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Rebuilding a Double Mantle Lantern

Lessson One: Disassembly

The lanterns we'll be working here are very common Coleman® Model 220: one a 1950 Nickel Plated 220D and the other a newer 220E from the early 1960s. Nearly all vintage double mantle lanterns are identical, except for very old Quick Lite lanterns. Pages for the older ones will come soon as they are quite a bit easier.

So what happens if you get stuck? I recommend the bulletin board at oldcolemanparts.com. The wise and experienced collectors who frequent that site are always happy to assist someone in need, usually within an hour or so after posting.

Before you start you should decide how much of a rebuild you are going to do. If the lantern has not been used in many years and/or is obviously worn out (look for black varnish around the fuel cap or valve stem) then I recommend you tear it apart for a full rebuild. If in near-new or well maintained condition then you may be able to get away with a low-level rebuild.

The parts required for a low-level rebuild are available at most good sporting goods stores and on-line. If you need, or wish, to completely tear down the lantern you will need parts not so readily available. Again www.oldcolemanparts.com is a good source for parts and has everything you will need.

And one last thing--please review the safety page before starting. Good info like proper ventilation and fire extinguishers is there...

Recommended tools, supplies and parts list.

Tool List
Cleaning Materials List
Parts List
Fire extinguisher
Eye protection
3/8", 7/16", 1/2" 5/8" end wrenches
Adjustable (Crescent) wrench
Small & medium flat-tip screwdrivers
#0 or #1 Cross-tip screwdriver
Razor blade
Propane torch
Wire brush & Tooth Brush
Plastic Coffee Can Lid
Rifle bore brush
Bench Vise
Soft cloth
Spray Cleaner (Simple Green, etc.)
Auto rubbing compound
Carburetor cleaner
Break-free compound
Stove Alcohol
00 or 000 Steel wool
Coca Cola
Lime-Away or CLR
Motor oil
Fuel Filler Replacement Cap
Fresh Camping Fuel
Leather Pump Cup
Check Valve & Air Stem (1)
Valve Stem Packing (1)
Filler Cap Insert Gasket (1, 2)

Note 1: Only required for a full rebuild.
Note 2: Replacement of the filler cap insert gasket for use is not recommended.
Please refer to the safety page for more info.

Make sure all of the fuel has been removed from the lantern. Put the old fuel in an approved container and dispose of it properly. You can find a hazardous waste recycling facility in your telephone book under public health.

Fig 1A

The 220D lantern shown in Figure 1 has had the ventilator, ball nut and globe removed and is ready to work on.

Fig 2A

Fig 2B

First we will remove the old generator from the lantern. Turn the tip cleaner stem (looped lever) on the lantern to the "up" position. With your 7/16" end wrench as shown in Figure 2A, loosen the generator jamb nut counter-clockwise until loose. Grab the jamb nut and the generator tube and lift them both up, exposing the cleaner rod and eccentric block as in Figure 2B.

Pull the rod forward, which will release it from the eccentric block hole. Now pull down on the generator to remove; set the generator and jamb nut aside.

Fig 3A

Fig 3B

Next we'll pull the air intake system from the tip cleaner body. Spin your lantern around so you can see the screw on the back side of the tip cleaner (Figure 3A). It will be either a flathead screw as shown, or a crosstip on newer lanterns. Take the appropriate screwdriver, apply firm pressure to the screw, and turn it counter-clockwise to remove.

Once this set screw has been removed we can remove the air intake system. I recommend you shoot some break-free type compound in the joint between the air intake tube and the tip cleaner and let it set for a few moments.

Now grab the burner head at the very top of the air intake system and twist it counter-clockwise. With a little pressure, the air intake tube will start to unscrew from the tip cleaner body. There is about 1/2" of unthreaded tubing at the bottom of the air intake tube so when the threads come free, lift the tube out and free as shown in Figure 3B. Set this assembly, and the set screw, aside.

Note: Unless you are missing one or both of the burner cap screens you do not need to disassemble the burner assembly.

Fig 4A

Fig 4B

Next we will remove the tip cleaner stem from the tip cleaner body. Place your 3/8" end wrench on the body-side fitting on the stem as in Figure 4A. Turn counter-clockwise and it may take a little pressure to release it. Once free the entire stem will rotate with it. As soon as it backs out far enough you may see the eccentric block fall down inside of the tip cleaner body. This is okay as we'll get it out in a minute. Completely unscrew the stem as in Figure 4B and set it aside.

Fig 4A

If you were wondering why I put "plastic coffee can lid" in the tools list, now you know why. If your lantern is in nice condition and you don't want to scratch the paint or nickel you should make this nifty little paint protector. If you're not concerned with new scratches you can continue over this part.

