propane burner has no back pressure

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bobeer

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Hello fellow brewers! I searched for any threads pertaining to the issue I'm having but didn't find anything close... so here's my issue.

I have an old propane burner I was given from my FIL. I think it's an old bayou classic or something close to that. It used to work fine years and years ago but the last time I used it the burner seemed to have no back pressure so the flame was just a big open flame that made the underside of my kettle totally black and charred up.
I was looking around at getting a new burner but now seeing that everything is crazy expensive I'm thinking about fixing what I already have. Does anyone know if this is more of a regulator issue and maybe replacing it will give me the small pressured blue flame I'm used to seeing from this burner? It was never as good as a Blichmann or anything but it did work a lot better than it's working now so if anyone has any ideas that I could try or maybe what I can replace that would help me out!

Thanks!
 
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bobeer

bobeer

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something like this? and adjusting the little air thing also on the burner...

Thanks, bud. Yeah, that's what I'm thinking needs replacement but just wanted confirmation that this might be the issue before I buy and try to replace.
 

bracconiere

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Thanks, bud. Yeah, that's what I'm thinking needs replacement but just wanted confirmation that this might be the issue before I buy and try to replace.


i've got a bayou burner, and the burner it's self is just an empty hunk of metal with holes? and it's got the little air mixing spinner to dial in the flame along with the adjustable propane flow to get a nice 'QUIET' blue flame....(i wasted A LOT of propane thinking it was good to sound like a jet engine :()
 

TyTanium

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Find a pipe cleaner or long flexible stick and clean out the cast iron burner part really well. That has solved it every single time for me.

I've had that happen on several occasions after long breaks from brewing. Sometimes spiderwebs or junk gets stuck in the cast iron burner part.
 

BrewerBrad82

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What does the burner casting look like?

A)
B) Small propane burner.jpeg

Medium propane burner.jpeg
C)
Large propane burner.jpeg
 
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bobeer

bobeer

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Find a pipe cleaner or long flexible stick and clean out the cast iron burner part really well. That has solved it every single time for me.

I've had that happen on several occasions after long breaks from brewing. Sometimes spiderwebs or junk gets stuck in the cast iron burner part.
Thanks, I'll give this a try before I buy anything.
 
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bobeer

bobeer

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i've got a bayou burner, and the burner it's self is just an empty hunk of metal with holes? and it's got the little air mixing spinner to dial in the flame along with the adjustable propane flow to get a nice 'QUIET' blue flame....(i wasted A LOT of propane thinking it was good to sound like a jet engine :()
Mine is pretty much the same it sounds like. There's a nice middle ground you can dial it into but from what I remember from the last time I used it the thing looked like a big tiki torch flame no matter what I did. I'll mess with it here this afternoon and see if I can clean it out as suggested and play around with the "flow" and such.
 

bracconiere

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Mine is pretty much the same it sounds like. There's a nice middle ground you can dial it into but from what I remember from the last time I used it the thing looked like a big tiki torch flame no matter what I did. I'll mess with it here this afternoon and see if I can clean it out as suggested and play around with the "flow" and such.


you want to dial back the propane flow, and up the oxygen intake until it's a solid silent blue flame, it doesn't sound impressive, but it's a lot hotter, and uses less propane. does your hose have an adjustable regulator inline? or is it static?

brad asking what type of burner style it is makes me think he'll chime in with some more specific ideas....
 

BrewerBrad82

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First, make sure that the propane regulator is fully backed off (no propane can flow) before attaching it to the propane cylinder and opening the cylinder. Next, once attached to the propane, and with the propane on, turn the regulator on and keep increasing the pressure. Do this outside, of course... Do you hear an increase of flow? If yes, the regulator is fine and the problem exists in the casting (more on that in a bit). If no, disconnect the regulator from the propane cylinder and give it a few taps with the handle of a screwdriver or similar. It is possible that the diaphragm and needle valve in the regulator is stuck and a few light raps could dislodge it. Repeat regulator test.

If the regulator is functioning properly, turn your attention to the casting. There is a screw in the center of of the ring that attaches the inner casting (kind of looks like an aluminum peanut butter cup) to the main burner body. Remove this (may be impossible after many years of use) and remove the inner casting. Use a wire brush to remove any deposits or build-up on both the inner casting and the main burner body and reassemble. If this does not improve the flame (should be light blue with minimal yellow on the tips), remove the inner casting and add about 1/8" worth of washers between the casting and the main body and re-assemble. In case the castings were misformed, as I have seen before, the extra gap between the parts will allow enough oxygen to flow to mix properly with the propane to produce a blue flame.
 
