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Rebuilding a Two or Three Burner Stove

Lesson One: Disassembly

The stove we'll be working on is a very common Coleman® Model 413E, in the condition as usually found in a garage or at a yard sale. It is nearly identical to any post 1940s two or three burner gasoline stove you will find.

You will note some of the photos used are from the lantern rebuild pages; I do this only to save space on the site.

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 stove 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
Nut driver with a 7/16" socket
5/16", 3/8" and 7/16" end wrenches
Small & medium flat-tip screwdrivers
#0 or #1 Cross-tip screwdriver
Razor blade
Propane torch
Wire brush & Tooth Brush
Rifle bore brush
Bench Vise
Soft cloth
36"-48" clear tubing (fish tank)
Auto battery charger (optional)
Large plastic wash basin (optional)
Spray Cleaner (Simple Green, etc.)
Auto rubbing compound
Carburetor cleaner
Break-free compound
Stove Alcohol
00 or 000 Steel wool
Coca Cola
Motor oil
Washing soda (optional)
Iron bar (optional)
Fuel Filler Replacement Cap
Fresh Camping Fuel
Leather Pump Cup
Check Valve & Air Stem
Valve Stem Packing (1)
Filler Cap Insert Gasket (2)

Note 1: Only required for a full rebuild. Ensure you have the correct packing before destroying the old one. Stove 425 (all) have smaller valve stems.
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 stove. Depending on the model it may be near impossible to pour the old gasoline out so siphon it with your fish tank tubing. 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

Fig 1B

The un-touched stove is shown above in figures 1A and 1B. Open it up and remove the tank from the stove. Set it aside as we will work on the case first.

The first thing we need to remove from the case is the grill(s). Some grills are fastened to the case with clips in the back and the clips aren't meant to be removed. Others are fastened with a screw and clip while many older stoves have loose grills. If you have clips and screws, simply remove the screws and the clips will come right off along with the grill.

Fig 2

If you just have clips you have to force the grill out. Lift the grill to a vertical position and the at the back, and on one of the bars that are held in by the clips, apply outward pressure on the grill bar as in Figure 2. It probably will flex enough to come out without bending. If it does bend, you can fix that later. Once you have that "arm" free of the clip you should be able to slid the grill the other way to free it from the second clip. Do this to both grills if your stove has two of them.

Fig 3A

Fig 3B

With the grills out of the way we can work on the burner assembly. You will have either two or three burners and in the center of each is a large screw. Take a well-fitting flathead screwdriver and set it in the first screw slot as in Figure 3A. Take another tool and tap on the screwdriver to assist in breaking the screw free from the manifold. Loosen this screw and pull it off with the burner cap, filler rings and the burner bowl as in Figure 3B.

Fig 4

Before we proceed let's talk about the burners. Every stove has a primary burner (closest to the stove generator) and one or two secondary burners. Secondary burners have an external valve you use to control the flame while the primary burner does not. Sometimes the burners are of different size also.

Look at Figure 4 and notice that there is a flat disc under the filler rings, shown resting on the burner bowl. This plate is only used with the primary burner. A close inspection of the filler rings will show there are flat ones and corrugated ones. Note that the upper and lower ring of each set are the flat type. This becomes important when we start putting the stove back together.

Fig 5A

Fig 5B

Now that we have the burners apart it is time to remove the manifold from the case. The manifold is the "piping" that all the fuel vapor flows through. At the back of the manifold you'll note that there is a screw holding it to the case (Figure 5A). Take a screwdriver and remove this screw. There is a nut on the other side you'll need to stop from turning. Once you have the manifold free back there, turn the stove case on end with the back facing you as shown in figure 5B.

Fig 6A

Fig 6B

Notice that there are two (or three) large holes in the bottom of the case. If you look inside you will see the pal nut (Figure 6A) that holds the manifold to the case. Get your nut driver with 7/16" socket and insert it into the hole to remove the pal nut. Do this for the other hole also, or the other two if you have a 3-burner stove.

With all pal nuts removed the manifold will come out. You may have to apply some pressure to free it. The secondary burner valve shaft(s) are pretty long so you'll need to slide it back and forth. Pull out the manifold and set it aside.

Set the stove back down flat and look at the end of it. You'll notice 2 or 3 screws on either side if your stove has a drip tray. As shown in Figure 6B remove these screws to release the tray from the stove case. Pull it out and set it aside.