Special thanks to Del Caley of Portland Oregon for the design.

Just cut a 3/4" or so circle in the center of the lid. Use scissors to cut a "trough" or slot from the edge to the center hole. Next trim the edging from the lid, out to about 3" from the slot as shown in Figure 5. Set it aside for a few minutes, we'll use it after the next step.

Fig 6A

Fig 6B

At the bottom of the tip cleaner body there is a nut that locks the frame and frame rest down to the fount and it will be tight, and possibly difficult to get to. Get your "thinnest" 9/16" end wrench and turn the nut counter-clockwise. It may be hard to get a good bite on the nut so take your time and loosen a little at a time as in Figure 6A. Once it comes free you may be able to back it all the way off with your fingers. Be gentle and don't disturb the frame.

Lift the frame and frame rest from the fount and slide the coffee can lid under the rest as shown in Figure 6B. The slot and the trimmed edge go in directly under the valve stem. Once the 3/4" hole is around the base of the valve the lid will stop. Let the frame rest down to sit on the lid.

Fig 7A

Fig 7B

Next we remove the tip cleaner body from the fount. Notice on the tip cleaner body, directly behind the threads for the generator jamb nut, is a flat spot for a 1/2" wrench. From the top of the frame insert your 1/2" end wrench down onto the tip cleaner body and over this flat spot as in Figure 7A. Push it down so it is tight. Have someone hold the fount so it doesn't spin, and place a screwdriver or the like through the jaws on the other end of the end wrench as shown in Figure 7B. This is how we are going to get leverage on this very tight piece.

With that screwdriver, turn the tip cleaner counter-clockwise. It may be very tight; expect it to "pop" and then come loose.

Fig 8A

Fig 8B

Completely unscrew the tip cleaner body as in Figure 8A. Remember the eccentric block is still inside so flip it over and allow it to fall out in your hand. Lift the frame off the frame rest as in Figure 8B. Set these parts aside.

Fig 9A

Fig 9B

To remove the frame rest slide it forward on the lantern to get the hole and slot to the valve stem and then lift it up so the front edge is free of the valve as shown in Figures 9A and 9B. Set the frame rest aside.

Fig 10A

Fig 10B

Now we will remove the valve from the fount. You need to exercise caution with this step as it is very easy to bend the top of the fount. What we are attempting to do is unscrew the fount from the valve, which may seem rather backwards. Take the fount over to a bench vice and place it in upside-down with the jaws on the valve as in Figure 10A.

You don't want to tighten the vice beyond snug or you will leave marks in the soft brass valve. Grab the fount firmly with your hands and turn it counter-clockwise. You must turn the fount on a perfect axis with the valve or you will tweak the top of the fount. You will have to apply some pressure to get the fount to turn--just make sure you don't tilt it. Once it loosens up, release the vice and unscrew the valve with your hands. When the threads are free you will be able to pull the valve assembly from the fount. Note the fuel & air tube that was inside the fount (Figure 10B).

The fitting on the Fuel & Air tube is a 3/8". Grab you end wrench and unscrew the tube from the valve body. Once it comes out you'll find a rod that is resting on a spring inside the tube. If really sticky sometimes this rod will stay with the valve when you pull the tube. If it does this a gentle tug should pull it out. Set your Fuel & Air tube and the rod/spring assembly aside.

Fig 11A

Fig 11B

Next we will remove the pump assembly which is very easy. Most lanterns will have a "C" clip holding the pump cap on the fount but may have two very small sheet metal screws (Figure 11A). Some pre-1950s lanterns may have a knurled edge on the pump cap indicating you simply unscrew the cap counter-clockwise to remove. If you have a clip, pry open one side and guide the end around the cap taking caution so you don't scratch the pump cylinder. Or, just remove the two screws.

Next give the pump handle a counter-clockwise twist then pull it out. A build up of grime around the pump assembly may make removal difficult. Gentle pry the cap off with a screwdriver, lifting one side and then the other until it is free. Set the pump aside once removed from the fount.

Fig 12A

Fig 12B

With the pump removed you will see the air stem inside the pump cylinder. If you gave the pump a counter-clockwise twist before removal you should be able to unscrew the air stem with your fingers. If not take pliers (Figure 12A) and unlock the air stem with a counter-clockwise turn. Once unlocked continue to unscrew and then remove from the pump cylinder as shown in Figure 12B.

Fig 13A

Fig 13B

Unfortunately we've saved the hardest part for last. At the bottom of the pump cylinder lies the check valve and it will be a bear to remove. Look at Figure 13A and you will see the check valve down there. Figure 13B shows the first method of removal and we'll get to that in a moment.

