Help with Kerosene Torpedo Heater.

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by Jason Pallas, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,335

    Anyone know much about these. I've got a unit that starts and blows but then doesn't ignite and shuts down. I'd say it sounds like an ignitor problem - but I've never taken a peek inside these things. Any help is much apprecaited.
  2. rockytopp

    rockytopp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 120

    They have an igniter that goes out some time, could be something as simple as a loose wire, also usually when they start properly, then go out as you describe it can be just pump adjustment, or even a bit of dirt in the line or pick up, .
    I would just remove the covers and do a visual check and see what you can, loose wire, dirt, obstruction in fuel line, It should have the bleeder marked so play with that,but remember a small adjustment can be the diffrence of running or not. so easy does it. They are fairly fool proof as far as messing them up by accident. could be just bad contacts on the connections, slide them off and on a few times to make good points of contact. you can try it with out the cover around the pump and igniter for a short burst to test. Good luck.
  3. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,335

    Thanks for the help. I'll give those things a try. Before it died, it would take 2 or 3 tries to get it to start up.
  4. lucforce

    lucforce LawnSite Member
    Messages: 223

    Make sure that you have fresh kero through the system.
  5. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    it's probably the igniter and or flame sensor. Some have both and some use the igniter as the flame sensor too. look at the igniter while it's trying to fire. if it is not full red all the way across it then it's bad. if it is nice and red then it's a fuel problem. that's about it without looking at it.
  6. dutch1

    dutch1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Jayhawk
    Messages: 2,248

    Go to for troubleshooting guides and parts. Most of the salamander heaters are made by DESA and you should be able to find help there. I worked on a couple last year for friends and both were short on vacuum for pulling fuel from tank. Most of these heaters have two plugs on the back of the vacuum pump, one for vacuum adjustment and one to be removed for installation of a vacuum tester. Both of the ones I serviced were pulling a little over 2 psi of vacuum where they were to be 3.5-3.7. You may also want to check the fuel filter in the tank as a dirty filter will readily have an effect on the pump's ability to acquire the proper vacuum.
    As has already been mentioned, check igniter and photo electric flame sensor as well.

  7. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,335

    Thanks for all the help guys. I finally got a chance to look at it today. I've got spark/ignition. It's actually a sparkplug that's the ignitor. And.. the fuel nozzle is spraying what appears to be a good mist. So, I've got fuel and spark but the spray doesn't ignite into a flame.
    Here's where I thinkt the problem may be. We've been using Diesel Fuel instead of Kerosene for the past couple of years as I was told it was fine to do so. I've emptied out the fuel tank and replaced the old fuel with new diesel - however still no luck. I think the problem is the fuel. I took a flame and put it to the fuel - it wouldn't ignite at all (although it seems to run our tractor fine). I'm wondering if Kerosene has a lower flash point and/or if the diesel I have has too much H2o in it or something. Any thoughts? I'm off to the gas station to get some K-1
  8. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    i still thinks it's ignition.
  9. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,335

    Well - the new fuel didn't do it. There's spark and there's spray but it won't ignite. I even took a propane torch to it to see if I could ignite the spray. No Luck. Now, my theory is that the PSI needs to be adjusted/tested as I understand that the atomization is critical. As much as .5 PSI can make a big difference.
  10. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,335

    Finally!! Success! There was a small hairline crack in the blower/vaccum housing. This caused the PSI to less than what was required. Thus, I got spray - but the spray from the nozzle was too lean. I patched the hairline crack with some 2 part epoxy stuff (after I found it with some soapy water) and that was enough to do it. I HAVE IGNITION and FLAME and HEAT!!! Thanks you guys - your help sent me on a search for a troubleshooting guide on the net and this led me in the right direction. MUCH APPRECIATED!! I love this forum. I can't tell you how much I learn here.

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