2002 (april) Coleman 286A

Discussion in '286, 286A' started by BarbaraB, Aug 19, 2022.

  1. BarbaraB United States

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    Calgary, Alberta
    Hi Everyone. I just joined this forum a few days ago when I started looking at getting my first Coleman lantern. I have other kerosene lamps and lanterns, but never had a pump lantern. I was looking for a workhorse to take camping, to use on the balcony, that sort of thing. Well, lo and behold, it seems that this could quickly get addictive. I turned to my local FB Marketplace, finding that there are a lot of Coleman lanterns for sale. Some model numbers kept being mentioned over and over again, while others seemed maybe a bit rarer. So, I binge watched Old Town Coleman and found my way to this forum.

    My first post was asking what lantern to buy. And a big Thank You is in order for everyone who responded with such detailed information. I soon learned how active this forum is, and appreciated all the info as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the plethora of information on here.

    In the end I picked the lantern that appeared to be in the best condition - a 286A made in April 2002. It came with a case, which I also really wanted, and I paid $45 CDN for it (about $35 US). Amazon is selling the lamp without case for $100 and the case for $40, so having no idea I thought that was reasonable. Maybe one of these days I'll find one of those $5 garage sale finds as well, but for now this has been a fun learning curve.

    I really wish I had taken photos of what it looked like when I got it - glass covered in soot, case caked with dust, and some junk inside the collar. I started with a deep clean. Car wax on the tank, magic eraser and vinegar on the glass, Brasso scrubbed with a toothbrush on the generator, and compressed air through the generator (when the inside was removed) and burner assembly. The check valve and plunger looked great and didn't need to be oiled. It really looks like these people just used it a few times and had it sitting in their garage. A couple of mantles came with it, and I'm waiting for a new 4-pack to get here.

    Now, never having lit one of these before, that first night was a bit of adventure. Thanks to whoever wrote that long, thorough safety post as reading that made me feel more confident before taking the first lighter to it. It felt like the lantern was at least half full of fuel, so I didn't change anything there. Pumped it up, primed the mantle, and played with it. Seemed alright, but after a while it pulsed a little. I didn't know at the time whether that meant pressure was getting too low, something wasn't burning clean, or whether it's defective. So, back to this forum.

    I took everything apart again, dumped the old fuel (ok, not literally dumped, it went into a glass jar for recycling at the fire hall), put in some new Coleman camp fuel, swished and dumped, repeated that again for good measure, and filled it up with 600mL. This time I made sure to check the plunger (all was clearly oiled), took apart the generator after watching more YouTubes (was happy to see that it easily came apart and that I didn't break off the needle), focused on cleaning metals and ensured that nothing is blocking any of the insides (compressed air has become my friend today - and no, I didn't take it anywhere near the pump/plunger).

    Onto lighting it again after making sure that my new gallon of fuel is stored far away and anything used to clean up a minor spill from filling it was also gone. Primed the mantle without the glass on this time (whew, definitely better process). Tried lighting it and now there is no hissing sound. Checked The Old Town Coleman Center . I'm confident the generator and burner assembly are clean. The only parts I hadn't taken apart are the valve assembly ... but the lantern worked yesterday. Thoughts?

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  2. Hanzo

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    Great pick for a first Coleman. I have a 286A, it will make a nice camping lantern. Take care of the gold top mantles you have as they are valued thorium mantles and no longer made. Its just a matter of sorting out the repair issue which as you do will help you grasp Coleman lantern operation stand you well for the future.

    A fool proof way of lighting Colemans is to remove the vent and globe. Take a propane torch and warm the generator with it for a minute making sure you keep the torch moving on the gen. Turn on the valve slowly and light. It will light without flames, popping etc. every time.

    Sounds like you will become a Coleman lantern nut. lol Enjoy the journey.
     
  3. BarbaraB United States

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    You were right, @Hanzo , slowing down and some sleep did the trick. Set up my sequence of events for the morning after reading feedback received here overnight. Looks like the culprit was a combination of the jamb nit not being on tight enough and perhaps lack of "real" preheating of the generator. I wasn't sure how long to preheat, so this time took a big lighter to it for a minute with the globe off and lit it with the globe off (only tried with globe on previously) as per your suggestions. Amazed at how easily it lit up. Thanks so much again for helping a newbie out here the past few days with questions that I'm sure come up over and over again. It's definitely been a great learning process and I now feel confident to tackle whatever issue I may run into in the field. Feel like I know this lantern inside out now, lol. And can't wait for darkness tonight, followed by taking it camping in a week. And yeah, I can go nutty about things like this, lol, but suppose it could be worse addictions. I also do stained glass, so spend a fair amount of time cleaning metals and dealing with hot soldering irons. Fuel has always been more out of my comfort zone, but playing it safe and learning I also feel better with that now.

    Regarding the gold top mantles though. That honestly freaks me out a bit. I had read about the radioactive mantles, but when I saw that the lantern is from 2002, totally dismissed that and figured these would definitely be new enough to no longer contain any radioactive elements. The mantle that came on the lantern was an immediate discard and I'm sure I touched it with my bare hands. Then it came with a package of two and I definitely didn't wear gloves to tie the string. I broke the first one during all of my tinkering, so put in the second one (and last one I've got). Quite frankly, I'll remove it (with gloves) as soon as my Made in China green top Colemans get here. The first one I had put on I primed while the globe was one, but the second one I did yesterday I did really slowly to be very gentle on it and it probably took 2-3 minutes. Eek. And my lone strawberry bush and tomato plant were right to where I worked. I understand it may be a 1 in a million risk, but I have a very extensive family history of cancer (due to genetic mutations), so will replace the mantle and eat my 5 lone strawberries and tomatoes. Not a total loss though as I learned so much these days. Will try to get action shots tonight and then post to the Action Gallery.

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  4. Hanzo

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    Your welcome Barbara. Your enthusiasm for lanterns comes across. I think you have found a new hobby and have the capacity to really enjoy it. Let's hope the 286 is the first of many Coleman's that put a smile on your face. lol
     

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