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Hikin_Jim

Stove of the Week: MSR Whisperlite (pre-shaker jet)

Stove of the Week:  MSR Whisperlite (pre-shaker jet)

This week's stove is  the pre-shaker jet version of the MSR Whisperlite.


HJ
bertfivesix

Yay, finally!  I have an early 90's (?) Whisperlite.  Black bag, no pockets, old teal-and-white MSR logo.  It has a braided metal fuel line and the hole in the reflector.

Very informative, great tips  Very Happy
HikeUp

Nice post HJ.

My late 80's Whisperlite didn't come with a bag. I was gypped.  Crying or Very sad
simonov

So now I know why my (shaker) Whisperlite doesn't simmer worth a damn.  That's too bad, since it's the main reason I don't use it.

That's a good tip wrapping the windscreen around the fuel bottle, and also using alcohol to prime.  Those old stuff sacks with the internal pockets were nice, too.

It kind of nutty some of the compromises that are made to save a few pennies during production.
Hikin_Jim

bertfivesix wrote:
Yay, finally!  I have an early 90's (?) Whisperlite.  Black bag, no pockets, old teal-and-white MSR logo.  It has a braided metal fuel line and the hole in the reflector.

Very informative, great tips  Very Happy
if it's early 90's, you might have one of the ones that can actually simmer.  Here's how to tell (if you care):  In the burner column, underneath the burner cup, there is an air hole (mixing chamber) that goes all the way through from one side of the burner column to the other.  If you look inside the air hole, you should be able to see the jet.  If the jet is slightly conical on top, then it's a newer, shaker jet Whisperlite.  If the jet is flat topped, then it's the older, pre-shaker jet Whisperlite.  Personally, I prefer the older style, but with the older style you do have to be prepared to manually clean the jet orifice with an external pricker -- a pricker that should be carried with the stove in the field.

Here is a photo of the two jets.  I've pulled the fuel lines/generators out of the stove so that the jets can be seen more clearly.

Shaker Jet (left), original non-shaker jet (right)

HJ
Hikin_Jim

HikeUp wrote:
Nice post HJ.

My late 80's Whisperlite didn't come with a bag. I was gypped.  Crying or Very sad
Dude, that sucks.  What's up with that, MSR?

Some time, I'd like to photograph your stove...

HJ
Hikin_Jim

simonov wrote:
So now I know why my (shaker) Whisperlite doesn't simmer worth a damn.  That's too bad, since it's the main reason I don't use it.

That's a good tip wrapping the windscreen around the fuel bottle, and also using alcohol to prime.  Those old stuff sacks with the internal pockets were nice, too.

It kind of nutty some of the compromises that are made to save a few pennies during production.
Yeah, the general trend at MSR is one of cost cutting.  Their stoves are basically fine, and the latest version of the fuel pump is definitely an improvement (it's about freakin' time), but they're cutting corners everywhere they can.

That thing of not cutting the center out of the heat reflectors any more kills me.  Put the heat reflector on a sloping surface, and your stove will slide right off.  Dumb.  How hard can it be to cut out the center so that the stove's legs are in contact with the ground where they can catch anything that'll give them traction?

Even a non-simmering Whisperlite still has a function or two.  One, of course, is winter use where a Whisperlite will generally run in as low a temperature as you might care to subject it to.    Two, it's super ultra cheap to run.  A gallon of Coleman fuel costs about $9.00 at Wally World and is the equivalent of sixteen small gas canisters (~110g) which would normally run upwards of $80.00.  Even if you use the larger gas canisters (~230g), your cost is still going to run around $50.00.  For large groups or frequent use, white gas is a nice option.  I go out with a group every Wednesday night.  I wind up heating up sometimes as many as eight liters in a night.  It's nice to know that a whole 11 fl oz fuel bottle of white gas is about $1.00's worth.

HJ
bertfivesix

Yeah, I have one of the older, pre-shaker jet ones.  Its only become an issue on 3+ day outings, but that's what the cleaner tool is for, and I've gotten simmering pretty dialed in on my Whisperlite Smile

*Priming*, on the other hand..  Laughing

Hikin_Jim

Looks like a good stove.  What's that thing next to the orange Bic lighter?  Another lighter?

Check out what I wrote on using alcohol to prime.  It takes some practice, but it generally is a better way to prime.  Traditionally, long before MSR came along, alcohol was used to prime stoves.  Don't know why MSR doesn't promote it more.  Priming is a barrier to many people.  Alcohol makes it a lot more controlled in my opinion.

The only thing with alcohol is that alcohol doesn't burn quite as hot.  You have to use a bit more than with white gasoline, but it's no big deal because you don't get a fireball.  You also have to let it burn a bit longer.  The best alcohol is ethyl alcohol (ethanol).  Denatured alcohol typically has a fairly high ethanol content.  Sunnyside, Crown Next, and SLX "Green" Denatured alcohol are all good.  Try it some time.

