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member (21)member
02/08/2021 11:14AM  
I have had my Coleman dual-fuel single-burner stove for 20 years.
In the last year it has started to perform poorly. It does not seem to be able to get past the priming flame stage well. Sometimes it holds a big weak yellow flame for several minutes then goes down to a powerful blue flame, but sometimes it never fully gets there. It is especially bad when its cold. On my fall camping trips, where mornings were as low as 16F, I was forced to cook over the big weak flame because it would just never get to the proper powerful blue flame. Before this, cold weather was never a problem for this great stove.

I've used it 5-35 days a year for the 20 years I've owned it. I've always used white gas camp fuel. I've replaced the pump twice in its life time, the most recent pump replacement was 3-4 years ago.

What is wrong with it? What needs replacement/ repair? Could I do it myself? I lost trust in my trusty little stove.
Thanks for your Help!
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02/08/2021 11:34AM  
I don't have a lot of experience, but I would say bad gas or low pressure and would check there first. Perhaps the plunger cup is worn and not sealing?
distinguished member(1094)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/08/2021 03:40PM  
Have you ever replaced the generator tube? Over the years, even with Coleman fuel, it can still clog up.

02/08/2021 03:49PM  
"I have had my Coleman dual-fuel single-burner stove for 20 years."

That is something I hear regularly. Yes they get old and clog up. Problem with the Coleman single burners is servicing the fuel tank and internal valving. My advice more often than not is, shelve it as a memory. Buy a new stove. You will find something less expensive, more reliable, easier to use, and easier to maintain.
Your description matches a burner running way to rich, not enough air. Coleman stoves generally mix air and fuel in the tank for starting up. Then need more air added to the tank as the burner runs (pressurizing the tank has a double purpose in the Coleman designs, fuel flow and air to mix with the fuel at the pickup). After 20 years there is bound to be some buildup in the tank that starts clogging the mix. Getting the parts out is the trouble, often they are frozen in place, in the tank.

member (21)member
02/08/2021 07:51PM  
I have not. That is something I was going to attempt as an easy fix if it was recommended.Thanks
member (21)member
02/08/2021 07:53PM  
I was also dreading the thought that you might be right "butthead". That it has just seen it's life run out and will take more time and cost more to fix than it is worth. I have noticed some white plaque build up inside the tank.
Any suggestion on a new model? My normal camping practices are: I usually back country camp solo or with 1-3 others for 2-9 days on the SHT, in BWCA, or car camp out west for a couple weeks.
I noted the Snow Peak Lite Max in my research today. On problem I don't want to encounter is finding fuel tanks... That was a great thing about this coleman, you could always find fuel and there was no tank disposal.

distinguished member(1447)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/08/2021 08:07PM  
A simple, cheap and easy fix is a new generator as suggested above.
02/08/2021 08:15PM  
I had similar symptoms recently on a 10+ year old stove (533 model). I took the pump out and simply oiled the rubber cup. That fixed it. My understanding is sometimes the pump cup loses its seal or goes bad and gives rise to the yellow flame that never gets blue, a pressure thing. It’s worth the try again in my view (and even if you have to replace the pump mechanism again it’s 1/3 the price of a replacement generator; $30 vs $10) but make sure you get the right size replacement pump for your stove...there are two sizes I believe.
02/08/2021 10:13PM  
There are inexpensive things and there is adding cost and parts that will not fix the trouble. Pumps you can feel work and judge the effectiveness, clogged generators usually do not support any sort of cooking flame and cost a good percentage of a replacement. Getting into the inside tank valving can wreak the stove itself. The course is up to the owner.
A Coleman Sportster single burner can be found used $30 up to new in box $90.
"Any suggestion on a new model?"
That is a more complex question. Season used, the temp range is a point of consideration in choosing fuel type. How you cook, from boil and dump, to complicated simmer and full blast searing. Comfort level with use and maintenance.

I own and use a wide variety, liquid fuel/canister gas/alcohol/wood. It's a hobby of it's own. My favorites are MSR liquid fuel (gasoline) stoves, because.
1. I like them.
2. All season use, liquid fuel works better in cold conditions.
3. Reliability and repair ease.
4. Easily sourced used yet in good condition.

Yet have owned many different makes and models, many good, some not so much, a few I just never liked using (more a cooking packing style thing for me).

02/09/2021 08:48PM  
When my old beloved Coleman Peak stove failed on a trip, I got home and took it in for repair. On the next trip it failed again, and when home I sadly tossed it in the garbage. I realized while I liked my stove, I could not allow it to ruin a trip for me or ruin any gear with a leak. There are a lot of good stoves out there and they are not that much. I’m happy with my MSR whisperlite, though I wish it could simmer better. Butthead has great advice on stoves. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move on.
02/09/2021 10:36PM  
I've used these burners for 20 years. The valve and stem sounds like the part you need. Here is a link.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to find parts anymore on the Coleman website. The valve costs around 9 dollars.

Hope this helps.

02/09/2021 10:39PM  
For some reason, the link didn't work on the page. Here it is again. Just copy and paste.

