Repairing Cheap Propane Heater Regulator

Back in fall of 2010 I went hog wild with my money and dropped a whopping $29.99 plus tax at Charlie’s Farm & Home for one of these little radiant heaters that connects directly to a 20lb propane cylinder. It worked well last winter to keep my garage comfortable on bitterly cold days when I wanted to do some work or just escape to my man cave. Sadly, after one use in 2011 it would no longer start up. The addage “you always get precisely what you pay for” comes to mind. Not satisfied with leaving it at that, I decided to blindly delve into the guts of the regulator and see if I could figure out what went wrong.

Just a few minutes in I located a small plastic button behind the primary regulator spring that had crumbled around it’s perimeter. Normally I would have thrown my hands up and relegated the entire piece to the recyling bin. But it just so happened that I’d recently purchased a small metal mini-lathe, and was aching to do something useful with it. So I set out to repair my cheap Chinese crap with my other cheap Chinese crap.

Preliminary shape before parting. Old button on top of chuck shows where lip crumbled causing the button to “walk around” and prevent regulator from functioning.

Old button and new button next to regulator body and spring.

New button assembled in regulator body.

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