Boler Furnace won't light - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-14-2008, 09:21 AM   #15
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So at this stage, I can lite the pilot and I've held down the pilot button long enough so that the thermocouple is glowing red, once I let go, it goes out.

Sounds like a bad thermocouple. They are very fragile and easily damaged when installing. On the end that goes into the valve (not the flame end), you can damage it very easily if you tighten it down too hard, you only need to tighten it enough to be secure, no more. Otherwise you will squish the element and have to go get another one. I learned this the hard way myself.

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Old 11-14-2008, 09:25 AM   #16
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Your original pilot in your pic is not the thermo couple it was built with....with the original there was a clip that centered the sensor into the blue part of the flame, it must hit the blue part being centered into it...the pilot should turn a dull (with lights off) red and produce about 30 mv to operate the magnet inside the gas valve...Sometime lightly tapping the valve body with a screw driver handle is enough to coax a sticky magnet into the open position once the pilot is generating current for about 2 minuets...If the pilot will not adjust much take off the pilot tube and blow out, also establish the pilot orifice is open its a thimble like structure under the burner assembly which must be removed first...the thimble with its tiny hole slides out from underneath the assembly visable to you as the pilot backwards...the burner is the metal structure you see the flame come out of but is not the pilot itself, rather its the burner and frame for the actual orifice beneath it...the pilot orifice is hidden within...its tiny hole often gets partially plugged up people generally turn the adjustment screw wide open to compensate over the years of use but that causes the gas to exit at to fast a velocity thru a restricted pilot and it changes the heat range of the flame to a cold yellow flame "the clue is a yellow flame" and the inability to get a blue one kills the unit...(Note) do not insert anything that would unplug the hole and increase its size...soak it and blow it out.

I suggest spaying out with carb cleaner and blow out backwards dry.

Lastly if your unit is non oxygen sensor equipped and you can pull together the bucks together or watch eBay long enough consider getting one that has this oxygen sensor.

I got one for 20 bucks being patient.

Have fun camping.

Harry



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I pulled my furnace from my 76' Boler today to try and fix it. I think its a suburan catalytic furnace. It has the common issue that some have experienced where the pilot lights but won't stay on. Is there anyway to tell in this photo or otherwise if the thermocouple is defective?

Aside from the thermocouple being abit dirty, it seems to be in tack and good shape? No? Anyways, I sourced a universal 'White and Rodgers' Thermocouple from a local RV place for $11 so I will pick one up tomorrow and install it back...after cleaning it up abit of course.
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:29 AM   #17
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Sounds like a bad thermocouple. They are very fragile and easily damaged when installing. On the end that goes into the valve (not the flame end), you can damage it very easily if you tighten it down too hard, you only need to tighten it enough to be secure, no more. Otherwise you will squish the element and have to go get another one. I learned this the hard way myself.
Jake, I understand what you are saying. But I have installed a new thermocouple, the furnace did lite at first, now it doesn't. I haven't tampered with the thermocouple since installing the new one so I can't see it being that.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:32 PM   #18
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Jake, I understand what you are saying. But I have installed a new thermocouple, the furnace did lite at first, now it doesn't. I haven't tampered with the thermocouple since installing the new one so I can't see it being that.
Hi Khoa -

What I am saying is that it is very easy to damage the thermocouple during install, and that it is a possibility you have overtightened it. I have done this myself when replacing a new thermocouple, it is very easy to damage it. I ended up having to buy yet another new thermocouple - be very careful you don't tighten it very much on the valve end.

If the pilot stays on when the button is depressed, and then doesn't stay lit after, then the problem is somehow associated with the thermocouple function, not the pilot components. Either the thermocouple is bad, or it isn't positioned in the pilot flame enough to get heated. To test if the thermocouple is working correctly, you should be able to heat it with a simple butane lighter for 30 seconds - that is enough to make it work correctly.

Remember that just because it worked briefly doesn't mean it still is functioning......

Good luck on your troubleshooting...



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Old 11-14-2008, 01:12 PM   #19
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Is it a mechanical thermocouple? That is one that actually moves something on the furnace end of the thermocouple.

OR

Is it an electrical thermocouple? That is one that sends a very small voltage to the furnace end of the unit and in this case, the furnace end should be cleaned – both the thermocouple and where it installs inside the furnace part. It must be absolutely cleaned to get rid of any corrosion so it will make a great electrical connection.

