Recently, I picked up a Coleman 222A lantern. It was made 1 month before my trusty 400A backpacking stove which I’ve been using since I bought it new back in 1987. When it arrived, I looked it over and it was in excellent condition, especially considering it is 30 years old. I tied on a mantle, turned it to ash, added fuel and it lit right up. After a minute or so I saw fuel leaking around the valve, so I shut it down and let it cool. A leak . . . what a perfect excuse to tear this lantern down and see how it is built!
I took off the valve knob and noticed a retaining clip around the valve stem. I removed it and was able to easily pull out the valve stem which means this lantern doesn’t use a graphite packing. Instead it uses an O-ring for the fuel seal. Okay, well, no big deal. I’ve already seen this on newer Coleman backpacking stoves and while they don’t seem to deteriorate, they do get flat on the mating surfaces, and therefore stop sealing and need to be replaced. I did some research on the Coleman Collector’s Forum and learned that there are two, blue, flourosilicone O-rings in this 222A lantern, one on the valve stem and another inside the valve on the low end of the eccentric block which is used to stop fuel flow, that is, used as the On/Off control. I ordered up some #005 and #009 O-rings from McMaster-Carr.
The use of O-rings in GPAs (Gas Pressure Appliances) seemed to have begun in the late 1970s for Coleman. Its use wasn’t consistent across Coleman designs since my 1987 400A used a graphite valve stem packing even though the lantern, made a month earlier used O-rings. Are O-rings a curse or a blessing? If you have or had a Coleman Peak 1 stove made in the early-to-mid 1980s you’ll recall that they came with a wrench and an instruction sheet directing the user to re-tighten the packing nut after a few uses. The reason is that the packing is relatively soft initially and it needs to be compressed properly before it gets hard later on. O-rings don’t require this and in some designs, like this lantern, don’t even have a nut to hold the valve stem in place. From Coleman’s perspective I can imagine that it seemed like a good idea, because they no longer needed to ship wrenches with the stove and lanterns and didn’t need to worry about the user forgetting to tighten the packing nut. On the one hand, gone were the graphite packings which lasted for 50+ years, but on the other hand they replaced them with O-rings which lasted less than half of that but were considerably more serviceable. Upon my first encounter with the O-rings I thought it was dumb idea, but now I kinda’ like them. This would be an even better idea if Coleman still supported these products by selling the O-rings, but unfortunately, they do not. Sigh . . .
The early 222-series lanterns, 222 and 222A were made in Canada. Later models, like the 222B, 226, 229 and 3022 were made in the US or Canada, and if interested, search the Coleman Collector’s Forum or Classic Camp Stoves forum for more detailed information if you want to know more.
I was wondering which mantle was appropriate for this little lantern. On the label it shows a #20 mantle which I’ve never used before, but a #21A worked okay for me. One thing I learned was that the Canadian models show a #21 mantle, which is apparently smaller than the #21A mantle (common in the US) and frequently referred to as a #21. However, some people noted that the Canadian #21 is smaller than the #21A and the same size as the US #20.
The lantern is relatively easy to disassemble having a fairly straight-forward sequence. Remove the bail (handle), ventilator (top) and the globe and set them aside. Lift out the heat shield which will reveal the 11mm nut holding the baseplate of the burner assembly to the tank. After removing the nut, lift off the burner assembly and then the steel tube/spacer which covers the threaded rod. Using a pliers and something to prevent damage to the threads, such as a piece of rubber or leather, remove the threaded rod. Next remove the valve knob, and using a 13mm wrench, remove the generator and tip cleaner. All that should be left is to remove the valve assembly. I use a strap wrench and a 13mm wrench (see photo).
Valve Assembly Parts
You can change the valve stem O-ring without removing the valve assembly, which could be useful if you’re out in the backwoods and have the spare O-ring with you, but since I’m at home and am replacing one O-ring I might as well replace both. You can’t replace the O-ring on the eccentric block without removing the valve assembly so I’m replacing both now before it fails. Removing the eccentric block requires removing the fuel pickup tube which I did after removing the valve stem and placing the valve assembly upside down in a bench vise and, using a pair of pliers, removed the fuel pick up tube. Peel off the two O-rings and replace. Reassemble everything in the reverse order of disassembly. When installing the valve assembly in the fount (tank), use a sealer, such as Permatex Aviation Form-A-Gasket (my preference) or Permatex #2. Finish reassembly, and give it a go. Check for leaks, and turn off the lantern if you see fuel leaking from anywhere and fix the problem.
Valve and Tip Cleaner Operation
When I fired up the lantern I noticed that the lantern would light between the Off-and-middle positions and between the middle and all-the-way-On positions, but it basically turned off in the middle position as well as the Off position. What’s happening is that when in the Off position the eccentric block O-ring shuts off all fuel flow. In any position other than that the O-ring is lifted out of the fuel pickup tube and allows fuel to flow to the generator. In the middle position, the fuel flow stops because the tip cleaner needle blocks the generator opening.
So, that’s it. Not too difficult to make this little lantern safe and usable again.
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