During the preparation of our journey we checked out an army surplus store. Here bought a sturdy aluminum navy frying pan and a waterproof storing box to put on the Land Cruiser’s roof. We hadn’t talked about what cooking equipment we’d bring. We wanted to keep things simple and didn’t want to build a kitchen inside the Land Cruiser. We wanted to be able to cook inside as well as outside.
I was scanning the shelves when all of a sudden my eyes fell on a couple of rectangular, green metal boxes. When I opened one of them, I knew we had found our kitchen set-up. Two old, 425F Coleman stoves were stacked between a number of military diesel stoves.
These old Coleman models, with the fancy red tank, appealed to us so we bought one. On the
The Coleman Stove – What Fuel to Use?
With my friend
In the meantime I was in touch with Coleman Benelux to get more information on this particular stove and to find out if it would run on normal gasoline.
“No sir, this model only runs on Coleman Fuel.”
“Well, how am I supposed to find Coleman Fuel in, for example, Pakistan?”
“I don’t know sir. Maybe you can take a supply with you?”
“A supply for two years! Isn’t there a way it could run on gasoline?”
“I am sorry sir. That is just not possible.”
The man left me baffled.
Read More: Our 5 Favorite Overland Kitchen Tools
There must be some way to solve this, I thought, and contacted Coleman in the US. Here, I got a completely different answer. I can’t find the email anymore, but the overall message was that our Coleman stove could burn any fuel.
However, the cleaner the fuel [Coleman fuel or white gas], the longer the generator [the long tube over the flame which turns the liquid into gas] will stay unclogged. And when it does clog, you will either have to replace it or clean it.
Secrets to the Coleman Stove’s Maintenance
With that answer I felt pretty confident we could use the 425F with normal gasoline as long as I kept tabs on the generator and cleaned it regularly.
I replaced the valve assembly once, in 2007, and we used 3 generators in 9 years. To clean the generators I bought a .22 rifle cleaning kit in Bangkok. It came with 3 different brushes and they fit exactly inside the generator pipe.
I let the pipe soak in some brake cleaner for 24 hours and use the brushes afterward. To clean the spring and the needle I use a wire brush or a piece of steel wool but am careful not to damage either the tip of the needle or myself.
We got a great tip from our overlanding friend Mario. His secret was to put in a dash of injector cleaner with each tank filling. This has helped to reduce the clogging of the generator. The injector cleaner has become a regular item on the shopping list.
Read More: The Hanging Wonder – Cooking on the Road Reinvented
The Mutual Enemy of the Land Cruiser & the Coleman Stove: Rust
As said before, we have met other overlanders on the road who use the newer, 424 model with the gray tank, which is designed as an unleaded gasoline fuel burner. Many complained about the difficulties of getting it running and, moreover, how fast it rusts.
I will admit that the Coleman stove isn’t like a normal propane or camping gas where you turn the knob and have a regulated flame. After preheating the generator, getting your flame to burn nicely with blue flames (instead of orange) requires the right pressure.
And while altitude and fuel quality have great effects on the blueness of your flame, once you get to know your stove well, I find it not that hard to manage (Karin-Marijke doesn’t entirely agree with me on this).
Read More: Why Bring a Pressure Cooker on your Overland Trip
After 7 years on the road we hit the tropical Amazon forest. Only then did our red-tank 425F model seriously start to rust with holes falling in the bottom.
I’m amazed that you can still find the original red tank f425 on Amazone once every while, brandnew, as if they are still being produced.
Fortunately, by that time my brother in law Fred had sourced the above-mentioned, a like-new, 424 model on a flee market for next to nothing. And that’s how we got upgraded from red to gray.
Why a Coleman Stove?
We love our Coleman stoves and would like to sum up our pros for you:
- It burns really hot (compared to cooking on gas).
- I like its simplicity of dismantling and cleaning.
- We can buy fuel everywhere.
- It works on all altitudes [nozzle doesn’t freeze].
- It’s mobile: we not only can choose to cook inside our outside of the Land Cruiser, but we even took the stove on a glacier trek in Pakistan.
And of course the cons as well:
- It needs getting used to (Karin-Marijke is still in that process…).
- It needs regular maintenance and cleaning.
Read More: Baking your Own Bread? – Our Coleman Camp Oven
If you have any tips on using these stoves, I welcome you to do so in the comment section below.
Originally published in 2013 / Updated in 2017
Update May 2016:
I just received an email from Dave where he says he is experimenting with the making of white gas. Very interesting stuff. Some of you might be interested as well so I thought of sharing his initial video.
Part one, with more to follow I guess:
I found some nice little movies on how to best clean you Coleman Stove. It’s in three parts and I will add them below.
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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122 thoughts on “Why we Cook on Gasoline – the Coleman Stove”
also try carb cleaner – works really well to remove carbon deposits. maybe same as injector cleaner…
Do you mean as a additive to the fuel? Or only while cleaning it?
We love our Coleman stove, but had to downgrade to a newer grey tank after our red tank stove was “borrowed” permanently.
While learning to get that perfectly blue clean flame, it may be a good idea to practice with some stainless pots/pans so you can easily clean the soot off the bottom with steel wool.
Wipe the outside of your pot with a little soap and the soot will wipe right off
Thanks Brian, great tip!
Have you tried running brake cleaner in the stove as a substitute for white gas/coleman fuel. Panel wipe is another one too. Would certainly help it burn cleaner when cooking inside the cruiser!
Hey Grant, haven’t heard of that before, I might going to try that if I can find some break cleaner, which is not that evident around where we are. But I am going to put this one in the back of my head. Might also be useful to get is to flush out carbs and burn it clean once in a while.