Fig 7A

Fig 7B

Figure 7A shows the case before the drip pan removal; Figure 7B shows the bare case. Note how disgustingly dirty they both are! That is a result of many year's good greasy food. Not only will this rebuild improve your stove's operation but it will also be nice to have a grease-free stove. We're done disassembling the case so put all the pieces in one spot and set it aside.

Fig 8A

Fig 8B

The tank, in all its dirt and glory, is shown in Figure 8A. Hopefully you have all the old fuel out so if not, do it now. Re-seat the filler cap tighten it as much as you can with your fingers. Tightening will lock the insert and gasket down on the tank so you can get the screw out. With a flat-tip screwdriver try to remove the center screw (Figure 8B). 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. It should pull right off but you may have to lightly tap on it to remove. Set your 3-piece fuel cap aside.

Fig 9A

Fig 9B

Next we will remove the pump assembly from the tank. Most stoves will have a "C" clip holding the pump cap on the tank but older ones may have two very small sheet metal screws. Pry open one side of the clip (Figure 9A) and guide the end around the cap. 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 tank as shown in Figure 9B.

Fig 10A

Fig 10B

The photos above show a lantern but in this instance a stove is identical. 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 and unscrew the air stem as shown in Figure 10A.

At the bottom of the pump cylinder lies the check valve and it will be a bear to remove. Look at Figure 10B and you will see the check valve down there.

So now you have a decision to make. If the check valve is still functioning you can clean it up a bit, or you can remove it and replace with a new one. The check valve is a safety feature in the stove so it is not a bad idea to replace it. If you decide to replace it I recommend you first try removal with a screwdriver but anticipate having to purchase the extractor tools to get it out.

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

If the check valve is allowing air to be drawn in from the tank 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.

Fig 11A

Fig 11B

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 tank 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 tank for you. 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 (Figure 11A). 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. The removed check valve and air stem is shown in Figure 11B.

Fig 12A

Fig 12B

Next we'll remove the generator. Sometimes there will be a wrench fitting on the valve-end of the generator for you, sometimes not. As shown in Figure 12A you can use a pair of pliers to remove it. Get a good grip and twist the generator tube counter-clockwise to unscrew it from the valve body. When the threads come free you'll be able to pull it back. As you do you'll notice the generator stem stays in place and you'll see a large spring inside the tube (Figure 12B). The stem has a very sharp tip on it so be careful as you slide the tube all the way out and off.

Fig 13A

Fig 13B

Now turn the valve wheel until it is all the way counter-clockwise, or open. Take the appropriate end wrench and turn the valve stem nut counter-clockwise as shown in Figure 13A. Once the stem nut and the valve stem are free pull the entire assembly (Figure 13B) out of the valve housing.

Fig 14A

Fig 14B

Use a pair of pliers to get a firm grip on the generator stem as shown in Figure 14A. Turn the valve wheel counter-clockwise to unscrew the valve stem from the generator stem. Figure 14B shows the disassembled generator and a partially disassembled valve stem.

Fig 15A

Fig 15B

Next we'll get into the valve stem but before we do: if your stove is a 425 2-burner you need to stop right now. The "normal" valve stem packing, used on lanterns and most stoves, does not fit the 425 stem! So unless you happen to have a few of those much smaller valve stem packings, I recommend you do nothing more with the valve stem. Just leave it alone as you need the old one left in there.

But if you have a 413 or 426, Figure 15A shows the valve stem with the stem nut removed. Note the packing keeper is still on the valve stem. Figure 15B shows the keeper removed and you can see the old packing inside the nut. If there is too much junk on the valve stem to easily slide the nut off just take a wire brush and clean it. Set these parts aside.

Fig 16A

Fig 16B

We have to get the valve body out of the tank. You'll see that there is not a great deal to grab on to, although there is a square lug on top for a 1/2" wrench. Take the tank over to your bench vise, turn it upside down and place that square part into the vice as in Figure 16A. Ensure you get a good bite and twist the tank counter-clockwise to unscrew it from the valve. It will be real tight at first but once it breaks free you'll be able to easily remove the valve as shown in Figure 16B.

Fig 17A

Fig 17B

Figure 17A shows the valve we just removed from the tank. Note the condition of the Fuel & Air tube at the bottom. Use a wrench or pair of pliers to unscrew the tube from the valve body. Figure 17B shows it removed. Note that the rod coming from inside the valve body stays attached. Don't bother pulling on it as it is not supposed to come out. Set these parts aside.

Fig 18

So here is the tank as Figure 18, completely disassembled and ready for cleaning.

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