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Old 01-24-2015, 04:13 PM   #1
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1971 31' Sovereign
Indian Wells , California
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Can't get the oven burner to light

The oven in my '71 was missing all the interior shelves and the glass was beyond repair so I bought an oven from a 1969 on eBay. Different glass and handle but that's ok. Well it arrived damaged so now I'm trying to make one good oven from two.

I have it out of the AS to bench test it. The problem is the pilot lights fine. When I turn on the oven the pilot sends the flame to the thermocouple and that's where it stops. I waited 5 minutes and nothing happened.

What should I try next? I'd doesn't need electricity to work does it? Only for the oven light right?

Thanks.
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Old 01-24-2015, 05:51 PM   #2
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The oven in my '71 was missing all the interior shelves and the glass was beyond repair so I bought an oven from a 1969 on eBay. Different glass and handle but that's ok. Well it arrived damaged so now I'm trying to make one good oven from two.

I have it out of the AS to bench test it. The problem is the pilot lights fine. When I turn on the oven the pilot sends the flame to the thermocouple and that's where it stops. I waited 5 minutes and nothing happened.

What should I try next? I'd doesn't need electricity to work does it? Only for the oven light right?

Thanks.
Two possibilities.
1. Even though the pilot extends to heat the thermocouple it may not be hot enough. Clean the pilot assembly. The orifice (TINY TINY hole) if partly blocked, could cause a pilot that looks good but not hot enough.
To clean, remove the gas line to the pilot. Blow air into the pilot assembly from both sides. DO NOT use anything to poke the orifice hole. It is a soft metal and enlarging the hole with give an unclean burning flame.
2. The Thermocouple may be bad. Replace it.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:39 PM   #3
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I can't get either of these ovens to light.

Both pilots light. The '69 has a steady blue pilot flame. The '71 pilot flame is erratic, sometimes with an orange tip.

The knob on the '71 turns easily and the '69 is hard to turn.

The '69 sends a flame to the thermocouple but won't ignite. The '71 won't even send the flame to the thermocouple.

I can switch the thermocouples and see if that works. Googling the model numbers on the plate come up with nothing
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:33 PM   #4
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Can't get the oven burner to light

If you have a steady pilot that stays lit. Standing pilot ovens really had no safety mechanism for the pilot itself.
The thermocouple detects the pilot flame and signals the gas valve with 20 millivolts. There is a small solenoid inside the gas valve. Which will open the valve if there is a signal. If you have the control knob set above off and that part of the valve works . The burner should light.
You could have a bad thermocouple. You may have a bad connection where the thermocouple connects to the valve.
Disconnect the line from the valve and clean the contact area on the end. Also clean the contact area inside the valve.
The other option is to replace the thermocouple with a new unit. But a clean contact point inside the valve is a must.
Are you sure you have enough gas pressure? 11" of water column is required.
The reason I ask is that the gas pressure is the one thing in common on both stoves.
I would say the odds of having the same problem on both stove are slim. So look for something that is common to both stoves. ie gas pressure.



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Old 01-25-2015, 09:46 AM   #5
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I'm using a propane tank from our Weber bbq. I can feel it sloshing around so I think there's enough to make them light.

It looks like the thermocouple goes into a something near the burner. I think I read it's a safety valve. Could that be the problem? I read on the internet that somebody had the same problem and the safety valve was stuck. Different model oven, but I figure they all mostly work the same.
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:07 PM   #6
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If it is near the burner it's probably just the bracket that holds the thermocouple.
I am thinking the thermo couple tube goes up to the valve where the knob is to set the oven temp. Which is under the top cover.
I believe the gas line comes into that area.
Are you using the regulator from the BBQ? Or one from the coach?
Have you checked the gas pressure?
Can you follow the route of the main gas line that provides fuel to the top burners as well as the oven?
Can you follow the thermocouple line up to where it connects to the safety valve?
Have you disconnected the thermocouple from the safety valve and cleaned the contact areas?
I would fill the propane tank to be certain I have fuel in the tank.
Can you post pics of what is under the top cover? Specifically the area behind the knobs.


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Old 01-25-2015, 01:42 PM   #7
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Many oven thermostats and controls of that era used a double pilot light system. I don't know if yours does but it can be confusing as to how it operates and where the problems are. This is the sequence in those types of system:

The "little" pilot light stays on all the time. It may be controlled by a "pilot off" position on the main knob, or it may have a separate valve which can shut it off totally. So, once there is gas to the "little pilot" you have the first step in control.

When you turn the oven knob up to say 350 F, the little pilot ignites a "big pilot" which heats the thermocouple. When the thermocouple is hot enough it generates a small current which opens the gas valve (see TGT's post) and lets gas into the main burner.

I believe (from memory only) that the thermostat actually controls the "big pilot" only and cycles it on and off which then cycles the main burner on and off via the heating of the thermocouple. HOWEVER... the "big pilot" may come on anytime the oven control is anywhere but off, and the thermostat actually controls the electricity from the thermocouple. At this point I have forgotten, and actually both systems may have been used at some time.

I had one oven which would work on both the little and big pilot light but the main burner took 20 minutes or more to ignite. It generally only happened when the oven had not been used for a year or more. Once it started to work, it would continue to work. I figured it was a sticky main valve, but it might have been a weak thermocouple.

On your unit, I would replace the thermocouple (not just exchange it) with a new one as both units are 45 years old. Thermocouples are cheap. And realize that any other part in a 45 year old oven control system may be bad, on either oven, or both of them, so substitution may not give you results.

Best of luck, they can be both confusing and tricky to diagnose and repair, and remember, I am not even sure if you have a double pilot light system.
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:55 PM   #8
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Both of these ovens use a double pilot. The '69 will make the pilot stronger to touch the thermocouple but the '71 won't.

Maybe the bbq regulator won't allow the oven to work but I don't know why. The bbq has 4x the burners the oven has. I haven't cleaned any oven parts yet.


Arrow points to where the thermocouple goes into the safety valve


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Old 01-26-2015, 12:41 PM   #9
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Smile

I couldn't get my oven to light either, until...I found a gas shut off underneath the stove top burners!
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:21 PM   #10
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In reading about RV ovens, it seems this oven does not have a thermocouple.

The wire that is coming from the safety valve was broken just inside where it screws into the valve. That is what I thought was the thermocouple. That wire is fixed in the valve and is not replaceable.
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Old 01-28-2015, 08:10 PM   #11
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Not only is it not replaceable, the Harper Wyman 5828 safety valve is no longer made because it contains Mercury. There must be a new valve to take it's place but I can't find it yet.

I can have the old one rebuilt but I'm starting to lean toward remodeling the kitchen with modern appliances. I love the vintage look but it's becoming a hassle.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:30 AM   #12
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I couldn't get my oven to light either, until...I found a gas shut off underneath the stove top burners!
Would your pilot light light before moving that shut off or was there no gas going through at all? My pilot light lights and it appears the thermocouple lights but the main burner doesn't so I'm wondering if I just missed something this small.
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