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How to: Kerosene conversion

Here are the basics of converting a Coleman lantern from white gas to kerosene. The difference in the energy content requires that a small change be made when going from white gas to kerosene to keep the proper fuel/air ratio. It is not difficult and the parts are frequently right at hand, in most cases a reduction in the size of the nozzle is all it takes. As examples lets use the 200/242 single mantle lanterns, and the 220 lanterns & two mantle lamps here. Coleman made examples of each, the 247 could use either white gas or kerosene, as well as the 200A and the 201 lanterns, same design, different generators. The same was true of the two mantle lamps.

The white gasoline 200A lantern uses a 200A generator with a 0.007" tip, often marked #6, in the model 201 kerosene lantern the 201 generator uses a 0.006" tip, often marked TD or #3. To use kerosene in a 200A or 242 lantern all you need do is install a 201 generator or change the tip to the smaller size 0.006". Add a pre-heater cup and treat the lantern as a kerosene lantern. The pricker should not be a problem as long as it came from either a 200 or 201 generator, (the pricker from a 220 generator is too large to use with a 200 or 201 tip).

The generator that was used in the two mantle lanterns and lamps for kerosene is exceedingly rare now, so a bit more must be done to make one up. For a 220 lantern burner or the same burner on a lamp you also need to reduce the size of the nozzle one size but this time it is from 0.008" often marked, V, Q, or C, to the next smaller size, 0.007", usually marked #6, the same tip found on a 200A generator.  Add your pre-heater cup and now treat as a kerosene lamp or lantern.

There has been a lot of discussion about the proper insides of the generator and what is necessary, really I have found that most times nothing need be changed, indeed new manufacture Coleman kerosene generators come with the fiber tube instead of the heavier coil that was used in earlier model generators like the "201" gen. Also if you are using an old generator you can use the "Salvaging a Generator" thread to make your own.

The process isn't complicated and Coleman has offered models in either white gas/kerosene or kerosene models almost all the years it has been producing the white gasoline lanterns and lamps. In some models like the 237 and the 249 Coleman made thicker generators than their counter parts in the white gasoline models (236, 242 & 247), this allowed a longer generator life, and hence using kerosene, even in the lamps and lanterns designed to use either fuel, the use of kerosene will foul the generators quicker than using Coleman fuel, there is an increase in maintenance using kerosene. Kerosene is a heavier hydrocarbon product than white gasoline and leaves behind more carbon residue. Coleman lamps like the model 152 that were designed to use either white gasoline or kerosene used a fuel/air tube in the fount for instant lighting on Coleman fuel, but the generator needs to be pre-heated when using kerosene. There is no need to change the fuel pick up tube in the fount when usig kerosene as a fuel, if it is working properly it acts just like a tube only pick up when the fuel valve is wide open.

Below are some pictures of pre-heater cups. Denatured alcohol is a good clean fuel for pre-heating the generator, it burns clean. Fill the heater cup with your choice of heater fuel and allow it to nearly run out before opening the fuel valve to fire the burner. 

A 249 pre-heating, about ready to open the fuel valve:

A pair of 220 lanterns, one running on Kerosene (left) and the other on Coleman fuel:

Note: With a single mantle lantern like the 201, 247 or 242K or a conversion using kerosene you may find you get better heating of the generator using the #99 size mantle.


Adding this for information from another thread because the topic comes up often:

Interesting topic. Kerosene or Camp fuel I have seen them all smell, but there is no need for excessive odor in pressure lantern/lamp, it is always a leak somewhere or not complete combustion. The two most common causes are a minor leak at the valve stem, and something not allowing enough combustion air, this can be crusty screens, spiderwebs, whatever. I have tracked down the problem in numerous lamps and lanterns to make them either near odor free or odor free when warmed up to "Steady State" (that is when the burner is operating at full temperature). I should mention another stealthy one too, a bad spray pattern (like exiting hard one direction, and causing impingement on the wall of the tube) from the generator nozzle, this causes poor fuel air mixing and reduces the combustion air induction into the combustion air tube.

I used to try and use all my lanterns and lamps in rotation, but found emptying founts got to be too much with the numbers, so I wound up using a select a dozen, half of them on kerosene the other half CF fuel. They received extra attention and not one of them smell when running. These include my Frankenlanterns, user lamps for the house in the winter, and camping stuff. I don't convert CF fuel lanterns to kerosene anymore because I have plenty kerosene models to use, with the exception of the custom jobs, (again Frankenlanterns). But if someone wants a conversion there is nothing more easily successful than a 242/any letter A/B/C converted, for some reason they work our very well and of course the 247 was a duel fuel lantern based on the 242 burner anyway. If one chooses the 200A, just pay particular attention to that U-bend in the burner, it has a tendency to leak vapors, and smell on CF or kerosene.

One thing about kerosene in a Coleman, when it was first talked about on the forum years ago the old guard got all upset, but I think now people realize there are a number of reasons why some might want to use, or know they can use kerosene: price, availability in some areas, safety (in house use), and plain ol fun, just good experimenting fun.


[img][/img] Nevada Ed
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