First a basic test of the check valve. The mission here is to keep pressure from leaving the fount but allowing it to get in. The check valve has a ball bearing in it that performs this function. Clean the end of the pump cylinder and then blow into it. Air should flow easily into to fount. The other half of the test is to suck on the cylinder. You should not be able to draw in air from the fount while doing this.

If you are rebuilding a military "milspec" lantern, or a "B" or "C" version of the 220/228, you need to know that the Coleman® replacement check valve will not work in your lantern. I strongly recommend you not pull the check valve in one of these lanterns unless you have verified the valve as failed.

So unless you have an aforementioned military/B/C model lantern, you now have a decision to make. If the check valve is still functioning you can clean it up or remove and replace. The check valve is a safety feature in the lantern so it is not a bad idea to replace it. If you decide to I recommend you first try removal with a screwdriver but anticipate having to purchase the extractor tools to get it out. Note that an extractor will destroy the old check valve so don't use it if you do not have a replacement.

If the check valve is allowing air to be drawn in from the fount you might be able to clean it without removing it. Shoot some carburetor cleaner down inside the pump cylinder and let it sit for an hour or so. Drain it and allow to dry out, then re-test. If you have to remove the check valve the carburetor cleaner will help there too.

If you next step is to remove the check valve you'll need to take your time and be very careful. The check valve has a slot on it to aid in removal, but it is also soft brass and will strip very easily. It was installed snuggly and with many years of fuel to varnish, will probably be very tight.

The following procedure will give you the best chance of success with a large flathead screwdriver. The "perfect" screwdriver for this job doesn't exist but a "good" one will have a blade width of about 1/2" and a blade thickness of 5/16". Finding a screwdriver that thick can be real tough so I recommend you find the thickest one you can. And, if possible, take a file or a grinding wheel to make it 1/2 wide. If the blade is too wide it will hit the sides of the fount and won't go into the check valve slot. Your intent here is to get a good bite in this slot and you may have to modify a screwdriver to achieve it.

Once you have a screwdriver that will work you'll need to have someone hold the fount for you (Figure 13B). You'll also need to attach either a wrench or vice grips to the screwdriver so you will have some torque. Do not apply force to the screwdriver until it is perfectly centered in the cylinder. With one hand hold the screwdriver handle...apply a real good bit of downward force while making darn sure the handle is centered in the cylinder. Then use the wrench or vice grip to unscrew the check valve. The result will come quickly...it will either "pop" loose or it will strip the slot out.

If it strips then you will need an extractor. Again, you can find my recommended parts list for one here.

Fig 14A

Fig 14B

The next step is to remove and disassemble the fuel filler cap. First we need to make sure it comes off as years of being on too tight may have locked it in place. Unscrew by hand or, if needed, gently with pliers and remove it from the fount.

Now re-install the cap and tighten it as much as you can with your fingers. Tightening will lock the insert and gasket down on the fount so you can get the screw out. With a flat-tip screwdriver try to remove the center screw (Figure 14A). If something seems to be "slipping" it means that the cap is too loose and you need to tighten it more. If you can't tighten it enough to stop the slipping gently use the pliers to tighten. When the screw decides to let go you will feel it "pop" free. Remove the screw and take the cap off again. This time, the insert will be left on the fount (Figure 14B). It should pull right off but you may have to lightly tap on it to remove. Set the 3-piece fuel cap and the fount aside.

Fig 15A

Fig 15B

Back to the valve we removed a few steps ago. Hold the valve in your hand and give the valve wheel about 1 turn counter-clockwise, and then return to the "closed" position. Remove the center screw from the valve wheel and then take the wheel and direction disc inside the wheel off.

Holding the valve body with a bench vise or pliers, fit your 9/16" end wrench to the valve stem nut as shown in Figure 15A. Turn the nut counter-clockwise and then unscrew and remove as in Figure 15B.

Fig 16A

Fig 16B

Place the valve wheel back on the end of the valve stem and turn the stem counter-clockwise. It will probably stop after a number of turns because the inside packing has been in there so long. You need to apply sufficient pressure to break the packing free. This may even require using pliers on the wheel itself so remember the wheel is plastic and is easily broken. Once the packing lets go you will be able to remove the stem entirely as shown in Figure 16A.

Remove the wheel from the valve stem again. The packing and both of its keepers will slide off the back of the stem as shown in Figure 16B. If there is a build-up of dirt around the valve stem these pieces won't slide off so use a wire brush to clean as necessary.

Fig 17

So here it is as Figure 17, completely disassembled and ready for cleaning.

Continue to Lesson 2: Cleaning
Jump to Lesson 3: Re-Assembly
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