Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
snoboy

MSR stove problems?

Recommended Posts

quote:

Originally posted by Beck:

I've got a Whisperlite (did not spend any money on that P.O.S.) and it SUCKS. Works fine(I guess, if you take into consideration its' inherent crappy design )it's just a P.O.S.

Beck--give me an address so I can mail you the operating instructions. C'mon now, they're not crap. They are well designed, simple, durable and perform well for the intended application. I've been using a XGKII and Whisperlite International for a long while. I've had field failures, but nothing that couldn't be fixed in 10 minutes. They do need periodic maintenence, simple cleaning. My major complaint is the inability to nest the fixed tube models in cookware (I like to keep that stuff together). If I'm enlessly simmering or hanging in the tent, I'll bring the Stormy or the Primus. But IMHO there's no finer furnace for melting snow than the XGK. Fast as an R1, loud as a Harley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by Goat Boy:

. I've had field failures .

I'm sorry,but any piece of equipment that requires "field maintence" or requires the use of a "trouble shooting sheet" or maintence kit is an obect that is inherently flawed in it's design.

 

You may want to do maintainence on a stove by headlamp with frozen digits but I sure don't, it's somthing I try to cut out of the wilderness equation

 

We've all heard the anecdotal accounts (maybe EVERYONE"S had these shared experiences!!!) of MSR stoves failing out in the thick of things. Last season one of the PNW ski rags had a TR of a guided ski traverse that had multiple Dragonfly failures, probably operator error, but still...

 

Using MSR white gas stoves requires an inordinate amount of attention in pumping, fiddling with the controls, making sure the "nipples' greased" and your "pump cup's lubed"doing "field maintence" and whatever, and above all else DO NOT DROP THE PUMP IN THE MUD.

 

I'm sorry that MSR stoves suck, it's simply a qualitative and quantitative matter-of-fact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beck -

You make some points about the Svea -- it was well made and the engineering on all models of the MSR stoves has always seemed to me to be incomplete. But have you ever had the safety release blow? That is something I have not had with an MSR. And it is a very impressive occurence indeed. The MSR's are probably safer even if they do SUCK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I've seen a SVEA blow up once (pretty impressive explosion, had us all running from two, then six foot flames shooting out of thedamn thing until a big WHOOMP launched that stove thirty feet in the air) but we had it put back togther and running in less than ten minutes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why don't you bring your svea to pub club and we can spark it up in the parking lot for a demonstration. If we get the safety valve to blow, the fire station is pretty nearby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too many stove problems.

The MSR stoves are scary. If that little gasket goes, you're toast. Though I've bet 2 1/2 months of my life on a single XGK. (with extra gaskets).

The Optimus aren't much better. I had an Optimus Svea get so leaky (the brass alloy fittings are maleable), it would flame from the burner, the adjustment valve, then the pressure-release valve (it was about 15 years old when it started to decline). I wrapped little wet rags around the parts to stifle the extra flames. I had to keep using it daily for another two months after it got bad. It sucked. (I replaced it with the only camp stove available: One of those crappy Bluet Gaz POSs. But they're immeasurably easier to use).

Even earlier in life, I had an Optimus Hunter stove explode on me. The pressure valve went off, ignited, then slowly raised in pitch and volume while a group of us backpedaled in fear. When it was good and screaming, we knew enough to back far away --fast. Even so, I got nailed in the stomach by the end cap of the tank. Knocked the wind out of me. It didn't do the stove any good, either.

The Coleman stove is the safest white gas, or gasoline, fuel stove made, IMO. But it's heavy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got the latest incarnation of the XGK-II (MSR). It's about 8 years old now. I can take it all the way apart, troubleshoot any problem (which aren't that common, by the way) and put it back together in under 5 minutes. About a year ago, I totally overhauled it for the first time, replacing most major parts and all minor ones. Total cost = about 10 bucks (I got the pump for free from REI, because they seem to break every couple of years [mind you, not in a way that prevents operation, merely that inconveniences] and REI has a great satisfaction policy. I have been through 3 pumps since I've owned this stove). When I was at the repair counter, another dude was ther doing pretty much the same maintenance as me, but his stove was like a 1970 model. So, bottom line is they last a lifetime with minimal upkeep, they are light and efficient, if you can stand the noise (!!!!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, by the way, I have blown the gasket around the seal where the pump screw into the bottle. Not too major--burst into flames, no explosion. This accounted for one of the pumps I've gone through.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by sisu suomi:

I worked for MSR many years ago so I am familar with their products

Whisperlite: yes, frequent cleaning is necessary because of the "quiet" burner head.

Sisu

Too bad you can not put an XGK burner head on the WhisperLight. The Whisperlight's jetting is more fickle than the XGK's which make it less efficient with elevation changes. But I like the compactness of the Whisperlight. I own an XKG but not a Whisperlight since the XKG is what you want when you are on a more serious route. I know the flexible hose is not as good a design as the piping on the XGK but it would be nice to be able to put it in the pot.

Jedi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One time there was grit in the seal where the pump screwed on to the bottle, so the gas started spraying faster than a cascade climber. About a three foot arc of fire. The crux of this situation was that it all went down in my apt.(while cleaning) No fires though, I just threw the whole flaming mess into the sink an turned the water on. Needless to say all my following pre-trip stove checking and cleaning took place outside.

