About a year ago I received a Coleman 523 stove for my birthday. The stove was used and had seen better times – scratches, small dents and missing parts. However gas tank held pressure and burner assembly seemed to have all parts in place. The only problem: almost everything was seized up.
Finally my vacation time came along and I decided – I will fix the stove and bring it back to working order no matter what. Initially I tried to take it apart in a civil way – some anti-seize lubricants, gentle pressure, WD-40; but with little result – most parts were still seized. So I took it to my friend and after few more gentle attempts all pretense of civility disappeared and the blow torch came in. I got to say, the blow torch seems to fix anything and everything that is seized. Side effect of such terrifying force is broken graphite seals/bushings. Fortunately for me, the stove had some spare parts included and missing parts were ordered from oldcolemanparts. After few days of waiting, cleaning and fitting everything back, the stove was ready for testing. Initial testing left me completely devastated – gasoline was leaking from valves, the only consolation prize was the fact that I stopped short of lighting it up, otherwise the stove would have turned into a gasoline infused bonfire. I didn’t know what to do, so I took it back to my friend, who in his infinite wisdom added automotive seal to both valves. This time around the stove started up… but some what intermittently – vaporizers were dirty. No big deal, less than an hour later vaporizers were replaced and stove was reassembled. This time around stove lightened up wonderfully and after warm up, blue flames were steadily burning along with gasoline hissing.
Working on such an old technology gives out pleasant feeling of simplicity and infinite possibilities – everything is straightforward, accessible and fixable. Of course any old tech comes with price tag – it must be maintained, adjusted and they all have quirks. I bet modern burners require less attention and probably work better under different conditions. In any case I’m very happy with the experience and the stove. I think I’ll run it again before lubricating and storing it.