BE CAREFUL. Brake cleaner is highly toxic when burned. There was a welder who used brake cleaner to clean off parts he was welding and got a good whiff. Apparently the phosgene in it caused permanent serious respitory issues. Search for brake cleaner welder for details
DO NOT EVER burn brake cleaner….EVER. When burned it gives off phosgene gas. If it doesn’t kill you in short order, it will irreparably damage your respiratory system!!
These is easily researched on the net. READ the labels!!
Haven’t tried it, so I’m save. As the supply of gasoline is widely available and not giving us much trouble, we are keeping to our tried and tested methods. Thank you for your warning.
????? Brake cleaner? No, never, that’s nuts
I have used two coleman twoburner stoves for over 6 years through every winter here in the desert. Until last year , I burned different grades of unleaded gasoline only and cleaned the generator tube about once a week manually. I used the stove around 3-4 hours at night to warm up the inside of a 27 foot motorhome, which I cordoned off to about half of that. By testing different fuel from different gas stations, I was able to find the best grade that would produce a good steady flame. I am now testing adding both carb cleaner (which worked and worked right now), and different fuel line additives and injector cleaners , mixing it with the fuel. Only one generator over all this time became totally clogged up and I threw it away in frustration. This was early on when I was not cleaning frequently and not aware of the power of additive cleanning. I now realize that these various additives and cleaners do clean the coked up stuff and provide the continual ability to use unleaded fuel for both cooking and heating. And, yes, the actual Coleman fuel does burn better , cleaner, and hotter, but for the difference in price, and that is a very significant difference, I will continue to use unleaded fuel. In point if fact, the stove functions just as good as burning the Coleman fuel. I can warm up on a cold morning in under 10 minutes, and can cook just about anything in short order as well. I have made various repairs to my plungers using assorted material, with heavy leather soaked in musicians valve oil my preferred method. The whole point here is the simple prompt to keep things clean, even if it means tearing it down once a week or so. But there is no question whatever that these stoves can burn unleaded fuel and do it with success.
Thank you for that information Shane. Fabulous. Did you find out which grade of gasoline worked best for you? Did you find that higher octane fuel burns better, as I heard, or is that a fairytale? We have option of burning Coleman fuel as it is almost non existent here in South America. I’ve come across it twice. Once in Chile in a camping/fishing store and once in a similar store in Suriname. But apart from being ridiculously expensive as it is imported, we don’t have the space to stock up on a few gallons just for cooking.
Higher octane fuels actually have LESS energy per unit than low octane. The whole point of higher octane is to prevent preignition, therefore it resists ignition longer than lower octane. High octane is for high compression engines that can detonate by the compression alone, so one raises the octane until detonation is eliminated.
In a car, or stove, you want the lowest octane possible for the desired performance.
High octane in a stove, or car with low to moderate compression, is a waste of money and actually returns less performance.
My go-to octane is Unleaded 92, and that seems to be working like a charm.
Here is another great reference for a stove teardown and rebuild.
That looks very thorough Gene. Thanks for that find.
Coleman stove’s are great. The 425f is a great stove and give’s beter performance ( in my opinion) then the newer 424. Of you clean the outsider of your stove on a regular basis it will rust less. And if you want to use you red tank stove with regulars gas you can also simply install a duel fuel generator.
However my advice is to look for one of the larger models (414 or 426). These models will fit larger pans and the oven also works better on these.
So what’s been going on? I just came across this site while looking for information on unloading 2 big military ovens that burn whatever you can get your hands on. I got them from here in great lakes when they were closing or down sizing fort Sheridan & I think they were made for soldiers in Vietnam but were ne’er used. They’re much bigger then what y’all talking about, they use 10 gallon pots and weigh around 400+ pounds so no throwing these in your truck & going unless you have the whole clan with ya. Oh well just though I’d say hi & see how it’s going and where y’all at now, back to work
Haha 400+ pounds, that would be over 180kg. No that is definitely not something to pack in our Cruiser. That’s more for the whole tribe indeed. We’re quiet happy with the setup we have now. I even made some little changes this week so that we can cook on the backside of the truck. Thanks for stopping by. Have fun at work!
I currently use a portable gas stove on my camper, but this coleman stove sure sounds interesting. I’m wondering though: How do you handle storage of the fuel? Do you fill the tank and leave it there after you’re done? Or do you have to/should empty the tank when you store the stove?
Hello Claudio, what do you mean by storage. Is that while traveling, or when you get home and would like to put it in the basement or up on the attic? For day to day use, we leave the fuel in there. But if you were to store it for a long time without use, depending on which fuel you use you need to take some action. As gasoline will deteriorate over time it is not wise to leave gasoline in there. So either get it out, or fill it up with Coleman fuel or some cleaner fuel that doesn’t gum over time.
This is also important when you bought a second hand burner, I got some emails concerning that. Check which fuel is in side before you start messing with it. Preferably burn it clean with a few fillings of Coleman fuel.
Yes, I meant on the day to day use. Cos my bigger concern – especially in convincing my partner who does most of the cooking – is that it seems a bit more cumbersome to use on the day to day than the portable gas stoves (with small portable 240g cannisters) that we usually use. But if we don’t need to empty the fuel each time, it’s not so bad.
Hi Coen have you ever tried burning diesel in it? Would be very convenient if it could. Also great website and article! Cheers.
Heya Tom, thank you for the compliment and taking the time to drive around our website. Diesel… hmmmm It would be possible. The thing is the cleaner the fuel you use, the less things get clogged by the carbon deposits and soot. So technically it could, but you will spend more time cleaning it. Another thing I can imagine is that you will need a lot more priming time. I have seen similar style burners being used in the Dutch army field kitchen that run on diesel. Anyone else cares to chime in on this?
If you try and run diesel or kerosene in these it is a chore. You will need to downsize the jet and find a way to preheat and keep the generator hotter while it is running.
Thanks. I hope we wont have to resort to using diesel inside the stove. We have a 5 liter backup jerrycan, that should suffice.
