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Old 01-04-2005, 10:14 PM   #1
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Exclamation Can't light furnace pilot light? (again?)

Sory if this is a dupe - \the internet gods may have just eaten my last attempt.

On the start of a long journey in Argosy, first trip.

The furnace pilot light will not light. I've lit and ran everything else in the Argosy. Ran stove burners for awhile to make sure lines were clear.

Lighting the furnace: followed directions: Ran blower for five minutes, lp gas off. Opened furnace view window/ lighting hole. Turned on manual valve for lp gas to furnace. Pressed reset "button" while holding many lit matches in oriface for most of a box of matches... I don't hear gas. I don't smell gas. Nothing is blowing out the match. Nothing is happening, except I'm getting tired of sitting on the flooring trying to see into a 1" diameter hole while wondering what I'll do for heat. Supposedly this was serviced 6 - 8 months ago.

Do we pray to Wally Byam for this, or is there a separate furnace god?

Any suggestions? What else to try? Could the line be clogged?

Please, and thank you....

Matthew
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:34 PM   #2
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Can't light furnace pilot light? (again?)

Greetings Matthew!

The furnace on my Minuet can be temperamental - - I have never been able to successfully light it with a match. I have always used a camp-stove lighter - - it typically takes a minute or more of holding the lighter in the pilot opening. I have yet to hear the gas or the pilot lighting make any noise on the furnace - - I never really feel certain until I close the observation port and see the blue glow.

What I am suspecting is that the LP pressure regulator may be part of the problem. Either the furnace or water heater became temperamental in my coaches about the time the LP regulator was identified as failing.

Since the servicing was prior to your acquisition of the coach, it would be hard to tell exactly what was done absent an invoice. If the furnace weren't actually removed, inspected, and bench tested; it may need to be subject to that service - - I had this service performed on my Minuet before trying the furnace as I serisously suspected that its heat exchanger would be condemned - - as it turned out the furnace just needed a thorough cleaning.

The one last thing that I can think of. Is the exterior LP valve in the open position for the furnace - - on my '78 Minuet this valve is on a line attached to the bellypan just below the furnace's location.

Good luck with your Minuet!

Kevin
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:02 AM   #3
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Thermocouple

Hold the stick lighter directly below the thermocouple.

eventually the gas should flow because you have essentially fooled the thermocouple / gas valve.

If there is no gas flow, you probably have one of a few problems;

Sometimes there is a service valve below the belly of the coach. The valve is to allow you to remove or service the furnace (check to make certain valve is open)

If the service valve is open and there is still no gas flow, the thermocouple is not providing indication to the furnace gas valve.

If you hear the furnace gas valve open (you should hear the click noise of the valve open) Thermocouple and valve is good but there is no gas coming through the line.

My first two checks would be look for service valve and second, verify operability of thermocouple.

Smily
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Old 01-05-2005, 09:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew&Gigi
...Any suggestions? What else to try?...
I had a similar problem with my furnace when it was reinstalled after the refurb.

Even after lighting the cooktop to get as much gas in the line as possible, I knew it was going to take a while to fill the furnace's gas line. Between being too lazy to hold the button down, and uncommonly comfortable working with gas fired devices, after making sure the thermostat was OFF, I lit my trusty propane torch on a low setting (no inner flame) & stuck it in the little hole instead of a match.

In time, the thermocouple got hot enough to flow gas to the pilot. What I found surprising was the amount of effort it took to actually light the now flowing gas. The pressure at which it was being released seemed to try & blow out the flame being used to light it. Sure, part of that was air in the line, but the furnace pilot has to have a little bit of gusto since, in normal operation, a fan is actually blowing gases out of the combustion chamber.

Now when I light my furnace, I use a propane match, and am careful to hold its flame to one side of the pilot so the flame does not get blown out.

Tom
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:32 AM   #5
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Thanks Kevin , Smily, and Tom -
My manual valve (under the bellypan) is open. I do hear the click of the valve opening when I press the reset "button" (shouldn't it be called a plunger?). I have an automatic changeover regulator on my tanks - and everything else is running ok. Sooooo....

