The Janitrol controls stick out the front of the furnace and consist of a pancake gas valve operated by a clockwork mechanism (it looks like something out of a Victorian-age museum) which lifts a lever and opens the valve. The clockwork mechanism is operated by a 24V small motor which is powered via the limit control and the thermostat back to a transformer on the wall. According to the plumber the controls have a 24" blast tube (important!).
The motor which drives the clockwork mechanism has failed resulting in the inability to open the gas valve and thus supply heat. So say both myself and the plumber. He of course would like to sell me a new furnace at about $6500 something that I'm resisting. I understand that parts are no longer available for the 1930-ish Janitol controls although I don't know why not. I can buy parts for a 1930's Packard car--albeit paying an arm and a leg. Janitrol still exist but don't even seem to have a website.
The next step down from replacement of the entire thing is to replace the controls as a group (about $1400) but the problem here is the lack of a 24 inch blast tube on the modern units according to the plumber. Most current gas replacement controls use a 12 or so inch blast tube. Apparently the 24 inch is not an exact measurement but could be 20, 22 etc. I presume the blast tube is some sort of pipe that goes from the controls to the burner. If they don't make one why couldn't one be fabricated from steel (titanium? copper? bronze?)? I don't think the plumber is interested in following this option. How do I get someone who is?
Back to the drawing board. Why can't I replace the 24 volt motor with a generic one? How do I search (Google) for a supplier? What I'd really like is someone who offers a service of "Send me your old one and we'll send you a new one with the appropriate drive shaft". How would I search for a supplier here?
Alternatively, just as there a people who rebuild generators on cars aren't there places that rebuild either the motor or the clockwork mechanism itself. I understand it might require fabrication of some parts but I have no idea how to go about looking for these things.
Alternatively, I'm not sure I trust the plumber and his "No current controls available with a 24 inch blast tube" If I google on "gas furnace conversion controls" I end up with a whole lot of junk on conversion from oil of LP gas. No one talks about coal and even if it's the same for a oil conversion I can't find any specifications or even see any actual units. Everyone just wants to sell me a whole furnace <sigh>.
To say anything you want.