You can use diesel, kerosene, jet a, paint thinner, cooking oil, just about anything that burns ( not alcohol ) but if your using any fuel that needs wicking to burn ( like an old oil lamp ) you will need you to preheat the generator, just burn some fuel under the generator or use a propane torch to heat it, and it won’t preform well unless they are going full out ( no simmering ) and you might get carbon build up on your pots, and will have to clean then generator more often, but if you stuck some where and only have diesel to burn it will work, it can also be mixed with gas to make it easier to start the stove, long term usage will damage the burner because it’s a higher BTU fuel then gas so the heat will get to it. (but that might take years I haven’t seen any noticeable damage after doing it for a few days)
If your going to burn diesel long term get a stove built to burn it, like a MSR wisperlite international or there dragonfly international ( they burn pretty much anything and simmer nicely ) but take a rebuild kit or two because you won’t find parts outside of north america / Europe and don’t expect a 50 year life out of them like coleman stoves deliver they have to much plastic in them to last that long, and they are not built for cooking for a crowd four to six people are about the max …
Hello Mr. Coen
I’m new to the 2 burners but using the Coleman533 for 4 years. My wife just gave me the 424 grey tank for my birthday this month. Did you put much amount of the nozzle cleaner solvent on the tank each time? or can I put a cup of Ronsonol and burn the stove to clean their system?
Hello Raksakul, I’m not familiar with Ronsonol, but the rule of the thumb is that the cleaner the fuel, the better it is to burn the stove and the generator clean. If your 424 is a new one, you wouldn’t need to do that and depending on how “dirty” the fuel you normally use is, I would add just a squeeze or a few drops of injector cleaner.
I’m 68 years old and cannot remember a time when we didn’t have a Coleman stove… The one I have now I bought used in Saudi Arabia in 1979. I’ve never cleaned it. In fact I don’t remember my father cleaning our old one… It’s a 2 burner one. No idea of the model number but it is the same as the one my father had. We do use white gas… and have used it continually…
Hello Jim. Yeah, using white gas takes care of your cleaning problem. We unluckily don’t have the option of obtaining white gas and so we are stuck with unleaded and cleaning 🙁
So glad I ran across this post. I bought a dual fuel coleman this summer on craigslist, used it once, then could never get it to light again. Bought a propane stove in order to salvage my camping trip on the cape (cod). However, I did already get rid of the gas lantern, which I always found a pain in the butt, as the stove was a twofer deal and I bought a propane electronic ignition lantern with it (the craigslist one). I chucked it cause I figured I was gonna sell the gas stove. So my question is, do you use a gas lantern also? Is it possible to find the little propane tanks worldwide? I have limited storage space, but I guess I’m gonna keep both stoves, and use the propane one for local camping trips and keep the dually in case I ever get to become an Overlander. At least now I know I can get it running again. Thanks.
We used to have a kerosine lantern, but due to having to much stuff and now having some awesome Hella LEDs in and around the car, there is no need for us to have a lantern. I have seen those little gas containers in a few countries in South America: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, but I’m not sure they are common. And might take some time to hunt them down if you are not around mayor cities. But when you ask about little propane tanks, what exactly are you referring to?
They’re referring to the little green disposable 1lb propane cylinders that are common in the US…similar to the ones sold with propane blowtorches. I only came across them twice, in Costa Rica and Ecuador, and trust me I was looking. We had a dual fuel Coleman exponent lantern, worked fine but we sent it home because it’s a waste of space. LEDs and headlamps are the best options, minimal size and low-draw!
Thanks Brenton for chiming in here. Okay so I was confusing them with the “very” little containers you throw in your backpack and screw under a even smaller burner. Rule is, every country has more or less it’s own system of transporting gas and while some use the same connectors, there is no global standard and so you would need to get a hold of adapters to fill you tanks. In Europe I think they sell a kit with all the European adapters, there might be a U.S. variant?
If you want to take a lantern, take an old coleman lantern like a 200A, ( all of the pump parts are also exchangeable with the coleman stoves including the check valves and fuel tank cap when you stuck somewhere you never know what you might need it’s nice when your parts are interchangeable ) it’s a simple pressure lanterns which will run from any automotive gas, white gas, naptha, paint thinner, basically anything that burns without wicking. You can normally find regular gas everywhere but those small propane tanks can be a chore, even at home, just look at coleman and there powermax propane/butane fuel system, they no longer make ( yes you can cheat and use butane but finding the adapter can be a challenge and might require modifications ) however saying that if your using the 1lb propane tanks you can refill them from a 20lb tank with an adapter but it’s illegal to transport refilled 1lb cylinders on anything that floats, flies, or travels on rails so it’s something to think about, also if you overfill them they are a hazard because they will vent once they warm up a few degrees..
And take lots of mantels they might be a challenge to find, but they are small and light, just tape like six or more of them in a ziplock bag to the bottom of the lantern and then they wont get lost when you really need them in the dark either.
You might also want to make a metal screen globe and lose the glass which will at some point end up getting busted no matter how careful you are, just cut some metal window screen the same size fold the edges over so there is nothing pokey, and stitch it together with wire so it’s the same size, they work like a champ and don’t break and protect your mantle from stray bugs..
They can be picked up at flea markets or garage sales and if you find them with no globe they are only a few bucks used, clean them up and they will last another 50 years..
And once you put one that’s running behind your chair while sitting around the fire, you’ll find room for it, and not only do they keep your backside warm they attract mosquitoes like crazy where they quickly discover a 1000 deg mantel isn’t there friend saving your arms legs and neck…
I also add little amount of motor oil in pump unit for it feel the pump cup are dried at the first use. Did that amount of motor oil harming the check valve?
I always left half tank of fuel and a 3 full stroke pumping pressure on the 533 stove when keep it.
