Coleman 4M Tourist: Help with emptying fuel tank

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by osef, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. osef United States

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    I have a Coleman 4M camp stove that has seen little use since it was made (1962?). I believe my dad tried it once to see whether it worked. That's it. It sat in my dad's garage for the first 30 years, and then my garage for the next 30 years.

    There is liquid fuel in the tank (more than half full?) that has probably been in there since 1962. Really. I tried to pour it out (after removing the filler cap), but only a few drops came out. I've tried to open all the other valves but that doesn't seem to help. It seems like the liquid must be in a separate compartment. What am I doing wrong?

    As should be apparent, I know nothing about these camp stoves. Also, what else should I do after I remove the old fuel and try to get the stove working again with fresh fuel? Any other tips? My 9-year-old son is eager to try cooking with the stove.

    Thanks!

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  2. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill Subscriber

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    What a beautiful stove. First you probably don't need to empty the old fuel. If it is Coleman fuel (CF) it is most likely stull good. I have bought cans of Coleman fuel at garage sales that I knew were at least 30 years old and the fuel was as new. Take off the fuel cap and take a gentle sniff. If it is old gasoline it will have an extremely unpleasant smell. If it's old Coleman fuel it will be a mild smell somewhere between that of kerosene and gasoline. Shine a light in the fuel fill. If the fuel is clear it is probably CF or a competing brand of naptha. Some makes were colored a light blue or green. If it is cloudy or dark it's old gasoline ad the tank will need cleaned. If you look inside the fuel fill with a light you'll see there is a short tube inside. This is to prevent you from filling the tank completely full of fuel. the stove requires some air in the tank to function. This also prevents you from pouring the fuel out. If it looks like it is CF the just try firing up the stove with the fuel in it.

    If you need to get the tank empty for cleaning you can buy a length of neoprene tubing at the hardware or big box store and siphon it out. If you can find a rubber cork with a hole in the middle, put a short length of metal tubing through the hole, a length of neoprene tuning on each end of the metal tubing. The neoprene on the small end of the cork should be long enough to reach the other end of the tank. The outside piece of tubing needs to be long enough to put into some kind of container. I use glass vinegar bottles to retrieve fuel. Stand the tank on end, put the cork in the fuel fill tightly and work the pump on the tank. Pressure will force the fuel out into your catch vessel.

    It is almost a certainty that you will need to replace the fuel cap gasket. You can order one from Old Coleman Parts. You need a 3-piece cap gasket. Your stove takes the same cap as a 220 lantern of the same vintage. You may also want a new pump leather. Take the pump out of your stove and if the leather is in good shape, soak it is some oil for a few minutes. Any petroleum oil will work, motor oil you have on hand for your car or lawn mower, 3-in-1 oil, any type of light oil. After the leather soak and is pliable you can replace the pump. take a little wiggling and pushing to get the leather back in the pump tube. Get one side in then use your thumbnail to push the other side in.

    Looking forward to seeing this stove make flames again.
     
  3. osef United States

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    Dear cottage hill bill,

    Thank you so much for your detailed response. It will be very helpful to me as I try to recondition the stove.

    As it happens, I went back to the stove after I posted my query this afternoon and tried to light it again. My first attempts, a few days ago, were failures. I'm not sure what made the difference (perhaps all the jostling as I tried to pour out the old fuel), but I was able to start a nice blue flame (on both burners). It's now clear to me that my father had never even tried to test the left burner. I've attached a pic of the stove in action.

    I had no idea that 60-year-old fuel would still work. The instructions suggest buying a fresh supply of fuel often, "once a week during hot weather." So I naturally assumed that old fuel (sitting in a hot, North Carolina garage for the past 12 years) would not work. What a pleasant surprise.

    Thanks again!

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  4. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill Subscriber

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    Great job! Really nice stove. Stick with CF in it. If someone tells you you can run regular unleaded gas (rug) just smile and nod. While gasoline will work it will clog the generator quicker and produces byproducts of combustion you don't really want around your food. A piece of tin foil under the burners will help keep your stove looking new as it's much easier to change the dirty tin foil than clean grease and burned food off the bottom of the stove. If you fid to need to pump it up more than once after lighting, change the fuel cap gasket. I would almost guarantee if is leaking some.
     
  5. osef United States

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    Thanks! It's wonderful how it still works. My son is thrilled with it. Maybe the third generation of our family will finally put the stove to proper use.

    You're right about the leaking fuel-cap. I can feel air come out of that end when I pump. I'll replace the gasket. Great tip about the foil too. I will stick with CF. I really appreciate your help with this.

    Just fyi for any who may be interested, I posted some pics of the literature that came with this stove.

    Coleman 4M: Literature and original packaging pics