I have a old model Danby propane oven. So old that I can't find any repair videos online for this type of oven. It has no electrical components - it doesn't plug in at all. It has four burners on the stove top that work great. But the oven doesn't heat anymore. I've taken out the oven burner tube and it didn't look plugged or dirty. I did put a pin in each hole along the tube but didn't notice any crud. I put the pin down the propane intake that attaches to the burner in case there was a block but that didn't make a difference. The pilot light works fine. When I turn on the stove the propane light gets bigger but it usually doesn't turn on the burner. Sometimes it does for a moment but it doesn't stay on. And if I have any of the stove top elements on it won't catch (turn on) at all. So it sounds like there isn't enough propane getting to the burner tube. I doubt there is a leak as there is no smell. What else could I check? I'm stuck.
The pilot is supposed to heat a safety shut-off sensor before the gas will turn on to the burner (so that won't happen if the pilot is out). Your picture is dark but that thin metal tube that leads back to the line below the burner is probably the thermocouple. Is the far end of that in the pilot flame? If it is and things still don't work, the safety may be damaged or worn out. Here is a labeled picture of a slightly different unit to help get you oriented to the parts:
Yes that thin metal wire (thermacouple!) leads to the back of a metal plate by the pilot light. I've attached another photo that gives a better shot of it. Does it look ok? Should I be adjusting it in some way?
If it is the thermacouple or the safety...are those parts that I can replace? I can't find a model number for the stove anywhere so it could be tricky to buy a part. I'm hoping a home repair will be possible. Any tips greatly appreciated!
When the pilot steps up in intensity (as you noted when you turn the oven control on), the flame should be directed to heat the end of the thermocouple. If the pilot isn't directed properly / the thermocouple isn't in the proper position, the end of the thermocouple won't get hot enough to trigger the valve to open. It does look like things are in pretty good shape and alignment from that image, but you might be able to move things around a bit. Remember, you literally are playing with fire so please be careful.
Any thermocouple will work. You just have to modify them to fit what you have. But parts for these old stoves are also pretty easy to find. I never upgraded my old stove to the new safety valves for instance, but they can be had, and my Crawford was made in 1917, some 101 years ago.
Try calling Bryant Stove Works in Maine a call. They refurbish old gas cookstoves and have acres of old stove parts. I bet they can get the part for you!
(By the way, I really applaud your efforts to keep this old stove going. My wife and I get absolutely giddy about old cook stoves)
This thread has been sooo helpful! I appreciated everyone's validation and tips. Today I finally found the time to stick my head back in the oven...this time armed with the manual (Thank you Phil!) and and a better understanding of how propane ovens work.
I noticed that the pilot flame was pretty orange...not very blue. So I opened up the air shutter to maximum. Previously it was at 50% open. I also blew compressed air through the oven burner tube and down the propane intake (orafice) that the burner tube sits over. I then made sure the pilot light was 'impinging' on the sensor bulb at the pilot bracket. 'Impinging' is the word they use in the manual which I'm taking to mean touching.
After all that it is working better...but not 100% fixed. Now when I turn on the oven it does light itself within a minute and gets to full heat. Yay! But...if I then turn on 1 stove top burner as well, the oven burner tube dims and then after a few seconds comes back to full glow. Same thing when I light a second stove top burner. And when I then turn on a third stove top burner the oven burner tube goes out completely. If I turn off 1 or 2 of the stove top burners the oven burner tube will turn on again.
So, doesn't that mean there isn't enough propane pressure to serve all 5 burners? I swapped out the propane tank for a completely full one...but it made no difference.
Or does that mean it is a faulty thermacouple or oven safety valve? I did finally find the model number DGR468W so that will make it easier to order parts online once I figure out which part to replace. The manual seems to suggest that it would be a defective automatic safety valve.
