Blow Torch Troubleshooting

Blow Torch Component Failure Modes

Updated 04-02-2007

Copyrighted 11999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007

Common problems with some gasoline torches come in the form of improper or incomplete reassembly after the torch has been cleaned. The torch in the picture has a reassembly fault; Can you find it? At times, you will find that a tank of one manufacturer has been assembled with a burner head of another manufacturer. It is not uncommon to find the hook at the top of the burner head turned wrong. BTW, the hook on the torch in the picture is oriented like it should be. The vertical plane of the hook should be perpendicular to the vertical plane of the burner head. If it is parallel with the burner, it is impossible for it to hold the soldering iron, which is its purpose! Some folks figure that the hook is for hanging the torch. I suppose you could use it for that, but would you want to? Let's see, I have this quart vessel filled with gasoline and I'm going to hang it in my garage from this handy eye screwed into the bottom of a shelf. That way, someone can bump into it and cause the torch to fall and then leak, thus spreading gasoline all over the place. NOT! Also, the hook is NOT an artistic symbol for Clayton Lambert, although they probably would want us to think so!

On a torch that has been cleaned, it is also common to find the drip tray improperly mounted on the torch, or omitted altogether. The purpose of the drip tray is to hold a small quantity of gasoline so it can be lit on fire, which warms the burner head up to operating temperature. The drip tray is NOT there to catch some incidental drip of gasoline out of the end of the burner head. This cannot happen in operation anyway, because the burner head is so hot that gasoline could never remain in a liquid state. Therefore, the drip tray should be oriented in such a way that its longest portion is positioned under the orifice. The orifice end of the burner head is really the most critical part to warm up to prepare the torch for operation. If you are serious about preserving the technology of gasoline blow torches, then do not omit this or any other part of the torch upon reassembly. See to it that the drip tray is properly oriented. Have you found the assembly error in our picture yet? The problem is that the drip tray is mounted upside down! The serious torch collector should be watchful for such reassembly errors and see to it that they are corrected regardless if you plan to operate the torch or simply display it. Omission of these critical details detract from the significance of your collection. Otherwise, instead of having a collection of blow torches, you will have a collection of 'pretty and polished brass and bronz things.'

Probably the most common operational problem with a gasoline blow torch is that it plugs up. There are two main reasons for this. First, a gasoline blow torch works best burning white gasoline. It was common for some people to try to burn leaded fuel because that's all they had available. When this leaded fuel burns, it leaves black carbon residue in the fuel passageways in the burner head of the torch. Today's unleaded fuel will burn too, but it still leaves residue. Plus, spilling white gas does not produce an awful smell. You can remove the plug screws in the burner head to inspect the fuel passageways for signs of clogging. You will probably have to remove the burner head and then heat it up to get the screws loose.

The second common reason that a torch gets plugged up is that the wick rots or deteriorates for some reason. This writer has seen cases where the wick was so badly rotted, that a drill had to be used to remove the old wick! Wicks can become plugged with carbon just like the burner head. Wicks can deteriorate simply from age or if someone tries to use a torch to dispense insecticides or other chemicals. All bets are off when you fill a torch with something other than gasoline because the chemicals in the insecticides can attack the fiber structure of the wick material.

While we are talking about the torch burner head, It is common for the packing in the packing nut to wear out which will result in a small gas leak around the needle valve stem at the point where it protrudes from the burner head. This author uses graphite packing from ACE Hardware to fix a leaking packing nut. The next most common problem in the burner head relates to the orifice and the fact that they become plugged. This can happen if a torch sits unused for many years. At the end of the valve stem is a cone shaped end that functions as a valve. If the operator should close the valve too tightly when shutting down the torch, this can cause the orifice to get enlarged. This will cause the flame to look yellow and somewhat wimpy rather than the usual strong, loud blue flame.

