1950s Coleman Oil Burning Heater for Trailer Coach

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Old 05-03-18, 05:07 PM
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1950s Coleman Oil Burning Heater for Trailer Coach

We were given a trailer from 1956, and it has one of these heaters in it. It's model #700. We are trying to figure out how it works, as it gets very cold here. We called Coleman, and were directed to call a RV parts company. They in turn directed us to call Johnson Controls. I called Johnson Controls, and they told me they took over the heating and air conditioning portion of Coleman in the 80's, so this heater was way before that. Does anyone know anything about these heaters? We mainly need to know how to use and maintain it. We have pictures but it won't let us attach them, we can send them through email.
 
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Old 05-03-18, 08:48 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

I thought all the Coleman 700 series units were portable. If that is the case..... replace it.
Definitely going to need pictures... How-to-insert-pictures
 
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Old 08-01-18, 03:16 PM
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RE: Coleman "oil burning" Heater. Sorry for the delay... Here are some photos

Sorry for the delayed response. Forgot my wife and son posted this for me here. It's a late 1940's/50's Coleman Oil Burning Heater. I'm going to try and put some "Type 1" oil in it soon and try to fire it up. I'm adding very little fuel to be safe.

Wife called Coleman, who said they had no clue and referred her to rvparts.com. Rvparts.com had no clue, and referred her to Johnson Controls. Johnson Controls said it was an old late 1940's to early 50's unit, but had no clue. They just told her these were probably well made units and it might actually work. It's going to be getting very cold here where we are living off grid now, and this unit boasts 30,600 BTU's, so we are hoping we can get it working.

It has an electric fan blower, a propane connection that leads just outside the trailer, and an empty, but very clean Type 1 oil tank in it. It seems by the soot and wear, it wasn't used very much. The inside of the 1950's trailer itself looks as though it came out of a time machine. Vintage boxes of Pinesol, shiny chrome toaster and deep fryer with instructions in it still. Woodwork in most of the trailer looks like it did back in the day, albeit some spots where rain leaks ruined some of it.

Anyway, if there are any ol' scholler's out there that know more about it, we would love the information! Thanks!

~ Andrew Clark

Contact info: Send me a PM.
 
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Old 08-01-18, 03:30 PM
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I'm not an oil guy but that is not an oil burner like you're thinking, That is almost like a kerosene heater and if you look on the front plate..... it runs on #1 fuel which is stove oil or kerosene. It will not run on #2 home heating oil. I'm guessing that unit may have some type of wick in it. That appears to be a gravity feed system which means the fuel tank needs to be higher than the burner.
 
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Old 08-01-18, 08:05 PM
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That is what was called a vaporizing "pot" burner. It does NOT have a wick like most kerosene heaters but instead the heat from operation causes the pool of oil in the bottom to vaporize and it is this vapor that burns, quite well I might add. I have no idea of what the propane connection may be unless someone at one time tried to convert it to burn propane and that would not have been successful. This could explain the soot.

It has a "constant level oil valve" on it, what some old timers called a carburetor although it is NOT in any way a fuel-air mixing device. This is the somewhat oval-shaped device on the left in the third picture.

Could you post several more pictures, from farther away or using a wide-angle lens so I can see more of the entire heater? I've never seen this particular type but I have had some experience with pot burners, albeit more than fifty years ago.
 
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Old 08-01-18, 09:59 PM
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Thanks for the info Furd..... much appreciated.

I thought that may have been a propane connection but didn't see how propane could work in a unit like that. It only draws 1.1A so there can't be much electrical in it besides a small blower.
Was I correct in that it's a gravity fed unit ?
 
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Old 08-02-18, 07:05 AM
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Yes, it is a gravity feed for the oil, the tank bottom should be a minimum of four inches above the "oil line" cast on the side of the constant level valve for best operation. There may be a trip lever or reset lever on one end of the constant level valve as well and it will trip closed if the supply tank runs out of oil. This is to prevent oil entering the combustion chamber after refilling the tank. The knob on the top of the constant level valve is to adjust the firing rate by limiting how high the interior float will rise and thereby limiting the depth of the oil pool in the combustion chamber.

To light, reset the trip lever and turn the knob to the lowest firing position. Look in the chamber and as soon as you see some oil entering the chamber drop in a lighted match. Paper matches are better than wooden matches but either will work. Best if you can get the unlit end of the match in the oil but not the head as the oil will likely just put out the match. Once the oil starts to burn you can slowly raise the firing rate as the heater warms up until it is burning well at the desired heat output.

The blower is not for combustion air, just to help circulate the air around the shell.
 
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