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Coleman 501 dated 5/62

Discussion in 'Coleman No:501' started by presscall, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way" said Jessica Rabbit in the movie.

    Well, I decided to look beneath the surface of this stove with a bad reputation, so started with a complete strip-down. I must thank Jeff (Knight84) for guidance on the disassembly procedure

    1288130914-1.JPG

    Just a reminder of how that looks assembled

    1288130921-2.JPG

    Here's the black heart of the beast, the assembly that gave it a reputation so bad that Coleman recalled most of the ones they sold.

    1288130929-3.JPG

    Issues - purely what I've read in CCS posts and not because I've tested this particular example to destruction (it and/or mine). That said, the arguments seem perfectly plausible and the Coleman recall would seem to vindicate that:

    1. A lot of metal to draw heat away from the generator/vapouriser tube, so vapourisation was so-so at best and start-up a nightmare, lacking the characteristic and reliable instant-start that Coleman had built a justifiable reputation for.

    2. A fuel control/shut-off valve on the output rather than the input side of the fuel route, so a leak before it and the tank riser tube meant a fireball fed by fuel that couldn't be shut off. Or, more probable than a leak would be poor vapourisation leading to a flare-up, with shut-down not possible.

    3. If you've got it to light successfully, the close proximity of the control valve makes it a hot-spot, to the extent that the control wheel smokes.



    Here's the mixing chamber, topped by a screw-on burner head

    1288130937-4.JPG 1288130944-5.JPG

    The control wheel operates a pricker rod and wire

    1288130953-6.JPG

    Here it is emerging from the valve ...

    1288130965-7.JPG

    ... and with a typical Coleman pattern jet nipple

    1288130975-8.JPG

    The generator tube contains a brass helical spring like you'd expect in the usual straight pattern of Coleman generators. Mathematical pi multiplied by a diameter of two inches makes it about six inches in length

    1288130992-9.JPG

    The non-return valve is a Coleman 500 Speedmaster pattern, meaning the bore is larger than in a Coleman 502 and later models

    1288131008-10.JPG

    Base and model and date engraving

    1288131019-11.JPG

    The stove came to me with a heat drum made by Coleman for the 501 model. It won't fit my 502 stove because it lacks cut-outs to clear the projecting control valve and mixing chamber.

    Recipe for disaster I'd say, to pop this contraption on a stove prone to overheating

    1288131030-12.JPG

    So, am I going to fire up the stove?

    Yes, but not on Coleman fuel. I've been running a Coleman 500 successfully and safely on butane for a good while now, so I'm intending to adapt the conversion technology to this 501.

    It's a fuel that lends itself to this stove I reckon.

    1. No reluctance to vapourise

    2. The fuel tank chills as the liquefied butane vapourises and burns (a useful feature in a stove known to overheat)

    3. I've no reason to expect a fuel leak in a well-maintained stove, but should there be one it won't be jetting a pressurised stream of Coleman fuel my way

    I'll post an update in due course.

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
  2. coolerman

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    Excellent photo documentary of the Model 501. Very interested in the results of the Butane conversion.
     
  3. Sparky

    Sparky United States Subscriber

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    John, thanks for the excellent dissection. I am of two minds on this stove; the Coleman Collectors forum soundly condemns them as dangerous but due to their rarity, they are very collectable. They advise that any collector disable the stove so it cannot be used again. It is suprising how often these stoves show up on eBay.
     
  4. davidcolter

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    The butane adaptation sounds like an excellent idea.
     
  5. mr optimus

    mr optimus United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi John a brilliant breakdown and discription as usual its a shame about the bad reputation of the 501 as i realy like the look of this model and it is a great idea to convert it to butane so it can be used safely with out the risk of a major flare up and i am looking forward to seeing it converted and running
     
  6. Knight84 Canada

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    I am not sure about the butane idea. It is still a very risky stove. When in operation the generator glows red. Looks cool but I doubt it is safe.

    John I just noticed your 501 doesn't have an orignal fuel cap. Do you need one? I have spares.

    Cheers,
    Jeff
     
  7. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Of the other two 501's in the Ref Gallery, both are green-painted in the tank colour, but one has the centre-screw arrangement and the other hasn't. I wonder which is original? Maybe both are but produced at different points in the production run?

    Kind offer, Jeff. I'll PT you.

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  8. Knight84 Canada

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    Hello John,

    At this time Coleman was using the 2 piece cap. The one piece cap wouldn't be used/invented until 1970±. In the mid 60's they updated the 2 piece cap with 4 channels across the threads to help release pressure while opening the cap.

    1288584449-100_1022_opt.jpg 1288584468-100_1024_opt.jpg

    The center screw and brass holder helps reduce wear on the gasket during tighening of the cap and lossening. The outer brass piece keeps turning but the centre doesn't.

    Some people out there say don't use 2 piece caps and use only 1 piece caps. The 1 piece caps are just cheaper to make. There is not problem with using the 2 piece caps as long as the gasket is in good order like any fuel cap.
    Sorry I could talk about caps all night.

    Cheers,
    Jeff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2015
  9. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Nearly six months on, but I finally got around to completing that butane conversion, the details of which are available to members with access to the 'Frankies, Mods and Hybrids' section of the fettling forum.

    Before firing the stove up, I made sure an essential accessory wasn't too far away

    1303330353-1.JPG


    Butane's the fuel, at full power ...

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    ... and simmer

    1303330381-4.JPG

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    Full power again

    1303330409-6.JPG


    Link to 'Frankies, Mods and Hybrids' coverage of the conversion here:-

    Link to butane conversion in 'Frankies, Mods and Hybrids

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  10. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Over a week of testing the stove with the butane conversion, I've a postscript to add.

    The generator conveys an excessive amount of heat to the control and fuel/air valves. The fuel/air valve doesn't get so hot because it's on the intake end of the generator, cooled to some extent by the fuel. The control valve on the other hand takes all the heat (to the extent that the brass pack nut discolours with the heat and the carbon packing smokes) with the generator loop in the vicinity of the valve glowing red hot.

    It's conducted heat, and it's hardly surprising that the control valve gets as hot as it does when you see the continuous path of metal to the burner flame in close proximity.

    1303497594-11.JPG


    Test firing with butane for a brief period, outdoors and with that fire extinguisher close by I was taking no chances with safety. With a tank of Coleman fuel and for a protracted session, it really could prove lethal ...

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2015
  11. Boston Terrior man

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    HI all after reading this post and the recall history from Jeff(knight84) i never realized just how dangerous this model is. The story about the man with burns to his face from a 501 was horrible. I'm going to decommission mine and make it useless; scary part is when i received mine i fired it up to see what all the fuss was about. I figured i'll only put in a small amount of fuel, have my extinguisher next to me and a pot in case i need to smother but now i'm questioning the logic i used as even a small amount of fuel can do damage. This is a hobby for me, and if somebody ever got hurt.. i'll keep it as a shelf queen but it will never run again. [-(

    BTM
     

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