Coleman® Model LQ427
Born in September, 1925

Reference Pages

My daughter's perspective, 2004

What is in this stuff?

Never loosen the fuel filler cap while the lamp/lantern is burning.  Turn the appliance off and allow it to cool first.

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"The lantern exploded when one of the teens was lighting it. All four people were burned, but got out, he said. Two were flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. Two were taken to University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center. The explosion bowed the side wall of the house about eight inches. The fire had burned itself out by the time firefighters from six departments arrived. This was the third white-gas lantern explosion in Geauga County in the last 20 years, Komandt said." -Parkman Township, Ohio, 2010.

Rebuilding Coleman® Single Mantle Lanterns

Chapter Two: Cleaning

The sequence of cleaning parts is not important. Some of the chemicals and procedures described below can damage nickeled parts. Please use caution.

2.1 Clean the small parts.  Separate nickel-plated parts from brass, steel and aluminum ones and clean them separately. Nickel plate can be damaged by acids and you should use caution when using them.

If you wish to clean the soot, dirt and varnish off of your lantern parts, I recommend using a bead-blast cabinet, soaking them in white vinegar (acetic acid) or in naval jelly (phosphoric and sulfuric acid). Since most people do not have a bead-blast cabinet in their garage, I will use chemicals for this example.

Acids can burn you.  Please use with caution and read the manufacturer’s warning labels before using.  Click here to access our Safety Data Sheet (SDS) pages for additional information.


White vinegar is the easiest way to clean parts. It may take some time, but it works well. Using naval jelly is faster but it is also quite messy. Both vinegar and naval jelly will damage nickel plate if allowed to sit too long.

I strongly recommend that you do not soak a single-mantle lantern valve in vinegar. The tip cleaner stem packing is still inside the valve body and submerging it in a liquid can cause damage. If your valve stem packing is still in your valve stem nut, don't soak that in vinegar either. Clean these parts with naval jelly, or just use a metal brush and carburetor cleaner on them.

The lantern's pump handle, pump cap and ball nut are probably nickel plated. You can clean them with vinegar or naval jelly as described below, just use caution. Do not use a wire brush on the pump cap.

An aluminum or nickel-plated frame rest can be cleaned with vinegar or naval jelly, but do not use any sort of wire brush on it. If the frame rest is painted, I recommend spraying it with a general household cleaner rather than soaking in vinegar or naval jelly.

Place your selected small parts in a small glass or plastic container, then pour in enough vinegar to submerge them as shown in Figure 1. Allow them to soak for an hour or so.

Brush naval jelly on to the parts selected for this method as shown in Figure 2. Allow them to sit covered with naval jelly for 30 minutes or so.

Figure 1
Figure 2


Remove the parts from the vinegar and/or naval jelly bath and rinse them with water. Take a small brass or wire brush and scrub each part well as shown in Figure 3. Rinse again with water and clean them with a rag. If you want a shine on the brass, use 0000 steel wool after cleaning. Parts cleaned with naval jelly will not have the pinkish hue that vinegar will give you. The U-tube in Figure 4 was cleaned with naval jelly while the burner tube was soaked in vinegar. Note the pinkish hue of the burner cap, caused by the vinegar.

Figure 3
Figure 4


2.2 Clean the pump assembly.  Lay out the pieces of your pump.  If there is any dirt or grease left, spray the part well with carburetor cleaner and use a toothbrush to clean it.

Pay special attention to the pump cap.  The plating is very thin, and you will end up with a brassy-looking cap if you're not careful. Spray household cleaner rather than carburetor cleaner and use a soft brush. You'll need to be persistent to remove that dark ring around the center hole. Also use a cotton swabs to clean the under-side where it contacts the fount.

2.3 Reassemble the pump assembly.  You want to assemble your pump now so that you can soak the pump cup. Slide the pump cap and return spring on the pump plunger.  Thread the backing plate on the bottom of the pump shaft with the raised side facing the bottom. Snug with pliers.

Place the pump cup on the end of the pump.  Center the shaft in the leather hole and install the lock nut or push-on nut over it.  Pull the outer edges of the pump cup back to form the shape of an umbrella (Figure 5). 