I'm a little late to the party here but after reading the posts, I'd like to chime in with something else to check. The propane regulator. I read in your most recent post Julia that you replaced the propane tank with a new one and it didn't make a difference, and after clearing the burner tubes, orifice, and checking the thermocouple, I think the problem might now reside in the gas supply. The propane in the tank you swapped out is at about 250psi, and there's a regulator that steps that pressure down. Regulators are pretty simple, but I think they're real neat in the fact that they can maintain a constant pressure all the while allowing more or less gas to go thru. Inside that regulator is a diaphragm and a spring or two, and they can wear out or get stuck. Regulators generally aren't serviceable, but are replaced, and the good news is they don't really cost a lot. Look for a round thing somewhere in the gas line that resembles something like the picture below. It ought to have threaded connections on both sides making it easy to replace with a couple wrenches and some pipe thread sealant. Hope this helps!
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
Can I just check...do you mean the regulator that is inside the stove top? See attached.
Or do you mean the regulator that is part of the hose that is connected to the propane tank?
Or could the issue be with either one, so I could replace the hose and see if it fixes it, and if not, then replace the inner regulator?
Since it sounds like something is restricting the flow of gas, the issue could be with either regulator (or a problem with the line coming from the tank - did you check for kinks or sharp bends?) The one at the tank is a high pressure regulator that steps things down, and the one at the stove is a low pressure regulator that drops it a second time to feed the stove with the proper pressure.
Based on your photo, the stove regulator looks properly set according to the manual (note the LP marking showing in the plug). It may be difficult to confirm it is operating properly without a pressure gauge. Are there markings on the regulator at your tank? I guess we also should have asked earlier if this stove worked properly in this setting in the past, or if this is a new-to-you installation. If the tank regulator doesn't drop the pressure enough for the stove regulator, that might cause an issue.
We've had the stove for a few years and all elements worked fine even if on at the same time. It has been on the fritz since the summer and only in the last month did the oven stop working completely. It was a slow decline in function until the oven stopped completely. And as reported earlier, after all these adjustments and cleaning it is now partially working again.
I've checked the intake propane hose and it doesn't bend unduly or look damaged in any way. I'll need to wait until morning light to check for markings on the tank regulator. Someone nearby may have a pressure gauge. I'll ask around.
If it is a bad regulator, it is most likely the one by the tank so replace that one first. I say that because it takes the most pressure and when you swap out tanks and open the valve, the regulator gets a sudden surge of gas. Really stating that you are getting a pretty orange flame says a lot.
Incidentally...and just for a brief humorous story, I once fixed an old stove of a 103 year old woman who refused to trade her old stove in. The control valve was gone, I could not get a replacement for that particular stove, but I'll be darned if a new one would fit right in. By that I mean an Amana!!! Modern!! It looked like a wart on a pretty girls face on that old stove, but it worked.
I did not adjust it right though, at least for her arthretic fingers, and that night she called me and said she could not get the oven to shut off and that it would stay at "100 degrees." It was just a matter of adjusting the control knob back so it would go fully off easier, but I checked the oven, and she was right, it was 110 degrees. But this oven had no oven temp guage so I asked her how she knew it was 100 degrees. She looked at me like I was dumb, "Sonny, you just feel it with your hands." She pased her hands inside the oven a few times to show me. She was only 10 degrees off. She died a year later, but I still marvel at our seniors.
It was the propane regulator hose attached to the tank. I swapped it out for the hose we use for the propane freezer (off for the winter) and voila! All 5 elements work at the same time now. A bit of a lesson in try the easiest solution first! Though I don't regret all that I learned about how a propane stove works as I went through the process of narrowing down what it could be. And the stove is a LOT cleaner now. : )
Big thanks to all of you who helped me figure it out. This was my first post on permies and I'm completely converted. What an amazing community.
Travis, I love your story about the wise old lady being able to tell how hot the stove is. Common sense and diligent observation!
Excellent job! So happy for you - nothing like a functional stove for the holidays! Thanks for your persistence and problem solving ability - you are going to be a great member here so keep coming back!
Surfs up space ponies, I'm making gravy without this lumpy, tiny ad: