Whitfield auger making noise
I'm not sure if it is really a bushing or simply a machined surface in the top of the pellet chute where the top end of the auger fits. It looked like a steel bushing when I looked with a mirror. I didn't want to move the stove or I could have probably had a better look. At first I thought I could remove the auger housing by drilling out the rivets in the hopper and on the back of the auger housing, but it still wouldn't budge, then I discovered that the entire assembly is welded to the firebox.
It's about 9" from the top of the auger housing to the bottom auger flange. I cut a 12" piece of EMT conduit, then wrapped tape around the end of the flex shaft just next to the collet so the shaft would be snug inside the pipe. After slipping this pipe over the flex shaft, I taped the bottom end of the pipe to the shaft to keep the pipe from sliding up or down. I then wrapped a few layers of tape around the outside end of the pipe nearest the collet so that it wouldn't go into the bushing. I inserted a sanding drum type attachment into the collet. I now had a stiff housing around my flex dremel shaft with 3" to hold onto so that I could locate the bushing with the business end of the dremel. It took a bit to find my target but I was eventually successful. The tape around the outside of the pipe provided a stop so I wouldn't go too far Using low speeds I then burnished the inside of the bushing (or whatever is in there.)
Not knowing the material I was working on, I was careful not to overdo anything and spent only 30 seconds or so on the actual polishing. I inserted the auger and it seemed very smooth so I figured I was done. Next step, "What do I use for lubrication?" The hardware store and auto parts store offered brake caliper lube as the only high temp lube, but neither showed a temp rating. I found a rating of 1600 F on some anti seize compound, so I liberally applied it to both bearing surfaces on the augur and re-assembled. The auger appeared to operate very smoothly and could not be heard at all with an ear next to the pellet chute inside the firebox when turning by hand.
It's a warm day so I won't really know if I cured the noise problem for a couple days, but I suspect I did. I guess I won't know for another couple years if it (and the lube) was a long term fix. I'm a bit concerned that the pellet dust might mix with the lube and the heat could be a catalyst to gum things up pretty bad. If so, I'll repeat the procedure without the lube.
A hint for anyone doing auger work: Before re-installing the motor, turn the auger by hand to fill it with pellets until they drop into the grate. This saves a lot of time on startup.