The .25 inch pipe that connects the burner head to the tank is called the burner head nipple. On some torches, there is a wick tube that screws into the burner head nipple. In other torches, the wick tube and burner head nipple are all in one. Common problems with it are the wick itself, which we already discussed, or a plugged screen or missing screen. The screen filter is at the end of the wick tube where it screws into the burner head. This is the last point of filtration before the fuel hits the orifice. The screen filter is really quite simple. It is either brass or copper screen of .040 X .040 inch mesh or finer. The screen is then rolled up until it fits snugly into the burner head nipple. The screen filter is about an inch and a half long and is shoved into the burner head nipple until it is even with the end where it screws into the burner head. It is important that the fuel delivery system in the blow torch has the proper amount of back pressure with respect to the burner head.

The pump is a source of many common problems. When these torches were used years ago on a regular basis, it was required at the time to periodically oil the pump plunger. The plunger is made with leather which has to be kept oiled so the pump can pressurize the tank with air. The leathers can dry out, in which case, they can be rejuvenated simply by oiling. In other cases, it will be found that the leather has rotted and therefore must be replaced. Other observed problems with the pump is plunger hardware that is very rusty. Any surfaces on the pump or its parts that are rusty, should be thoroughly cleaned or replaced where appropriate.

Temporarily remove the pump from the tank and hang on to it. When you vigerously pump the plunger, the air should come out with a spurting sound if it is working properly. Remember when you were a kid and you found that you could make a 'farting' sound by putting your hand over your arm pit? That is the sound the pump should make if it is working right. if, in stead the air seems to come out in a stream, then you have a case of our second most common pump problem: A bad check valve. In this case, the check valve will probably need to be repacked and/or the spring on the check valve plunger may need to be replaced. Sometimes the inside of the check valve gets real dirty or grimy and Sometimes just cleaning it is enough to bring it back to life.

The check valve is single handedly responsible for making an antique blow torch so dangerous (If you try to light it). First, a bad check valve is not always obvious, especially with the torches that have a screw locking arrangement for the pump handle, such as the Otto Burnz. The problem with the screw in pump handles is that it leaves you with a false sense of security. If the pump is screwed down, gasoline cannot leak out of the pump, right? Wrong! The gasoline will leak into the pump and sit there until an unsuspecting operator unscrews the pump handle to repressurize the torch! THEN the gasoline is likely to squirt all over everything! The screw lock pump handles are probably the safest so long as you do not attempt to repump the torch while it is burning! If you attempt to repressurize a working torch, this screw lock type pump is, by far, the most dangerous.

The turner torches such as the T-15, 30A, 206AA, etc., did not use a screw lock arrangement for their pump handles. If a Turner has a bad check valve, the pump handle will stick out of the tank when the torch is pressurized. Zangobob refers to this as Viagra Effect. My Torchology assistant sometimes exclaims " The turkey's done!" if the pump handle will not stay down. These are the more obvious check valve trouble symptoms. The nice thing about the Turner pump is if there is some kind of a problem with it, you'll know right away. The Turner pumps also leak gasoline if they have the Viagra Effect affliction.

The main job of the check valve is to keep the gasoline from escaping through the pump when the tank is pressurized. The second job the check valve does is to keep the air pressure in the tank. When a check valve leaks, you have an encyclopedia full of potential dangers! The biggest and most obvious risk is from a gasoline leak that catches on fire. The check valve can leak so severely that gasoline will actually squirt from the pump and then get all over its surroundings, THEN catch on fire! This author has experienced MANY absolutely terrifying near miss accidents that relate to bad check valves.

The last point of interest on our blow torch tour is the tank itself. Tank problems come in the form of holes and/or cracks or loose fuel plug fittings and/or loose wick tube fittings. Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to fix a tank. For the torch collector, the tank needs to be inspected for vertical temperature stress cracks and other damage. Many torches have a plug at the bottom of the tank that is used for filling the torch with fuel. Sometimes, this threaded fitting gets loose where it connects to the tank. The threaded coupling at the top of the tank where the wick tube screws in can get loose as well. These couplings, when they become defective, will turn in the tank when you try to tighten the wick tube and/or the bottom plug.

