Apr 27, 2006 at 8:26 am #1218434
I’m just gearing up for some summer trips after a long hiatus (15 years). I purchased an MSR Whisperlite Int’l back around 1987 and used it for several years. Then it went in a box and sat until now.
My question: What is the lifespan of a stove? I would, of course, test the stove before heading out. My main concern is the flexible fuel hose. It’s fabric covered so I can’t easily do a visual inspection before firing it up. It feels ok, still flexible, no cracking sounds when I bend it. It doesn’t seem to be user servicable; the hose is crimped on.
I didn’t see any info on the MSR website. Any advice/personal experiences would be appreciated.
[Edit: I checked the o-rings on the pump and they seem to be in good shape]Apr 27, 2006 at 5:25 pm #1355562
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
MSR replaced my fabric hose with a metal one
for the cost of shipping. I think they decided they
were dangerous.Apr 27, 2006 at 6:14 pm #1355564
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
MSR sells a repair kit for the Whisperlight that has new O-rings, etc. It’s not expensive. Replace the leather pump cup, too.
You could also elect to purchase a new pump, which might be easier. Or, you could send the whole thing back to MSR for an overhaul — including changing out the fuel hose.
–KenApr 27, 2006 at 8:08 pm #1355566
Hey, thanks for your replies! I think I’ll send it in for an overhaul.Apr 27, 2006 at 9:20 pm #1355568
Ian RaeBPL Member
@iancraeLocale: North Cascades
This might be the time to think about replacing your stove with a canister, as long as you’re spending $$$. Some of the canister stoves can be had for $30-$40. They are lighter, more fuel efficient and probably safer. That said, I still have my similar vintage whisperlite for winter camping melting snow. Enjoy your trips, whatever you end up taking.Apr 28, 2006 at 11:28 am #1355588
I have been thinking about that, either to switch to a canister or a new white gas stove like the simmerlite.
But my conscience keeps piping up, complaining about trash generated from canisters and throwing out a stove that still has some life in it (despite the possible need for a new hose).Apr 28, 2006 at 12:08 pm #1355592
I agree with you Tariqa… the canister stoves create for trash. Then again white gas uses more natural resources.
Why not recycle aluminum and create a “Pepsi Can” alcohol stove and burn denatured alcohol?Apr 28, 2006 at 12:15 pm #1355593
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
Or give up ALL the hassel and use Esbit.Apr 28, 2006 at 12:44 pm #1355595
Dylan SkolaBPL Member
@phageghostLocale: Southern California
Ethanol for industrial uses (such as goes into denatured alcohol) is actually made by acid-catalyzed hydration of ethylene (a petrochemical), rather than fermentation of biomass.
Because of the lower energy content of ethanol, one might find that using ethanol as a fuel actually consumes _more_ non-renewable resources than white gas.
This would be an interesting analysis, my guess is that they’re similar. This only takes into account production. For impacts like the consequences of accidental spills in the backcountry, ethanol wins hands down.
Of course, fermented ethanol is in common and increasing use as a fuel for motor vehicles, especially in other countries, but the dentatured stuff we can buy in the store is petroleum derived.
One could always use everclear / golden grain (in states where it’s legal) and be assured of getting alcohol from a more renewable source.
Note that this may change in the near future:
“At petroleum prices like those that prevailed through much of the 1990s, ethylene hydration was a decidedly more economical process than fermentation for producing purified ethanol. Recent increases in petroleum prices, coupled with perennial uncertainty in agricultural prices, make forecasting the relative production costs of fermented versus petrochemical ethanol difficult at the present time.”Apr 28, 2006 at 1:39 pm #1355600
Eric NobleBPL Member
@ericnobleLocale: Colorado Rockies
Canisters are recyclable. They just need to be punctured and flattened first. REI has a free tool to puncture them.May 4, 2006 at 10:21 am #1355866
Thanks for the recycle info Eric.
I think for now I’m going to try building two of the “penny” alcohol stoves. Two because they’re really light and if I need more than 10-15min. of cook time I can swap them out.
And other than build time, the investment isn’t great and I can always get a commercial stove later.
Cheers!May 4, 2006 at 12:38 pm #1355879
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
“Ethanol for industrial uses (such as goes into denatured alcohol) is actually made by acid-catalyzed hydration of ethylene (a petrochemical), rather than fermentation of biomass.”
This is so bizzare! With all the farmers lobbying to use more ethanol, we’re still making the stuff from oil?
Someone needs to engineer some solar distilling equipment. I think it would be cool to be able to use my kitchen scraps and grass clippings to make my own stove fuel. Of course the Feds would have fits.May 4, 2006 at 6:56 pm #1355913
Dylan SkolaBPL Member
@phageghostLocale: Southern California
Definitely counterintuitive. As far as I could determine this is still the case (someone please correct me if I’m wrong), though as I noted, this might not hold true for long with sustained high oil prices (which seem quite likely).
The reason in both cases of course, is price. Since our economic system currently doesn’t price-in environmental costs, for a long time it was simply cheaper to use ethylene.Jan 13, 2009 at 9:40 pm #1470028
@benajahLocale: West, now
I have had three whisperlites. One lasted me 10 years of probably, 100 days a year, one lasted me about a six week long trips, and one is pretty new that I still have. There are few moving parts in a white gas stove, and as such, they really don't wear out per se. Much of how long they will last depends on how rough you treat them, how well you take care of them, etc. Every stove I have ever had die on me died because I broke it. Some were tougher than others, however. I did have an Optimus Nova for a long time while I was in the Army and it was bomb proof (literally, it got blown up in Afghanistan and was still mostly functional)Jan 14, 2009 at 9:45 am #1470111
@chumangoLocale: East TN
Ben – what did you burn in the Nova over in Afghanistan? How did the Nova perform? Did it require much in the way of maintenance? How much burn time would you say you put on it?
I'm just curious as to its long-term reliability burning what I presume to be sub-optimal fuels.Jan 14, 2009 at 10:17 am #1470116
Devin MontgomeryBPL Member
@dsmontgomeryLocale: one snowball away from big trouble
>"Ethanol for industrial uses (such as goes into denatured alcohol) is actually made by acid-catalyzed hydration of ethylene (a petrochemical), rather than fermentation of biomass."
>This is so bizzare! With all the farmers lobbying to use more ethanol, we're still making the stuff from oil?
Just because a compound can be produced synthetically, doesn't mean that most of it is. Wikipedia is a poor resource for broad claims like that. When alcohol is "denatured" it means that a specific chemical has been added to make you sick if you drink it, and is required to avoid alcoholic beverage taxes. It has nothing to do with the way in which it was manufactured.
The ethanol that people are lobbying to have more cars run on is biomass derived natural ethanol. Much of it is currently made from corn. That is why farmers are lobbying for its use. The production of this kind of ethanol has all of its own drawbacks, but it is NOT derived from petroleum.
I would be very surprised if any significant portion of the denatured alcohol that is used for camping stoves is synthetic.
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