Friday, April 18, 2014

AGM goodness

Some months ago Fred picked up an AGM lantern for me. I forget the price but it came with a Coleman 220 which I thought was an F but looks to be an E transition, its got an F collar and vent but is stamped E. More on that later, I'm not really a fan of the 220, I think the 228 has a better look, I wanted the pair for the AGM.

Looking at Terry Marsh's site: under early AGM I found the 4614 which AGM made for Sears in the early '30s. Dates are tough on AGMs since they aren't stamped. Anyhow I'd been off lanterns for the winter but lately have been getting back. I've got a couple Colemans I've been working on that were giving me a rough time so I decided to give the AGM a little attention. Its got an integral pump/gas cap arrangement with the typical hard/cracked gasket and dried out pump leather. The leather softened right up in neats-foot oil and I've got some o-rings to replace the gasket. With the pump working the lantern held pressure and flowed air through what looks to be a Coleman R55 generator. It also came with the filthiest Coleman rising sun globe I've ever seen. After quite a bit of work with some Simple Green the globe is nice. It doesn't belong on this lantern since you can't access the generator or light the thing with it in place. I've contacted Fred Kuntz about a proper mica chimney.

Anyway since the lantern held pressure I figured it was worth trying to fire up. With fuel in place and some mantles tied on it fired up with little trouble, I had to crank the cleaning knob a bunch but it was otherwise pretty straight forward.

The thing was it didn't burn right, it'd get real dim, almost go out even, then brighten back up. It seemed like if it was dim and I fiddled with the knob it'd brighten back up again sometimes but sometimes it wouldn't. Overall I knew something was up.

Taking the lantern apart was surprisingly easy, its very similar to a Coleman 220 which of course shouldn't be a big surprise. Even the valve came out easily, considering how clean the tank is that wasn't a real surprise. The lantern was very dirty, I think it must have sat in somebody's wood shop for awhile, it had a lot of sawdust in it.

With the valve out I was presented with the standard AGM bottom end with what appeared to be a dirty screen. Many AGM lanterns have a fine screen on the bottom of the fuel pickup, usually the assembly comes off with a twist. To my surprise when I twisted this one the whole tube twisted.

That explains the poor running, there must have been a crack in the tube and I was occasionally getting a slug of air instead of fuel. I bet if I'd played with it for awhile I'd have found that the lantern ran better on low pressure than high.

The fix is actually pretty easy, I cut apart a Coleman fuel/air tube from a 200A (the bad one from my original 200A) and found that the tube slid nicely over the AGM tube. I cut out the bad part of the tube out which meant cutting off the end and then cutting the bad part back. Before I did that I measured the length of the tube so I could get it back together the same. I don't want the pickup pushing on the bottom of the fount.
Then I reassembled it all with JB Weld. In initially I tried to solder but I couldn't get a consistent solder joint while keeping everything in alignment.

Foam meat trays make excellent frames for something like this since its easy to adjust and get everything in proper alignment. You can see the transition from the very thin AGM tube to the thicker Coleman. Also if you look closely you can see the nub of the AGM air tube, it looks like this should be an instant light lantern.

The downside of JB weld is that it takes a long time to dry, I had to put the end on, then let that dry overnight, then put the tube on and let that dry overnight. Later today I'll polish up the AGM fount, then put it all back together and give it a shot.

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