In Turner tanks, The main body is brass with the bottom being steel. A common problem with a Turner tank is that rust has eaten through the tank bottom. It is the opinion of this author that no attempt should be made to repair a damaged tank, regardless if the enthusiast is going to operate the torch or use it for display. The chances are just too great that combustible gasses could remain in the tank and ignite due to a spark from an attempted repair. Moreover, this author has had experiences where the heat required to melt the solder to fix one hole causes stresses in the tank that produces other holes to develop. These new defects do not immediately manifest themselves and therefore makes the torch tank very unreliable with regard to its integrity. Just because you successfully fixed one leak does not mean that the tank is good as new! These old torches, on average, are only worth $20 - $30 and are not worth putting yourself at risk. Throw all bad tanks away! Keep the other parts so you can restore another torch with problems with these other items.

The best general work ethic with regard to blow torch repair is the philosophy of keeping everything clean. Remember that any dirt in the fuel path has the potential to plug the orifice, screen filter or the wick. Therefore, be sure to completely clean any parts that are highly carboned up. The wick tube is usually the dirtiest component and is the hardest to get completely clean. It is best to replace the filter screen rather than trying to clean it. If you have to swab the fuel passageways in the burner head, be sure to clean them completely. Get every speck of carbon you can. Be sure to remove the fuel valve stem and clean it and the part of the burner head into which it screws. This author has had cases where the orifice had to be cleaned several times simply because an incomplete cleaning of the torch.

Zangobob's Parts Kit For Repairing Blow Torches

Here is a list of parts that I always have on hand for repairing all kinds
of gasoline blow torches.

1.       Half pint of white pipe dope                       Builder's Square
2.       Package of graphite packing string                 Ace Hardware
3.       Roll of copper screen (.040inch by .040inch mesh)  McMaster-Carr
4.       roll of .012 inch dia music wire                   Mcmaster-Carr
5.       Roll of leather, .125 inch thick, smooth one side  Tandy Leather Co.
6.       Two part gas tank repair putty                     Ace hardware
7.       8-32 and 10-32 screws, nut, washers flat and lock  McMaster-Carr
8.       Cotton string-type mop head                        Farm and Fleet
9.       .25 inch NPT non-galvanized pipe nipples           ACE Hardware
10.      O-ring kit for gasoline applications               McMaster-Carr

Item 1 is used on all threads on burner nipple.
Item 2 is used for fixing bad packing nuts.
Item 3 is used for replacing dirty screen filters. I make my own replacements.
Item 4 is used to clean out plugged orifices.
Item 5 is used to replace bad pump leathers.
Item 6 is used to repack bad check valves.
Item 7 is used for replacement of bad, rusty pump hardware.
Item 8 is used for making replacement wicks.
Item 9 is replacement for bad burner head nipples.
Item 10 is for replacing bad gaskets on pumps or fill plugs.

Blow Torch Troubleshooting Section

Troubleshooting operations should be done in two parts. First, check the obvious stuff first, such as operational/environmental issues before you go tearing apart your blow torch; Verify that the difficulty is not some simple problem. If the problem appears to be more involved, then look for a component failure of some kind. Please, look for a simple cause first then move on to the advanced stuff!

Identifying problems due to operator error

In this section, I would like to share with you some experience I have had with torches that aren't performing properly due to reasons other than a hard failure within the torch itself.

Wimpy Flame

This is probably the most common blow torch problem. The flame is its normal blue color, but it is not strong. Assuming that the torch is not plugged up, this may be caused by insufficient air pressure in the tank. Shut down the torch and let it cool, then restart it. This time, put in 40 good pumps and if the pump is working right, this should be sufficient for a good solid flame.

