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I'm troubleshooting a problem with my oven, an electric ignition gas oven. It's an old model, Whirlpool SF375BEP N2. I'm in a financial bind and replacing it is not an option at the moment.

I noticed that, although it was not working, the broiler would turn on. This made me think the problem was with the ignitor, so I replaced that. At first it seemed to work fine -- the oven turned on when I tested it, and it could even run a cleaning cycle.

But after that it wouldn't turn on, and I had to scramble to improvise for Thanksgiving. After some experimentation I found that I could just light the broiler (at the top of the inside of the oven), and after a while I was able to turn the oven on and it worked normally. But after a while even the broiler wouldn't light. I found that the same trick worked if I set the oven to a self-cleaning cycle, where it would light just fine and eventually the oven could be turned on (though if I took too long it would get too hot to slide the oven lock back and I'd have to wait).

For as long as I've had the oven it has taken a while to light the stove. The range/burners light instantly, but the oven and broiler would take maybe 15-45 seconds to light. In researching to post this question I found Why is my gas stove taking 30+ seconds to light? which (although it concerned the rangetop rather than oven below it) seemed similar enough to my underlying situation that I wonder if my problem is similar: gas feed, regulator, etc. I don't know much about working with gas -- the most I've done is to install a water heater -- so I thought I should ask here before going too far, either on my own or with a professional. (In the latter case I'd want to be sure I had the problem figured out to avoid spending the cost of a replacement on repairs.)

  • Was this range ever on Propane? And your gas is Natural gas? Make sure the supply valve is on all of the way. The ignitor works to set it to broil or clean? When you say you light it, are you referring to using a match? Does the glow plug/ignitor get hot when you put it in to normal run mode? It should. If it is not damaged, and you didn't touch the ignitor surface with fingers (oil transfers from skin), then my guess here is cleanliness and or alignment issues. Do the burners on top or the stove seem rotted, or deposits on it?Those types of problems (especially placement) will affect lighting – noybman Jan 24 '18 at 0:57
  • @noybman Natural gas, never on propane. The ignitor isn't visible unless the oven is disassembled, but I'm pretty sure it works (and that the one I replaced was working). By light I mean by the ignitor, I'm not using matches because the entire assembly is inaccessible during operation, though I could experiment with lighting a match in the oven itself. I haven't smelled gas, though, so I don't think there's enough to light. The ignitor I took out looked pristine and I did not touch it or the replacement. I didn't see rot or deposits. – Charles Jan 24 '18 at 3:57
  • From what you posted above, and the history with it, are you the original owner? Did it always light slowly? Im just asking because of your note on pressure regulator, and the supply line side, etc. (did you make sure valve is open fully). Does the stove have adjustment screw to swap between propane and gas? – noybman Jan 24 '18 at 4:16
  • @noybman I'm not the original owner, I bought it with my house 10 years ago. It has always been slow to light but never until about 3 months ago failed to light. (Possibly it would still light now if I was patient enough, I don't know.) – Charles Jan 24 '18 at 4:23
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    It might be worth (time vs $) disassemble a top burner, and the oven burner. Use a bright flashlight, verify the guts are clean. You can soak/clean them too, but they need to be really dry to ensure good gas flow. The holes should be clear, remove deposits. Sometimes spiders will nest inside one. Strange things happen. See if you get any improvement. If not, look upstream. I've mentioned a few times, but you haven't confirmed yet, check the main on/off to the stove? Seems silly, but hey. Otherwise the main regulator may be restricted. Moisture in the line could have corroded the guts. – noybman Jan 24 '18 at 4:42
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As others have suggested, the first thing to check is that all your valves are fully open.

However, since you don't seem to be having trouble getting up to temperature, it seems less like a supply or regulator problem and more likely to be about location of the pilot / ignition source. Either it's not clean, or position relative to the gas is off (could be not enough gas, or not enough supply air). Make sure your stove is level. If that doesn't help, see if you can clean/replace or adjust it.

A good generic step by step troubleshooting guide can be found here, which lists the order of trouble shooting for a milivolt ignition (the kind of pilot you hear clicks) with as:

  1. The gas valve
  2. The thermostat
  3. Cleaning the pilot orifice and pilot generator
  4. Adjusting the pilot generator height
  5. Replacing the pilot generator and safety valve

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