The Hilerange on my boat was leaking propane after 30+ years. I replaced it with $1,000 propane stove (the cheapest that West Marine sells). It's probably easier to replace the stove since finding out why the stove was decommissioned could prove to be just as expensive. You may also want to replace the gas lines and shutoff valve.
For cooking, I think propane is the best, better would be a Compressed Natural Gas unit. CNG is lighter than air so it will not sink into the bilge but CNG units are more expensive than propane units. Just treat any gas with respect, turn on your bilge blower for 5 min. before starting the engine and make sure your propane tank locker is vented overboard.
can you contact the previous owner? Can you tell what fuel it used? Pressureized Alcohol can be changed to Kerosene/diesel by changing the jets. But better to replace with propane and with any kind of common sense better than most others.
If the stove had been used on a regular basis over the years cookingoil and fat finds its way through the cracks into the insulation around the oven. Not only does this reduce the r value of the insulation but is a potential fire hazard.
You'll have to disassemble to verify the condition.
I had an old Shipmate 2 burner kerosene stove/oven in my new to me 1978 Rafiki 37. I took one section of the stove off and everything was impregnated with grease and oil. It looked so bad I didn't even consider a rebuild and just threw it in the dumpster. Fortunately I could afford a new stove.
You might be able to pressure test the stove with air or nitrogen from a scuba, paint ball, or welding gas supplier. All innocuous and inexpensive. Or, pick up a propane tank some cobble up a short connected hose, give it a careful test to see if the stove is in working order. If the safety had gone bad, the PO may have simply given up on it instead of trying to obtain parts and diagnose it. That's about the best case, that you'd just need another safety for the oven burner.
If you're docked, so it isn't incredibly hard to remove the stove, maybe there's a local bbq or propane dealer who would be willing to look at it if you dragged it in.
On fuels, sure, you missed wood stoves. And induction cooktops. But propane isn't a monster. With due care, good installation, etc. it should not be a problem. Alcohol causes more boat fires because the invisible blue flame tends to reach out and set fire to the galley. Some of us also argue that it is a cold flame, takes forever to cook, and emits lots of water vapor. Others love it. Diesel is a great idea on a diesel boat, but some of us find that diesel stinks, and can make lots of soot. Yes, propane can explode. Most of the best fuels do that, if you don't follow the rules for handling them.
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Re: Refurbish or replace Stove
BigJim, the subject of cooking fuel has been debated ad nauseum here on CF. If the above responses are not enough for you, try a custom Google search on propane safety and alcohol stoves, etc. You will get reading material that will last for months!
As a long time live aboard cruiser, I have found propane to be the best solution and would not consider other fuels for my own use. Others disagree... but you will find that the vast majority of cruising boats use propane these days.
Jim (regular size)
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II self isolating in southern Tasmania for the winter. Brrr...
I live aboard and cruise the rivers. I have a 3 burner Princess electric with oven and have been very happy with it. Having a generator makes it possible to charge batteries while cooking which has worked very well with no problems. I also use a Force 10 propane grill mounted on the transom. I would do what someone else suggested and plumb it up to a bottle of propane and check it for problems and if it functions properly. Good luck
Tough call, I dealt with similar issues by the following
There are some tough regulations were I live for gas stoves, that must be attended to and certificated by a gas fitter. I bought a second hand alcohol stove for less than half the price of the certification, so the gas stove which is in as new condition will be sold and the Origo 3000 fitted in its place.
In truth LPG or gas stoves have the shortest cooking time, it takes an Origo at 2000w per burner about 10 mins to boil a litre of water, should be around half that for gas. But on the flip side the gas fuel has the highest risk of explosion, and subsequent fire is difficult to fight off, that is if you have any boat left to defend. Alcohol fuel fires are put out with water, which we have rather a lot of.
Origo are Swedish design and very simple but rugged devices that are easy to repair and hard to break. I will suspend a lowish powered microwave oven below it to suffice as an oven.
'give what you get, then get gone'
First off do not try to pressure test the stove from anything other than a pressure regulated propane tank. The propane works at a very low pressure and any pressure source over a couple of PSI will damage it.
If you post a picture of the burner it will be obvious to most of us if it is pressurized alcohol or propane.
If it was propane looking around the boat you should find a propane tank locker and a regulator. Ask around the boatyard for an old salt and he/she can probably answer your questions in five minutes.
If it is CNG you will probably want to scrap it. CNG tank exchanges are scarcer than hens teeth.
If it is propane it could easily be just fine as it is BUT regulations on stove safety have changed since that stove was new. The newer generations (at least the last 15 years) require an automatic shutoff if the fire goes out. Even if it works great you may want to replace it for this reason alone.
Measure the distance between the stove and tank . GO to GOODYEAR HOSE & Rubber. They only sell hoses and fittings . They do not sell Gas Regulators. Buy a new gas Regular also and a electric fuel cutoff switch You Tube can show you how to connect all the parts safely
As a suggestion, remove the stove completely and test it outdoors well away from anything you value. If you have a household bbq just use the tank, hose and regulator and I'm guessing the hose end will screw directly into the fitting in your photo. First test is to pressurise it and using a paint brush and soapy water paint every fitting, joint, valve (test valves in both open and shut positions!!) etc and look for bubbles. Also keep sniffing for propane smell. Pass/fail time. If it passes try lighting each burner one at a time and adjusting the flame. I'd have the oven door wide open to avoid any buildup of propane in case that part has leaks. Jets could be plugged, spiders webs or cocoons in passages etc etc could mess up flow any/all burners. Good luck.
The stove on a boat can be the source of great happiness. How often do you eat? Personally, I like to eat every day, usually starting with hot coffee in the morning.
I'll be blunt. Your current stove looks like a hunk of junk and you should ditch it asap.
I am very fond of the origo stoves....great stoves, easy installation, last forever. Installing one on your boat will not only be simple (no hoses, no pipes, no electrical, nothing) and it will instantly increase the value of your boat. If cost is an issue, a two burner model won't break your bank. But it does look like you have space for the 2 burner with oven model...which would be fantastic, but a bit more $$$. You should think long and hard about if you will ever use the oven!
The origo stoves were designed to fit in the hole/space left from your OEM stove.
We refurbished a Force Ten 3 burner propane stove and it works like it's new. I think the cost was under $200. The stove was over twenty years old but we knew its history as we'd had it since new.
If you can find a good propane outfit (if it's a propane stove) take the stove to them. We had a hard time finding a propane outfit in Toronto and a friend gave us the name of an outfit way out in the country someplace but it was worth the drive. Stands to reason out in the boonies is where the propane stoves are.
Propane stoves for boats are a real rip off as far as price goes. Re-furbish if at all possible.