It is not uncommon for the pump to be starved for lubrication. Remember that it is part of the normal operation of the blow torch to keep the pump leather well oiled. If it is not oiled enough, the pump will not be capable of bringing the torch up to pressure regardless of how many strokes of the pump you give it. As you push the pump plunger in, you should feel resistance as the plunger nears the bottom of the stroke. Then, just before the plunger bottoms out, it should suddenly feel like it has 'broken free.' This sudden loss of pressure is caused by the check valve operating. If the pump handle feels like it is not resisting and works very freely, this is a classic symptom of insufficient lubrication of the pump leather.

Be sure that you are burning good, high quality white gasoline. I use Coleman's Camp Stove Fuel from . If you are sure the fuel is OK, be sure the torch tank does not have impurities in it, such as water or old, bad gasoline. Make sure you are burning the correct kind of fuel. Burning kerosene in a gasoline torch just does not fly. The wrong-fuel issue is a more common problem with the miniature homeowner's torches than the full sized quart torches.

Be sure that you have opened the fuel valve far enough. Remember never to open the fuel valve by more than five total turns counter-clockwise from the fully shut-off position! I had the weak flame problem when I fired up a torch from a cold start and I had forgotten that I only cracked the fuel valve to start it, not remembering that I failed to give the torch full throttle!

Startup Problems

Other common problems occur when starting the torch. Be sure to get that burner head hot enough! When you open the fuel valve after completing the pre-heat, the gasoline should not be coming out in a stream. If it is, that means the burner head is too cold. The most likely problem with the torch in the picture above is that it has both insufficient pressure in the tank and not enough time was given to preheat the burner. If the torch was simply lacking pressure, you would see a small blue flame emerge from the burner. If the flame is all yellow, invariably this indicates that the burner head is too cold. Lighting the stream of gasoline will NOT help heat up the burner! What you will have is a yellow three foot long flame coming out of your torch. The dangers caused by such a situation are obvious.

Many greenhorns at lighting torches are very uneasy about lighting the drip pan on fire. This fear will cause them not to let the drip pan full of fuel burn away, thus depriving the burner head of a long enough preheat. The torch above has sufficient pressure as evidenced by the burning stream of gasoline. Because the flame is yellow, this is a good indicator that the burner is simply too cold. I have used a little butane torch to preheat a gasoline torch. You hold the butane torch near the end of the burner head where the orifice is located. Also heat up the fuel passageways too. Keep that butane away from the fuel tank!

The flame will appear yellowish if you open the fuel valve further while there is still gasoline burning in the drip cup. The suction from the burner head tends to draw the flames from the drip cup inside the burner head. It will appear to the uninitiated that the torch is not working properly. Be patient and let all fuel in the drip cup burn away. Like magic, the main flame will appear blue! Now you can open the fuel valve just to the point where the flame is at its maximum intensity and no further. Do not evaluate the quality of the torch flame until all fuel in the drip cup is burned away.

One safety note is appropriate at this point. DO NOT open the fuel valve any further than five turns counter-clockwise from the fully off position! In fact, before you light the torch for the first time, put distilled water in it, pump it up and then make sure you can open the fuel valve at least seven turns before the water starts leaking out the back of the packing nut. If you open the valve too much on a lit torch and that valve stem should come all the way out, the gasoline will spray out the hole all over everything! THEN catch on fire. If this happens, you will have an out of control situation. There will be no way to turn off the fuel flow!

As long as your torch does not have any fuel leaks or structural flaws, you do not have to worry about your torch blowing up as it goes through its preheat. I fireman friend of mine (who is also a Torchologist) told me that the torch will not blow up as long as there is positive pressure in the tank and you do not do something stupid like hold the torch tank over an open flame to heat it up! The point he was making here is that it is damned near impossible for an open flame to somehow crawl inside a positively pressurized vessel and catch the fuel on fire. That just does not happen. However, you DO have to make sure your tank is in good shape. It IS possible for a tank to rupture from the normal operating pressure if the tank itself is weak structurally. Now you know why I'm such a crab about discouraging you from trying to repair a tank!

