How to clean your Coleman stove

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Im using my wife’s grandfather’s coleman stove, the model looks like it was sold around 1965. Replaced the rubber gasket in a few minutes, and is trouble free.

I tried propane colemans. While they are convenient, they dont work as well in the cold.

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The white gas works better in cold, for sure. There are so many fancy small feather weight single burners or compact 2 burner stoves, but these old Coleman’s just keep pumping it out.

I’ve been cooking on a brown Coleman PEAK 1 single burner from the early 1980s that I saved for as a teen, and bought used off a fellow boy scout headed to college. I’ve had to clean it a few times and I have overfilled/overpumped a few times and melted the rubber bit on the petcock. In all these years I’ve only had to replace the governor once.

the 414 is from 1990 and is identical to the ones they sell today. It is rusted on the handle side from sitting facing up in my storage. The rest looks as good as the day they put it together.


Have an old Coleman stove i bought at Goodwill for $10 that works great. It looks beat to hell but still runs like a champ. All I had to do is replace the pump gasket.

Also have a Coleman white gas lamp that I bought as a teen (using my own money from mowing lawns) that I still use regularly 30 years later. The beauty of original Coleman camp tools are their simplicity and the interchangeability of parts.

Coincidentally I bought a used Coleman “Exponent” (looks just like a Peak One) at the thrift store recently, saw there was still fuel in it and tried to test it out today in the parking lot at work. . . only to notice it was acting strange, wouldn’t ignite, and had a funny smell. . . previous owner put kerosene in it. It might be dual fuel, but kerosene is not one of those fuels. I was hoping I could just empty out all the kerosene and the white gas would clean out the system on its own.

My Coleman single-burner keeps on keeping on. My backup is an Optimus Crux iso-propane burner, but it doesn’t throw as much heat or simmer as well.

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Kerosene is KINDA one of those fuels but the lighting process is a PAIN. You have to prime it with some alcohol as the kerosene needs it to start burning.

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Please do not attempt any repair of this stove wearing a polyester shirt, a long dangling necklace, and no shoes. Seriously.

You can tell the model by the tank color, usually.

Red is White Gas "Only"
Silver/Grey is Dual Fuel

Neither are supposed to take kerosene, but both will.

I remembered my brown as dual, but it is white gas only.

No idea what they color propane.

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I miss my old white gas lantern. It was abandoned at the place I worked, and all it needed was a new leather gasket. It must have been from the 50s. Leather gasket!

Someone walked off with it one day. Easy come easy go.

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Apologies from Canadians for the newer Coleman stoves. Apparently new standards for fuel containers require this chain attached to the fuel tank of the stove, brought to you by Canada. It’s a pain in the butt if you get this version of it. You can cut the chain.

I’ve got the newer 425 that are like that and the older 421 models. The larger ones 414, 444 are harder to come by.

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This is my bailiwick. I collect Coleman appliances. I’ve got over 100 lanterns, ranging from Air-o-Lanterns from about 1917 to the modern Grey Dual fuels. I’ve “only” got a couple dozen stoves, of the single burner and suitcase variety. No, I’m not a hoarder! Yes, they all run. There are guys that make me look like an amateur.

The basic designs have not changed in 100 years. They’ve switched to using Schrader valves to control fuel flow on the lanterns, instead of precision machined brass, but the theory of operation is still the same. The Stove valves are almost identical to those used in the 1930’s, as the schrader valves worked poorly on the stoves for some reason.

The modern “dual fuel” suitcase stoves like the 414 and 424 are virtually identical to the white gas 413 and 425 models that were made starting in the late 1940’s. Stamped burner assemblies and all. Primary differences are all in the generator, They’ve modified it to make it able to atomize unleaded fuel more efficiently.

Older suitcase stove with cast iron burner assemblies are sought after by collectors.

When these appliances were originally being designed there was no such thing as “camp fuel”. All gasoline was low octane “white gas” suitable for something like a Ford Model T with 4.5:1 compression ratios. In the 1930’s refineries started adding tetraethyl lead and other compounds to lubricate the valves and allow the higher compression engines in the “new” cars to operate without premature detonation and pinging.

By the early 1960’s it was difficult enough to find “white gas” that Coleman and others started packaging naphtha so you didn’t have lead in your pancakes. If you are lucky enough to live near the Amish, you can sometimes still find it at the pump.

For the record, you CAN run kerosene in a Coleman suitcase stove. It will require a preheat of the generator, as kerosene is far less volatile than gasoline, you also will not be able to vary the flame, as the kerosene requires pretty much full throttle heat to keep it atomizing and to prevent coking inside the generator. If you “need” to run kerosene you are really better off with a euro stove.

It’s also common to add kerosene to lantern fuel, Kerosene has a bit more BTU/Gal, so you get a brighter light.

What I like is that I can still go to the store and buy generators and supplies for lanterns and stoves that haven’t been manufactured since my grandfather was in knee-shorts.


The fuel cap on the 425/413/426 used to be at the end of the tank, pre-1975 or so. Apparently enough people were opening the cap to refill while the stove was still running or hot that they redesigned the tank so the cap was on the inside, requiring you to completely remove the tank to refill, hopefully preventing people from spilling fuel on the hot burner.

I suspect there’s a similar story with the fuel cap lanyard.

“White gas”? Is that what other parts of the world call petroleum?
(I can’t bring myself to put the term into a search engine.)


…But do you have a Coleman iron? For when you need freshly pressed shirts in the wilderness. (really for people living beyond the reach of electricity)

Nice to see some folks who appreciate these stoves. I’m fighting an uphill battle in my scout troop. We own half a dozen Coleman stoves, and I love them. The new families who have joined the troop are all really pushing butane stoves or propane stoves because of the convenience. They have trouble with the Coleman stoves and seem to lack a desire to learn how to use them correctly. They love to buy the latest gear. So I am constantly defending these stoves and trying to teach them how to use them. I think it’s primarily a laziness with the pumping.


As a matter of fact, Yes. I also have several Coleman table lamps from the teens. But my holy Grail is a PQ chandelier and an Arc lantern.

I thought that the BSA was dead set against liquid fuel stoves.