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There are two types of igniters, spark-type or glow heater. The glow heaters wear out and crack or break and the spark-type spark gap gets fouled or dirty. Both could have electronics problems that drive the glow heater or spark systems. The Filtrete thermostat is not the issue. While rapping the unit makes the glow igniter come back together to glow again.
This can be caused by low pilot flame height (Clean the pilot orifice or increase the pilot gas flow if necessary, by adjusting at combination control valve). Or the burner ports near the pilot flame are clogged and need cleaning. But, don't enlarge the holes. Low gas pressure can also cause this, but your repair person already ruled this out. If you have a wall thermostat, the Thermopile or Pilot Generator (it's the same thing) may be weak and failing. It's not generating enough millivolts of electricity to open the gas valve, when the thermostat is turned up. Or the Pilot Flame is not always touching it. If it is the Pilot Generator, the Cozy Part # is 70098 and cost around $40.00. A talented service man can install it easily.
Generally, these are the first things that you troubleshoot for delayed ignition. Hope this helped to get you started.
The VC701 has a safety switch located on the back of he heater that may be tripping after the call for heat is satisfied. Check that there is a good draft by testing with a match. Make sure the flame is drawn toward the vent system when the unit is off and cooling down. Check it at the draft diverter located below where the vent pipe is attached. It is a box with an open bottom. If the draft is not pulling air toward the vent system, the heat from the cooling heater will trigger the safety switch and shut off the pilot. You may have to raise the vent pipe to establish a draft.