Gear Review Classic stoves - Coleman single burners - pt 2

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by DKR, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Part 2, Coleman liquid fuel stoves. To say this is a very broad subject would be an understatement.

    First, some housekeeping and definitions to keep us all on the same page.

    In ColemanSpeak:
    A Duel fuel stove means it will happily burn white gas (naptha or 110LL AVGAS) or unleaded automotive fuel. I'll dig into a bit deeper later.

    A Multi fuel stove means it will burn Kerosene (or JP-8, OTR Diesel, Jet A, etc) , after swapping in the kero generator. The white gas generator, for use with white gas (duh), comes factory installed
    Yes, the stove comes with two generators.
    What is a generator? A gas generator which turns the liquid to gas.- the one pictured is for a lantern. This is to give you an idea of the guts involved.

    Replacement parts direct from Coleman and there are Vendors that resell these parts as well.

    And speaking of guts, here is an image of the pieces parts - for your reference if I use a term unfamiliar to you.

    This is the IPB for a Model 508A
    #14 is the all important generator (201066)
    #3 valve and fuel feed tube assy (201020)
    #2 Font cap

    and for a Featherweight Model 442
    surprise, these are all very similar, but not exactly alike.

    A final view
    This because the fonts and pumps are alike between the lanterns and stoves.

    A final note - gasoline will vaporize at room temperature. It has a -45 degrees Fahrenheit flashpoint, as long as it is above that temperature it will produce vapor.

    The flash point of kerosene is between 37 and 65 °C (100 and 150 °F), and its autoignition temperature is 220 °C (428 °F). So use of a preheat paste is recommended for use of the Multifuel stove using kerosene in cool to cold weather. If you don't wish to use the paste, a alcohol-based hand cleaner will also work, tho more slowly.

    Now then... in very simple terms,
    • Put fuel in font.(tank)
    • Pump in air to pressurize
    • Pre-heat generator.
    • Light stove.
    • Cook.
    If the stove flares up, it is because the generator was not pre-heated sufficiently. I use alcohol for preheating to reduce soot in start up.

    There are any number of YT videos that cover the care, use and repair of the Coleman single burner. To save you some time here are some that I found informative:

    tear down and basic maintenance of a model 400B

    putting the 400B back together.

    teardown of the 550B

    putting the 550B back together.

    These videos should give you a good idea of how to work on the new model Coleman single burner units. Please use the proper sized wrenches as the brass parts are easy to damage - the same goes for trying to force a part. Don't! These are well made and will fit together as they should without force.

    The most common problem faced in older stoves, esp those that have been in storage for a long time is a clogged check valve.

    this covers the two burner, but remember, the pump system is the same across Coleman products

    Before you tear down the pump/check valve, often a squirt or two of "carb cleaner" into the pump body and a lunch break to allow the cleaner to dissolve the buildup of fuel 'lacquer' with do the trick. I put the pump back in and with the font fill cap off, pump it up with some carb cleaner to ensure the valve works correctly. A fast rinse with alcohol and remove any gunk in the font and you should be good to go.

    Routine pump maintenance is required,.


    using oil or cup reversal to bring a pump leather back to life.

    Font caps have a gasket that can leak.


    Bringing an old generator back to life can be done by running some carb cleaner thru the generator or soaking it in a container of same - carbon can build up in the tube, so the use of the cleaner can be used to dissolve As shown the YT the newer generator have a wire to delay build up of carbon. Proper preheating the generator goes a long way to avoid the problem in the first place.

    Using unleaded auto gas will gunk up a generator owing to all the additives in the fuel. A preemptive cleaning (in the older stoves) to remove unleaded gas gunk before the generator tube is fully plugged will save you the cost of a new generator.

    For the truly paranoid, having some spares should include a generator of the correct type, a font cap gasket and a pump rebuild kit.

    Now - go find one!
    This covers nearly everything you might be forced to do to bring a stove (or lantern) back to life.

    Checking Craigslist at the end of the camping season will generally yield good results if looking for a Coleman stove or lantern.

