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Old 02-01-2011, 03:10 PM   #1
tpolley
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Default whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

i've been looking for an old coleman white fuel catalytic heater for some time. i prefer white fuel to propane. one tank of fuel on my lantern will last 3 or 4 camping trips. a gallon of it will last me 3 or 4 years. my lantern and stove all run off white fuel. its more convenient to carry vs carrying several botles.

anyway, i finally found a white fuel catalytic heater at a flea market last winter. the thing doesn't have a spot of rust. even the inside of the tank looks good. i finally got a chance to use it this winter in the garage. it isn't much (3500 btu) but it it takes the edge off.

the thing takes about 20 minutes to light, and another 25 minutes to get to full temp. which is fine.

my problem is the first 20 minutes it has an open flame. a very large open flame. it belches white smoke the whole time. it smells like burnt white fuel. i have to open the garage door for a few minutes to air the place out, which is counter-effective of having a heater. even after the flame dies and the catalyst starts glowing it still stinks. and there's still smoke looming in the air.

is this dangerous?? i coudlnt imagine using one in a tent. there's no way i would do that. i wasn't too sure about the toxicity of heater in the garage at first so i let the cats out there with me while i was working...
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Old 02-01-2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

I grew up camping with one, I recall the same experience you have had. It always had to be lit and stay outside until the flame stopped. In fact I still have that very heater in the shed, hadn't thought of it in years.
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Old 02-01-2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

sounds like propane is the way to go
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Old 02-01-2011, 03:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

Isn't Coleman white fuel just unleaded gasoline?
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

Is it only me...or is breakfast that was made on a Coleman outdoor stove using white fuel...the BEST Breakfasts ever made?
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

I bought one of these a couple of years ago at a yard sale and thought it would be cool to use, but it sounds like it will more of a pain in the ass than it's worth. I guess I'll get rid of it now.
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

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Originally Posted by skeletonizer View Post
Isn't Coleman white fuel just unleaded gasoline?
if it is unleaded gasoline it has some other additives in it. my lantern, stove, and heater all say "do not use unleaded gasoline". they do, however make a dual fuel lantern that runs on white gas and gasoline. they don't make a dual fuel stove or heater, probably for health reasons. plus white fuel doesn't go bad as fast as gasoline.
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Old 02-05-2011, 08:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

They are great....but yes they need to be lit outside and take a while to settle in.

I like them for camping when you don't feel like dealing with a fire.

I use modern propane catalytics for in the tents.
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

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if it is unleaded gasoline it has some other additives in it. my lantern, stove, and heater all say "do not use unleaded gasoline". they do, however make a dual fuel lantern that runs on white gas and gasoline. they don't make a dual fuel stove or heater, probably for health reasons. plus white fuel doesn't go bad as fast as gasoline.
Actually it's the opposite, white gas is cleaner than unleaded gasoline you buy at the pump.
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

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Is it only me...or is breakfast that was made on a Coleman outdoor stove using white fuel...the BEST Breakfasts ever made?
Yes Sir! Used to do a lot of camping with my grandparents and my grandfather's daily duty was to cook breakfast on that "little green stove" ... I sure miss those days and especially miss my grand daddy.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:05 PM   #11
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

White gas is Naptha.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

Right, which is basically a low octane, lower additive version of unleaded gasoline.
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

I read somewhere that Coleman Fuel (white gas) is about 50 octane
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:06 PM   #14
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

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I read somewhere that Coleman Fuel (white gas) is about 50 octane
I read the same thing, about 50 - 55 octane
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

I guess that explains why the lawn mower ran so crappy when my son used a very expensive gallon of fuel last summer. Our stove and lantern are dual fuel, unleaded or white gas, so he using his brilliant powers of deduction decided they were the same.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

There's a reason they call such heaters "vintage".

= inefficient, outdated, unproductive.

I'm not into any heater that flares up for a half hour and must be taken outdoors to cool off. But that's just me.
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:16 PM   #17
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

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Is it only me...or is breakfast that was made on a Coleman outdoor stove using white fuel...the BEST Breakfasts ever made?
I have a Svea 123R/Optimus 123RClimber that runs on the stuff, sounds like a helicopter coming in and chucks out a good amount of heat, you know life's good when you hear that little roarer burner on a morning.
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:30 PM   #18
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by tpolley View Post
i've been looking for an old coleman white fuel catalytic heater for some time. i prefer white fuel to propane. one tank of fuel on my lantern will last 3 or 4 camping trips. a gallon of it will last me 3 or 4 years. my lantern and stove all run off white fuel. its more convenient to carry vs carrying several botles.

anyway, i finally found a white fuel catalytic heater at a flea market last winter. the thing doesn't have a spot of rust. even the inside of the tank looks good. i finally got a chance to use it this winter in the garage. it isn't much (3500 btu) but it it takes the edge off.

the thing takes about 20 minutes to light, and another 25 minutes to get to full temp. which is fine.

my problem is the first 20 minutes it has an open flame. a very large open flame. it belches white smoke the whole time. it smells like burnt white fuel. i have to open the garage door for a few minutes to air the place out, which is counter-effective of having a heater. even after the flame dies and the catalyst starts glowing it still stinks. and there's still smoke looming in the air.

is this dangerous?? i coudlnt imagine using one in a tent. there's no way i would do that. i wasn't too sure about the toxicity of heater in the garage at first so i let the cats out there with me while i was working...
I've got two of them. Like you said you NEED to light them outside then after they start glowing you can place them in an enclosed area. I was told that they have a bad habit of creating too much Carbon Monoxide which could be a real problem. I've used mine in tents but everything smells bad and I have a headache and a cough in the morning.

Anyway I quit using them a long time ago. That was about the time my son started Boy Scouts and they don't allow anything like that in the tents. I don't really miss them except when I'm getting dressed in the morning.


White gas burns clean and you CAN burn unleaded in the "vintage" equipment. I've also seen people run denatured alcohol (rubbing alcohol).


Coleman makes/made a dual fuel lantern and a stove. I have one of each. Both work just fine on white gas.
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

I know this is an old post, but I just found one of these 3500 BTU Coleman Catalytic Heaters in the back of my closet. I don't even know how I came by it unless I brought it home back in the 90's from my parents house after they passed. It's listed as $23.99 on the box. Looks new. Instructions say it only takes 3 minutes after lighting till the fames go out, and then it's ready to use inside. It states that it will heat for 18 to 20 hours on one filling.
Just thought I'd post it.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:15 PM   #20
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Default Re: whats your take on vintage coleman white fuel catalytic heaters

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I know this is an old post, but I just found one of these 3500 BTU Coleman Catalytic Heaters in the back of my closet. I don't even know how I came by it unless I brought it home back in the 90's from my parents house after they passed. It's listed as $23.99 on the box. Looks new. Instructions say it only takes 3 minutes after lighting till the fames go out, and then it's ready to use inside. It states that it will heat for 18 to 20 hours on one filling.
Just thought I'd post it.
If all the parts are there and they are intact it will definitely do what it says. It should have a metal "helmet" that is used to put the flames out and the "ball" is a permeable membrane. Put some fuel in it, turn it upside down until there is fuel in the "ball". Leave the "helmet" off and the cover open and light it. Mine always had 4-6 foot flames when it started. After a short while it will start glowing. It's then good to place in a small area then and it will heat it up. However after my previously posted problems I'd say not to put it in the tent.

When it comes time to put it out open the safety guard and put the "helmet" on it. A short time later the glowing "ball" will be dark and it will cool down.
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