Premature Die-Out

You may run into a situation where the torch flame seems to die out very quickly. This can happen if the tank is not pumped up with enough air pressure (do not exceed 40 pumps total!) or the torch may simply be low on fuel. My friend and I were really red-faced when we thought we had a bad torch when we suddenly realized that the torch was almost out of gas! Be sure you fill the tank about 3/4 of the way full. A good torch will run about an hour on a properly filled tank of good white gasoline. Be sure that you have properly tightened up the pump and fill plug. If these are not tight enough, a slow leak will develop, thus robbing the torch of pressure.

NEVER NEVER NEVER TRY TO REPRESSURIZE A TORCH THAT IS RUNNING! SHUT IT OFF, LET IT COOL, REPRESSURIZE IT AND RESTART IT! UNLESS YOU WANT TO REALLY GET HURT, NEVER VIOLATE THIS POLICY! In some of the Otto Burns manuals, they actually said that doing this was OK. But please realize that today we are talking about a 40 to 50 year old torch!

Discolored Flame

The main body of the flame appears strong enough, but it is a color other than blue. This is caused by impurities in the fuel. Burning old gasoline can cause this problem as well. The gasoline may be OK, but the wick may have some impurities in it. If this is the case, the impurities will burn out eventually. Debris in the burner head will cause flame discoloration.

Advanced Troubleshooting - Finding bad components

Please do not perform any of the advanced troubleshooting techniques before eliminating the possibility of an operational problem first. Do not take the torch apart unless it is required. Sometimes these old blow torches get broken beyond repair when taking them apart. Therefore, do not risk damage to your sample unless it is absolutely necessary!

Wimpy Flame

A wimpy flame is caused by many possibilities. If the pump is leaking air pressure, the tank cannot be brought up to operating pressure which is about 15 to 20 PSI. Proper pressure is vital in forcing the fuel through the fuel delivery system. Leaks could be caused by a bad pump leather, a crack somewhere in the pump body or a check valve that is not sealing. Make sure that the pump is breathing properly. Do this by pulling the pump handle back, just like you do when pressurizing, and let go of the pump handle. If the plunger rapidly springs back into the pump, the pump is not breathing, or letting air in as you pull the handle out. Obviously, the pump must be able to breathe for it to force air into the tank. This problem is cured by cutting a little notch into the pump leather where it rubs the wall of the pump. This problem is the most common in cases where the pump leather has been recently replaced. The best approach to finding pump problems is a good visual inspection. If the pump leather is at all questionable, replace it. A good test to see if the pump is at fault is to fill the tank with water, pump it up with 40 strokes or so, then remove the pump or fill plug while the system is still under pressure. If the pump is OK, you should hear air escaping as the pump or fill plug is removed. Frequently, the fill plug will release with a popping sound when its last couple of threads let loose.

Wimpy flames can be caused by the system being plugged someplace, such as the wick tube. Usually the wick is totally rotted and not passing fuel, or the filter screen is clogged with carbon. The best approach here is to unscrew the wick tube from the tank and burner head and replace the wick and filter screen. Do not try and clean the filter screen unless you are dead set on keeping the torch as close to original condition as you can. The screen is very difficult to clean completely. Wicks are not salvageable for obvious reasons.

Plugging of the burner head will produce a wimpy flame by impeding the fuel flow. Almost invariably, the plugging is caused by carbon buildup in the fuel passageways in the burner head. Here, the only fix is to remove the cleanout screws and thoroughly brush out the passageways with a little wire brush. More often than not, the cleanout screws will appear frozen in the threads. Do NOT force the issue with a bigger screw driver as you will snap off the screw heads! Heat up the burner head good and hot until the screws let go with little force. Sometimes, you may have to use a drill bit to loosen the accumulated carbon. The safest way to do this is is to chuck up a small drill bit into a pin vise. Do not use an electric drill because of the danger of damage to the head or the drill jamming. Clean out every trace of carbon out of that burner head! Do not forget to clean the valve stem nest because it is common for debris from the packing nut to get trapped and thus create an obstruction in the orifice.

