Vapalux M320 lack of pressure

Discussion in 'Fettling Forum' started by Westfield, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Good evening, new user here.

    A few years back I succumbed to a fit of nostalgia (my dad used a Tilley every night on our smallholding in the 1970s and that hiss and roar is so evocative) and bought an M320 on eBay. It was in decent nick, though not mint, and I was able to light it without any problems that I can remember. I used it happily for an evening in the shed, then I put in away in a dry and warm place (boiler room) and basically forgot about it.

    This evening I hauled it out and tried to light it. I only had a tiny bit of paraffin (Barrettine I think?) left in the bottle. I let the mantle warm until the meths was nearly all gone, closed the air screw and gave it several pumps, but I got no sense of that build in pressure that you usually get, and it wouldn't light. So I have a few questions.

    1) Could it be just insufficient fuel?
    2) I notice that the air screw washer isn't in great shape (see photo below) although the screw feels tight and not loose. I will look to replace it, but could the washer be the cause?
    3) Where is the best place to get parts quickly? Would like to get it going by Bonfire Night...

    Any tips or advice most welcome...

    Thank you,
    Dan
    20201030_193917-25%.jpg 20201030_193920-25%.jpg 20201030_194446-25%.jpg
     
  2. David Shouksmith

    David Shouksmith United Kingdom Founder Member

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    The best place to get seals etc. is The Fettlebox - see advert to the right of the page.

    It sounds like the pump-washer may be dry and need re-oiling - use olive oil from the kitchen. Otherwise a new washer and seals kit should see the lantern back in action.

    Why has it got that 'orrible brass finial on top of the hood? :)
     
  3. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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  4. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    @Westfield

    Welcome.

    I would replace the air screw washer, and probably the filler cap washer as well. Check that your pump leather is oiled and flexible and actually pumping air into the tank.

    You can get a washer kit from The Fettlebox (link to it from this site).

    Cheers

    Tony

    Edit: Crossed with @David Shouksmith & @JEFF JOHNSON
     
  5. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    First time I noticed it was any different to the standard model to be honest.
    Maybe it's the pressure lamp equivalent of fluffy dice hanging from the rear view mirror? :-k
     
  6. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thank you David, Jeff and Tony. I'll appropriate a bit of the wife's olive oil and try the pump leather tomorrow, and probably order a set of washers from The Fettlebox.

    EDIT: are these stoves fussy about what paraffin they use?

    Dan
     
  7. podbros

    podbros United Kingdom Subscriber

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    :lol:.. :thumbup: ... Hello Dan and welcome to CPL !!!

    You have a really well made and reliable lantern that won't take much to get up and running again, so thanks for sharing :thumbup:

    You can also get washers for these from Base camp stoves in Peterborough, although they will probably be closed for t' wkend now... email Ross at fettlebox and ask nicely i'm sure he can help get stuff to you quickly, although they are busy.

    Good luck and keep us posted with how you get on :thumbup:
     
  8. paparazi

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    They are not at all fussy about the grade or make of paraffin, I use kerosene just because it can be bought much cheaper.
    If you don't feel any resistance at all when pumping, pull out your pump and soak the leather in a little 3 in 1 oil, then work the leather outwards carefully to better fit in the pump tube. Sometimes they just dry out and are not subtle enough to seal. Having said that, your de-pressurizing vent seal...that doesn't sound right, but the washer is abviously breaking up.

    Martin
     
  9. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thank you pb and Martin. My local garage has paraffin, so I shall pop up shortly.
    As per advice further up the thread, I have whipped out the pump and removed the leather cup.
    As you can see it is a bit deteriorated but not drastically so. It felt quite hard, so it is steeping in some olive oil right now.
    I will order a new one along with the washers. (I have emailed The Fettle Box to ask about delivery.)

    On a more general point, I am surprised by how mucky the parts are.
    I thought that the paraffin itself is clear.
    Does all this grime indicate a problem?

