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pup_on_the_mountain

question Clogged MSR Whisperlite International

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My MSR Whisperlite International stove appears to have clogged up a bit after use with (low quality) gasoline. It appears to be a partial clog somewhere in the pump assembly or the inlet fuel tube (which takes the fuel from the cylinder to the stove). I'm saying partial because the stove still works, but the supply tends to peter out after a while. At that point, I pump it again, and the gas starts coming out in a gush after several pumps.

 

Has any one cleaned the pump or the inlet tube? It's easy to take apart and clean the stove itself, but I'm not so sure about the pump. And how does one clean the fuel tube?

 

Or, would the clog be expected to disappear on its own with enough use of clean(er) fuel (white gas)?

 

TIA for any suggestions!

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There's a little pricker wire you can use to physically poke that stuff out of the way.

 

Sorta like the constipated mathematician. He worked it out with a pencil.

 

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Sorta like the constipated mathematician. He worked it out with a pencil.

 

You do realize you are responding to a university professor with a Ph.D. in theoretical mathematics, right?

 

I took an old, beat up MSR XGK stove to MSR in Seattle for their $35.00 service. The dude behind the counter just reached into a bin and handed me a brand new stove, wind screen, and pump. I also mailed an old, beat up MSR XGK for their cleaning service and received back a brand new stove, pump, BOTTLE, and wind screen. In both cases, it was definitely worth the cost.

 

Something to consider.

Edited by DPS

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Will look into both options (contacting MSR, and using the wire). On that note, my windshield is quite beat up as well (and held together by tape).

 

 

Sorta like the constipated mathematician. He worked it out with a pencil.

 

You do realize you are responding to a university professor with a Ph.D. in theoretical mathematics, right?

 

I suspect Dru knew, and hence the comment.

 

Thanks, though, Dru - hadn't heard of that before. Will pencil it in to my list of mathy jokes :lmao: .

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the usual spot for a clog is at the small jet orifice, that Dru was mentioning clearing with a small wire tool. I thought that all the new MSR stoves came with a shaker needle built in. shake the stove up and down to clear out any crap. try the operators manual.

 

sometimes the metal wire in the hose between bottle and stove get a bunch of gunk on it. you can take that out and scrape it clean. for the life of me, I can't remember how to take it out. it was easy last time i did it though.

 

never heard of a pump getting clogged.

 

the clog will not disappear on its own. will only get worse.

 

 

seems like everyone is going with canisters nowadays.

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Although I have never had a clog I have done the fuel line cleaning preemptively and it is pretty easy.

 

Basically there is a cable that sticks out the end of the fuel line a little bit. It sticks out of the end that plugs into the pump. You use the service tool to grab it and you rip it out. (Might have to pull rather hard.) They you can wipe it down or even soak it in solvent if it was really gunky. Then you reinsert it into the fuel line. (Getting it all the way back in can be the hardest part.) If it was really nasty you could repeat the process a few times, scouring out any crap from the line. If you find the service instructions in your gear bin (or PDF online) it should describe this process.

 

As far as the pump it is also relatively easy to break down although I have never had clogging issues in the pump, just pressurization issues if the seals or pump cup dries out. Also good instructions from MSR on that process.

 

While you're doing the cable ripping take off the primer cup and jet, etc. from the bottom of the stove. With the cable out and the jet off you could blow through and see if anything seems like maybe it is partially clogged. At this point you could run some solvent through the line and/or let it soak in some for a while.

 

While it is apart use a fine needle (They include a tool in the expedition kits) to make sure the jet is really clear. You can also use the shaker thing while it is all apart if it its all you have. I would recommend taking a good luck at the jet. Different fuels use different jets and maybe the tar sands you were running through there were supposed to have a bigger jet to prevent plugging.

 

You can't really break any part of the stove or pump if you use reasonable force and methods and it goes back together quite easily too. As I said MSR puts out very good instructions that are hard to bungle too badly.

 

The best part is you can do this for next to nothing. (Free if you already have a kit of parts or 3 rolling around your gear bin or you don't need to replace o-rings or jets.) You will have a ton more comfort and confidence in your stove, knowing if it goes haywire in the field you've got the skills and you've done it before. Everything I am telling you was learned through preemptive maintenance before AK trips where I didn't want to try and figure any of this out in the middle of dire straights.

 

What I am really recommending is even if you get a brand new one for $35 you should still try all of this with your brand new stove in the comfort of your garage and in the company of a few cold ones!

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I took an old, beat up MSR XGK stove to MSR in Seattle for their $35.00 service. The dude behind the counter just reached into a bin and handed me a brand new stove, wind screen, and pump. I also mailed an old, beat up MSR XGK for their cleaning service and received back a brand new stove, pump, BOTTLE, and wind screen. In both cases, it was definitely worth the cost.

Something to consider.

 

I've sent at least 3 stoves back to MSR over the years for a full rebuild. $35 will pretty much get you a new stove after they're done with the cleanup. Well worth it.

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I was indeed thinking about cleaning the pump and the tube, and your post convinced me. Thanks diepj!

 

As you mentioned, it was quite straightforward to clean (after following instructions on the manual I found online). Pulling the cable out and putting it back all the way did not give me much trouble either. My stove didn't come with the fine needle to clean, but I was a able to use the pin in the shaker. The manual has instructions on how to take apart the pump, replace the washer ring, etc. After the clean-up, the stove seems to be running much smoother now :tup: . Plus I feel confident enough to (attempt to ;) ) tinker with the stove in the field.

 

But the chance of getting a full revamp for $35 is quite tempting as well :)... .

 

seems like everyone is going with canisters nowadays
Dispensing of the used canisters properly appears to be a big pain. One can't just chuck them into the recycle bin. And they add up pretty quick (I've a PocketRocket in addition to the Whisperlite). For the pee-wee outings I do, I'd much rather use a refillable cylinder (and write it off as extra training weight :fahq: ).

 

 

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seems like everyone is going with canisters nowadays
Dispensing of the used canisters properly appears to be a big pain. One can't just chuck them into the recycle bin.

 

I read in some climber's memoir that the Russian teams reused canisters by refilled from a larger container and a needle used to pump up basket balls. Definitely not a recommended practice, but one way to recycle the tins.

 

I suppose liability concerns prevents manufacturers from reusing the containers.

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You can do that with a G-Works gas exchanger. Top off smaller canisters from bigger canisters or combine two half used canisters into one full and one empty. Works great.

 

And you can recycle empty canisters. Just put a puncture hole in them to show they're empty.

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Glad to know you could at least fill up the canisters from other ones. A safe way to refill and reuse the canisters would be wonderful. Way better to reuse than recycle, whenever possible.

 

I usually take the used canisters to hazardous waste collection events (along with aerosol cans). There's one such event happening at least once a year around here.

 

 

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After a cannister is empty, I'll leave it on a stove with the valve opened up to a make sure, then puncture it with an ice axe (either in the field or at home). Then I can crush it down with a rock or hammer - when its obviously crushed like this it can be recycled as scrap metal, I was told.

 

There are plenty of old stories from the 1980's of the rubber-sealed cannisters leaking in between uses and second-hand cannisters being sold with water injected instead of gas to bring up their weight.

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Not sure who manufacturers it, but somebody makes a brass punch for puncturing the cans. Obviously the brass does not have the propensity to strike a spark.

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Dispensing of the used canisters properly appears to be a big pain. One can't just chuck them into the recycle bin.

 

 

Yes indeed, you can,. Just punch a hole, and straight to the recycle bin. I use a big landscaping nail and a hammer.

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