HJ
bertfivesix

Some half broken Colibri jet lighter I tossed in the stove bag one day and forgot about.  It stops working high up thanks to the piezo, but I use it for lowland camping for a little standoff distance while priming.

Would a good priming solution just be using a little bottle of white gas?  Or is the alcohol mostly for avoiding soot buildup?
Hikin_Jim

bertfivesix wrote:
Some half broken Colibri jet lighter I tossed in the stove bag one day and forgot about.  It stops working high up thanks to the piezo, but I use it for lowland camping for a little standoff distance while priming.

Would a good priming solution just be using a little bottle of white gas?  Or is the alcohol mostly for avoiding soot buildup?
Alcohol is cleaner, yes, which is one of the main reasons to use it, but also it doesn't fireball the way white gas does.

Try the white gas bottle and see if you like it better than just adding white gas via the valve.  For me, if I were just going to use the same fuel as in the main bottle, I'd probably just practice using the main valve until I had the priming thing down.

HJ
HikeUp

I've always primed using white gas through the main fuel valve. I kind of like the fireball.  Twisted Evil
Hikin_Jim

HikeUp wrote:
I've always primed using white gas through the main fuel valve. I kind of like the fireball.  Twisted Evil
Makes a great signalling device when SAR is out looking for you.  Wink  Laughing

Seriously though, if the "stuff" ever hits the fan, white gas isn't a bad thing to have along.  It's about the best emergency fire starter that there is.  If you slip and take a swim in a creek and are at risk of hypothermia, that white gas might just save your life, especially if there's snow on the ground or it's been raining and all the wood is wet.  All kidding aside, it is a danged good instant signal fire.  Talk about thermal footprint!

HJ
bertfivesix

Haha, yes, I've got priming via the valve down now, but early on I've had priming gas puddle into the snow in my vestibule unknowingly, leading to a pretty nice beachball of fire in an enclosed space  Very Happy

White gas fo' life!  Though I just picked up a little Primus TiLite off of SAC just because..
Hikin_Jim

Snow priming!  Laughing

HJ
hvydrt

Hey Jim, does white gas ever go stale, or go bad? I have had the same 1 gal can for 2 years now. Seems like it still works fine, but am I loosing anything by using old fuel in a whisperlite????
Hikin_Jim

hvydrt wrote:
Hey Jim, does white gas ever go stale, or go bad? I have had the same 1 gal can for 2 years now. Seems like it still works fine, but am I loosing anything by using old fuel in a whisperlite????
Drawing on my vast technical knowledge and wealth of experience, I'd say "it depends."  Wink

Seriously, it does depend.  Primarily air is what screws up white gas.  If it's been kept well sealed, white gas can last years and years.  After my uncle passed in 2002, I inherited his old stove, a 1962 Primus 71L.  In it was still some white gas.  Now my uncle probably hadn't been backpacking in at least two decades by that point.  It fired up on the first try.  I'm not alone in this.  I've talked to guys who have used 30 year old white gas without a problem.

NOW HAVING SAID THAT, smell the danged stuff.  If it smells like old varnish, dispose of properly.  But if it still smells like white gas and is burning OK in your Whisperlite, then I don't see a problem with using it.  If it hasn't been used in a while, always test your stove at home before heading out.  I've saved myself some major heart ache by doing that.  Catching it at home is no big deal.  Catching it three days in at 13,000' on a cold night is really not good.   Shocked

Note:  Not all white gas is created equal.  My experience has been with good ol' Coleman fuel in the one gallon can.  Coleman Fuel has stabilizers and rust inhibitors in it and lasts a good long time.  MSR Super Fuel is less stabilized and does not contain rust inhibitors from what I've read and probably won't last as long.  

But then again why would anybody buy MSR Super Fuel when one quart costs as much or more than an entire gallon of Coleman Fuel?  I've had very good results with Coleman fuel for decades now.  I do run my Coleman fuel through a coffee filter when I decant it from the gallon can into a fuel bottle.  By the way, the red pour spouts that screw directly onto the gallon can of Coleman Fuel are worth the five bucks or whatever you pay for them.  Pouring from a new, full can of Coleman fuel used to be no fun at all (spill city, yuck).  With the spout, no problem.  Sweet.  Cool

HJ
hvydrt

thanks Jim! I also use the colman 1 gal can. Never tried the MSR stuff.

Quote:
Pouring from a new, full can of Coleman fuel used to be no fun at all (spill city, yuck).  With the spout, no problem.


What do you mean no fun? I like lighting the pool of gas on the middle of the garage floor after I am done filling my MSR tank. That's the best way to clean up the mess!  Very Happy
Hikin_Jim

hvydrt wrote:
Hikin_Jim wrote:
...dispose of properly.  
What do you mean no fun? I like lighting the pool of gas on the middle of the garage floor after I am done filling my MSR tank. That's the best way to clean up the mess!  Very Happy
 Well, I did say "properly," now didn't I?   Twisted Evil

HJ

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