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  View original topic: How-to: Rebuild Westy stove valves (lots o’ pics)
zippyslug31 Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:29 pm

I found the flame control on my stove was pretty unpredictable and lighting it sometimes was an adventure. Seemed like one of the burners didn't want to stay lit when I turned it down too far. Also seemed like the control knobs on the front would occasionally bind making it difficult to light. I couldn't find much written up on the subject other than the occasional comment that it could be refurbished. I assumed something made entirely out of Unobtainium was probably worn out and would require an expensive replacement. I was happy to find out that a little cleaning was all it really needed.

The only “specialized” thing you’ll need is a small amount of heat and propane-resistant type of grease to lube up the parts. I read about rebuilding an old Airstream stoves and the suggestion to use something called “HyHeet Graphite Grease”. I found tube of it on fleabay for under $15 and now have enough to do approximately 1 gazillion vans since the tube is WAAAYYY more than you need for a single service.
My notes on other lube options: one guy suggested using 3-in-1 oil but I personally wouldn't want to run the risk of blowing my van (and myself) sky-high if it leaked. Also learned petroleum jelly isn’t resistant to propane so it will leak. Axle grease? Maybe but could be too thick and might plug orifices. Apparently LP specialty stores sell another acceptable grease so one could check with one of these vendors.

Anyway, on with the job....


- First depressurize the system by turning both stove knobs to full ON to release pressure. Be sure you have enough ventilation. After the pressure is depleted be sure and turn the knobs back to their off position (important!) and then turn the valve on the tank to the closed position.
- Pull off the stove’s two flame control knobs; they should come off pretty easily by just pulling them straight off by hand.
- Unscrew the hidden nuts behind the flame control knobs.


- Unscrew the two screws attaching the LED display plate.


- Remove the 3 screws on bottom edge.


- Unscrew 1 screw around each corner at both ends (one above rear table and one behind driver’s seat); both of these are covered with trim caps.


- Carefully remove the front panel by first pulling the bottom toward you and then slightly down and away... it’s connected to the stovetop by a channel at the top edge of the panel. You can also gently pull up on the stovetop to separate the two. If it helps, you can also remove refrigerator's face (5 screws with trim caps) to make some room but that probably isn't required. Be aware that the LED panel inhibits much outward pulling. You need to work the LED circuit board slowly back through the hole in the front panel so its wires remain attached.


- Now with the valves exposed, use a sharpie marker and put a mark on the TOP of both valve end caps. This is to help orient everything for reassembly. (Trust me on this, I had to pull my valves apart a number of times to get everything back together correctly)


- Unscrew the 2 small screws holding the valve end caps in place; be careful of the little spring that is hiding behind these end caps.


- With the end cap removed, this will expose the end of the brass gas controller. If you didn't move this during disassembly, it should still be in the OFF position. Mark the top of this with your sharpie so you know how to orient it when you re-assemble the valve.


- Pull this brass part out of the valve body and lightly chuck it into a drill so you can polish off the old, varnished grease. I read somewhere that some people use a gritty toothpaste for the abrasive. That might work, but I just used a mild metal polish. Do NOT use sandpaper to clean the brass as this will scratch up the mating surfaces and you will probably ruin the sealing effect!


- Unscrew the flange nut connecting the gas line to the valve body; separate from gas line.


- Pull valve body straight out from range assembly.


- Very carefully pry off the circlip holding valve body to the hookup pipe. I had a circlip fly off into outer space so proceed cautiously.


- Pull the valve body away from the pipe. Notice the tiny fuel jet hole in the exposed part of the valve body.


- Clean this jet hole and the holes in the brass controller using carb cleaner & compressed air. Pay extra attention to the pinhole in the brass controller (it’s a tiny hole in the middle of a depression). Don’t cram anything in these small orifices, just back-flush them with the carb cleaner. I got little wads of grease out that had been clogging my system when I did several passes.


- Once cleaned, apply a small amount of grease to the entire contact surface of the brass controller. I tried to keep the pinhole and ⅛” hole (I think this is the “full flame” orifice) clear to avoid clogging it with grease. I also put a dab of grease on the inside of the valve end cap to lube the shaft for the flame control knob.



- Reassemble the brass controller into valve housing using, minding your ‘up’ direction marking.
- Add spring and reattach valve end cap again minding which way is ‘up’. Be sure you line up the ‘T’ end of the control knob shaft with the slots in the end of the brass controller. Failing to do so with bind up the brass controller when you tighten the 2 little screws (ask me how I know this!). Before you fully tighten the little screws just make sure the shaft still turns.
- Reinstall the rebuilt valve into the pipe using circlip, and that back into the range assembly. Reconnect the gas line.
- Repeat the above steps for the other valve. I believe both valves use the same parts but if you want to be safe, do them one at a time or keep them separate.
- Spray your gas connections with soapy water and turn the gas back on at the tank. Look for bubbles indicating leaks.. Fix any leaks before continuing.
- Temporarily replace the flame control knobs and verify correct range operation; admire how much better your stove now works from high all the way down to low.

Extra credit: I’d also suggest verifying that the OFF setting really isn't leaking any propane (listen, spray with soapy water, etc)

- Remove knobs again and reattach the front panel reversing the various steps. Due to the short wires on the LED circuit board it might help to grip it with some needle nose pliers to help pull it back through the hole.

I'm now happy with the linear progression of the flame (and my lowest setting even stays lit... imagine that!), the knobs are butter-smooth, and lighting the burners is much less of a “surprise”.

Corwyn Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:49 pm

Excellent write up. Not an issue I need to address yet, but great for future reference.

randywebb Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:58 pm

my LED and switch sub-panel has a big white AMP connector on it - but I can't get it apart, and can't find any secret tabs, etc. to 'unlock' it

any ideas?

fairport11 Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:11 am

How to repair replace stovetop valve. Mine will not move, cannot push in and turn.

jackbombay Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:01 am

Sweet write up!

One of my burners goes out when you turn it up from the lowest setting unless you do it really quickly, I imagine this procedure will fix that!

zippyslug31 Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:45 am

fairport11 wrote: How to repair replace stovetop valve. Mine will not move, cannot push in and turn.

Try removing the valve stems. Could just be gunked up.

zippyslug31 Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:46 am

jackbombay wrote: Sweet write up!

One of my burners goes out when you turn it up from the lowest setting unless you do it really quickly, I imagine this procedure will fix that!


Thanks.

Yeah, mine worked fairly "random" as you describe before servicing. Now they have a nice, progressive flame.

atomatom Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:52 pm

nice writeup. i cleaned one of my burners that was yellow and making soot and stink. now nice and blue.

however, the flame still goes out when i turn it all the way to the right (lowest). i think it needs more cleaning.

also, two observations.

1) this small jet hole needs to point back towards the burner. duh obvious yeah. well, yeah.



2) you may need to give the front panel a bit of tapping (down) to loosen it. mine was rusted on. i'll give it some paint and love before it goes back on.


i used a very thin smear of disc brake grease. i don't think this was a good choice, but wasn't sure what else to use as it was not easy to find valve grease.

jimf909 Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:13 pm

Terrific reference and a good candidate for the FAQ list (if it's not there already). Bookmarked. Thanks!

dishrag Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:55 am

Great information!

My stove is not inconsistent, it just has a low flame. Will this job help me?

Also, do you think I can use anti-seize lube ("contains petroleum distillates, synthetic base oils, copper, graphite" 2,000 degs F)

I guess if I do this and the flame is still low, my other options are a new regulator, or enlarge the gas jet orifice?

Thanks



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