lost my thread; dead propane heater

I lost the original thread... I'm having trouble with a Mr. Heater "Buddy" heater. I RTFMed today. Manual says "if the heater turns itself off, check the pilot light; if the pilot light isn't working, blow it out here here and here with compressed air"
So I did all that. I put 100 PSI air to the business end, opened up the valve and backflushed it. I could feel the air coming out the input side of the plumbing, so that ought to have dislodged any spider webs.
The pilot is still weak. It looks like it's just ever so barely occasionally touching the thermocoupler. Instead of a straight, pointy blue cone of flame, it's sort of a blue whisp that's ill defined at the tip, and tends to curl upwards slightly, away from the thermocoupler.
Looks like low pressure, but I tried three different throwaway cylinders and two grill tanks at various points along the way, so it's not likely supply pressure.
The pilot doesn't seem to ever want to stay lit after I release the knob, but if I jiggle the knob just right, I can sometimes get the burner to light. It fires up, whumps a few times, and burns long enough that the ceramic element is thinking about turning orange in spots, then the heater shuts off with a click.
The click tells me it's shutting itself off for a reason, but I'm stumped. I hate that I paid $80 for this POS less than a year ago, but I'm out of clue here, and am just about to smash it with a sledge hammer and spend the winter crocheting afghans instead of working in the shop.
Any other ideas?
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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Silvan wrote:

Sounds like the pilot orfice is partly blocked/restricted. You might try to clear it with a fine wire.
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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I have one of those sitting out in my garage even as I type. A year or so ago I had the same problem you described. I called and they recommended I use Mr. Heater hoses and gave me several things to try. Try them I did but to no avail. I called back and they said send it in. I did that, to the tune of about 20 bucks if I remember correctly. Well, I got it back some time later and it worked just fine (with my new Mr. Heater hoses).
Then, as the weather turned colder this year I broke it out again and ... same problem. I tried all the things in the manual etc but decided not to invest any more time or money on it. The heater is really nice when it works. But .....
Michael, I didn't know you could crochet an Afghani. Is that why they don't allow crocheting needles on airplanes?
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snipped-for-privacy@surewest.net wrote:

Hrm. So I'm probably in for fewer headaches in the long run if I just opt for the sledge hammer and find some better heater instead then?
Pity. Although it never actually got my shop warm anyway. Supposed to have enough BTUs to do the job in spades, but it never did more than toast my ankles. Probably wouldda had to leave it on for hours to do any good, and I was a tightwad with the gas.

Could be.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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Silvan wrote:

the controller and reverse flush it with air. Maybe use a wire to dislodge it from the orifice first, as someone else has suggested.
2. Don't know about this machine, but some controllers have an adjustment for the pilot. It is often underneath a screw cover which has to be removed first. Look for a largish screw near the pilot line.
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Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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Gerald Ross wrote:

I didn't use a wire because the manual specifically said not to do that. I did backflush it with air, and air came out the other end.

Worth a look. Thanks.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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Silvan wrote:

Try blowing out the pilot area with brake cleanner. It'll turn to gas as it "dries" and will remove grease, dirt and generalised crud.
Dave in Fairfax
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Dave Leader
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Dave in Fairfax wrote:

That's actually a good idea. I didn't think of that.
I did take it apart. There really is a ruby in there, with an eeeeeency hole in it. The ruby was gunky. I polished it. That seemed to cure the heater's woes, and I was getting ready to write up a success story, but then it just cut off on me a bit ago.
I damn near just hurled it, cylinder and all, out into the street.
I think it's either the thermocoupler or the tip switch.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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