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Burner reset tripping intermittently

iamn8iamn8 Member Posts: 9
First off, my boiler has a hole in it and the entire system is scheduled for replacement beginning Dec 18th. My goal here is only to keep it limping along until then at minimal expense. Not to worry, I've done my research and selected an installer I found through this site to do the replacement.

87 year old coal furnace converted to oil with "well used" Carlin burner on it. No Cad cell, just old time stack relay that's shutting it down. It's unable to build steam pressure and runs from 1 hour to 90 minutes per stint just to put heat into the radiators. I'm tearing through fuel just to keep the house at 60 and guessing that the length of the burn cycles are taking their toll on the burner because intermittent resets are getting more frequent. 2 weeks ago, maybe 1 per day. Now I'm up to 3 per night, and sometimes when I reset, it won't fire, so I just shut it down immediately and leave it for an hour or 2. It always re-fires on that later attempt. Whether it's hot or not seems to be a factor.

I thought perhaps the electrodes are carboned up or incinerated. I was going to pull the gun assembly out and look, but I found that the lock nut that holds the assembly in place is missing and the tube looks to be stripped. Only the fuel line and fitting are holding it in place. The last individual that looked at this thing did tell me that a nut was stripped when he took it apart, but that he had gotten it back up and running.

I'm a little scared to even touch this setup, because if I strip the rest of that tube, it's over Johnny. Words of encouragement, advice or warning to just leave it alone?

I did also theorize that the tiny amount of air getting in where the lock nut should be MIGHT be disrupting the startup? Possible? I know little air leaks on an engine make for hard starts.

Comments

  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 3,481
    It's leaking. The nozzle line was probably over tightened and damaged the fitting.
    Little air leaks aren't the cause on that set up.
    Between the oil and the dust getting sucked in you'll need a professional to pull the nozzle assembly, replace the oil line from pump to nozzle assembly, and do their thing, especially clean the entire housing and air tube, check/clean the end cone. Carlin nozzle assemblies aren't easy to come by usually, so don't take it out yourself and risk damaging it.
    They should have another retainer nut. I keep a dozen spares on my truck. It probably fell under the burner (hopefully not in).
    On the stack relay side, that should be pulled out and cleaned.

    I'd call the company doing the replacement for service.
    steve
  • iamn8iamn8 Member Posts: 9
    Thanks Steve. My gut said to leave that alone and I appreciate your input.

    Between the new boiler, asbestos abatement and amount of fuel I've wasted this month, I just don't have the budget to cover parts and repairs to this junker. I was hoping for a DIY option to try and nurse it along for 3 more weeks. Might start looking for a cheap wood stove instead.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 2,628
    Do you think the installer you found here wouldn't mind a shout out? I sure wouldn't mind if I was doing the job.
    Have you discussed your current issue with the installer?
    Seems like a service call would be a lot cheaper than buying a wood stove.
    Peculiar at best.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,103
    Hard to tell what the issue is.

    My first idea is a defective stack switch.

    But you said sometimes you reset the burner and it doesn't start.

    Does the burner try start and not ignite or it doesn't try to start at all?

    If it starts and does not ignite it's a burner issue. plugged oil line , filter, pump screen, electrodes, transformer etc. If it doesn't try to start it could be the stack control or a defective burner motor. These are just the most common issues
  • iamn8iamn8 Member Posts: 9
    Up and down weekend where the thing ran flawlessly all night Friday, but had me up hourly on Saturday.
    HVACNUT said:

    Do you think the installer you found here wouldn't mind a shout out? I sure wouldn't mind if I was doing the job.

    Have you discussed your current issue with the installer?

    Seems like a service call would be a lot cheaper than buying a wood stove.

    Peculiar at best.

    New England Steamworks is installing the new unit. They tried to move my install up to this week, but a new hire fell through.

    I can always use a cheap wood stove as an emergency heat source or out in the garage. Any money and parts I put into this burner go into a dumpster in 2 weeks.



    But you said sometimes you reset the burner and it doesn't start.

    Does the burner try start and not ignite or it doesn't try to start at all?

    The burner will start, but it won't ignite. Typically, it's when it's still really hot. If I come back in an hour, it will fire right up.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 3,481
    To me that initially points to an ignitor or a dead spot in the motor. All easily checkable.
    steve
  • EdTheHeaterManEdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 248
    Another idea is the ignition transformer is failing when it is warm... sparking when it is cooled down... when this happens it gets worse each cycle. Eventually the ignition transformer fails completely.
    @iamn8, I'm with you about taking the high pressure oil line off of the nozzle assembly. Replacement Beckett Electronic Ignition 51771U is relatively inexpensive. might be the way to go and if your new heater has a Beckett burner, you will have a spare that fits it.
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