Suburban RV Stove Igniter Not Working

As an RV owner who loves cooking on the road, I know how disruptive it can be when your Suburban RV stove suddenly won’t ignite. You turn the knob to fire up the burner or oven, but no flame appears. Now your plans for grilling steaks or baking a fresh pie are on hold.

Before you resign yourself to cold camp meals and start researching repair shops, know there is likely a quick fix. In most cases, the issue comes down to either a failed igniter or a problem with gas flow. With a few troubleshooting steps, you can often manually light your Suburban stove and get cooking once again.

Faulty spark igniters are common, preventing the burner from lighting automatically. Clogged gas lines and orifices can also disrupt gas flow and ignition. In this guide, I’ll provide tips to diagnose the specific problem with your Suburban RV stove, walk through manually lighting the burners or oven pilot, and share maintenance advice to prevent future ignition issues. You’ll be cooking delicious meals in no time!

Suburban RV Stove Igniter Not Working

Diagnosing the Stovetop Igniter Problem

Let’s first tackle troubleshooting the stove burners when your Suburban RV’s built-in piezo igniter won’t create a spark. Start by turning on the knob of the burner you want to light. You should hear a rapid clicking sound as the igniter tries to spark.

Suburban RV Stove Igniter Not Working

If no clicking is heard, the issue may be a failed igniter unit, lack of power to the igniter, or a broken wire connection. Trace the wires leading from the igniter buttons on the stove control panel to the igniter itself. Check that the wires are intact and securely plugged into the igniter unit. Test with a multimeter for power going to the igniter when the buttons are pressed.

If the igniter is clicking but no flame results, there is likely an issue with the gas flow. Over time, particulate matter in the gas lines can clog the stove burner orifices enough to prevent proper gas flow. We’ll cover gas line troubleshooting and maintenance in more detail later on.

But first, let’s get that stove lit manually so you can get cooking!

Manually Lighting the Suburban Stovetop

While spark igniters are convenient when they work, Suburban RV stove burners can be easily lit manually if needed –

Step 1: Make sure the stove and gas supply are turned on. You should hear a faint hissing as gas flows to the burner.

Step 2: Light your handheld igniter – I prefer an extendable grill lighter for safety.

Step 3: With the burner knob in the “Lite” position, hold the igniter to the burner head, moving it around until the burner ignites.

Step 4: Once lit, keep holding the lighter for 30 more seconds to allow the thermocouple to heat up and activate the gas flow.

Step 5: Release the lighter and turn the knob to adjust heat. Monitor the flame, ensuring it burns evenly around the burner head.

Step 6: When finished cooking, be sure to turn the knob fully off.

With a simple grill lighter, you can have your stovetop burners glowing in seconds. The manual process becomes quick and easy with a bit of practice. Just take care to avoid burns by keeping your hands and clothing clear.

Purging Air from the Gas Lines

Before manually lighting the stove, it’s smart to purge any air that may be trapped in the gas lines. Air can accumulate in the lines when a propane tank runs very low or after servicing. Here are tips –

Step 1: Turn the stove knob to release gas, and wait 5-10 seconds for air to escape.

Step 2: Attempt to light the burner during this time to purge air – the burner may briefly flare or pop.

Step 3: Repeat the process 2-3 times on each burner you want to use.

This simple step helps avoid delayed burner ignition and ensures an even flame. Take care to not overwhelm your RV with gas – crack a window or door open for ventilation.

Inspecting Burner Flames

Once your Suburban stove burner is successfully lit either manually or with the igniter, inspect the flame for proper, even combustion –

  • The flame should burn evenly around the burner head.
  • The color should be light blue with no yellow tipping.
  • Flame height should be steady, not lifting off the burner excessively.
  • No excessive noise or fluttering sounds should be heard.

Uneven flame height, orange/yellow color, lifting flames, or a high-pitched whistling sound all indicate a problem with burner combustion. This requires professional diagnosis and service to prevent a dangerous situation.

But in most cases, manual lighting produces a proper flame, and you can safely proceed with stove operation.

Troubleshooting the Oven Pilot Igniter

Now let’s focus on troubleshooting the oven pilot when the Suburban RV oven igniter fails. Unlike the stove, most RV oven models lack a push-button igniter. Instead, they use a thermocouple sensor to detect a pilot flame and enable the gas supply to flow.

Start by opening the oven door and locating the pilot assembly at the back of the burner compartment. It contains a small covered opening for the pilot and uses a propane feed tube routed from beneath the oven.

Next, turn the oven control knob counterclockwise to the “Pilot On” position. You should hear a soft hissing sound as propane flows to the pilot. If no gas flow is heard, there may be a faulty gas valve or obstruction in the line. Confirm the oven gas supply line is turned on.