Oil won’t harm the check valve, the oil will just end up getting pumped into the fuel no big deal it will burn off and at the most all you could add is like 2 tablespoons if you actually fill it full,add that to a liter of fuel and you might get a little smoke on start up and a little bit more orange in the flame tips but nothing bad..
But the simplest way to fix a dry pump cup is to just pull the pump out let the cup soak in oil for 10 to 30 min wipe it off so it’s not dripping, reinstall and then add a drop or two every week, brake fluid works great for this since some brake systems use leather parts and it make them last longer ( just don’t use it in your brake system if the bottle has been open for more then a few days as it’s hydroscopic and will absorb water overtime affecting your braking system or if you have dropped the pump cup in the bottle, any sediment in the bottle won’t do your brake system any favors, I normally just use the left over fluid saved after doing a brake / clutch job since, if you’ve done the job right you won’t ever need any more fluid)
Having used the “old” style Coleman and now the 424 for a number of years we can say, yes they are different. I found that adequately preheating the 424 (especially in cold weather – lower than 30 F) will greatly aid in the stove starting and burning hot. Much like the MSR stoves. Also, pumping about 40 strokes in to the tank, opening the valve and then waiting till you actually hear the fuel mix coming out of the burner helps. Can’t really describe the sound, just need to mess around with different timings and sound to get it figured out! Also, we have used paint thinner, kerosene/gas mix, and regular gas in the tank. Just needs more pumping, etc. and cleaning to ensure it works. Can always be inventive when you run out of regular fuel!
Thanks so much for the article and re-posting the videos! I just bought a Coleman 4M and found this very helpful. Looking forward to being on the road with a (vintage) Colman stove,
Just a helpful hint as to cleaning out the fuel tank. I found my stove and it had old gas in it. So I use a spray bottle nozzle with the tube as a siphon to empty the tank. Worked great. Loved your story and photos by the way.
I spent 20 minutes trying to shake the last of 8 year old “fuel” out of the center-loading filler port on a 425-F thinking all the while how better to get it out. The spray bottle pump never occurred to me. Thank you.
Another way is to “wick” the last bit out with a cotton rope or even paper towel
Yes, Dave, paper towel was the final drying tool. The rope is a better idea. Less likely I’d lose a piece of it and have something else to fish out through that little hole, like with the paper towel. Thank you for your comment. 🙂
I love that rope trick no more looking like a fool jumping around trying to shake the last drop out, thanks.
Uncooked clean rice poured into a tank and shaken for a couple minutes will clean the rust. Absord bad fuel. And leave the tank Shiny inside. Just don’t leave it overnight.
Great tip! Thanks.
How do you handle storage of the fuel?
Hello Stephen, we have a small 5 liter jerrycan which provides the necessary fuel for us for a while.
I have a coleman stove that belonged to my dad,i don’t know what the model is as all the stickers have long since dried up and pealed off,but the stove still works like a charm,i would say that it was to be at least 65 or 70 years old,the fuel tank is copper in color,it is some kind of baked on enamel,it is cylindrical in shape and is about the same volume as the red and silver tank models,i love my coleman and will never part with it,and it has done double duty after we got hit by hurricane Juan in 2003.
Generator cleaning is simple, I do it with a small propane soldering torch (MAPP gas ones work faster), you just heat the entire generator up to a soft cherry red, it’s brass you won’t hurt it, and it won’t hurt you so long as you don’t touch it. let it cool, pull the spring about a 1/4 inch to re-tension it and clean the rod and needle with a quick scrub with 0000 steel wool it just takes three or four straight pulls ( Do not push it ) while the wool is pinched in between your fingers, and you won’t prick yourself doing it this way, reassemble and your good to go.. I’ve been burning 87 octane gas ( regular ) no additives for many years, it also works great in all naphtha ( white gas ) lanterns, the generator cleaning is the same only keep in mind while working on an older lantern generator, it may contain asbestos so, no brushes, no blowing, no creating dust, just burn it real good, and for me it’s worked since 1954 and I haven’t bought a new generator ever, so I can’t complain, the only thing that seems to need cleaning more often when using regular gas is the burner screen on the mantel, just give them a quick brush when you change the mantel with a small steel brush…
I only clean the generator at most once a year in the stove and maybe once every three to four years in a lantern and they get used hard, I do pressure canning and can entertain 5 stoves for 8 to 10 hours a day.I go thought the stove racks faster, yes they burn over time getting thinner and thinner.
The lanterns get used lots because make great heaters,just drop one behind your chair while sitting around the fire at night, you’ll burn them for hours once you try it… (yep I laughed at first and called someone a wimp when I seen it, but once I tried it, I went out and got three more lanterns the next day)
About the only thing I do that most people overlook, I do filter the gas though a water absorbing felt fuel filter, the old Coleman fuel funnels came standard with this feature, but any funnel will work and you can buy some felt from a good outfitter,auto parts store or ebay, they also help to remove any junk in the fuel, like dirt, lint, sediment, and the funnel will reduce fuel spills ..
If you want a stove that lasts look for the even older Coleman stoves with the copper colour tank with concave ends, they built them to last back in the day, not like the newer thin gauge pressed steel they use in the new ones, sure it might be one pound heavier but it will last twenty years longer..
Hello Thomas, when you say heat the generator. Are you talking about it while it still being attached to the tank? Can you elaborate on your procedures? Also pulling the spring… Did you also great that? The newer Springs are different. They are very tough and have different coiling through the length.
I pull the generator off the tank, and take off the jet ( sometimes this can be a chore I use copper coat anti-seize paste when putting it all back together so the next time its easier, just a tiny amount on the last few threads applied with a piece of thin wire so nothing gets in the jet and it goes finger tight and then maybe a 1/16 of a turn, just snug, and check it after a heating and cooling cycle ) once you have the generator off the stove, pull the jet cleaner rod and leave the spring in the generator unless it comes out easily, heat it to a soft red, 900 to 1100 F it doesn’t have to glow brightly your only burning the carbon off, generally propane soldering torches won’t get hot enough to damage brass / steel unless you use oxygen. This can even be done over a fire if you don’t a have a torch just lay it on some hot coals for a few minutes.