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hotbeer

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I had a little used propane side burner on a grill that packed up by mud dauber's. All the spinning of the air mixing valve did nothing till the mud was cleaned out of it.
 

BrewerBrad82

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It could be the propane tank as well.
Newer tanks have a built-it flow limiting device, to reduce propane flow in case of leak.
It can be activated under several circumstances, but I find opening the valve too quickly almost always activates.
Yep! By attaching the closed regulator to the propane cylinder and then opening the cylinder before allowing propane flow through the regulator will ensure this is not an issue.
 
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bobeer

bobeer

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First, make sure that the propane regulator is fully backed off (no propane can flow) before attaching it to the propane cylinder and opening the cylinder. Next, once attached to the propane, and with the propane on, turn the regulator on and keep increasing the pressure. Do this outside, of course... Do you hear an increase of flow? If yes, the regulator is fine and the problem exists in the casting (more on that in a bit). If no, disconnect the regulator from the propane cylinder and give it a few taps with the handle of a screwdriver or similar. It is possible that the diaphragm and needle valve in the regulator is stuck and a few light raps could dislodge it. Repeat regulator test.

If the regulator is functioning properly, turn your attention to the casting. There is a screw in the center of of the ring that attaches the inner casting (kind of looks like an aluminum peanut butter cup) to the main burner body. Remove this (may be impossible after many years of use) and remove the inner casting. Use a wire brush to remove any deposits or build-up on both the inner casting and the main burner body and reassemble. If this does not improve the flame (should be light blue with minimal yellow on the tips), remove the inner casting and add about 1/8" worth of washers between the casting and the main body and re-assemble. In case the castings were misformed, as I have seen before, the extra gap between the parts will allow enough oxygen to flow to mix properly with the propane to produce a blue flame.
Thanks, a lot! I'll try as suggested and report back later this afternoon.
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, I witnessed a brewer fire up his bg-10 burner ("A" above) and have that yellow smokey flame thing. He checked inside the burner tube and saw a big ol' spider nest which starved the burner for make-up air. Once he cleaned out the burner it worked as well as a bg-10 can...

Cheers!
 

BrewerBrad82

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fwiw, I witnessed a brewer fire up his bg-10 burner ("A" above) and have that yellow smokey flame thing. He checked inside the burner tube and saw a big ol' spider nest which starved the burner for make-up air. Once he cleaned out the burner it worked as well as a bg-10 can...

Cheers!
Oh yeah, that would for sure do it. Just making sure the burner is free of obstructions is likely the number one reason most of these issues happen. Forgot to mention that above, so great advice here!
 
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bobeer

bobeer

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I cleaned out all the parts I could and the regulator seems to work ok. I can hear the gas come through more and more as I turn it open.
When I went to unscrew the casting the screw broke in half from being so rusted and burned up so many times, I'm guessing. For a test anyway I put some washers underneath and lit it up. I played around with the damper and gas flow and the best I could get it is the pic below which isn't a very good flame. If the screw was rusted out maybe something else is rusted out too? Can I replace the "a" part of the burner?
20221026_133922.jpg
 
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bobeer

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You've weighed your propane tank and know that it's got some liquid left in it?
Yeah, it's got gas. I cooked some thighs on the grill right after this test. It's not totally full though... maybe half a tank.
 

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bobeer

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Well, this is odd. You are certain that there is nothing lodged in the "neck" of the burner, and that the twist plate is open to allow air in?
I can mess with it again later to double-check but I used a stick and a long pipe cleaner to get in there as much as I could. It's been outside for a while so it is possible there's other stuff crammed way in there. I can hear the sound of the flame and air but the flame isn't that impressive.
 
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bobeer

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lumpher

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Those looking like A above get rusty, and the rust flakes off and blocks the air and flame. You should be able to unscrew the top part, pour out the rust and clean it up, and put it back together. Before I switched to the Mash and Boil I had to do that every now and then.
 
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Bobby_M

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I'm 99% sure you have big spider webs inside the casting. If you hear gas flow faster, it's just escaping the casting through the air intake and never getting to the tips. You have to take the casting apart and clear debris.
 
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bobeer

bobeer

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Thanks for all the replies! I got covid right after posting this and then I had to go out of town for work so I haven't gotten around to cleaning it out. I'll try to get to it this weekend and report back. Thanks again!
 
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