If the pilot gas flow sounds normal, we can light it manually.

Manually Lighting the Oven Pilot

Here are the step-by-step instructions for safely lighting your Suburban RV oven pilot by hand –

Step 1: Make sure propane tanks are full and supply lines are fully opened.

Step 2: Obtain a long stem lighter to easily access the pilot located at the back of the oven burner chamber.

Step 3: Turn the oven knob counterclockwise to the “Pilot On” position. Listen for pilot gas flow.

Step 4: Hold the oven knob down continuously to allow gas to keep flowing to the pilot uninterrupted.

Step 5: Reach the long stem lighter flame to the pilot opening. Hold it there until the pilot ignites and remains lit when the lighter is removed.

Step 6: Continue holding the oven knob down for 30 seconds after lighting to allow the thermocouple to fully heat up and activate the gas valve.

Step 7: Release the oven knob. If the pilot immediately goes out, repeat steps 3-6.

Step 8: With the lit pilot verified, turn the oven knob clockwise to your desired baking temperature.

Once the pilot stays lit and the thermocouple is engaged, gas will continue flowing to enable oven operation. Helping the thermocouple fully activate is the key to keeping the pilot lit without holding the knob continuously.

Oven Pilot Precautions

When manually lighting your Suburban RV oven pilot, keep these safety factors in mind –

  • Have proper ventilation to avoid propane buildup.
  • Position body and clothing safely away from the flame when lighting.
  • Start with a cold oven – do not attempt if the oven is already hot.
  • Use only the recommended long-stem lighters meant for pilots.
  • Allow the pilot flame to stabilize before releasing knob pressure.
  • Always verify the pilot is out when finished baking.

While not overly complex, manually igniting the oven pilot requires attentiveness for best results and to avoid potential hazards. Take your time and follow the ignition steps carefully.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Future Igniter Issues

Beyond offering immediate solutions for a failed Suburban RV stove or oven igniter, let’s explore some maintenance tips to hopefully prevent recurrence.

Inspect and Clean Igniter Electrodes

The spark igniter electrodes on your stove burners may simply need cleaning to restore function. Gently wipe away any food, grease, or oxidization buildup using an emery cloth or fine grit sandpaper. Be careful not to bend or damage the electrode tip. Check that the ceramic insulator around the electrode is intact – cracks can cause misfires.

Clear Clogged Burner Orifices

Small burner orifice ports can clog over time with food debris or spider nests. Carefully clear any obstructions with a thin wire or compressed air. Avoid damaging the delicate brass orifice opening. This allows proper gas flow.

Treat Gas Lines

For persistent clogging issues, there are special line treatment additives that can continually clean RV gas supply lines as propane flows through. Consult your dealer or RV technician for product recommendations based on your model.

Check for Gas Leaks

Routinely inspect all propane lines, valves, and fittings for any signs of leaks that can disrupt burner gas flow. Listen for hissing sounds around connections and use a non-corrosive bubble solution to test for smaller leaks.

Have Igniters Serviced

If stove spark igniters still prove faulty after wire and electrode inspection, they may just require professional cleaning and servicing to restore function. The igniter units are fairly complex and sealed components.

I hope this guide provides some helpful troubleshooting tips to get your Suburban RV stove and oven back up and running when the igniters fail! Remember to always take proper safety precautions when working with gas appliances in your RV. Manual lighting is meant as a temporary solution – have any underlying issues with igniters, thermocouples, or gas valves repaired by authorized technicians when possible. But you’ll be prepared to cook regardless! Please let me know if you need any RV-related assistance and happy travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my oven pilot keep going out after lighting it?

If the oven pilot won’t stay lit after manual lighting, the thermocouple likely isn’t getting sufficiently hot. Try holding the knob down for 45-60 seconds after ignition before releasing. If it still goes out, the thermocouple may need replacement by a technician.

What if I can’t get the oven pilot lit manually?

Ensure you have an adequate propane supply, then retry using a grill lighter with an extended neck for better pilot access. If it still fails to light, there may be a blockage in the pilot gas line requiring service. Never allow propane to accumulate in the oven compartment unlit.

Why do my stove burners make a whistling sound?

Stove burners shouldn’t whistle or pop loudly. This likely indicates improper combustion and requires adjustment of the air-gas mixture. Consult an authorized Suburban dealer or RV technician to diagnose and correct the issue.

How often should the stove igniter be replaced?

Spark igniters gradually wear over time from use but rarely need replacement more than every 5-10 years with average RV usage. If corrosion occurs from moisture or grease accumulation, more frequent replacement may be required.



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