I'll use my inlaws butane lighter gadget, and work up to Tom's propane torch from there. Considering I a use a oxy/propane torch on a daily basis, I'm pretty comfortable with that.

A question - does the thermocouple send information even when you're lighting the pilot? It has to be warm to get enough gas even for the pilot? That seems really interesting to me, when no other appliance is like that.

The more I know, the more I have to learn!!!! Speaking of - I have all of the PO's receipts... I'll do some checking. Seems like NOW I know what I should have looked for, or at least been aware of.

Thanks all - I'll give this a shot in the next hour or so.

Matthew
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew&Gigi
...A question - does the thermocouple send information even when you're lighting the pilot? It has to be warm to get enough gas even for the pilot? That seems really interesting to me, when no other appliance is like that....
Oops, my lazy approach may have misled you. The "reset button" could be more accurately called a "pilot light gas manual override button".

The thermocouple, when properly heated, produces a tiny electrical charge. This charge is enough to open a valve which allows gas to flow to both the pilot light, and the main burner. When the thermocouple is cold, the valve is shut.

So, when you want to light the furnace, you must press the button to allow gas to flow to the pilot light so it can be lit to warm the thermocouple. After the thermocouple is hot, the button can be released because the voltage from the thermocouple has opened the internal valve.

My approach simply skipped the part about using the Airstream's propane supply (available only by holding the button down) to burn to warm the thermocouple.

Tom
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:56 AM   #7
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mixed results...

Ok - didn't wait long, gave it a try... here's the results.

Butane lighter (long BBQ type) - no results. Propane torch... not really anything. No flickering pilot light, no almost a pilot light - just not anything that i could see.

So -- being whatever it is that I am, I used propane torch as pilot, kicked on the thermostat.... furnace lit up, no problem. So... what now? I recognize that once the furnace shuts down, I'll still have no pilot light, most likely. Is it an air/fuel question with the pilot light, and I should play with that adjustment? My furnace looks to be running ok (albeit a pilot) so I'm getting propane to the furnace...

Help!

and thanks - Matthew


Edit:
New results: Went back out to check furnace, and of course, the furnace had kicked off once up to temp, blower was running, no pilot. So - looked at receipts from PO, found that pilot assembly/replacement had at least been paid for, probably replaced. So, following the lp line from bottom of pilot, there's an in-line valve to the left of the furnace. I opened it about 180 degrees, and tried to light the pilot light. It worked, no fuss, no muss.

So, great.

But - why would it be installed, but the valve not opened enough to work? I don't know if PO ever used furnace, thermocouple looked like it had been heated (it was black, slightly crusty) - but that may not have been replaced. I guess I just wonder if this is an indication of anything else.

Well, so at the moment, I seem to have heat.

Thanks again - Matthew.
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Old 01-05-2005, 11:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew&Gigi
...I'll still have no pilot light, most likely. Is it an air/fuel question with the pilot light, and I should play with that adjustment?...
The pilot will only have a fuel adjustment screw. I do not recommend you play with it because it is probably not your problem. If, however, you decide to 'speriment, make sure you remember where its original setting was.

I had a similar problem of the same nature. Although I could light my pilot, and it would in turn light the main burner, when the thermostat signaled "warm enough", not only would the main burner go out, but the pilot light would too.

Resisting the urge to tinker with the screw, I removed the pilot light & cleaned the jet (it has two, small orifi instead of one, big one). Viola! No more trouble.

Tom
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Resisting the urge to tinker with the screw, I removed the pilot light & cleaned the jet (it has two, small orifi instead of one, big one). Viola! No more trouble.

Tom
Oh - that actually sounds like fun. I'm a little pushed for time now - that will be my next plan, I'll do that in the next day or so. That should be simple, and I'll get to really understand what it all looks like a little bit better. Thanks Tom!

Matthew
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