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Converting an M1937 Fire Unit to Propane
Fire Unit Conversion (Part 2)

By David Jarvela

Click on the thumbnail for a larger view of each photograph.

The reason for the M1937 fire units was to convert them to propane. I wanted to leave the M2 burners intact, thinking that the ranges would be easier to sell as complete units if the opportunity arose.

Weed burner
This is a burner that I constructed out of a weed burner, electrical conduit and two pieces of flat stock. It will boil a pot of water really fast!

At first I tried to do the conversion the lazy manís way. Bob had just sold a cook trailer with two M1959ís with M2 burners that had been converted to propane. After looking at the burners, I realized that I would be out of luck there, unable to do anything short of a total disassembly. It was time to start from scratch.

The first step in my conversion was to disassemble the fire unit. I took it down to the point the cast iron burner/mixing chamber and panel were left. I then folded the air and fuel tank straps down into the frame. Then I sat down and thoroughly cleaned the burner/mixing chamber and all the slots in the burner. At this point I should say that I set the parts aside in boxes, thinking that if it didnít work I would reassemble and sell the fire units, and if it did work, I could sell the spare parts.

I wanted to keep the cast iron star burner for a number of different reasons. First, I knew that it would give better heat distribution than a turkey fryer burner like the ones used by the Red Cross in their conversions (these fryers can lead to pot burn-through), and it would keep the fire unit as close to the original as possible. Last, and maybe the most important, it would be cheaper to convert than to buy a new burner.

<<= Previous | Next =>>


  1. Converting an M1937 Fire Unit to Propane

  2. Fire Unit Conversion

  3. BTU Rating of the Burners

  4. Supplies and Tools

  5. Conversion Procedure

  6. Flame and Pressure Control

  7. Safety Tests

  8. Cooking with the propane burners

David Jarvela is a native of White Pine, Mich. He currently lives in Hoyt Lakes, Minn. Questions or comments? E-mail him at:

Copyright © 2000 by David Jarvela. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

October 2000

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