Vintage oven repair puzzle

peace_roseJuly 27, 2012

I have a 1954 O'Keefe & Merritt and the gas oven isn't working. Actually, the oven *was* working - for 30 minutes at a time, before we "repaired" it. Before the repair it wouldn't stay lit for very long or fire back up to the right temperature. All the troubleshooting I did pointed to the safety valve as the culprit. So we had the safety valve rebuilt and installed a new thermocouple; now it won't stay lit AT ALL. We've tried tweaking with the thermocouple by adjusting where it sits in relation to the pilot, but with no luck. My husband is ready to chuck this thing out the window!

The oven is pretty simple, which makes it all the more puzzling. There's the pilot assembly (which we also replaced. It's working fine and the pilot stays on), the thermocouple, a solenoid (for the automatic cooking function which we don't use), the safety valve and the thermostat.

We got the clock and the stove-top light working again by jiggling a few wires. I don't know if that would relate to the gas system problem, but I'm trying to think outside the box here...

I'm having a hard time finding someone locally who knows how to service these, so I thought I'd see if any of you have any experience with old stoves.



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You may want to go to one of the appliance repair sites but the purpose of the thermocouple is to send a small voltage charge that is created when it heats to the safety valve which will stay open as long as it sees the voltage from the thermocouple.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 5:59PM
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It's good that the pilot stays lit. I suppose you could test if the thermocouple is creating voltage when exposed to the lit pilot. I know its a small current, but it should show up on a volt meter.

Maybe you could take the thermocouple and solenoid out and make sure both are working... connect the two and put a flame near the thermocouple and see if it opens the solenoid.

I'm afraid I don't know what a 'safety valve' unless you mean the knob.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 11:54PM
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I believe the function of the safety valve is to control the flow of gas to the oven burner. You might be onto something with your idea of testing the solenoid. Thank you both for the troubleshooting help. I'm all ears if anyone has more ideas!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:25AM
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jakvis - you had suggested going to one of the appliance repair sites. Can you redirect me to one? There are quite a few to choose from online. I'm pretty familiar with the ones geared toward old appliance parts; I think a general appliance repair site would be fine.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 11:48AM
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One I like to read is appliance guru ( you can Google it)
but there are many more.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 2:00PM
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