    I purchased a 200 series lantern because 'it didn't work'. for $5. After I clean out the check valve and oiled the pump cup - I had a nice working lantern.
    Another time I scored a new in box dual fuel stove (400 series suitcase) and three lanterns - a dual mantel and a pair of single mantels, with spare mantels from $50.

    People buy this stuff and it just sits. Help them out - buy it and put it to use.

    Coleman Component / Apex stoves
    not covered owing to the lack of performance history.

    Stupid accessories to avoid with the Coleman stoves
    Aluminum or plastic carry cases.
    the Al carry pot is dead soft and your stove will quickly beat it to death. I have one I keep as a curiosity - found at a GROJ sale for $2, about what they are really worth. Plastic lantern carriers actually make some sense to protect the glass globe - not so much for the stoves.
    I carry my single burner in a coffee can. If the stove rattles, add some cardboard shims. This is a lot more stout and a whole lot les expensive solution for stove carry.

    I also DO NOT cook in my carry cases for the most part. Gasoline, oddly, is considered a poison.

    WIndscreens - use on the folding windscreen shown earlier but DO NOT surround the stove. The font will overheat and the flaming bomb situation occurs.
    Speaking of which - check your destination rules before leaving. Some parks (National and States) expressly forbid liquid fuel stoves owing to too many flaming bomb episodes....

    Final rant
    Due to cost cutting - that is the use of plastic in too many places to save $ - I cannot really recommend the newest Coleman products over their competitors, like Stansport.

    Older Coleman lanterns and stove are an excellent value, even if purchased at 'near new' prices owing to the build quality and availability of spare parts. I would urge you to look first for NOS parts before new - again from the use of plastic vs brass.

    Have fun

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  2. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Coleman Model 530 "GI Stove" These now sell for stupid prices, like $150 on eBay. Don't. I find these once n a while for under $20. You should be able to as well.
    Shop around, hit the thrift stores and yard sales.

    M-1950 (L) and M-1942 (R) .mil stoves. Some were made by Coleman, most were not, Yes, most were made by the lowest bidder - not Coleman.

    Having used the M-1950 (issued to me) for several years, I find the commercial Coleman products to be superior. YMMV. I'll admit to owing a Model 530 for my collection of "Stuff I never use but still have because it is old" collection.

    How to Date your Coleman&#174: Lantern or Stove: Old Town Coleman
    Use this information to date that deal you found at a rummage sale/thrift store.
    yes, Coleman date stamped the fonts to show when made.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
    oldawg, sec_monkey and Motomom34 like this.
  3. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I found one beside the road. I had a few issues and your threads have helped. I think we will finally get it fired up and able to cook on it.
    Mountainman and sec_monkey like this.
  4. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    WOW - lucky find.

    Let us know if you can get it to play.

    What kind? An older 400 (suitcase) style?
    sec_monkey likes this.
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    it is actually a triple burner. @hot diggity thought it could be a 426b. For some reason it is not firing up. Here are pictures:
    56595-edd887917e591d40525238e5a429be85. IMG_3696.JPG
    GrayGhost, sec_monkey and snake6264 like this.
  6. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    A not stupid Coleman accessory

    Propane convention generator for suitcase (2 or 3 burner stoves)

    Coleman stove stands - under $20 and will save your back if a picnic table isn't at hand.

    or build your own brill to hold two or more pots to share a single burner
    the folks over at have lots of home-made cooking sets. Its worth spending a few minutes over there. (What do you cook/eat when camping?)
    sec_monkey likes this.
  7. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    With the copper colored tank, the 426B sounds right.


    Does the tank pump up and hold pressure?
    When opened, will the generator spit out fuel?
    These are the most common issues - bad or leaking pump, or check valve.
    Leaking tank cap
    Fouled generator.

    Have fun!
    GrayGhost and sec_monkey like this.
  8. Oddcaliber

    Oddcaliber Monkey+++

    Wow Motomom,what a find! Got a 3 burner too. Had to pay for mine.LOL There are Coleman collector forums out there. Lots of information about anything Coleman. It's what keeps my stuff going.
    GrayGhost and sec_monkey like this.
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