So like someone said, don't drop it in the mud.

 

BTW, I've had my XGK since 1993 and it still runs great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beck I can tell you about one crappy stove, check out the Optimus Nova (which got all kinds of backpackers' awards and shit). Not long ago a Swedish expedition to Mustagh Ata was sponsored by Optimus and they brought several Novas to use on the mountain.

One minor problem though - the stove does not function at all above 4000 m. [Razz]

 

So they got like totally pissed, dumped the fuckers and went straight down and bought some old LPG stoves.

 

I have the Whisperlite Intl and it runs smoothly as a baby. Used it with kerosene, oil-blended gas for small boat engines, all kinds of stuff from the paint shop and so on. No problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Optimus Nova- yet another attempt to engineer a better stove, only to have it be a POS. I took a look at the Nova at the stove when it was introduced and gave it a basic idiots' once over- DO NOT BUY ONE- there's some kind of "field maintainable" something on it, anyway within 10 seconds I had undid a little stopper that LAUNCHED a little piece out of it, and a spring and ballstop fell out, No thanks.

How high do you want to go with a white gas stove, anyway? I'd think an expedition would have canister stoves for going above 4000 m regardless.

I'm still going to assert that among white gas stoves, for heavy dirtbag use, a Svea Climber 123R is still the way to go. An XGK for melting snow is a good friend to have around, but using a Svea is almost as easy as turning on a light switch, while using a MSR stove (or probably that Nova as well) is more like taking a cat for a walk on a leash. When it's raining.

My thinking is this whole notion of putting a pump in a fuel bottle to save 4 ounces isn't worth the added headache of having a multi piece plastic dohickey you need to f*** with while you're out in the thick of things.

 

There's an Optimus #45 up on my bookshelf I'm looking at and, while not suited for packing, really is a beautiful example of a well crafted stove

 

I'd reccommend people go get a Svea123R. Try it out, Easy. reliable.Bomber. two hours simmer time on 6 oz fillup. Idiot proof. two user servicable moving parts, the fuel key and the cap. Self cleaning.

You won't want to go back to any burner/fuel bottle combi stove, which are flawed by the very nature of their design.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got an MSR Firefly....'bout 20 years old now, I think. I've replaced the seals a few times and keep it clean. It's fast and reliable. It simmers as well as it melts snow in a hurry. Best thing is that it's incredibly loud, which can be an advantage when you're hanging in Squamish and the boulering groupies have their disgruntled-youth/marijuana-farmer music blaring.

 

[ 10-18-2002, 09:10 PM: Message edited by: pope ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got a 21-year-old XGK that is my preferred "expedition-duty" stove. I think I've actually dismantled and overhauled it twice in all that time. On its maiden trip (a Denali trip in 1981), we burned 25% less fuel than we'd budgeted (projections based on previous experience with svea 123's and opimus 8R's). I've saved a bundle over the years burning unleaded regular in it as opposed to more refined stove fuels at two-and-a half times the price. Perhaps it doesn't simmer, but I have baked pizzas and birthday cakes with it, for clients, back in my guiding days. I've been on countless trips with friends who insisted that whisperlites were the hot ticket - and never seen one work as advertized - so you couldn't pay me to own one. Beck's remarks about the svea are largely true - it's a great cheap trouble-free stove. BUT you do have to pour fuel, carry a funnel, etc, and I prefer the convenience of the XGK over having to pour fuel once a day. For a bivvy stove on short trips, I use a Salewa Husch, which you can't get anymore, but is basically a primitive version of the Pocket Rocket. And wonder of wonders, I can still find SMALL cartridges for it at BI-MART!

-Curt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beck, you really have made me quite interested in the Svea123R although I often try to avoid the mostly crappy things coming from my homeland.

The things I would like to know is how this stove performs when needed the most, i.e at high altitude and cold weather? Does the self-pressurizing thing really work in COOOLD temperatures?

 

I looked at the Optimus website and they claim the output to be 1400 W (4700 BTU) which is about half the power of an MSR. But for summer trips not involving a lot of snow-melting it does appear to be the shit.

 

[ 10-14-2002, 02:02 AM: Message edited by: Swedish Chef ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once had a WisperLite explode on me when I was twelve. The clip that holds the line to the bottle head detached when I was pumping it. The gas blew on my bare arms before it was lit by the fire on the stove's burner.

Lost all armhair and had to hike 25 miles out with red sunburned looking arms.

In retrospect, I would like to have a picture of myself at the panic point just before the fire was put out.

I continued using the WhisperLite for several years but have now switched to an MSR canister stove which does not require maintenance, burns well everywhere, and is lighter in weight.

 

Beck's assessment of the WhisperLite is right on, but I would probably use an International if I were going overseas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an XGK for about 3 years with no problem. I went to Mexico on a climb and it went downhill from there. I sent it back to MSR and they rebuilt it and it worked great about 3 times and then it went to hell again. I bought the rebuild kit and it still ran poorly. Possibly a lemon, I don't know.....I now have the Dragonfly and found that if I run it at full blast above 8,000 feet it sputters and dies...Starting to piss me off at this point...Anyone have similiar problems? I follow all instructions and use MSR white gas.

 

I will just have to bring [big Drink] and eat raw [HORSECOCK] for now on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×