Rap it a few gently on a piece of wood,or brick or what ever you have straight up and down being mindful of the threads ( wood is ideal for this ) so any larger pieces of junk trapped inside will fall out and then I reheat it to make sure all the carbon is burnt off.
Let it cool, visually look through the tube to see if its clean,if not repeat the process, then reinstall the jet, this is where I pull the spring slightly, just to elongate it by about an 1/8 to a 1/4 of an inch, just grab the end with a pair of needle pliers and pull gently you don’t need much, then tap it a few more times on a wood block to see if any thing else falls out, then I clean the rod with 0000 steel wool pinched between my fingers pulling it straight through until it’s clean and you then reinstall the rod, put it all back together and your good for like another year unless your fuel is really dirty or you mix it with diesel or burn straight diesel ( yes they can burn diesel if you preheat the generator. but it’s not recommended unless your in a pinch and mixing with gas makes it easier, but stay away from 125-LL aviation fuel, but Jet A works in a pinch, leather belts also make good pump cups when your in a pinch and are easy to cut if you have a nickel or any coin about the same size and a small hammer or a rock )
Be mindful the generator might still have fuel inside it which will burn so do it outside, keeping your fingers away from the ends and don’t look down the tube while it’s hot in case something hot and burning happens to spit out of it.
reassemble. clean the jet a few times, test for leaks and then fire it up. The lanterns are the same only shorter generators and less tapping on the wood block because they might have asbestos in them, do them outside and don’t inhale the dust, also don’t run a gas lantern on diesel / kerosene unless you get a kerosene generator, they are different and gas ones will plug up in a few hours.
Thank you Thomas for that elaborate explanation! I will use it in practice the next time. Another good reason for a campfire 🙂
I love my Coleman. It’s the same, green with red tank. The stove is in outdoor use since 34 years. Three times repainted. Original green, than black and now green again. It’s really a pity with the rust after the thermal action to the paint and afterwards the rusty tin. At the last restoration i have paint in two layers. First a coating with zincpaint than heat-proof color. The third step was to „amor“ the inside of the body housing. I have used aluminium sheets with 1mm mounted with a distance of 2 mm onto the bottom, side walls in front, right and left, and edge protection at the front side and 15 cm from front to back right and left. Now there is no more effect from the heat to to the color and hopefully the next years no problems with rust. By the way, the generator in use is still the first. I have only used white gas. Since 34 years the replacement generator is mounted on hold inside the box.
I have question, actually a couple.
In the U.S. grey tanks and generator are designed for dual fuel, red tanks and generators are for white gas. Is that not the case outside the U.S.?
When adding injector cleaner to the gas, how much is a dash?
Hi Dave, yes you are correct, the red tanks are supposed to be for white gas. But just the same we used it years on end with normal gasoline. I only add less than a soda bottle cap full of injector cleaner per tank filling.
Thank you for the information and the great site. I appreciate you sharing a bit of your adventure with us.
You can go on Coleman collectors forum and find out anything you would ever want to know about Coleman stoves or lanterns dating back to the teens.
Thanks Rick, that is helpful information for the Coleman users out there. Do you have a link?
Stumbled on your page by accident, looks like your living the dream. Bravo!
Really enjoyed your site. Great information. I have a concern about using the coleman oven with a liquid gas stove (425) as the oven hangs over the tank. My concern is over heating of the tank and generator with having a large oven directly above. temp 350 – 500 degrees. Did you use your stove often? What is the longest length of time you have the oven going on the stove…at what temp. Thank you in advance for you help. thank you, mary
We have been baking bread and making cookies in several sessions, sometimes multiple consecutive sessions. The tank heats up a little indeed. But it was never a concern to us. If you like you could easily shield it with a piece of aluminium foil.
Thank you for getting back to me. This is what I was hoping to hear. Have good day, mary
Just bought one in real good shape at the flea market today for $10. This article makes me want to fire it up
Congratulations on your buy. First see if it has any old fuel in there and maybe give it a rinse with some rice, as someone stated in the comments. Let us know how you faired.
Hi guys. I love your website and have been reading it.
We also use this Coleman stove and it’s cooked out meals on our trips up to the Arctic Circle all the down to the Panama Canal.
In Central America, we ran out of Coleman stove. I used paint thinner and it worked! It is cleaner than gasoline (less stove cleaning) and it is available everywhere in the world. In Latin America, it is called Tine.
I got all my fuel in latin americas in the hardware stores, just ask for gasolina purificada it’s around a dollar per liter
Just for reference. The main reason you get rust when using unleaded fuel is the alcohol in it. It draws moisture. If you can get non ethanol fuel you can eliminate this problem
Interesting, I didn’t know that. This raises two questions for me.
A] where would I get non ethanol fuel?
B] why did our first model (the red tank version) rust less than the newer version?
hi gord from sask you can buy octane 91 from shell with no ehthano land coop stations in the larger centres sell the stuff and yes the enthanol gas does absorb moisture does all kinds of intersting things to carbs
clogs carbs on small motors small venturuis the rust problem is certainly there
i burn avg 100 in my small motors gord
Thanks Gord, I will try and check out the 91 from Shell.
Testing fuel for ethanol is actually very simple, all you need is an old water bottle or glass bottle, a felt pen, some water and fuel you want to test.