    20201031_105711-25%.jpg
     
  10. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi Dan - and welcome
    Things can get a bit grubby in the pump, but it is normally just the leather deteriorating a little and rubbing off along with dust dragged in from the outside. It is worth cleaning it as you are there. At the bottom of the pump body there is a non-return valve that screws in. if you have paraffin appearing in there then normally this means the small rubber pip inside it needs replacing. As a full service kit is not much more than washers individually I would get a kit and do the lot. The only difference between most of these bialladin/vapalux/willis and bates lamps is the fuel cap diameter. Ask for a kit with a smaller fuel cap washer.
    Not having much fuel onboard also means a lot more pumping to get the same pressure.
    Looking at your picture the air screw washer has failed. If that is leaking no amount of pumping will help.
    We look forward to seeing your photo of it up and running !
    Cheers
    Chris
     
  11. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Chris, thanks for this. When I unscrewed the pump plunger from the tank this morning there was nothing on the end beyond the leather cap valve that I could see. I removed the plunger from the tank, gave it a brief look, wrapped it up in some blue paper towel, and walked back to the house with it. The only components on it were those in the photo above. There doesn't appear to be a non-return valve attached. Could it have dropped off into the tank?

    But as mentioned earlier, I have used the lamp at least once in the past successfully, so I'm perplexed as to how it could function without a valve.

    Dan
     
  12. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi Dan. It screws into the pump body base (part of the tank) - not on the pump rod. It looks like this:
    vapalux NRV.jpg
     
  13. BigStevie

    BigStevie United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi and welcome to the forum. All the above advice will get your lamp running again sweetly. As Chris mentioned, the non return valve should be replaced. They can be tight to get out, use a decent quality flat screwdriver down the pump tube. I wrap a bit of tape just above the tip of the blade to avoid any possible damage to the pump tube.
    image.jpg
    Good luck with you fettle! Stevie
     
  14. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Pictures from Chris and BigStevie very helpful. Tried getting a big 10mm Wera down there (only thing I have with a long enough shank on it) and surprisingly it fit. I have been able to unscrew it counterclockwise several turns. What do I do now, just carefully invert the lantern and give it a few taps to knock the valve out of the body?

    Dan
     
  15. podbros

    podbros United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Yep! :thumbup:

    Then when it's out you can take it apart!
     
  16. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Well, I have it out, thanks. The o-ring appears to have been left behind in the body. I have ordered a set of long picks and hooks as I can't reach it with any of my existing set.

    As for taking it apart, I can see that it's knurled at the end, which suggests it unscrews, but I'm wary of damaging or crushing the body of it with my grips. How should I go about disassembly and is it a normal screw or reversed - i.e. clockwise to unscrew?

    20201031_144533-25%.jpg
     
  17. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Left loosy righty tighty !
     
  18. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Doesn't seem to want to budge whichever way I try it.
    Is it solid at the end, around the knurled bit?
    Not sure how much pressure I can apply.
     
  19. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    It is hollow so yes you can crush it if you go overboard. I tend to hold the knurled bit in a small vice with wood or rags to protect it and turn the top bit with a screwdriver.
     
  20. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Got a pair of Knipex pliers at either end and managed to crack it open.
    It looks OK-ish to me, but what do I know.
    Worth replacing on principle I suppose.

    20201031_161249-25%.jpg
     
  21. BigStevie

    BigStevie United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Give it a good clean, make sure the spring is doing it’s job and fit a new pip (available from Ross at Fettlebox).
     
  22. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Good man. None of this will be daunting on your third re-build :lol:
     
  23. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Ross kindly helped me with my questions despite it being the weekend, and I put in an order for a full seal kit.
    Now we wait...
     
  24. podbros

    podbros United Kingdom Subscriber

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    :thumbup: ... He's one of the unsung heroes... Administrator and Fettleboxer... not a bad lad really ! ;)
     
  25. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Gentlemen, an update and some questions. Ross at the Fettle Box got the washer kit to me the next day (Tuesday), as he promised, so that was great. My extra-long picks and hooks also came, so I was able to extract the washer for the non-return valve that got left behind in the pump tube when I removed the NRV itself. The new NRV washer and pip went on without any issues.