The least common cause of the wimpy flame is a ruined orifice. The main symptom of this failure mode is you will notice that the main body of the flame is blue, but the tip of the flame will be yellow and feathery in appearance. This orifice destruction is caused by over-tighten the fuel valve when shutting the torch down. The best way to test the orifice is with various size music wire. A gasoline orifice is about .014 inches. If it is significantly bigger than this, the orifice is probably ruined. If all the other possibilities have been investigated, the orifice is most likely the problem. Another way that a bad orifice can be diagnosed is by way of elimination. If you can prove that the fuel flow through the system is free of clogs and that the pressure in the pump is about 15 to 20 PSI, In all probability you have a burner head with an enlarged orifice. It is also possible that what you have is a kerosene blow torch! Their orifices are larger than their gasoline counterparts. There is no practical remedy to this problem other than replacement of the burner head.

Startup Problems

Fortunately, there are no real advanced causes for startup problems other than something not allowing the tank to come up to pressure, which has been already covered. Wimpy-flame symptoms are also applicable to startup problems.

Premature Die-Out

Premature die-out is a common problem which is usually related to a leak of some kind. Examine the torch tank very carefully for signs of small leaks, especially if your torch is the steel bottomed variety. Rust can eat through and cause a very tiny hole. Another source for leaks is around the fill plug, burner head nipple or the pump. Usually the fill plug and pump have a lead gasket that has a tendency to wear out. This will cause a very slow leak which is fixable sometimes by heating up the fill plug to remelt the lead. Do not try this approach on the pump. Doing so will probably melt the solder that holds the collar onto the body of the pump. I have used buna O-rings from McMaster Carr to fix leaking fill plugs and pumps rather than trying to remelt things.

It is fairly common for the cleanout screws to leak especially if they were removed recently to clean the fuel passageways. Often they will not leak fuel until they get very hot and can be readily detected by holding a butane lighter near the cleanout screws. You will then see a small flame develop if the cleanout screws are leaking fuel. The packing nut on the fuel stem is often a source for a leak and can be fund by using the butane lighter technique.

By far, the most common source of air leaks is with the pump check valve. It is possible for the check valve to be tight enough to hold back the fuel, yet too weak to provide a reliable air seal. Suspect this culprit if the torch burns real well for awhile, then seems to rapidly die out. What is happening here is the fuel level is dropping below the depth of the check valve, thus essentially putting the check valve in an air surrounding. If the check valve is not sealed good enough, you have a leak.

A well functioning torch should be able to hold pressure overnight when filled with fuel. This author has seen cases where a torch pressurized with air only (no fuel in the tank) will leak, whereas no leakage will be detected when the tank is pressurized with fuel. It is possible that these air-only leakers are in the early stages of developing a more serious leak. There is not enough experience by this author at this time to credibly declare this hypothesis as actual fact. Finally, a properly functioning torch should burn its entire fuel supply without requiring tank repressurization no more than once or twice for a given tank of fuel. If you think your torch may be leaking someplace, one very good technique is to pressurize it with about a half a tank full of fuel, then submerge the torch in a five gallon bucket of water. Any leakage will be obvious. Be sure to get the trapped air out from under the bottom of the torch when submerging, otherwise this may ruin the test results.