You draw a line about two inches from the bottom of the bottle, fill the bottle with water to this line, then add the fuel you want to test, cap the bottle give it a good shake, let it stand for a few minutes if the water increases you know it’s got ethanol, and if it is less then 5% ethanol the line might drop slightly but if it holds your good to go, and if you can lay your hands on a graduated cylinder you can actually calculate the ethanol content, but if your in the middle of no where land (yes I’m envious) a bottle and a felt pen or even a piece of tape for a line shouldn’t be to hard to find.. Normally I will use a long skinny bottle so you don’t waste to much fuel, and I save it for later and use it to start a fire.
If you use a larger bottle, pour off the gas, and toss the water add some epson salts (Magnesium sulfate, common bath salts) to the bottle of gas shake it, let it settle, let it clump in the bottom and filter it again, and you will have ethanol free fuel..
But it is easier once you know it’s ethanol free to fill a Jerry can at the pump then making your own.
I use the recreational unleaded available at some gas stations in the US. Seems to perform just like coleman fuel. Rec fuel does not have ethanol in it.
Great. Be sure to add a dash of injector cleaner to combat the build up of carbon deposits.
Many stations carry pure gas (non ethanol) it is used in older model vehicles, lawn mowers, chainsaws, etc, or engines with carburators.The newer model stove probably has a coating that compensates for the alcohol. As most newer cars are built to compensate for it as well.
Hi Karin-Marijke & Coen,
thank you for the interessting article about Coleman Gassolin Stove.
I also use this kind of stove about 35years, but always for outdoor cooking. What is your experience about cooking with this stove inside the landcruiser? No Problem?
I my opinion, in the coleman manual you can read about no indoor cooking..
Hello Michael, yes you are right, the stove is designed so that you should use it outside. We use it sporadically indoors, but only with at least two windows open in order to get sufficient fresh air inside.
Hi Coen, ok. We will also use the stove sporadically indoor, with enough windows open.
Thanks for your answer!
I enjoyed reading your article while doing research on using unleaded gasoline in a SVEA123R camping stove, and particularly liked the tip on adding a dash of fuel injector cleaner to the tank.
I used to fire up a number of these while working in the army to cook meals for the platoon, and found that regular maintenance and good preheating of the generators essential.
I suppose the worst failure I had was that of the pump failing to create a good seal to build pressure, and I’ve used everything from butter, to chapstick (lip balm), and motor oil to get a better seal on the washer.
Indeed, when the stove isn’t used for a while, or if there is a big change in outside temperatures or humidity the seal can be a pain to get close. Motor oil is my preferred choice. Also I have a space leather cup waiting for the original rubber to fail.
I got one of the 424’s with the grey tank about 8 years ago. After I used maybe 1 gallon of Coleman fuel, I decided to just use auto fuel in it. I buy Premium gas that has no Ethanol in it. I have never had a problem and I figure why buy very expensive Coleman when I can get gas for $3.00 per gallon? I will probably take apart the generator to clean it though and put a shot of Mechanic in a bottle or other cleaning agent like you show in the gas can as well.
My Dad and I used to use an old Coleman two burner stove on our hunting trips every fall trough winter in Alabama. My Dad did all the cooking of course as I was 14 when we started hunting together. He never had a problem with the stove(I have no idea what model it is as I still have it and it still works), and I still use it when needed. I also have an old two mantle lantern that will stay lit on low all night, in a ventilated space, all night and produce enough light before dawn to get ready for hunting. I believe he used mostly kerosene mixed with Coleman Fuel to power these devices. I do recall him using brake cleaner spray to clean the generators about once a month during the season, then at the end of season a full take apart cleaning. Both still work. Both the stove and the lantern are from the 50’s as I understand. I can’t ask because my Dad passed in 2000. Hope this helps.
They will keep on serving you as long as you did what your dad did and handle them with care. He would be really pleased to see that you will put them to good use. Keeps the lights burning! —C
Hi there, I was just wondering how often you used to have to clean the original 425F generator when running on petrol? I’m looking at getting one but deciding between a 425 and 424
Hello Zak, I’m guessing the cleaning frequency depends on the amount of cooking you do. If you use it every day or if you use it only once a week.
When we use it daily I think I will clean it every 3 or 4 months. This also depends on the quality of the petrol I am getting locally. Hope this helps.
I use a 533 and am very happy with it. If you are in North America, the big name brand gasolines (Shell, Chevron, Exxon, etc) contain anti-gumming and anti-fouling additives that keep things clean. And they’ve eliminated the metallic addtives that tended to leave deposits. These additive packages are much better than they were prior to 2004. I haven’t found any need to add carburetor cleaner to my stove. Also note that premium gasoline usually still contains ethanol — it varies from state to state and brand to brand.
Hi Macossay, very cool single burner. I am aware that in some parts of the world fuel is cleaner than in other parts of the world. And to be honest we like to travel in parts of the world where most of the time I am happy to use a few drops of injector cleaner in there 😉 Happy cooking with your 533.
Great site and interesting adventures. I was wondering, have you ever had the situation with your Coleman stove where the fuel didn’t properly shoot out of tip at the end of the generator?
I recently bought a Coleman and it kept burning at the tip and also lighting the manifold on fire when I tried to run it. When I turned the valve off the tip would burn for several minutes as the generator was full of liquid fuel.
It was brand new, so I didn’t think the manifold was clogged. I pressurized the tank, detached it from the stove, and just tried to spray fuel into the air. This didn’t work well. The fuel seemed to be spraying out behind the tip and not through it. Some fuel dribbled out, some sprayed out intermittently in different directions, and a good deal seemed to build up in the generator itself.
Took the generator apart several times. The spring seemed a touch overlong and would only slide into the generator from the tip end. After a day of tightening and fiddling – and even shortening the spring, I just gave up and took the stove back to the store.
Anyway, I’ve not seen anyone complain about this problem online, but since you’re clearly a Coleman vet, I was wondering if this is a problem
Hello Jon, thank you for stopping by with your story. I find it very strange that this problem occurred. Especially while it was new.