02/10/2021 09:37AM  
I've been using my two coleman dual fuel stoves for over 20 years and they are still going strong. Only parts i've ever replaced are the pumps. Before you throw it away, try giving it a good cleaning, in particular, the generator. I haven't done this in a while, but when I have, it has made the stoves sing like new. What I recall, is if you take apart the valve (you'll probably have to dismantle the burner assembly, which you will want to clean anyway), the valve is just a long wire that plugs an orifice on the opposite side of the fuel line. Carefully remove that wire and clean it up, then use the same wire to get any gunk out that might be blocking the orifice.

While you have the burner assy removed, use a dremel with a wire brush to clean up any rust or buildup.

There are youtube videos out there that show how to take apart coleman backpack stoves for cleaning...
02/10/2021 12:55PM  
Old Coleman Parts Is a source for replacement parts.
Survival Monkey post on repairs.

The wire in the generator is not a valve but an orifice cleaning wire that just pokes in and out of the generator orifice, this was attached to the "lift to light" lever on older stoves and currently on the fine threaded flame control valve attached by an eccentric that moves the cleaning wire in and out with each rotation, similar to the MSR shaker jet. The valving is in the tank and at the control valve. If you can dissemble the stove it can be repaired, just be ready for things that are frozen in place to break. Good luck.

member (21)member
02/11/2021 12:27PM  
Thank you all so much for the help with info/tips/recommendations and well wishes. I really appreciate it. I'll see what I can do. And if it fails, buying new camping gear to ensure future enjoyment is alright by me.
I may be back with more questions once I get to dismantling.
distinguished member (273)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/12/2021 09:10PM  
also check the fuel cap gasket to make sure it's making a good seal. They can sometimes get worn and cracked.

If you do decide to go for a new stove, I'd recommend an MSR. Easy to fix when issues arise. Dragonfly is a great option.
distinguished member(1318)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/13/2021 09:16AM  
Lots of good advice here.
My Coleman's have been some of my best companions for camping - until last year.
Mine literally caught on fire while cooking on a trip. I almost set myself on fire.
It was freaky.
When I got home they went into PERMANENT storage.
I have switched to a MSR Dragonfly. Many of the other people I have tripped with have used these stoves and I was always a little jealous. I found a fantastic deal on the Dragonfly and got one a few weeks ago. This will probably be the last stove I buy - maybe.
distinguished member (273)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/13/2021 09:25AM  
You might want to look into the dragons tamer caps, quiets the stove down considerably. It should last you a long time. Easy to fix anything on it.
member (21)member
02/13/2021 11:59AM  
So, I got set up to do some trouble shooting and first pumped up the stove to full pressure and left the lever in the off position. Then I sprayed some suds on the joints to check for leaks.
NO leak on the pump, gas tank cap, or any joints by the generator and on/off-flame control lever. BUT
There was a hissing and bubbling sound coming from under the stovetop housing. I could not see well enough under there to spot the leak sight. After a while there was a strong gas smell and the hissing was quite loud and apparent.
Any idea where that leak may be coming from? and Would it be fixable? Or is this just a damaged and dangerous stove I have?
The story of the stove that caught fire sounds like a terrible thing to experience and it seems my stove may be a candidate for that.
distinguished member (273)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/13/2021 01:03PM  
What model is it, Sportster 533?
02/13/2021 02:38PM  
Not sure if the link I added earlier works so here is a 550 disassembly, much the same for all on tank single burner Coleman stoves.

member (21)member
02/14/2021 08:18AM  
Yes, It is a model 533, not sure if its a sportser.
I was able to take the generator and stove top housing off. There was no leak coming from the bolt on the top of the tank. I put the generator back on and found that the leak was indeed coming right out of the end of the generator, blowing big bubbles after I applied the soap suds. I'll order a new one and see if that does the trick. Thanks
02/14/2021 09:22AM  
Good, ya found the problem!
All the external parts are serviceable and replaceable. My frustration is with the internal tank fittings freezing in place and breaking or stripping threads when trying to dis-assemble.

member (21)member
02/18/2021 12:07PM  
My generator arrived in the mail yesterday. With great excitement I assembled it on my stove and pumped it up for a test fire.
The new generator stoped the leaking problem... but it did not solve the poor flame problem. It is apparent now that I had 2 problems, not just one.
I turned the valve on and gave it some time to prime the fuel for a good and strong blue burning cook flame, but after 4 minutes the flame never recovered, it would never come down a proper cooking flame. It just pulsed a 8 inch tall, weak flame. The smell was pretty bad. I figured I'd get some smell from the fresh factory generator heating up, but it also smelled strongly of gas.

Any idea of what I should check or try next?

