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justplumducky 07-13-2013 04:39 PM

An old Lear Siegler AGC-80 Propane Burner
I ran across this old furnace today: Lear Siegler AGC-80 Type B, Propane Burner, Standing Pilot - in a mobile home.

The pilot light access hole is fairly close to the bottom of the furnace. On the left side of the cabinet near the bottom, is a lever to turn something inside the box.

Anyone know what this is and what position this lever should be in , when it comes time to light it up.

Have had no luck so far in searching for any info for this unit. Parts diagram, manual, whatever. Grateful for any suggestions.

gregzoll 07-13-2013 04:49 PM

Yeah, it is called rip it out and take it for scrap metal. Replace it with a more modern unit that does not leak CO.

ben's plumbing 07-13-2013 05:39 PM

yep as mentioned turn into scrap before winter gets here..:thumbsup: ben sr

yuri 07-13-2013 05:44 PM

S peciallee with Propane. That stuff is heavier than air and settles and can create a bomb. If it is a mobile home and that propane settles in the ducts below then that is a even worse situation. Had that with a oil flooded oil burner and I refused to lite it up. Got one of the old guys to do it. Customer pressed the reset way 2 many times.

beenthere 07-13-2013 06:42 PM

Would need pics.

justplumducky 07-13-2013 07:39 PM


Originally Posted by beenthere (Post 1215511)
Would need pics.

Ok, I will return with pics one day.

Ok y'all - I do fully understand, but since it's doubtful he'll have funds for replacement, I do have a question.

Is this unit any more dangerous than other old standing pilot furnaces? Does, what I think is a Draft Diverter near bottom of furnace (to protect pilot flame from down-draft), make it any more dangerous than other old standing pilot furnaces? Not familiar with this DD device, but that 's what someone called it after googling for this unit.

beenthere 07-13-2013 09:01 PM

More dangerous? Not really. But doesn't make it any safer either.

justplumducky 07-14-2013 10:16 AM


Originally Posted by beenthere (Post 1215552)
More dangerous? Not really. But doesn't make it any safer either.

As you may have gathered by now, or not, I work in a couple of mobile home parks, and there is no shortage of the older propane and natural gas (Oil too) standing pilot furnaces. Obviously I'm learning, but gettin' there slowly - don't work on 'em daily - far from it.

Not complaining about anyone's comments, but it's not realistic to replace them - tenants don't have the money. Many of them don't even have the money for the fuel, much less for replacement. But then you all are familiar, not doubt. Space heaters, yepper!

Not complaining about space heaters either - gives me occasional practice (still learning that also) at using my small signal generator and scanner (Fluke Pro 3000) to track down open circuits from excessive amp draw! See, that's the kinda guy I am.....:no:

I wanted to know if this unit was any more dangerous for my own sake (lighting the pilot), cause when I see something different like this draft diverter, if that what it is (I'll return one day with pics), then I start wondering if this unit is possibly more dangerous (better to be overly cautious, right?). And aside from my own safety, I also wonder about what the maximum precautions might be for the tenant, along the lines of (in addition to, if there is anything else) CO detector, etc. Many of them don't even know what a CO detector is.

I'm going to start another thread about lighting these old standing pilot furnaces, hoping I'll get some replies about problems encountered while lighting these units - actual first hand experiences or otherwise.

Personally, I always insert my extra-long match stick(s) up to pilot assy first (tape two of them together, to get my face far away as possible) before pushing down on that pilot knob, and since I recently heard of a small explosion from what the guy said was a bad gas valve (dunno for sure) flooding the heat exchanger while lighting it, think I'll test that pilot knob first. Depress it and sniff for excessive gas build up before lighting and inserting the match stick. Let the gas dissipate afterward, of course.

In the mean time (till I post the other thread), if anyone's had a problem with this particular furnace, grateful for your comments.

gregzoll 07-14-2013 10:57 AM

If the person lighting the unit, or using it, does not know what they are doing, yes they are dangerous just like any appliance. To save costs for you and your residents, better to replace that antique, then try to keep bandaiding them.

yuri 07-14-2013 12:20 PM

1 Attachment(s)
use a telescopic lighter with wood match on the end for the easiest way 2 do it. most heating suppliers have them, under $10.

hvac benny 07-14-2013 01:10 PM

The human nose is not an adequate instrument for detecting "an excessive build-up of gas", no matter how good you think your sense of smell is. Your theory of how to test the pilot/gas valve is flawed- you'll either smell gas or you won't. There's no way to measure gas with your nose, and quite frankly tells me that, although you mean well, don't have the knowledge to be working on other people's gas appliances.

