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Coleman Lantern Storage

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by School Teacher, Nov 11, 2010.

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  1. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    What is the proper way to store a Coleman gas lantern or stove? Is it best to store with the tank dry or with some fuel. If you store with the tank dry, do you leave the cap of or on?

    I have two 228-J series lanterns from the 1960's that I used to use a lot until I switched to Propane around 2000. To make a long story short, I stored them upright in plastic travel cases with fuel in them. I tried to start them up a few days ago. I drained the fuel, added new fuel and one started up like it was new and the other did not.

    The one that did not had some flakes of crud around the washer of the filler cap. The pump (after a drop of rem oil on the washer) works fine and the lantern builds pressure. I put in a new generator and the lantern still would not light. I then drained the fuel and filled the tank half full of carburetor cleaner.

    After allowing the lantern to sit for a few days, I drained the carburetor cleaner. When I drained the carburetor cleaner, there were some specks of crud in the fuel. I rinsed twice more with clean fuel and the fuel finally came out with no crud in it.

    I then put in fresh fuel and got the lantern to light. I let it burn for several hours. The next day, I added more fuel, pumped up the tank and tried to light the lantern. No luck. It appears that there is a piece of crud stuck in the fuel pick up.

    I have since purchased a new multi-fuel Powerhouse Coleman lantern that can use either Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline. The instructions do not address storage other than to say to periodically use the lantern.

    As I might forget to use the lantern periodically, is it best to store the lantern dry or with fuel in the tank?

    Ed Ward
     
  2. Shooting Sailor

    Shooting Sailor Well-Known Member

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    1,081
    This is probably the same type of problem as you get if you store your gas mower or other power tools for long periods.

    In one case, you get fuel going stale, and it won't ignite when you first try, or if it does, it runs like crap. You can try fuel stabiliser in the fuel for extended storage, but I am not really sure how long that will be effective, as I never seem to store anything other than my rototiller for very long, and I usually run it dry before storage.

    In the other case, you haven't stored the unit with a full tank, and depending on a number of factors, like length of storage, environmental conditions during storage, type and age of fuel tank, you get condensation in the tank, and it rusts. It might look like it is only surface rust, but it is rust, and it does flake off the tank surface. When you get rust flakes in the tank and you try to use the affected unit, the rust gets run through the fuel system, and you get a no-run condition. This is what seems to have happened to your Lantern, from your description of the filler cap. The only fix is to remove the tank, if possible, drain the fuel, and remove the rust. This can be done by going to your local parts store and getting a fuel tank cleaner, which you pour in the tank, slosh around over all surfaces, then drain and set the tank to dry. While it is drying, take the whole fuel system apart, including the carburetor, if the unit is so equipped, and clean it of all rust flakes. All this is more trouble than a Coleman lantern is really worth, but you may be like me, and refuse to be beaten by something you screwed up in the first place.

    All of the above is a long way to go to get to the short answer I was going to give you, which is - drain the fuel into the original container, leave the cap off the fuel tank to allow it to breathe, and store it upright somewhere that it won't be subject to large fluctuations of humidity which can cause the condensation which caused your original problem.
     
  3. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    Louisville, KY
    Thanks much Shooting Sailor for the very good and logical advice.

    I have spent several hours trying to get this old lantern to function properly. Its twin still works so that is something. Both were stored in carrying cases and look to be as new. They were used on many a hunting and/or fishing trip and were like old friends. I thought that I had it fixed but there must be a few rust particles and/or particles of the neoprene washer remaining.

    As I want the lanterns for use during an emergency, I am glad I bought a replacement.

    I also have three propane lanterns which are easier to use. The advantage of the new Coleman Powerhouse is that it runs on either Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline which is less expensive and easier to find.

    One pleasant surprise was that the new Coleman lantern was made in the USA. When I bought the old lanterns in the 1960's, thew were around $10 and mantles were 25 cents. Now, the lantern is about $80 and the mantles are $2.50.

    Ed Ward
     
  4. omgb

    omgb Well-Known Member

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    I was once a certified Coleman repair tech. Lanterns and stoves should always be stored dry and with the cap on. You need to tear the lantern down to its basic parts including removing the fuel pickup. The tip of the pickup has a small filter screen...no doubt yours is gunked. Also, the interior of the pickup can get filled with crud too. You'll need a pressurized air source and or a can of carb cleaner. You'll need to shoot some through the tube.

    There is a guy out in Victorvile CA that does restorations. Sadly i do not have his web address. Anyway, they are great lanterns as you well know. The inards are pretty simple.
     
  5. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    913
    Location:
    Ojai CA
    I have stored my lanterns for the last 25 years with the same fuel in them. I have a stove that has the original fuel I put in it in 1981, still in it.

    I just had everything fired up 2 weeks ago for Holloween(used the lanterns to light the driveway, and the stoves to cook chili). I had problems getting one of the lanterns to stay lit,(using the spark lighter to light it) but after I let it run for a while with new fuel in it, it cleared out and ran just fine.

    The secret is only using Coleman Fuel (white gas) in them. It has NO additives at all and will last virtually forever in an unopened can. I have one can that is easily 25 years old. If you use regular gasoline in them and let them sit the gas breaks down, then you'll have problems.

    On the other hand, these are simple devices and taking one completely apart, and blowing everything out shouldn't be that hard a project. Unless there is rust inside the tank, the only thing you should have to replace is the pump (leather seal)or the fuel tank cap. Mantles of course, althought the one I have that ran the best only has a partial mantle hanging by a thread.

    I have 3 full sized lanterns a backpack sized lantern, a 3 burner stove, a 2 burner stove, a single burner stove, a backpack stove, and a totally complete Military issue stove that I got for $20, at the LA Roadster Show Swap Meet.

    I love my Coleman Lanterns and Stoves, I think they are Americana, and will use them til I die,,,, although the LEDS are cool too.

    There are several websites about Coleman lanterns and the Petromax Diesel fired lanterns from Germany. There is one guy who has every variation of every Coleman lantern ever made and has pictures of ALL of them on his website. It takes hours to see it all.

    I love mine, but I'm not that obsessed!

    Randy
     
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