I watched the disassembly video, thanks for that.
02/18/2021 12:46PM  
The flame control valving and internal pickup/mixing tube. Good luck!
The mixing tube take both air and fuel from the pressurized tank to mix and feed the generator. A weak flame smelling of fuel indicates a rich condition, not enough air mixed in the tank. Probably a sediment clog. This is where dis-assembly gets iffy. If the parts come out cleanly (you didn't break any) a throughout tank cleaning is next. Familiar with carb cleaning or "boiling out"? Lots of descriptions online but chemical cleaners not needed. A mix of water and vinegar maybe lemon juice like cleaning a coffee pot out. Rinse several times and thorough drying should do. Re-assemble, try again.

distinguished member (273)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/18/2021 12:50PM  
Sounds like it's running rich. Are you sure it's holding pressure? If it's loosing pressure, that could explain the smell and yellow flame. Two spots to check, the fuel cap gasket, and pull out the pump and lube the gasket on the pump. Older colemans were leather, the newer ones are rubber or neoprene. I have this same stove as you, maybe I can have a look for anything else to check on it. Butthead might have other ideas as well.
member (21)member
02/19/2021 01:10PM  
Ok. So I took out the pump, wiped clean and re-oiled the pump cap. It was already in good clean and oiled condition.

I was not able to free up the valve assembly. Try as I may, it would not budge.

I read that an improper placement of the burner rings could make the flame not perform properly. So, since I did monkey with that, I took it off again and made some small adjustments to what looked like proper placement.

I double checked for leaks on seems of the gas tank gasket, valve assembly and pump. No leaks.
I added gas and pumped it up. It lit up much better this time and the flame came down to a blue flame for a little while then the little yellow flame appeared again after a 2-3 minutes and stayed around. It also didn't seem like the flame was very powerful. The valve control was poor and it wanted to peter-out if I lowered it to about medium flame.
After running the burner about 10 min. I shut it off and it puffed some smoke for a while then did a lot of hissing.
I think you're correct butthead with the ''The flame control valving and internal pickup/mixing tube'' Sadly I was not able to get it out.
Would the tank cleaning do any good since I couldn't disassemble it?
Would you ad baking soda as well to the vinegar and water. Is the final rinse done with water, alcohol, gas?
I'm currently looking to get a new coleman 533, but it seems hard to find. The only place I see them is on ebay, with many interested parties making the prices go up. Coleman does a full repair/tune up and return ship for a flat of $55. Might go that route since its so hard to find one.
That MSR dragonfly looks like a great option too, might have been smart to have just picked that up at the start of all this.
Thanks a bunch for all the help. It's very appreciated. It's been great to learn

02/19/2021 02:34PM  
Baking soda in a vinegar solution will react, it's mixing a base with an acid.
Either or but not both together. With out a full dis-assembly the results are a crap shoot, may work may not.
A Dragonfly is a very good stove, easily taken apart and the parts easily sourced. It is also a more capable stove in every way, my opinion. I have purchased several used at $50 added needed parts and sold for under $100. I look for sub $50 Dragonfly's add a new pump $40 and a fuel bottle used $10. Have 2 currently full stoves new pumps and used bottles. Along the way accumulated a pile of extras from O rings check valves, windscreens, and extras to rebuild more, but I collect MSR stoves anyway.
I may be jaded when it comes to MSR brand but have done a variety of other makes including Primus, Optimus, and Colemans.
it's a long video but 5 running Colemans at one time. These were refreshed for another member. Cleaning an old Coleman tank is something I do not care to mess with.

distinguished member (273)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/19/2021 03:07PM  
If you're set on that stove, I wouldn't mind selling you mine if you want it. It's in almost new condition, and it comes with the plastic case. Honestly, it's a stove I'll probably never use since I have 2 dragonflies and a whisperlite, both of which I prefer. My wife would be happy to see me reduce my coleman inventory. Let me know if you are interested. Sounds like you like that stove, so I'm happy to keep you in business with what you like.

02/19/2021 04:01PM  
Here a couple of last resort disassembly tricks I learned when trying to take apart industrial pumps that were just impossible to get apart.

First, squirt some penetrating oil/fluid onto the frozen fitting(s), let it sit for a few hours, and put some more on. Then try to get it apart.

If that fails, use a propane torch to heat up the frozen joint so it gets pretty hot. Try to get apart. If the above and the heat fail, I think you are screwed.

member (21)member
02/20/2021 03:57PM  
Thanks. Ideally I would like to get a brand new stove if I gave up the one I have. But I may be interested.

-gotwins- : How much would you be asking for your used Coleman 533?

-butthead- Do you have any refurbished msr dragonflies ready to sell?

Thanks again!

distinguished member (273)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/20/2021 04:18PM  
It's nearly new, and I put on a new generator last year. $60 plus shipping? LMK if you are interested, I can send you photos.
02/20/2021 05:16PM  
Want to keep the 2 I have but will keep an eye out for one.

member (8)member
04/10/2022 10:08AM  
Once I also faced a fuel issue in my fire pit when I changed fuel to MSR isopro fuel.
I did a little bit of research and all I found was that some fuels are better for cold weather and some require less pressure to operate.
I'm just perplexed as to why the stove is acting so different with this new fuel.
04/10/2022 01:31PM  
halenajulie: "Once I also faced a fuel issue in my fire pit when I changed fuel to MSR isopro fuel.
I did a little bit of research and all I found was that some fuels are better for cold weather and some require less pressure to operate.
I'm just perplexed as to why the stove is acting so different with this new fuel."

Joke, farce, or are you asking what fuel to use in a wood burner?

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