Seabee MS learning how to maintain the M2 burner unit

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Converting an M1937 Fire Unit to Propane
Safety Tests (Part 7)

By David Jarvela

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

After assembly and before lighting the burner you must test all your fittings for leakage. Remove the orifice and replace it with the 1/4" blk. plug, using pipe dope. Take the fire unit outside and connect to a propane source. Set the regulator and open the needle valve after opening the valve on the tank. 

The converted M1937 fire unit in operation
The converted M1937 fire unit in operation. Note the blue flame on the burner. The converted burner functions beautifully.

Using a basting brush apply soapy water to all the fittings in the line from the tank to the 1/4" plug. If a leak is present, it will blow bubbles at the point of leakage. Shut the gas off, bleed the pressure, and retighten the fitting. 

Turn the gas on and check for leaks again. If the same fitting still leaks shut the gas off, bleed the pressure, disassemble the connection, reapply pipe dope, reassemble and test again. If it still leaks see your plumber or propane dealer for a solution. 

Do not apply glues, epoxies or any exterior sealers. They will only serve to get you seriously injured or dead. Propane is safe if used properly but like any flammable is dangerous if you are not careful. If there are no leaks shut the gas off, bleed it down, remove the 1/4" plug and reinstall the orifice using pipe dope again. 

Reassemble the fire unit and you are ready to start cooking! The burner can be used in all positions in the range by running the hose through the door before you close it. Leave the sliding doors open wide enough for the hose to fit through.

Once I was up and running, I decided to install a heat reflector/splash shield like that on the M2 burners. After looking around and finding I couldn’t get what I wanted through any other means than a custom fabrication (which would completely destroy any sense of cost reduction throughout the entire project) I just decided to reinstall the tank shields. I simply raised the straps from their folded position and remounted the shields. They work just fine.

<<= 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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