In all cases, the thermocouple flame end MUST be in the pilot flame to keep it hot. Can you adjust the pilot to put out a bigger flame?

Crap Shack sells a contact cleaner that is around $16 and comes with 2 very small spray cans that are the size of a tube of lipstick. It is the absolute very best cleaner and prep on the market and well worth the $16. If your furnace uses the electrical one, go and get this set of cleaner and use it. Do not be swayed by the bigger can of cleaner for 1/4 the price.
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:28 PM   #20
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Crap Shack sells a contact cleaner that is around $16....
Don't you mean "Phone Shack"? :exasperated by the missing-in-action real Radio Shack:
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:42 PM   #21
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I'm old enough to remember when they sold a cardboard radio with wood grain printed on it and other crap of the same quality so the name just seamed to fit and I can't get it out of my head.

I was in a Crap Shack in Augusta, GA and it was being wired by a professional alarm company and I asked the manager, Hay, Why ain't you guys using your own product and he stated it was not good enough for a business and I said Oh You just sell it to home owners to protect their lives. He had a BLANK look on his face.
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:03 PM   #22
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Thanks for all the comments and replies thus far. I appreciate your incite.

Darwin Maring, I believe I have an electrical thermocouple. What I will do is take some pics and maybe you can tell me for certain. From my knowledge, the couple heats up by the pilot flame and creates a voltage that acts like a magnet which then acts like a switch opening or closing the gas valve?? correct??

I am almost certain that I have not damaged the couple. In fact, where it connects to the main furnace assembly(not the other end where the pilot flame is), it is just finger tight.

I'm thinking of using electrical contact cleaner to clean the end where it connect to the main body of furnace. standby for pictures.



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Old 11-15-2008, 08:34 AM   #23
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I have the electrical one on a home water heater and went through the exact same problems U R having and did not solve it until I used the cleaner.

You can actually measure the voltage using a Digital Multimeter. The voltage is very very small.

I also used a butane torch to help heat the flame end of the thermocouple during troubleshooting.

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Old 11-15-2008, 02:03 PM   #24
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I got the manuals out to my home water heater and here is what I found.

With the thermocouple off the unit and a mill voltmeter attached to the electrical end and fire applied to the pilot end, my thermocouple on my home water heater reads 9.9MV and 1.9MV

If you have “Safety Switches” on the furnace, they work in conjunction with the thermocouple and if there is a bad one, it will cause the pilot to go out.


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Old 11-15-2008, 05:12 PM   #25
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Here is picks of the furnace assembly taken out. Hope this makes sense to some who are looking at it.

furnace
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:23 PM   #26
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Here is picks of the furnace assembly taken out. Hope this makes sense to some who are looking at it.

furnace

Hard to tell much from photos - you need to troubleshoot it step by step. That being said, it appears as though the aluminum line (visible in the second photo) has severe gaps around the fitting - looks like it would leak gas like a sieve - is that the pilot line? May or may not be the source of your problem, but certainly should be carefully looked at - it looks very dangerous as it is......
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:54 PM   #27
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That being said, it appears as though the aluminum line (visible in the second photo) has severe gaps around the fitting - looks like it would leak gas like a sieve - is that the pilot line? May or may not be the source of your problem, but certainly should be carefully looked at - it looks very dangerous as it is......
Yes Jake, the aluminum line is leading to the pilot light.
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:24 PM   #28
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It is important to use either a Teflon Tape that is especially made for gas lines and it is yellow or a thread sealer when you screw in any line that passes gas. The thread sealer must not be on the first 2 sets of thread so you do not get any debree inside the gas regulator.

Do Not use the tape or sealer on the Thermocouple connections.

Note: It appears that you have 2 thermocouples. 1 for the pilot and another for the thermostadt. So my question here is: Is the thermostadt one ok?

Did you do a voltage check of the pilot one?

Also: Be sure to mix a small amount of liquid dish wassing soap with some water and once you have everything sonnected and the gas turned on you drip this liquid over all gass fittings to make sure you DO NOT see any bubbles forming. Add the wash liquid to the water and stur very slow so you don't whip up so many bubbles in the first place as to make it almost impossible to use in the test.
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