How to Replace the Ignitor in a Gas Oven: A Pictorial Guide

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on August 6, 2008

in Oven Repair, Range Repair

If your gas oven isn’t firing up, start your diagnosis by checking the ignitor for the proper current draw. “Uh, do what?” you ax, with glazed eyes. Don’t be intimidated by techie-sounding procedures. This is simple stuff– if you can fog a mirror, you can measure current draw. This article explains how to make simple electrical measurements and this one explains what you’re looking for in the gas oven ignitor.

Once you’ve proven that the ignitor is drawing insufficient current (and, therefore, is the correct part to replace to fix the problem), use this handy pictorial guide to hepya change it out.

Looking Underneath with the Pots Drawer RemovedThe wiring for most range ignitors is accessed underneath the oven by removing the pots drawer, as shown here. Why do you need to access the wiring? Two reasons: 1) so you can measure the current draw and 2) it’s part of replacing the ignitor since the new one has to be wired in the same way as the existing one. Take note of where the wires go. The ignitor wires are not polarity-sensitive so don’t worry about “reversing” them.

Gas ControlsIn this particular range (a Maytag), I had to remove a covering panel to expose all the wires.

Using a Clamp-on AmpmeterHere, I have my clamp-on ammeter on one of the ignitor wires to make a current draw measurement. You can see the closeup of the meter in the next pic.

Measuring Current DrawYou can see the current draw reading is 2.4 amps. For a square ignitor, such as this one (you’ll see it in a subsequent picture), the minimum acceptable current draw is 3.4 amps, well above what I’m measuring here. Obviously, in order to make this measurement, the oven has to be turned on and the ignitor getting voltage. This is a LIVE test, meaning there’s live voltage on the circuit. Fire in the hole! Fry yo ace if’n you ain’t careful, Hoss, so… BE CAREFUL!

Rear Panel of the RangeOn some ranges, you’ll need to remove the back panel to get to wiring for one or both ignitors (there’s one each for bake and broil). Yes, this means the range needs to be pulled out from the wall. In the case of a wall oven where the freakin’ engineers didn’t bother to make it service-friendly, you’ll need to remove the entire wall oven from the cavity. If this is the case with yours, you’ll quickly understand why I abhor wall ovens.

Bake Ignitor Attached to the Bake Burner TubeHere’s a typical bake ignitor. Note that this one is square. Some ranges, such as older Whirlpools and GEs, use a round ignitor. These two types of ignitors have different current draw specs and are made to be used with different types of valves. This means they are not interchangeable. So, if your range uses the square ignitors, you can only replace it with another square ignitor. The brand doesn’t matter since, by convention, all square ignitors have the same current draw and all round ignitors have the same current draw. For replacement square ignitors, I find that the Maytag universal square ignitor kit is the most cost-effective and reliable. I use this kit in all brands that require a square ignitor.

Removing the Ignitor Retaining ScrewsNote the finesse with which the Master handles his ¼” nut driver. It’s such beautiful poetry in motion that it makes me all verklempt. Or maybe it’s just allergies…

Sometimes, the head breaks off one of the ignitor retaining screws or, worse yet, the retaining screws are phillips screws and they wallow out on you. That’s what we call a Plot Complication (PC). A PC can be any event that results in the failure of the voluntary nervous system to contain a spontaneous convulsion of the autonomic nervous system as it spews voluminous streams of choice adult language, causing any casual observers present to wet themselves uncontrollably.

I can usually work the screw loose using my little channel lock pliers on the threaded of the screw. I’ll then replace the screw with a slightly bigger diameter machine screw with a pointed end and course threads so it cuts itself into the bracket. It ain’t gotta be perfect or purdy, all it’s gotta do it securely hold the ignitor in position.

Bake Burner Tube Rear Retaining ScrewLots of times, you’ll need to remove the bake burner tube to allow enough room so you can run the wires for the new ignitor. You’ll usually find two screws securing the burner tube: one in back and…

Bake Burner Tube Front Retaining Screw…one in front.

Bake IgnitorHere’s the bottom of the oven, with the bottom pan, flame spreader, and burner tube all removed so we have unencumbered access to the bake ignitor wires.

Broil Ignitor Dangling FreeOn this range, I also removed the broil burner tube and the broil ignitor is left dangling, just itching to be replaced.

Wire Harness for the Broil IgnitorAgain, on this particular range, and maybe in the one you’re working on, you’ll have to remove the back panel behind the range. Shown here is the wire harness connector for the broil ignitor. so you just need to connect the new ignitor wires to this harness connector– no need to go all the way back down to the gas valve, like in the bake connector.

So, there you be, Buddy-ree. Easy as pie and 1-2-3. If’n you need parts for your range, come buy ‘em from me. Merci!

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