I have had a few occasions where I had the soft brass tip of the generator deformed by my vice grip or pliers. Once the tip is not perfectly round anymore it will not seal properly and there might a little fuel seeping backwards towards the generator pipe. Just like you are describing. So I try to get the tip as round as possible by reshaping it with the pliers and then tighten it as best as I can. Just to be on the safe side, I release the tank pressure and I turn the knob a few turns open [so the needle pulls back and doesn’t get squished by the tightening tip] before doing that.
I hope the store did give you another model and that you are now cooking like crazy?
Got a new one today. Pressurized the tank and tested the tip by shooting fuel into the air. Sprayed nicely. Hooked the tank onto the stove and the Coleman fired up easily.
Interestingly, on the new stove, the wire is almost entirely behind the tip, even when the valve is closed. With the problem stove, the wire protruded well out front of the tip when the valve was closed.
Perhaps the thin internal pipe of the generator was too long on the problem stove? I don’t know. But I am loving the new stove now.
Thanks for the response and, again, great website.
Glad it all worked out. Enjoy your new stove.
I have a Canadian 421e…Is it possible to use methal-hydrate, (methanol) in the stove?
Great reading on here..
Hi Tim, I’m not familiar with either the 421e nor methal/hydrate. I would need to Google as well, and being in China right now on mobile, that is a bit of a challenge.
Tim, nope you shouldn’t burn methanol in any coleman stove, it will burn but you will be very unhappy with it as you will quickly find out it lacks the energy content of gas / coleman fuel of the same volume so you would need a larger jet in the generator, then you need to play with the fuel air ratio and it also might damage the seals and extended usage will damage the burners / tank / generator, about the only use for methanol in any coleman fuel driven camping product is pre-heating the generator in there kerosene lanterns.
So while it will work, you risk things like leaking fuel potentially leading to fire / explosion, risking injury or death, those seals might only last hours in methanol, so unless your really stuck and need it to sterilize water or some other life sustaining activity, I know I wouldn’t do it, and I’ll burn just about anything else in a coleman stove even kerosene.
Methanol BTU / Gallon is 56,800
Gas BTU / Gallon is 114,000
Coleman BTU / Gallon is 118,000 ( Coleman won’t say, so it’s about this much )
Kerosene BTU / Gallon is 134,000
If you have to burn methanol, like say in a marine environment get a stove made to burn it like a Trangia 27 they are very reliable, simple and safe.
I’m in the market for a new Coleman stove and I’ve narrowed it down to either the 425 with the red tank or the 424 with the gray tank. Although I will likely just burn naptha or Coleman fuel, I like the idea of having the ability to burn unleaded gasoline. Are there any noticeable differences between the two stoves that you have noticed, considering you’ve spent a lot of time with both? Are they exactly the same size? Do they both simmer well? Which one do you prefer?
Hi Chad, I’m not sure if the red tank options are for sale new? Differences? The only thing I can think of is spare parts. If you go with the latest Grey tank, to you will be getting new parts more easy. Size is the same. There is a bigger Grey tank version. I think that one is called the 414.
One thing Coleman is great for is the ability to obtain spare parts, both of those stoves you can get all the parts for them, I have some Coleman stoves and lanterns dating back to 1921 and I’ve never had an issue finding parts on the internet, both new old stock and modern reproductions, and most of the time it’s because something has gotten lost otherwise with care and maintenance both of those stoves will last longer then most people live, even with daily use. The other thing Coleman is great at, is lots of there stoves the part are also interchangeable so with basic skills and limited tools like a leatherman you can make them work like new in no time at all.
The 414 is the larger version, the fuel tank is one pint larger (so about an hour more cooking time) and that stove is about 4 inches longer 1 inch wider and 1 inch thicker which is nice if your cooking for a few people as you can fit larger pots on the stove, or two skillets with out taking up to much more space while traveling, so every one gets to eat at the same time and not in shifts.
But both will burn unleaded fuel, however the 414/424 (grey) tanks have a better rust coating inside them, and now most unleaded gas contains ethanol which has a very bad habit of absorbing water and over time sitting unused the tank on the 425 / 413 it might corrode, but if you use them regularly and burn off the fuel when your done using it for the year it shouldn’t be a problem and if your going to leave fuel in the stove or go a few weeks between use try to get ethanol free fuel like Shells 94 octane fuel. And if your in a pinch they will all also burn diesel or kerosene if you warm the generator (but unless your willing to spend time cleaning them later this is not something to do on a regular basis, but if your stuck, freezing, out of gas / coleman fuel and need something hot to eat, it’ll work)
Unleaded gasoline is certainly less expensive than Coleman white gas fuel, but much dirtier and frankly not worth the hassle. White gas is mostly if not all naphtha. I find it much more cost effective to buy the five gallon drums of naphtha to run the white fuel appliances as well as to fill the Peacock/Zippo catalytic handwarmers and various lighters (zippo, douglass, esbit). The catalytic handwarmers are probably the most sensitive to dirty fuel and haven’t had any diminished performance or life.
Hey John, thank you for your take on this. And I agree with you. Would we be living in the woods in the US, we would certainly stock up on White gas and use it for all lamps and cookers. For us, it is not about the cost, but more about the availability of White gas or Naphtha. Driving around the world, mostly in rural areas, it would be a mission in itself to find those fuels. Mind you, we only have storage space for one gallon in our Land Cruiser, so stocking up on it wouldn’t work either. That’s why we love that our cooker also takes regular unleaded gasoline.
Thank you very much for this great article.
I am considering of buying the two stove liquid gas coleman and want to use it mainly outside. Did you ever have a problem with the hight of the yellow flame while using it indoors? Won’t it be too high for a normal Campervan?