Lower the leather pump cup down into a small cup of Neatsfoot or other light oil.  Ensure that the entire leather cup is submerged in oil (Figure 6).  Allow the Pump to set this way for at least an hour. You do not need to do this step with a rubber or plastic pump cup.

Figure 5
Figure 6


After soaking the pump, wipe off the excess oil.  Pat-dry the pump cup and blow-out the oil trapped inside the pump shaft.   Set the pump aside.

2.4 Clean the fuel & air tube.  Remove the fuel and air tube, spring and metering rod from the vinegar bath. Rinse in water and place them on a cloth.  Hold the tube with one hand and spray carburetor cleaner into the large end (Figure 7). Take the metering rod and insert it backwards, up from the bottom of the tube (Figure 8).  Move it in and out numerous times to dislodge any varnish inside the tube.  Remove the rod and re-spray inside the tube.  Repeat this process a few times to ensure it is clean.

Figure 7
Figure 8


Blow compressed air into the little end to remove the cleaner and corrosion. If you don't have an air compressor, shake the tube with the large end down to remove as much cleaner as you can, then blow through the tube from the little end as hard as you can.

Clean the metering rod with steel wool and wipe it clean with a cloth.  Because the spring in the fuel and air tube is normally compressed, it will lose tension over time.  Revitalize the spring by stretching it just a little bit. Pull on both ends to expand it, just enough to see a noticeable gain in length.

2.5 Clean inside of the fount. Fill the fount with hot water and shake it around.  Observe the water as you pour it out.  If you can see dirt or rust in the water, continue the wash cycle until it comes out clear.

Shake the fount vigorously, removing as much water as possible from the inside.  Shine a flashlight into the fuel hole and look in the fuel filler cap hole at the inside-bottom of your fount.  A clean fount will look like bare metal or have a cream-colored painted look to it.  If you can see heavy rust or a black crud inside, use abrasion and/or vinegar to break it free.

The “abrasive” can be small screws, nuts, washers, BBs, etc.   Pour these small metal objects into your fount and shake them around.  Shake hard enough to break the corrosion free, but not so hard that you leave dimples.

Continue to wash, shake and rinse until the inside of the fount is clean and as rust-free as you can get it.  Shake vigorously one last time to remove most of the water. Pour some stove alcohol in the fount and shake it around, then allow it to completely air-dry.    

2.6(a) Clean the outside of a (painted) fount.    Removing dirt, grime and oxidation from a lantern’s paint job is no different than if it was an old car.  You must use caution, however, as rubbing compound is abrasive and you can rub too much.

This is particularly true if you have a decal on your lantern.  Rubbing compound can take the ink right off the decal and leave it white.  I strongly recommend you not rub on the decal with anything more than a spray cleaner and your finger.

Start by spraying the fount down with a household cleaner as shown in Figure 9.  Be sure to spray the inside of the pump cylinder too.  Give everything a good soaking.  Take a soft damp rag and gently remove as much dirt and grime as you can.  If you have a heavy black deposit (varnish) somewhere on your Fount, take your time and get it off with cleaner.

Use a toothbrush to scrub the inside of the cylinder until it feels smooth.  Hold the fount upside-down and spray the cleaner up inside to rinse the grime out.       
Open a can of automotive rubbing compound and spray in some cleaner to soften it up (Figure 10).  Rubbing compound is very abrasive so use it sparingly until you can see how it is working.

Figure 9
Figure 10

Lightly dab an old toothbrush into the rubbing compound and use it to clean around the fuel filler hole and the pump cylinder hole.  Use a soft damp rag and a circular motion to apply rubbing compound to the rest of the fount. 

With a clean soft rag, rub the dried rubbing compound off the fount and buff to a shine.  If the compound does not want to come off, give it a quick spray of cleaner and try again.  Use a dry brush for the pump cylinder and filler hole.  Follow this with polishing car wax to really make the fount shine.

2.6(b) Clean the outside of a (plated) fount.  Nickel plated lanterns that have been exposed to the elements are often dull and sometimes are rough to the touch.  Nickel is not as durable as you may think and lengthy exposure to dirt and moisture often damages it. 

