Bluestar Simmer Fixed! Do's and Don'ts!

buffalotinaApril 2, 2012

Well I thought I would post the outcome of my Bluestar 22K burner adjustment exercise because it shed valuable light on the process for me and I hope it will be useful for others who may attempt this. If anyone read my other thread you will see that I had previously tried to adjust the simmer on my bluestar burners and claimed, wrongly it seems, that the lowest flame was achieved by turning the simmer set screw to the end of its travel. At least that is what I THOUGHT I was doing. In that case it seems though, as Stooxie warned, that I was actually involving the movement of the main valve shaft too. Thus CLOCKWISE was raising my flame and ANTICLOCKWISE was lowering it. However going anticlockwise I seemed to feel an "end point" which I assumed was the low point of the simmer adjustment. Yesterday I decided to have another go at one of the 22K burners to see if I could get it lower as I had never reached the point reported by others where you go so low that the flames almost go out and the ignitors click. I inserted the screwdriver and as before clockwise raised the flame and anti clockwise lowered it. After talking with Mandy at Bluestar today I realize that even though I was pretty sure the valve stem was not moving in fact I must have been moving the valve stem to get those variations. Anyway, yesterday I kept on going, with more force, in the anti clockwise direction and that is when I felt like something gave way or stripped inside the valve and the flame got higher. Then I was just not able to get the flame back down to its previous level. Mandy told me to adjust the simmer while the valve is in the off position. Sure enough now I was able to turn the screw in the proper direction: CLOCKWISE to LOWER the flame and ANITCLOCKWISE to RAISE the flame (makes a lot of mechanical sense). It turns out that this adjustment was never possible for me before, I think because the set screw just was too tight and would not budge. Evidently my extra force in the anti clockwise direction must have freed up the screw but by that point I was still not able to get adjustment because I think the valve stem was moving easier the the screw. Today with the screw loosened and the valve in the off position I was now able to turn the screw clockwise, indeed until I had no flame at all in the low position!! So now I have adjusted the flame and it is actually much lower than my other 22K burner. After talking to Mandy I decided not to try to adjust the other one because that screw is definitely stuck: with the valve in the off position it will not turn clockwise. It feels like it would be easy to actually strip the head of the screw and so I think I will leave it as it is.

To summarize:

1. Although I thought I had adjusted all my burners a while back it seems that they were in the factory set position because the screws were quite tight and unknown to me I was actually moving the main valve slightly (thanks Stooxie - that is what you said!).

2. Applying extra force to the simmer set screw loosened it in the anti clockwise direction which is actually the flame raising direction. Presumably when I felt something "give" it was actually the set screw loosening.

3. In order to get the flame back to very low I had to turn the now loosened screw in the CLOCKWISE direction (but this was only possible with the main valve/shaft in the off position).

4. My now adjusted 22K is much lower than the other one which is at the factory preset position. However I don't think I will touch that one now for fear of stripping out the set screw. It is definitely not moving too well and Mandy said I would need a whole new valve if the screw head stripped....

5. Mandy also warned NOT to hold the valve shaft with pliers or anything while you adjust the set screw because it is possible to snap the shaft off that way....thankfully I did not do that.

So now I have two kinds of 22K burners: one with factory set low and one with "bossa" low. There is definitely quite a difference: If I put my hand over each burner I can get my hand much closer to the lower one before it feels uncomfortably hot. I was never actually that unhappy with the simmer before all this but I did find I had to move things back to the smaller burners quite often to finishi off stews etc with the longer cooking times. I think this newly adjusted burner will be very useful.

Sorry this was so long winded but I wanted to post it as a guide for others. Mandy, as always, was very helpful and many thanks to all who replied with help on the other thread.

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This was superb reportage, Buffalotina. I am sure it will prove helpful to folks looking to get a tamer simmer on the 22k burners. Thank you for posting your experiences.

I would like to add that in theory this should not diminish the full-on performance of the burner on high so you really aren't giving up anything in the way of performance by tweaking it for a better simmer. But if you see degradation I hope you will point it out.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 11:17AM
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Great summary...clipped and saved for the day my range is installed.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Tina: thanks for the follow up. I'm really glad that you did not break anything unintentionally. And of course mandy at bs was up to her usual high standards.

BS management, give that girl a raise!!! She is incredibly valuable to your company.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 4:29PM
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mojavean: Thanks for your encouragement. I am glad that at least this may serve some useful purpose after I was so upset with it all. As far as I can tell the high end is not at all affected by my simmer adjustment attempts, which is as it should be. When the main valve is all the way to low it is still possible to have a pretty huge flame if the simmer screw is backed out all the way - as I found out. However, I don't think turning the simmer down affects the high end because I think the high end is probably limited by the orifice - no? At the low end I think the main valve is effectively completed shut and you are left just with a "simmer bleed" that can be very low, not at all, or pretty big, depending on the simmer screw setting. As far as I can tell from my experience that is how it works in practice at least - not saying that translates to the engineering end of things though. When I had the simmer screw too tightly closed down there was no flame at all on the burner. Plenty of clicking of course!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 7:18PM
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When I read your original post, I thought it would be difficult to strip that screw. The main things are that you need a very-skinny and long flat blade screwdriver and maybe some rubber gloves (to get the knob off). I have a jeweler's screwdriver and one other that will reach back in there to make the adjustment.

You have to hold onto the stem while adjusting to make sure it doesn't turn. I just use my hand, but I guess pliers with maybe covers for the jaws or a towel to protect the stem would also do the trick.

I found that my new (aftermarket) igniters helped with adjusting the low level on the burners. The bigger sensor surface of the Viking igniters seems more sensitive than the single-wire from BS.

I also had a little bit of a casting problem with 1 22k burner. The spot where the igniter sits had a little slop that kept the igniter from sitting as close to the burner holes as it should. I lived with it for years, but finally filed it off when I replaced the igniters. Now both of the big burners turn way down.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Thanks thull. Stooxie also pointed out the importance of holding the valve stem still....I THOUGHT I was doing it but evidently I was not.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Thull: thanks for posting. I knew there was a member who traded their ignitors out for viking, but was too lazy to search. I will probably do mine at some point as well. Probably when one breaks, but its been almost 4 years now and have yet to break one. I will dig up your post for reference when I do.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:34PM
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Another update: What Stooxie and thull said about not having the valve turning while you are doing this could be very important because I just went in again on my burners and one of the 22K definitely has the screw head stripped out. I think this may have occurred a while back when I was attempting adjustment but did not realize it was the main valve turning, NOT the simmer screw. Perhaps the screwdriver was digging into the screw head, rather than resting in the slot, I don't know. I have now successfully lowered my 15K simmer now too, but that screw was also hard to turn. That is it for my adjustments: I see no need to touch the simmer burner itself and the other 22K is stripped! However, I think I have plenty of low simmer "power" now.

I hope my experiences will be useful for anyone who may try this themselves. When my range was installed these adjustments were not made, hence my own attempts to adjust the burners.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:20AM
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