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Author Topic: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly  (Read 448 times)

Offline rick_p

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One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« on: May 25, 2021, 10:13:15 AM »

Hi everyone,

I have an old Western Holly stove, probably from the 50s, and has always been so reliable, but recently one of the burners, the front right, the one we use the most, wonít self light. The front and rear burners on each side share a pilot light, which is lit and the rear burner lights normally. There is gas coming out of the front burner, you can light it with a match. I pulled the cast iron burner out to inspect for blockages that might cause and issue but there wasnít anything significant there. The burner slips over two orifices, the orifice on one is a little bigger than the other and it has a needle in the center of the hole, I can tell gas is coming out of that one when I turn on the knob, the other one I canít tell. What else can I check/do to diagnose the problem?

Thanks, Rick

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2021, 07:15:45 PM »
Usually the center burner (simmer burner) is the burner that draws the gas from the pilot to light the burner. If you turn the knob from 12 to 9 (may be 12-3 on that valve depending on rotation), the center only will light. If it doesn't light by match then the orifice or valve has a blockage. Usually it is a small amount of grease has run down covering the orifice. Sometimes you can clean it in place with a fine needle CAREFULLY. If that doesn't work you can remove the orifice and clean it carefully (don't ream it out) and reinstall. I do about 40-50 a month with that issue.

Offline rick_p

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Re: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2021, 10:27:36 AM »
First and foremost, thank you for the tip, this was very helpful. It definitely works now, itís not a first time, every time situation like the other burners, but it lights most on most tries.

I did have to remove the orifice to clean it because a needle would not enter the hole from the outside, the inner Venturi needle prevented that so I went ahead and removed it. I didnít really find much in the way of grease or any other noticeable build up, but the hole is so small I figured the build up might not be visible to the naked eye so I gently cleaned it from both sides with the needle and made sure the Venturi needle was clean as well. When I reinstalled it I noticed that it doesnít have anything to prevent over tightening, and I assume that is on purpose so that the Venturi can be adjusted. On my first try the simmer burner lit and the flame was too high, so I incrementally tightened the fitting until the simmer flame matched the other burners.

Other things I noticed, which may or may not be indications why it doesnít light on every try are, the other valves click when you turn them to the simmer setting (90 degree turn, or halfway point) but this one does not. The other thing I noticed was the pilot light gets higher when you turn on the gas to the burner, that might be normal, but I forgot to check if the other side does the same thing.

Thanks again for the assist, at least we can stop lighting matches.  :)

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2021, 11:03:24 AM »
There is a part in the valve that makes the click when it turns on like a "C" that rides over a cam as you turn the valve. With age the clip wears out as that's the most common burner used. It's all brass and if that's the only issue after 50-60 years you are in great shape.

Offline rick_p

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Re: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2021, 09:10:08 AM »
Iím glad to hear that the wear on the cam is not contributing to it not igniting first time every time. Is there anything more I can do to make it more reliable? It lights most of the time now, hence the reason for the slow reply, but it bugs my wife because sometimes she forgets to look and make sure it lit. Thanks again for the assistance.

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2021, 09:39:05 AM »
You will have to find another used valve and steal the cam and clip to repair. You may be able to change the valve with one not used as much as long as they are the same style. This is the main issue with old stoves as parts are hard to find, but surprisingly there are a lot of them still out there. Western Holly wasn't as popular as say Wedgewood or O'Keefe & Merrit so good luck. I  have over 36 complete stoves I plan on rebuilding and over a hundred in parts. Nothing for yours though.

Offline rick_p

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Re: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2021, 10:36:01 AM »
Hi, and thanks again for your replies. Iím not concerned about the click when turning it on, so I just want to make sure that your suggestion of finding a less worn valve is to solve the intermittent lighting and not just the click? If so, there is an appliance repair shop that may carry some used parts, and if not, it might be worth swapping the least used valve (left rear) on mine with this one as a temp solution.

Rick

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2021, 07:08:18 PM »
The question is the burner won't light all the time or won't light? Won't light all the time then getting another valve may not solve that. Try increasing the amount of gas going to the burner slightly. Looking down, the nut on the valve is part of the orifice. If you open it SLIGHTLY (unscrew it with a 9/16 or 1/2 wrench) it will give it more gas and possibly make it work. Looking down from the top put the wrench at say 10 o'clock and move it to 2 ,that will give the burner more gas. Make sure not to get a yellow flame as it will cause soot and excess carbon monoxide. Also be aware that the valves should turn smooth and have no metal to metal feel, if so needs to be serviced. Good luck. There are only 5 of us in N.CA doing this right now. Not many people will work on them.

Offline rick_p

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Re: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2021, 09:01:32 AM »
It lights nine out of ten times. You may not remember this part but I already removed and cleaned the orifice, and after I reinstalled it the simmer burner lit but the flame was too high, so I incrementally tightened the fitting until the simmer flame matched the other burners, so I think itís getting the right amount of gas. It must be some other minor issue.

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: One burner wonít light - old Western Holly
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2021, 09:07:47 AM »
The hole next to the pilot tube is clear? That sends the gas down to the pilot and makes it light. I am so use to doing these that I don't even think about it most of the time.