Do you remember the last time you tried to pressurize your Coleman camp stove and no matter how many times you pumped, no air was getting inside the tank? Sometimes twisting the plunger a little to the side helped getting friction, or dabbing a little bit of oil on the rubber cup helped for a few days.
But it’s never a long-term solution.
A couple of days ago I got so frustrated by the same ineffective pump movements that I decided to solve the problem once and for all.
Installing a genuine leather Coleman pump cup
Some ten years ago I tried to order a tiny replacement part for the Coleman camp stove in the online store in the US. However, I faced a bureaucratic wall. I couldn’t pay with my European credit card and, more importantly, they wouldn’t ship any items internationally. So even if I had asked a US friend to buy it online and ship it directly from Coleman USA to Europe, it wouldn’t have been possible.
Why not order it from Coleman Europe?
At that time (even today), the only spare parts available for the unleaded 2 burner stove are a generator or a complete crane and generator.
Not the graphite packing I needed.
So I called and emailed customer service in the US a few times and a very helpful woman was so in love with our story of the Land Cruiser and adventuring all over the world, that she offered to send us a small parcel from her home address. No need for a payment or anything, she sent it as a gift.
How kind was that?!
When the small parcel arrived it contained a few other interesting items as well, one of them being an original Coleman leather pump cup.
Yes, I had to take a double look to make sure. I didn’t even know they came in leather. Some searching quickly taught me that all the modern Coleman stoves and lanterns come with the black flimsy neoprene (or rubber, if you like) cup. It should hold for some time, but if you are a heavy duty Colman stove user, your stove is better off with a leather cup.
The leather pump cup has been lying in my wooden toolbox for the last 10 years until, a couple of days ago, I finally made the decision to install it.
I made a video of the whole process for you guys, which you can see below, or if you want to get the textual version, scroll down to find the explanation in words and pictures.
How I Installed the Leather Pump Cup on the Coleman Camp Stove
1 – Soak the leather pump cup
Because the leather was as stiff as a broomstick, I let the pump cup soak overnight in engine oil. It became softer and easier to handle.
The softer, the less troublesome it is to manoeuvre it inside the housing.
2 – Unlock the plunger
The first time I unlocked the plunger from the tank, I had a hard time twisting the black plastic ring from the lock to the unlock position. Maybe because it hadn’t been opened before?
Since our Coleman camp stove is a second-hand burner, I have no way of knowing if the plunger ever been removed from the tank.
To prevent damaging the hard plastic ring, I carefully used my telecommunication pliers to wiggle it in the open position. Next, taking the plunger out was easy – just a pull.
The older system (the 425F Coleman stove, with the red tank) used a different way, where you had to unclip a metal wire from two opposite holes on the plunger shaft. I have always used the same handy pliers.
3 – Unclip the old cup
Now that the plunger was out of the tank, it was time to get the old neoprene or rubber pump cup off. It was held in place by a round clip with 3 notches.
It was my understanding that there was no other way than to bend en force the clip off by deforming it, so you probably won’t be able to use it again. Luckily the repair kit, or the Leather Pump Cup kit, came with a replacement.
4 – Assemble the plunger
I mounted the nice soft and new leather pump cup. This was as easy as 1 – 2 – 3. Just make sure to have paper napkins or tissues at hand because your cup will be dripping with oil so it is likely to get a bit messy.
Slide the new cup in place and lock it by sliding the locking clip as last. With some pressure it will snap into place.
5 – Install the plunger
This part was the trickiest part of the whole process.
The new leather pump cup was still be too stiff and wide for the narrow shaft on the tank. I tried to force it in any way possible. The best way I could come up with was by using a very thin sheet of a can.
I wrapped it around the leather cup, slightly conical with the wide side on the stem side of the plunger. It formed a funnel so to speak.
The tricky part was nót to loose the can inside the shaft. Note that the thin metal can is extremely sharp, so maybe use gloves and a pair of pliers and let a friend help you.
Once passed the bottleneck, you will need to leave the plunger in place while you pull the metal out from between the plunger and the tank shaft.
6 – Pump up the pressure
The hard part was over. I was shocked how stiff and difficult the pumping was. Don’t be alarmed. I learned that the pumping became easier over time.
To get over the first few days of hard pumping, I suggest adding additional oil inside the shaft. Be warned not to pull the plunger all the way out, like I did on my first attempt. I had to get the tin metal can out again.
As I’m writing this blog post, we have been using the new leather pump cup for over 2 months and it has worked flawlessly. I didn’t add any extra oil and every stroke is a hit.
How is your leather pump cup experience? Did you use another method of installing the plunger? Please let me know in the comments. Or with any other question you have. I’ll be happy to help you.
Coleman Stove Maintenance and Additions
Sometimes there is no time to clean your current generator. That is why we always have a spare. It is best practice to keep at least one extra generator at hand. If your current one is clogged or is otherwise giving you a hard time to get a good blue flame, just exchange it for the new one and leave the used one to be cleaned for later.
Fuel Injector Cleaner
Whenever we fill the Coleman tank with new fuel, we make sure to add a dash of injector cleaner. This way the generator will stay cleaner much longer. It does not prevent the buildup of carbon deposits, but it will greatly slow down the process, thus the generator will last longer.
Pump Cup Replacement
Over time the little rubber cup of the pump will run dry. Remove the plunger and add a little engine oil on the sides of the cup. Being in a gasoline environment it is normal that the rubber will degrade over time. This leather replacement cup will end your pumping troubles for ever.
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