Disassembling a Ronson Varaflame MKII Butane Lighter

Disclaimer! Long story short : I wanted my Ronson lighter to work so I tore it apart and fixed it, I take no responsibility in case you break yours, by trying the same thing.

Introduction

Front
The front

I found this beautiful, slightly worn, Ronson Lighter while helping my dad tidy his horribly cluttered and boxed-up outhouse, but it didn’t work. I filled it with new butane, put a new flint in it, but still nothing, which made me very sad and curious – it’s an old Ronson! they cost a fortune, it would be very cool indeed to have one, and also they shouldn’t break. But I saw no hinges, buttons or openings other than that of where to put the flint and the gas, and I didn’t want to start off with the hammer as my first tool, so I gave it up, at least for the time being.

Sometime later a friend mentioned Ronson, I went to get my broken lighter to show him, and suddenly while looking at it, I discovered… The pin holding the Cap! I popped it off, and I was one step further to unlocking the secret of the faulty Ronson! so! To da Google mobile!

First of all I needed to know what I was looking for, so I started searching for Ronson models,

The back
The back

(Ronson’s own site couldn’t help me since their “flash” was broken, something with plug-ins, not worth my time) and I came upon a site with many pictures of different Ronsons. calling a lighter that looked like mine a “Ronson Varaflame MKII Butane Lighter”, so now I knew what I was looking for, and I could start searching for the assembly manual, and I kept looking to no avail. I stumbled upon a great video on YouTube talking about fixing butane lighters, and how you first have to find out what’s actually wrong, is it a problem with the gas or the flint? So I got out another lighter, pressed the lever on my Ronson and made a spark with the other one, the Ronson was lit. Then I pressed the lever on the other lighter while trying to create a spark with the Ronson, nothing happened; the problem had to be something with the flint or file. I continued to look for some manual which I never found, hence at last I thought, “it doesn’t work now, thus I can’t break it”, and my tinkering adventure begun!

Disassembling the Ronson Varaflame MKII Butane Lighter

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Be careful. I wasn’t, the dent shows..

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First of all the cap can be wedged off, you want to be careful here as a small pin which I assume doesn’t tolerate much messing around with, is holding the cap in place.

 

Then the top becomes visible, and you’re able to disassemble it further by unscrewing the screw holding the file (the wheel).

This is kinda tricky, as there are screws on both sides, one set into the other. You’ll have to use a little finesse to keep it steady.

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When you’ve done this be careful when removing the screw from the wheel, as it is the wheel that holds the lever (the “press = fire” – button) in place, and the lever is being pushed upwards by a spring; When I removed the screw holding the file, the lever jumped, to my amazement, straight away and I had to start searching for it. When unscrewing this use a screwdriver that fits – it will be hell when the screws loose their carve, somebody had been here before me, and I literally spent an hour+ getting the screws out. Luckily I didn’t have to worry about which fitted where, as they were of different size, good work Ronson.

Light is coming through!!
Light is coming through!!

After removing the wheel I discovered that the hole where the flint should pop its head through was completely clogged. So after getting out a needle… and a hammer.. and working on it for a little while, I started to get some results!

I continued to remove the.. whatever.. from the opening, and finally a flint could fall clean through!

But I couldn’t stop here since now I finally got it taken apart! So I continued to tinker with it for a while. The file actually looked like a little very complicated clockwork, so of course I had to take that apart as well.

Very messy..
Very messy. The.. whatever.. that clogged the lighter
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One side of the insides of the file
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The other side

Looking on “The other side”, the disk (on the right) goes under the file (top left), the two small disks goes on either side, and lastly it is fitted into the geary-holder (bottom left). The one-way slopes on the file makes sure it only rolls one way, and the gears fit into the lever.

An explosion styled posing of the lighter, showing the mechanics of the Lever and File
An explosion styled posing of the lighter, showing the mechanics of the Lever and File

But finally I put it back together, cause I had to test it out.

Did it work?
Did it work?
Yes it did!
Yes it did!

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5 Comments

  1. thanks for that, the lighter is my mates but its not like the one in the photo but will give it a try……cheers

  2. Thank You for posting this info. I love to bring back good old items! You were able to help me get my Ronson working again! I’ve worked on lighters but never a Ronson MKII.
    I found out in a lot of old lighters the flint swells over years and get stuck, even new old stock that had never been used. A drill bit half the size of the flint tube works great. Carefully drill till you feel the bit break through the old flint. There are little tabs inside the flint tube that hold the spring cap in place. Be careful not to grind them down while clearing the tube. It’s best to drill from the top down and try to only work on the end near the flint wheel and not mess up the bottom.

    1. I am SO happy to hear that my tinkering and post has helped someone else. My work is done 🙂
      Great work!

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