    Now I am looking at the air release screw cap washer. When removing the air screw I managed to bust the cotter pin. I then pulled out the washer and found that there were not one but three of them. The one on the outside, which is to say the one closest to the tank, was as badly damaged as I had previously thought (it is the one at the bottom centre of the picture). The other two look to be in reasonable shape (they are the two above the damaged one). I replaced the washer in the filler cap itself. The old one looked OK, actually.

    1) Does anybody know what size of cotter pin I need?

    2) Am I right to assume that the cotter pin should be brass, given the harsh environment in the tank?

    3) Does the air screw really need three washers or will one be enough?

    4) I notice that there is/was no washer in the head of the pump plunger, is that how it should be? (I assume the barrel of the plunger fits snugly enough that, in combination with the leather pump cup, it prevents losses through evaporation.)

    5) Should there not be a washer in the pump end cap that can be seen at the far left of the picture? The washer to the right of the white lid in the photo looks to be about the right size?

    6) Finally - thank you for your patience - what is the fat little O-ring used for, the one to the right of the air release screw washer at the bottom of the white lid in the photo?

    20201104_115315-25%.jpg
     
  26. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Quick shot of new and old NRV washers.

    20201103_131707-25%.jpg
     
  27. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi Dan.
    1)The cotter pin is only there to stop you unscrewing the air cap and losing it in the long grass just as the light goes out ! It won't stop you using it for bonfire night. A small piece of wire/paper clip will suffice until you find one. 2 Brass is easier to bend more than once.
    3) There should be only two washers one large and one small in the fuel cap/air screw. I have often found more - that I have to assume is earlier owners not removing old ones.
    4) There is no washer on the pump "leather" end- only the support disc, leather, nut and washer. The NRV valve stops anything coming back up.
    5) There is no washer in the pump cap.
    6) The small o ring may well be the valve seal. - Where the rotary knob goes into the valve (that is not a valve really as it does not stop anything- it is called a jet cleaner in vapalux speak) there is a threaded cap on this. You will need to take the knob off to get to it. After unscrewing that cap, there will be a seal inside it. Dig that out and replace it - all this does is seal the gap where the rod goes into the jet cleaner. if you see fuel leaking from it in operation just nip it up a bit more.

    Don't forget the seals that go a) underneath the jet cleaner, and b) the one that goes under the vapouriser. That should account for everything.

    Chris
     
  28. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thanks Chris, that helps a good deal. I don't think I have the final two seals you mention in this kit. Maybe the larger washer on the right in the white lid above is one of them.

    I am just wondering as I look at the "leather" end of the pump about the little metal disc that goes between nut and rubber washer, which has a daisy-shaped cut-out. It is slightly convex, as can be seen in the photo below.

    I am wondering if the convex side faces the nut or the washer? I think probably the nut, but not sure.

    I also wonder why is it this shape, rather than being like a normal washer...


    20201031_105643-25%.jpg
     
  29. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Yes I thought that looked odd so - I have just pulled pumps out of a M320 and a Bialaddin 315 and both have "normal" brass washers. I suspect your previous owner lost it. It will still work and I agree convex to the nut.
    I am sure the kit has all of what you need. Unscrew the vapouriser and look at that seal and replace it. Then unscrew the Jet Cleaner (the valve) and replace the seal in there. The washers in the kit will be the same size as the ones you are removing.
    Chris
     
  30. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    It's not as if my old dad didn't warn me more than once. "The mantle is fragile" he said. "Don't touch it" he said. So why did I pull it out and plonk it mantle-side down on the table?! :doh:I shall go and look for the spare <sigh>

    I can't find a washer for the vapouriser in the kit. Maybe I lost it. I did replace the jet cleaner valve washer.

    20201104_151546-25%.jpg
     

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