Coleman® Model 138
Gasoline Lamp, Undated

Safety Starts Here

See the video on YouTube

Troubleshooting Lanterns & Stoves that
Flame Up.

Contrary to what most people think, Coleman® appliances DO NOT burn camping fuel, gasoline or kerosene. Not one of them do. They all burn the gaseous vapors of the liquid fuel which gives them the small hot flame we need to incandesce a lantern mantle or heat a pot of coffee.

The picture on the right shows Mark B. at an ICCC Convention, lighting a vintage Coleman® military burner. He was not in danger but notice how large the flames were. Had he been at a camp site with children around, or inside a building, it could have been disastrous. After I snapped the photo, all the flames died down and the burner lit properly.

There are two reasons why a lantern or stove will flame up.

1. Flooding. If the appliance is not started properly, it can become flooded. This usually means that the generator if not hot enough to handle the amount of fuel passing through it, which results raw gas or kerosene being fed to the burner. This collects on the inside of the burner until it ignites into a large flame. This is very common with lanterns and often times the gasoline/kerosene will drip from the mantle down on to the frame as it burns.

2. Obstruction. If you have a foreign object between the generator and the mantle or burner, like a spider's nest or and some insect's cocoon, it will stop the gas vapors and allow them to cool. The cooling vapor will return to a liquid state and sit there until it ignites into a fire ball. This is often times what happens with an old stove because the manifold is so large, and bugs love them.

If you are flooding your lantern or stove, please allow the appliance to sit for awhile so that the fuel can evaporate. Sit down and read your owner's manual word-for-word and then try again. If you don't have an owner's manual, please look here to see if I have one that you can print off.

If you are sure that you are lighting it properly but still have flames please click here for lantern help or here for stove help. These links, in addition to the manufacturer's lighting instructions, will explain how to clean and light the appliance safely.

If you are not mechanically inclined or are not comfortable working on fueled appliances, I encourage you to send your lantern or stove back to Coleman® for repair. Click here for more information.

If you get stuck, you can send me an email to, or you can post your question on our Facebook page. Good luck!

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