highway. So, John moved the OWB to Dave's property and asked Dave to sell it for him. John was wanting $2500 for it. Dave, since it wasn't his, never put much effort into selling it, so nearly 4 years later it is still in his yard. Finally, Dave just listed it for $500, and I came along and bought it. Now, from what I can tell, the door frame was rusted out when John got it, so he had it fixed before he put it for sale.

Anyhow, I looked it over really good, as best I know how, and found no problems with it at all. It looks like the door frame was repaired properly, but I will post some pics in a little bit so you can check it out and see what you think. We even pulled the back cover off and I looked on top and the sides best I could and everything looked fine. Couldn't see the bottom though, so....

I looked at the cross ways tubes best I could and they looked fine. What are they for anyways?

I'm planning to fill it with water this afternoon and see what happens.

larryjbjr
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:17 pm
OWB brand: Johnson
OWB Model: Little John
Location: A bit north of Milwaukee WI

Re: Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by larryjbjr » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:11 am

Any suggestions on how to fill it? Just put a water hose in the air vent on top and fill it till it runs out?

larryjbjr
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:17 pm
OWB brand: Johnson
OWB Model: Little John
Location: A bit north of Milwaukee WI

Re: Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by larryjbjr » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:47 am

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RSI
Posts: 308
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:51 am
OWB brand: HeatMaster
OWB Model: G200
Location: South central Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by RSI » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:58 pm

Putting a hose in the top is as good a way as any to fill it.
The pictures look good. It appears that only the front of the flange had been eroding. The way it was fixed should be fine.

The cross tubes are just for more heat transfer surface. The problem with them is that creosote builds of at the corners and it very hard to remove. A lot of brands used to have them but most removed them because of the added failure points and mfg costs.

I would check the clear hose inside the upper door to make sure it isn't cracked. It most likely isn't clear anymore so you might want to just replace it. It is the guage for for checking water level. You should be able to get new stuff from a hardware store.

larryjbjr
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:17 pm
OWB brand: Johnson
OWB Model: Little John
Location: A bit north of Milwaukee WI

Re: Used Johnson little John OWB

Post by larryjbjr » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:39 pm

OK, I just filled it to the brim. So far I don't see any leaks.

You're right the hose is not clear anymore. But there are no cracks.

So far the only problem I see with it is that something got in there and tore all the insulation down to the bottom and then It got mouse infested.

So I'm going to have to take all the sides off of it and get all that junk out and then put new insulation in there.

overall not a bad deal I think.


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