Heya Daan, the yellow big flames are only in the initial pre heating phase of using the stove. You can control the height of the flame to a certain degree. If you are not in a hurry, you can take a little more time to pre heat the generator pipe and get away with a less powerful flame. Keep applying a normal sense and check with your hands high above the stove to check how hot it really gets. And don’t forget to ventilate. Enjoy your stove!
Hi there, Just got a nice grey tank version to go in the back of my Land Rover for overlanding trips after being let down by modern stoves all too often.
I was wondering how long a burn you’ll get out of the stove.
If you can re-stock every week is that enough for 2 meals a day or do you need more?
Heya Alex, welcome to the Coleman club 😉
I’m not sure if I get what you say when you mean modern stoves, as I believe the grey tank version is modern. It’s the red classic one that is the older model. But anyway, if you keep it clean on the inside it will be with you for a long time to come, I’m sure of that.
As to the burning times. The standard answer is: “your milage may vary.” Altitude and the way you cook might affect things. 2 Meals a day for us works fine on one filling, if you like elaborate cooking you might run a day short. A pressure cooker sure helps being fuel efficient.
Just another question about cooking inside, let’s say in cold winter for example 😉
I’m sure cooking fragance is fine, but what about the stove itself ?
We always make sure to open one or two windows. Even in -25C this works fine. The output temperature of the stove is too much anyway to keep everything closed. 😉
Thank you very much, what about the smell of burning gasoline while cooking (from ignition to shut off) ?
I’ve never used this kind of stove, just have a small alcohol burner I’m using while mountaineering so even not familiar with gasoline in itself..
No gasoline smell at all. Only when improperly pre heated it can smell a little odd in the initial burning phase. But once the “magic” blue flame is there, you wont smell a thing.
The only time I can smell gasoline if I spill a little during filling up the tank. And the second time is when there is still a bit of pressure on the tank in transit during high altitude drives and when the outside pressure can make the tank push out fuel if the cap, or pump is not closed 100% secure.
Nothing major anyways.
Ok, thank you very much for the details 🙂
Hope you’ll can fix the problems on the Landcruiser soon.
Thanks. The list of problems on the Land Cruiser will never get shorter. Fixing one thing, there is always another thing that needs attention. It is much like a house… Oh.. Wait a minute… It is a house 😉
I have a 425F that I got on Ebay a while ago. I tried to get it going today but even after replacing the pump assembly it seemed to not be putting out any gas to the burner. I was using Coleman fuel (but the can was one that had been sitting around for some time and had only 25% left in it). The stove itself looks new – super clean.
Could this be an old fuel problem? Or do I need to preheat something – it was -5C at the time I was trying. The pressure built up fine, but no luck on the getting fire part.
Hmmm, I don’t think the fuel is the problem. Coleman fuel can sit very long without gelling or getting bad. But from what you are saying I would first see if there is any fuel coming out of the generator pipe at all. It might be that the previous owner has blocked the pipe by either not using clean fuel or by not cleaning / replacing on time.
Take the tank off the box, go outside away from any fire. Pressure the tank and open the big knob to see if there is any mist or straight fuel coming from the tip of the generator pipe at all.
If there is, than you should be able to get it going. If not, it looks to me as there is something blocked inside… You could try to clean it, or just buy a new replacement.
I have been following this forum for the past 2 years and L may say it’s quite informative, I am interested in buying one of the Coleman stove, grey or red tank. Due to the unavailability of Coleman fuel in the area i reside, i noted participants suggesting the used of unleaded fuel or diesel .
My question is that fuel from the Gas stations?
Hello Nicanor, yes we have been using the red and the grey tank stove with regular 92 octane from the gas stations. Diesel is unadvised as this fuel will clog the generator pipe faster and you will need a separate pre heating fuel. Just use 92 if that is available or experiment with another unleaded fuel from the gas station. Be sure to add a little injector fluid with each tank filling. Good luck and let us know how your experiment goes.
studying every product for your overlanding trip is very important and thank you for sharing this tho! very helpyful!
I’ve been using the 424 stove for decades now and was in a way amused how much effort people put into the fuel and cleaning issue. I have used any unleaded all over the world and never cleaned nor changed the injector so far. Another thing I remarked in some posts is that some people use it indoors. In contrast to gas stoves, a gasoline stove produces carbon monoxide, and this gas is deadly toxic if the concentration is high. Therefore, the warning on the sticker is not just for fun but should be obeyed. The only real problem I found is rust. Two years of continuous use and several parts of the stove simply rusted trough, including a hole in the “bulb” before the injector. This caused issues because in the hole a second flame escaped, disturbing the proper burning and sometime lead to backfiring.
To overcome the rust issue I have lined the inside with heavy-duty aluminium foil (the stuff used to line ovens in the kitchen) hoping it will prevent the worst.
I think the quality of the housing has worsened over the years. I would love to buy a stainless steel version, even if it would cost a fair bit more….
Other than this, I still love it, and I’m convinced it’s the best stove for overlanding.
Heya Ueli, yes I agree with you on the rust issue of the case. And I have noticed that the old “red tank” version case was build much better than the newer ones. We have opted to sand the box thoroughly, and have painted it again with some kind of high temperature paint some years ago. For now that has solved the issue. A stainless steel version would be nice to have, as well as extra high sidewalls in high wind conditions. I have been building a prototype for some time and I think I have it nailed now. Read about it here.
You can use Brake Cleaner instead of the Gas…I´t basicly the same as the coleman fuel…
If you buy it in lage 10l bottles it costs nearly nothing.
we´vebeen doing this for years now
Greets from Austria
Heya Walter, the use of brake cleaner has been mentioned before in the comments. I have no real use experience with it, but some people warn me about the high toxic gasses it will create. I have no idea what the labels say of the fluids. But it might be good to do some research.
For us there is no use to try and find another fuel other than gasoline, as all the other stuff is nearly impossible to find in remote places.