The most likely causes.
Please check these in order.
1. A cracked fount or tank. Fully pressurize the appliance (keep it pressurized) and look closely for damp areas, and listen carefully for signs of air escaping. If you note either you MUST investigate to locate the source. If you find any crack in the tank or fount, it is irreparable and must be turned into a display piece or scrapped.
2. A leak around the valve. Continue keeping the stove or lantern pressurized and look for fuel dampening the area around where the valve enters the fount or tank. On a stove this will be easy and obvious. With a lantern you will have to get a flashlight and look inside the frame rest to see the valve/fount connection. If there is a damp area around the valve hole, you have a leak that must be repaired. Please refer to our rebuilding pages to accomplish this.
3. A Bad fuel filler cap gasket. This is probably the reason for your trouble. After many years the rubber in the filler cap insert loses the ability to seal properly and no matter how hard you tighten the cap, it will continue to leak.
How to repair cause #3. If you have a "standard" lantern like a 200A or a 220E, or a "standard" stove like the 413F or 425E, I recommend you replace the fuel filler cap with a new replacement type, part number 220C1401. You can get this cap in most good sporting goods stores or you can order it from Bob's Old Coleman Parts.
If you have a lantern with an odd-sized filler cap like a Quick Lite or a 242C, or similarly and odd stove like the 500 or a cabin stove, you will have to contact Bob for a reproduction filler cap gasket. If you have a standard lantern or stove and want to maintain originality, he also carries those gaskets. In either case please note that if your cap does not have a screw in the center, it cannot be repaired.
Once you have a replacement filler cap insert gasket available:
Tighten the cap as much as you can with your fingers. This will lock the insert and gasket down on the fount so you can get the screw out. With a flat-tip screwdriver try to remove the center screw as shown above on the left. If something seems to be "slipping" it means that the cap is too loose and you need to tighten it more. If you can't tighten it enough with your fingers, gently
use pliers. When the screw decides to let go you will feel it "pop" free. Remove the screw and take the cap off. The insert will stay on the fount as shown above in the right picture.
Take that insert outside, along with some eye protection, a fire extinguisher and a propane torch. Find an appropriate spot to burn the insert; I use a fire brick but a well-hidden spot on concrete will work. Just find a spot where you won't start a fire! The old gasket may spit at you and will be very hot so make sure you are wearing
that eye protection.
Set the insert down on the burning surface with the gasket facing you as shown above on the left. Light the torch and start heating up the insert. It is brass so don't worry about the heat damaging it. Apply direct flame to the insert and watch the old gasket get real uncomfortable like in the above right photo. It should move and turn like an old dying snake. Once you see it lift and crack and begin to turn to ash it is probably done. The insert may glow and that is okay. Leave to cool until you can stand to hold it in your fingers.
The old gasket should be easy to remove now. Use a thin and sharp tool to remove the crisp remains as in the above left photo. I also use a dental pick for this and it works real well. You have to make sure you get all of the old gasket out. Don't stop until the groove is clean-bottom and both sides. A wire brush will assist you at the end. Once it is clean it will look like the insert in the right photo above.
Now you can install the new insert gasket. Ensure the gasket fits absolutely flat on both edges, all the way around. Just work with it and it will finally all sit down correctly. When done it should look like the gasket in the photo above.
Now place the insert on the lantern or stove, and slide the cap over it. Tighten the cap only snug and then re-install the center screw. Tighten the screw until the insert starts spinning and then tighten the filler cap down. Now you can finish tightening the center screw and you will be done.
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