I don't know if you have to be qualified to work on gas where you live, but here you'd be facing 6 months in jail and/or a $100,000 fine, especially if something went wrong. The law here is such that you have the right to endanger yourself, but not other people.

One used to be able to get a gas appliance service certificate here, and this was a great ticket to have for a handyman or duct cleaner because its only a part time course and focuses on proper repair and appliance safety. I'd suggest you check to see if something similar is available in your area. Knowledge is power, lack of knowledge can be deadly.

FClef 07-14-2013 04:12 PM

Unless there is a good reason to replace the appliance and it is in good working condition there is no reason to scrap it. I never once ripped out an appliance because it was old unless the homeowner wanted me to do so or there was an unsafe condition that was cost prohibitive to repair.

People will do stupid things and as a service technician you need to educate your customers to not do these things. It kind of makes me nervous that you are learning as you go, you should have some sort of schooling or training/certification before you get your hands on a gas appliance. Gas is one of the most unforgiving of fuels if you make a mistake. One dumb move can kill. I am not being overly dramatic, this is a fact.

Before I got training I used to fear natural/propane gas, now I have a healthy respect for it and I know what to do and what not to do. I never forget what fuel I am dealing with and that keeps me alert and cautious. If you are moving your face away when lighting a pilot light then you haven't taken steps to be certain there is not a faulty gas valve or other condition where raw gas can accumulate. Can it still flash even after your best efforts to be sure it won't? Yes, but the percentages drop way way down if you have performed your safety tests.

Get some schooling or training under your belt. Gas service is not something that you should learn as you go.

justplumducky 07-14-2013 04:40 PM

Gregzoll - I do work in the parks, but I'm not a park employee, and I've already addressed the issue of replacement. Not going to happen unless community action peeps do it for them - not interested in going in to that at the moment. Thx much for your reply.

Yuri - you've always got something for me that really helps, whether it's something like this (the telescoping match tool) or stern warnings about whatever - thx much!

hvac benny - your words: "The human nose is not an adequate instrument for detecting "an excessive build-up of gas". I did mis-speak about that, but your point is well taken.

Is it possible for a gas valve, when depressing the pilot knob to light it up, to put too much gas to furnace, even if you put the match in first? Anyone ever have this happen (explosion this way)?

While we're at it, in case it might help anyone else lighting an old Standing Pilot unit up, one of the park residents depressed his pilot knob to light it, and didn't notice the gas coming out of the base of the pilot knob as he brought his match up the hole to put it in - the gas ignited and of course he let go pretty quick (putting it mildy) - flame went out he and was lucky enough to not get burned. I had the gas valve replaced by a pro, but checked out what he said - based on the pressure coming out from the base of that knob, it must have been pretty scary.

What would you do, benny, (and anyone else of course) to avoid the possibility that there is too much gas in the furnace (gas valve flooding the furnace a bit, if that's possible?) before or after putting the match in? I'm assuming this guy was truthful about the gas valve flooding the heat exchanger. Knowing him a bit, wouldn't surprise me if he was just trying to hide the fact that he depressed the pilot knob first (before putting match in) and he waited too long before putting the match in.

I don't do it that way. I put match in first, then press the pilot knob - maybe someone could also speak to how long they would wait for the pilot to light up (doing it this way) before letting that pilot knob go. Haven't had any problem with this method so far. Have had several not light up right away due to dirty pilot tube, bad orifice, etc. I'm not really sure how many seconds I wait for the flame before stopping the pilot gas flow, but no problems with it yet. Between attempts, I have even used a hair dryer before to help dissipate any accumulation. If no hair dryer, then I wait and sniff.

Always grateful for any help and/or the criticism as well.

How do you do all do it? (or maybe I should wait and post the new thread I was talking about)?

justplumducky 07-14-2013 04:56 PM

Quote originally posted be me: "How do you do all do it?" (or maybe I should wait and post the new thread I was talking about)?

Or maybe I won't post that new thread. Maybe too much to ask for... Not complaining, maybe would require to much input to relate experiences and I could understand that - and have no problem with those that wouldn't want to, no matter your reasons. I could easily understand the various reasons.

Thx for all the help and criticisms so far.

gregzoll 07-14-2013 04:58 PM

If you do work in the parks, but not an employee, that makes you a handyman. If you do not hold a license for this type of work, you are endangering not only yourself, but the residents of the structures.

Stop right now, and suggest that if the park owns these structures, either invest money in them to update them, or do like most mobile home parks, and start closing the villages, due to the property owners want money, not to take care of the residents that are renting from them.

Sounds to me that you are doing some shade tree work under the table for slum lords, in my opinion.

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