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How to Light a Coleman Stove

In the Owner's Manuals portion of Technical Assistance you can find many versions of how to light a stove. They were written by professionals and cover the subject well. What you read here in only my opinion of how to do it easily. It is not the only way nor do I claim it to be the right way! It is only "my way."

This discussion does not cover propane stoves but if you understand this chapter you'll be able to use one. It covers Coleman products but if you have another brand you should be able to figure it out.

Let's first talk about some pre-firing topics...

I recommend that you use Coleman fuel for all of your camping appliances. It is not bogged down with the additives you find in automotive gasoline so it burns much cleaner. Pump gas produces a much stronger odor when burning and can leave a taste if you're using it in a stove. Coleman fuel will extend the life of your generator because it does not have those additives.

But can you use the significantly cheaper gasoline that Joe puts in his Toyota? Yes, absolutely you can. If you rewind back to the '70s you will remember that cars used leaded fuel, but you could buy something called "white gas." White gas was gasoline without the lead additive. Which, of course, means that now all you can buy is white gas at the pump because it is all unleaded.

However, use Coleman fuel for the aforementioned reasons whenever possible. You will also want to use a good funnel that also functions as a filter. Doesn't take a much "crud" to plug-up the stove.

And finally lets touch on safety. Remember that you are playing with fire! Fill the stove with clean fuel, use a funnel to avoid spillage and fill outdoors. Avoid getting the fuel on yourself and if you do wash it off immediately. Make sure you know what you're doing before you strike that match--don't strike it near an open container of fuel or where some has spilled. Ensure the filler cap is in good working order and on tight and the valve is shut off before pressurizing. DO NOT loosen or remove the filler cap while the stove is in operation, is hot or while the tank is still attached to the stove case!!!!!! ALWAYS HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER HANDY-ALWAYS.

I am going to assume that your stove is in good working order. If you run into problems I recommend you bounce to the troubleshooting portion.

Step One: Filling. Make sure the stove is cool and the tank is not mounted on the case. Locate and remove the filler cap. Use a good filtering funnel and clean fuel. You do not have to fill up the tank to the brim! About 1/2 full is plenty and you don't have to worry about over-filling. Once you have the fuel in, put the filler cap back on and snug it down tight.

Step Two: Pressurizing. Locate the pump plunger. As imprinted on the top of the pump, twist the handle about a half turn or so counter-clockwise to unlock the check valve.

With two fingers and with your thumb over the hole, grab the pump and give it 25 strokes. You should feel increasing resistance to your down-strokes. When you have 25 strokes in it, press the plunger down again and turn it fully clock-wise until it stops.

Step Three: Lighting. First locate the secondary burner(s) control valve(s). It or they will extend out of the side(s) of the stove case. Screw them in clock-wise to shut them off.

Place the stove tank properly in the case. The generator tip should fit securely inside the manifold hole and both mounting tabs should lock into the case's slots.

Locate the lever on the left side of the valve assembly. Rotate this a few times and then leave it in the up position.

Stop and look around. Ensure nothing is close to the stove that will ignite and check again for leaks around the valve assembly. Convince yourself it is safe before you go to light the stove.

Light the match or lighter and place it next to the master burner. Open the valve anywhere from 1/2 to 1 turn open-until you hear hissing and the burner ignites. Flooding a stove is real easy so keep the flame as small as possible. Adjust the valve wheel so that there is a small steady flame coming out of the master burner. Now let it burn like this for about a minute and don't rush!

When the generator reaches a sufficient temperature the flame go turn nice and blue. Once you see blue flames turn the valve lever down and open up the valve all the way. If the stove flares up big again back off the valve until you get blue and try again.

Light the secondary burner(s) by opening the control valve(s). Re-pressurize the tank to get the maximum burn from the stove.

Figure 1 shows a stove flooded out and not burning correctly. This is dangerous because fuel is also collecting at the "U" in the manifold and it can ignite there too. Figure 2 shows a properly burning stove burner with blue in the center.
Figure 6a
Fig 1
Fibure 6b
Fig 2

Use the valve to control the burn. When you're finished shut the valve off and let the stove sit. It will not go out right away and may take as long as a full minute for the flames to die off. This is due to the physical size of the stove generator and the amount of fuel that is in it after the valve is off. Don't remove the tank until the flames are out.

If you flood your stove, shut off the valve and allow the flames to go out. Remove the tank from the case and place it safely aside with the generator not touching anything. Ensure the case is not too hot to touch and then pick it up and tilt if forward. This will allow any fuel in the manifold to leak out. Wipe the excess fuel out of the case with rag. Re-install the tank and start over.

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