Don't forget to add the nickeled parts of your lantern to this cleaning process.

Start by spraying the fount down with a household cleaner.  Be sure to spray the inside of the pump cylinder too.  Give everything a good soaking.  Take a soft damp rag and gently remove as much dirt and grime as you can.  If you have heavy black deposits (varnish) spots on the fount, take your time and get them off with cleaner.  Use a toothbrush to scrub the inside of the Pump Cylinder until it feels smooth. 

Caution:  You can destroy a nickel finish with corrosives if you’re not careful.  Don’t allow any nickeled part to soak for more than 10 minutes at any one time. Rinse the corrosive off each piece with warm water when you are finished.

If your nickel has a little shine but appears to have a haze over it, this will often times come clean with a soft cloth and vinegar, followed by good hand-polishing with a metal polish as shown in Figure 11.

If the nickel is dull and feels rough, you can clean it up a bit using a product like Lime-a-Way® or CLR®. Personally, I prefer Lime-a-Way® because it is gooey and sticks to the nickel well.  Use whatever cleaner you like, just remember that it can destroy the plating if you don’t use caution.

Pour the cleaner on the fount and completely cover it with a generous layer (Figure 12).  Allow it to set for not more than 15 minutes.  Gently rub with a soft rag or sponge.  You can repeat this process as many times as necessary but remember that excessive exposure to the cleaner can destroy the nickel. Once you have cleaned the fount, rinse well with warm water to remove the cleaner and allow it to dry.

A fount that feels rough usually has lost some nickel. Once you clean it you may have brass spots showing though.

Figure 11
Figure 12

Shine your nickel-plated parts by hand.  I have used numerous metal cleaners and polishes with similar results.  Metal polish will not necessarily bring back the original luster of the nickel, but it sure will look good. Figures 13, 14 and 15 were all cleaned and shined with the processes described above.

Figure 13
Figure 14
Figure 15

2.7 Clean the frameTake note of what the outside-bottom of your frame looks like.  It will match your frame rest. 

If you have a "Black Band" model 200A from the early 1950s, exercise extreme caution if you use naval jelly on the frame because it will remove the paint on the bottom of it.

If you have a nickel-plated fount and frame rest, the bottom of the frame may also be plated. Use caution not to use wire brushes as they will scratch the finish.

Naval jelly really works well to clean blackened and/or rusty metal parts like lantern frames.  Apply a generous coat of naval jelly to the entire surface and allow it to soak for 20-30 minutes.  If you have excessive rust or dirt you may need to leave it longer.  Use a small stiff brush and scrub it well. Once you have finished, wash it with water and a soft brush. Immediately apply a light coat of oil to avoid rusting.

2.8 Clean the fuel filler cap. The original cap should match your fount, either plated or painted. Clean the cap (and screw if applicable) as you did the fount. I recommend you always use a new fuel filler cap when operating any stove or lantern. If you would like instructions on how to remove and replace the filler cap gasket please click here.

2.9 Clean the valve wheel and direction disc. If you have a model 242* or 243* lantern, simply spray the valve wheel with cleaner and wipe it clean.  For all other lanterns, set the valve wheel and direction disc down on your workbench and soak them with cleaner.  Hold the direction disc in the palm of your hand and gently rub the face of it with your fingers.  Do not rub hard as the lettering will come off.  If some of the dirt is too hard to remove, leave it alone. Use a toothbrush to clean the valve wheel, paying attention to the groove where the disc sits. 

2.10 Clean the globe and ventilatorUse warm soapy water to wash the globe.  If you find stubborn dark spots on it you may find that Lime-a-Way® or CLR® will remove them.  If you have a white hazy spot in the glass, that is a mantle burn and it will not come out.

NEVER use an abrasive cloth or “scrubber” on the ventilator. 


Clean the ventilator as you do the globe, in warm soapy water. Clean the soot from the underside too. Use a soft towel to dry it. Abrasives and harsh cleaners will dull the porcelain enamel and ruin the nice look.

Your lantern is now clean and ready for re-assembly.

Part I: Disassembly

Part II: Cleaning

Part III: Reassembly

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