Discolored Flame

Discolored flame is almost always caused by contamination someplace inside the torch. This writer has a habit of brushing out the inside of the burner head with a pipe brush which has the effect of loosening all kinds of crud and crap. Then the torch is lit for the first time, all of this crud causes the flame to turn color. It will go back to the proper color when all impurities are burned away. When reassembling the torch, remember that the Blow Torch Heaven recommends that you use pipe dope on all threads on the burner head nipple. If any pipe dope gets into the fuel system, this will cause discoloration as well. If you used any unusual cleaning agents when working on the burner head or pump, these will discolor the flame until they have totally burned up. A discolored flame in the context of this discussion refers to a flame that is its normal loud roaring character, but is some other color (usually green) other than blue. If the main body of the flame is blue but the tips are yellow, weak and feathery, please troubleshoot this condition using the techniques for solving a wimpy flame condition.

Cleaning Those Crusty Old Blowtorches

How Do I clean my pet blow torch? Let's assume that the torch we are cleaning is a real grubby one. First, realize that almost invariably, the brass blow torches were coated with a clear lacquer type material when they left the factory. The first order of business is to strip away this coating. Before the cleaning actually begins, the torch should be completely disassembled; Remove the handle, air pump and burner head. An old torch can be very stubborn to take apart, especially where the wick tube nipple screws into the tank. It is common for the nipple to become frozen in the tank. Use penetrating oil to help loosen it up. DO NOT use the torch handle/handle bracket for leverage to get the torch apart because you could easily damage it. I have tried, but with little success, a strap wrench to turn the tank while the nipple was clamped in a vise. I put a big dent in the tank in the process.

The lacquer type material can be stripped off using household type paint remover. You can apply it with a brush or put the torch tank in a small plastic bucket and fill it with paint remover, then Let it set in the paint remover for two or three hours. Alternatively, you can brush the paint remover on and wipe the old removed lacquer off a little at a time. After you have removed the outer coating, wipe off the paint remover and then put the torch tank in detergent and warm water. Thoroughly wash it to get all traces of paint remover off.

Now that you are down to bare metal, now we begin cleaning the brass tank. I use Brasso and a cotton rag if I'm using the elbow grease method. Otherwise, you can install a buffing wheel on your grinder and, after you apply the Brasso, use the buffing wheel to really shine that sucker up. I understand the jeweler's rouge works very well, too. I have used it, but not on blow torches. Once you are happy with how the tank looks, wash it down one last time with clean, distilled water and then let it dry. Next, apply some clear lacquer that resists gasoline (not all clear lacquer does) nice and evenly over the entire tank area. Tape up all openings in the tank as this helps in the reassembling by keeping the threads clean. Allow your newly coated torch tank to sit for a day or two in a clean, dust free environment. Be sure the tank is totally dry to the touch and that the clear lacquer has totally hardened before reassembly.

If you have a steel tank torch, the Brasso will not be much good. I use a fine wire brush wheel on my grinder to clean a steel tank. Brush that sucker all the way down to bare A** steel and get every bit of rust you can. Then, get a good grade of steel primer/undercoat and give it two nice even coats of undrcoating/primer. Let the torch dry for a day or whatever the undercoat/primer manufacturer recommends. Be sure to plug up the holes to keep the primer out of the treads. Finish by coating the tank with some good metallic gold or silver paint, then let this set up for a day or two. Finish the job by applying an appropriate based clear lacquer over the paint to help seal it. Let the finished product dry for a day or two.

The final step is to reassemble the torch. I will get more into the disassembly and reassembly in greater detail later. This discussion will be very general for the time being. Begin the reassembling by reinstalling the handle and handle bracket. Follow this by installing the wick tube assembly and then finish by installing the burner head. Installation of the air pump is the last step. Obviously, there will be some modification to this procedure if you have a real old torch where the handle and the pump is one and the same. In any event, avoid the temptation to use the handle for leverage in reassembling the torch! It is easier than you think to bend the handle bracket or snap it right off!

Next time, I will be discussing the cleaning and repairing of the torch's innards. I will get into the details of torch reassembly/disassembly.

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