HELP! Our gas oven is busted and tomorrow's Thanksgiving!

Tonight my wife and I came home and cooked a pizza for dinner in our oven. A few hours later my wife whipped up some brownies and found that the oven was not heating at all. Nothing was done to the oven in between those two times. The clock on the stove and the gas burners work fine.

FWIW the oven uses an electric ignition and not a pilot light. When you turn the oven on a glow-plug (or whatever you call it) heats-up. Once it is nice and hot (maybe 30 seconds or so) the gas turns on and the oven lights itself. If the glow-plug doesn’t heat the gas won’t start (nice safety feature). The glow-plug seems to be the problem since I don’t see it heating.

I visited GE’s website (we have a GE XL44 range) and went through their online help. The help wizard asked me a question or two and promptly told me I needed to call for service.

Unfortunately it is 10:30 p.m. and no chance of getting a repairman tonight. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving so no luck there not to mention that we need to cook stuff for Thanksgiving dinner! (Talk about bad timing).

So I put it to my fellow Doper’s for help. I’m reasonably mechanically inclined but within limits. That’s to say I am not up for dismantling my oven and not willing to do anything too dangerous futzing with gas and what not.

Still, if anyone knows of anything reasonably easy to try I’d sure like to hear it.

Funny you ask. About six months ago, I helped a church friend with her gas oven–a GE XL44. Over the two days prior to it not working, the oven failed to reach the normal temperature and things were coming out seriously undercooked. I couldn’t fix the thing. We finally called the repairman out. He changed the glow plug and said, “You know, if you were really in a bind, you can use the glow plug from the broiler if you need too.”

If I understood him right, there are two glow plugs in the oven. He said they are interchangeable.

BTW, installation was easy–just a wrench, as I recall. Part was about $90-$110.

Good luck.

(BTW, some people absolutely SWEAR by cooking turkey with their Weber grills.)

If you have a charcoal or gas grill you could try cooking the turkey in that. Use the indirect cooking method and allows lots of time. You can also use a smoker (but allow a really long time for that). An alternative is to go to a Walmart and pick up a gas ring burner and deep fry the turkey outside. It is supposed to be delicious, and not at all greasy. The web will have lots of references on how to do that safely.

Good luck. We have had a turkey that was “off” and had to pick up a frozen one at the last minute. Took a long time to defrost. Another year our electric oven broke when the element became loose. We had to keep on pushing it back in with a wooden spoon.

One day you will think back and laugh.

It would be simpler to head for the WalMart and pick up a tabletop broiler oven.

“ge xl44 oven glow plug parts” in google will give you a hotpoint pdf file for your range/oven with some service and adjustment info.

Per this info and tsunamisurfer it seems the most likely suspect is a burned out “glow bar” ie glow plug

"CAUTION: Do not make any attempt to operate
the electric ignition oven during an electrical
power failure.

The oven or broiler cannot be lit during a power
failure. Gas will not flow unless the glow bar is hot.
If the oven is in use when a power failure occurs,
the oven burner shuts off and cannot be re-lit until
power is restored. This is because the flow of gas
is automatically stopped and will not resume when
power is restored until the glow bar has reached
operating temperature."

Also FYI

“GE Answer Center®
Whatever your question about any GE major appliance, GE Answer Center® information service is available to help. Your call—and your question— will be answered promptly and courteously. And you can call any time. GE Answer
Center® service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to freeze the turkey and buy a pre-cooked one?

BTW Happy Thanksgiving guys; can someone send me a doggie bag?

Man you guys are amazing. Just when I think I have some question too obscure even for this board you people still manage to come up with stuff…too cool.

Anyway, I’ve tried some of the things suggested.

  • I tried running the broiler but nothing happened with that either.

  • I called the GE Answer Center but apparently only their phone system recordings are open 24 hours a day…the actual people you need to talk to keep banker’s hours (actually they stay till 10 p.m. which is pretty good but still no help to me right now and I’m cranky).

  • I was excited to hear about the PDF file. Unfortunately the PDF file found on Google is the same as what’s on GE’s web site. It is thouroughly worthless unless you want instructions on how to clean your stove or pointers on how you should have a strong floor because your stove is heavy. I guess they want to keep their repair guys working and giving you info on how to do something they can charge $200 for would be silly. I was hoping this might be something I could get at Home Depot or something but I can’t even find a description of the part.

  • I’ve heard of deep frying turkeys as well and have also heard they taste pretty good and it isn’t as gross as it would seem on the face of it. Still, I’m a little afraid of going there.

  • We do have a gas grill but it’s a pretty cheap one…still, it may be our best hope. I’ll have to think on that one.

Thanks again for all of your help…you guys (and gals) rock. If anything else occurs to you keep it coming!

Can you get at the glow-plug? Maybe if you held a lighter to it long enough you could get it hot enough that the gas would start. That’s assuming that the gas is cut on when a temperature sensor reaches a certain point, which seems to be the case from your description.

here is what you do for thanksgiving.

Get a giant egg, and all night keep telling everyone you dont know anything about it or whats in it.
then towards the end of the night have the egg hatch and a man in a turket costume busts out and dances with the host for 5 minutes.

it left me laughing the first time i saw it…

So you did try swaping the broil glow bar and no-go? Damn I thought was a good answer.
I’m don’t recognize the model number but I’m guessing you to touch the console to tell it to run. You may have a bad ribbon conector. It runs from the touch pad to the circut board. WITH THE POWER OFF unplug the ribbon connector and clean the end with a ink eraser.
Just a WAG but I wish you luck

Where exactly do you get a giant egg from?

