Old Martin Industries Floor Furnace problem


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Old 12-29-09, 05:55 PM
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Old Martin Industries Floor Furnace problem

I have a Martin Industries gravity floor furnace (model 1430-18T). It's started being finicky about coming on. The pilot light stays on but the furnace won't come on right away. Sometimes it comes on after a while, sometimes not for hours. The new twist is if I take the register off and bang on the heat exchanger it tends to come on, though sometimes I need to flick the draft door (that exposes the limit switch tubing) a couple of times first, then bang it. Weird.

- I've jumped the thermostat but that doesn't turn it on.

- I've jumped the limit switch, that didn't do it either.

- The gas valve has obviously been replaced (so at least it's not original).

- I went under the house to clean the pilot light orifice and thermocouple (and use a VOM on the thermocouple) but I can't get to it! The gas valve is on the outside but the pilot assembly is inside the housing and I don't see any way to remove a side or bottom panel and get to it.

Any ideas? I can't find any Martin Industries manuals online and the Empire Comfort and Cozy Comfort ones are similar but not quite the same.

How do I get to the pilot light and thermostat? Any idea where I can find a manual for this unit? Martin Industries doesn't exist anymore.

THANKS!

P.S. I just put a 1.5v battery across the thermostat wires and the burner lit. When I opened the circuit it shut off. So I definitely need to get to the pilot light and thermocouple....BUT HOW??
 

Last edited by maddogprod; 12-29-09 at 06:34 PM. Reason: Additional info
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Old 12-29-09, 07:05 PM
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You don't have a thermocouple, this is equipped with a pilot generator, which is probably in need of cleaning. Where in Ca do you live? If PG&E is your gas provider call them.

The whack on the hx was only a helping hand. That indicated the millivolt voltage is weak at the valve. Now it could be only a dirty pilot or a poor connection, wrong t'stat, poor splice or loose connection. This is where your meter is your best friend.
Are you able to take millivolt reads? If yes...with the tstat calling for heat take a read across the tstat on the 2 terminals where the wires attach. Record that read. Now go to the gas valve and take a read across the 2 terminals where the tstat wire attach. record that read. Next take a read across the terminals where the pilot generator wires attach. Record that read.
The battery added voltage thats why the valve opened. Whewwww
 
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Old 12-29-09, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by maddogprod View Post
BUT HOW??


Yes, you need to clean the pilot burner and pilot orifice.

As to how, that's one of the mysteries of the furnace repair trade.

Post some pictures and perhaps we can give you some ideas.
 
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Old 12-29-09, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mbk3 View Post
Where in Ca do you live? If PG&E is your gas provider call them.
As far as I know, PG&E will check it but not fix it. It would be nice if I'm wrong, but....
 
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Old 12-29-09, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
Yes, you need to clean the pilot burner and pilot orifice.

As to how, that's one of the mysteries of the furnace repair trade.

Post some pictures and perhaps we can give you some ideas.
I'll take some photos but it won't be until Thursday, unfortunately.

Not much room down there. In fact, the dirt is excavated a bit so the heater can be in there. It looked like it was all screwed together, but I'll see what I can see and take those photos.

THANKS!
 
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Old 12-30-09, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by maddogprod View Post
As far as I know, PG&E will check it but not fix it. It would be nice if I'm wrong, but....
chances are PG&E will be able to make repairs if no parts are required. What city do you live in?
 
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Old 12-30-09, 09:46 AM
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I'm in Oakland. a while back PG&E was here to relight everything after they broke a gas line and the guy said the pilot light was low, wouldn't go higher, and the orifice should be cleaned but he didn't offer to do it.
 
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Old 12-30-09, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by maddogprod View Post
I'm in Oakland. a while back PG&E was here to relight everything after they broke a gas line and the guy said the pilot light was low, wouldn't go higher, and the orifice should be cleaned but he didn't offer to do it.
Well as long as there is access he should do the job. Believe me I know! Call them back.
 
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Old 12-31-09, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mbk3 View Post
Well as long as there is access he should do the job. Believe me I know! Call them back.
I just talked to PG&E and they said they do safety checks but "don't clean pilot lights or work on furnaces."
 
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Old 12-31-09, 12:22 PM
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UPDATE:

I got back under the house and found the screws that let me drop the bottom housing pan. I couldn't get the generator unscrewed or the bracket that the pilot and generator are mounted on (I need an angled screwdriver I don't have) so I cleaned the generator and blew some air through the pilot assembly. VOILA! The furnace comes on.

When I get to the hardware store to get the angled screwdriver and it's not New Year's Eve so the parts store is open past noon, I'll take it off, clean the pilot better and get a new generator since it's only a matter of time.

Thanks for the support!

MD
 
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Old 12-31-09, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by maddogprod View Post
I just talked to PG&E and they said they do safety checks but "don't clean pilot lights or work on furnaces."
I find that very interesting, since they presently sell and install thermocouples, line valves and flex connectors. With plans to increase the parts they sell and install. You may wish to call back and speak with a supervisor & inform them THEY DO work on gas appliances and have for probably a hundred years. Please understand I know of what I speak.
 
 

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