There was a thread about deep-fried turkey on here recently - within the last week or two - but I can’t remember who started it or what forum it was on. I’m pretty sure Zenster posted in it though, so a search on his name in IMHO or MPSIMS might show up something.

If that doesn’t work, are you on good speaking terms with your neighbours? My neighbours quite regularly get me to throw stuff in my oven at Christmas time when they run out of oven space to cook the turkey and the pork and the 5 chickens and the potatoes and the pumpkin which they plan on having ready around 1 pm. It’d be mighty neighbourly if they were willing to let you use their oven, under the circumstances.

Do you know anyone who has a convection microwave you might be able to borrow? These are really simple to use and they roast meat and poultry just as crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside as a conventional oven.

If all that fails - how big is the turkey, and in how many hours does it need to be ready? You might still have enough time to do a hungi (I think that they are called a “luoau” in the US (yes, I know I got the spelling wrong, but Hawaiian spelling totally confuses me). You dig a hole in the ground, light a fire, let it burn down to coals, wrap you’re meat and vegies in banana leaves (or foil), chuck them in, cover them up and let the heat in the ground do all the work.

If none of the above are options, phone you’r neighbourhood pizza place. I’ll bet that they’ll be willing to cook the turkey for you in their ovens if you explain the situation to them and that they’ll do it for far less than it would cost you to buy another appliance simply to cook this one turkey. They’d probably love to do it - isn’t Thanksgiving partly about sharing what you have?

I was serious about the doggie bag guys - this is the first year in a while that the US embassy and consulate here haven’t done something on public for Thanksgiving.

Get back to me if none of the above options are viable and I’ll give you instructions for building a “camp oven”.

By the time you read this, it will be too late to get things going.

But I have a friend who’s the editor of the Food section of a major newspaper, and she said a friend of hers deep fried a turkey for Thanksgiving and it tasted so incredibly good that his guests couldn’t stop picking at it while he was cutting it. She added that, by the time everyone left, they had almost picked it to the bone. Amazingly, the turkey is not greasy at all.

BTW, Whack-a-Mole, my standing policy is: “Never Buy GE.”

I dunno, probably not in this neck of the woods…Mork had to fly in his all the way from Ork.

As for the turkey, screw the stove! Try deep-frying that bird. Or, if you’re really in a pinch, cook yourself a trash can turkey. The novelty of it all will impress all your guests!

We bought our home a year ago and it came with the home. It’s one of those things that you never seem to get around to replacing as long as it works. Depending on repair costs maybe now would be a good time to see it replaced…any suggestions that don’t cost a fortune?

Again, thanks for all of the replies. It looks as if we’ll be doing Thanksgiving at my in-laws in a nearby suburb instead. The deep-frying thing looked really cool but I’m a day late and a dollar short to go down that road. The neighbor thing was also a good idea and given that I live in a condo it’d have been easy to do. However, by the time I read this thread again the switch to the in-laws and the dozens of calls to make it so had already begun.

Have a great Turkey Day all!


Apparently there is potential bacterial doom and death in your future if you refreeze a thawed turkey. Just keep the thing in your fridge and cook it when the oven’s fixed, or take it to your in-laws and let them cook it. Either way, you can freeze the cooked meat just fine.

As I understand it, some bacteria is present in the turkey and when you thaw it, the bacteria multiplies. Since you cook it right away it’s no big deal, you kill the bacteria before it reaches “critical mass” (since there was so little bacteria to start with). However, if you refreeze the bird, the next time you re-thaw the bird you’ll be starting with a lot more bacteria as a starting point for the multiplication process and you could get something dreadful.

'least that’s what I’ve heard.


As a slight side, and I’ll try not to hijack to much…

Newer GE appliances have the nastiest reputations out of all “modern” appliance makers. They are usually about the cheapest to buy at first, but parts are expensive and getting their warranty for service can be a nightmare. Its kind of sad, since from what I understand they used to be one of the best. There is actually a saying that goes “Friends don’t let friends buy G.E.” that I’ve read on some other boards…

That being said, I would highly recomend you go to Wal-Mart or Costco and buy one of those table top roasters. My wife and I got one as a wedding gift and I never, ever thought we would use it. Hell, we use it all the time. I’ve never cooked a turkey in our oven yet. They’re pretty cheap too. You could probably get one for $50-70 US I’d say, and work like a damn. Ours is a “Western Harvest” I do believe.

Sorry tsunamisurfer, I didn’t notice you already mentioned not to buy GE.
BTW - There is one exception. Their Front Loading washer. Its built by Electrolux for GE, Fridgidaire and Kenmore and its a great unit.

i guess no one here got my Turkey in the egg joke?

oh well, back to the wrestling message boards…

*Originally posted by bernse *
**As a slight side, and I’ll try not to hijack to much…

Newer GE appliances have the nastiest reputations out of all “modern” appliance makers. They are usually about the cheapest to buy at first, but parts are expensive and getting their warranty for service can be a nightmare. Its kind of sad, since from what I understand they used to be one of the best. There is actually a saying that goes “Friends don’t let friends buy G.E.” that I’ve read on some other boards…QUOTE]

Yep, you’re right. Most moderate-priced new homes come with GE appliances. Why? GE sells them in bulk to builders who want something passable to fill up a kitchen. Problem is, GE parts are expensive and most GE appliances lack style.

I’ve got a Thermador range, Whack-a-Mole. Pricey, but one hell of a fun toy. That said, when I bought it, I was absolutely enamored with the thing. Now it’s starting to look a bit industrial and really strikes me as foolish overkill when I’m heating a bowl of soup.

Let us know what was wrong with your oven. (Wouldn’t it be great if SMDB had a repair section?)