Whisperlite stove problem

I have an older whisperlite stove. Lately it will not burn as it should. I have done all the obvious things like clean the jet, clean the fuel line, make sure the pump works, filled it with clean fuel. All I get is the priming fuel to burn and then the stove won’t kick over to the cook mode. It doesn’t seem to get the pressure to kick into the burn mode. Any suggestions?

Send it MSR
I hear their customer service is teh roxors.

If you don’t get any flame out of the burner, just down at the bottom, it’s likely a blockage.

I assume it’s properly primed and hot enough and you’re not a total noob using it and whatnot?

I lent mine to my sister once who complained it was broken. She was using it wrong and not priming the coil, just turning it on and watching the flames fly high. When I explained how to use it she was miffed I didn’t give her the info beforehand. It’s printed on the fuel bottle. Ha!


– Last Updated: Oct-25-05 12:40 PM EST –

i have several, it sounds like your Jet is clogd... (i know) u said u cleaned it..

on the Mississippi i had problems with micro fine sand getting into the jet on my selfcleaning "shaker-jet" multifuel stove... it would do the same thing... prime but not fire or barely fire after being preheated... i had to hand clean the jet before every use at one point.. i finially sent it home and switched to a little single burner coleman.. which didnt come apart and allow sand to enter the fuel line

you said the pump was good, it doesnt take much pressure to operate... also the lower the pressure the easier it is to simmer.. i know , its a fine line between simmering and a jet engine :)

is it a multi-fuel whisperlite? a shaker-jet? do you use gasoline or white gas? white gas(coleman) burns cleaner and doesnt clog the jet as much as gasoline. also Kero or diesel leave a ton of soot and are best avoided. the pin on the shaker of the shakerjet is what i used to clean the hole in the jet by hand

any ourfitters around you?... mostly all outfitters along the AT will fix or troubleshoot them for free.. most will even replace the pump for free... and send in the old one themselves

The dragonfly…

I’ve been using this stove for quite some time and it’s very reliable. Never had any problems with it.

Also ck the jet and make sure it
matches the fuel you are using…the jet stamped with a K is for karosene type fuel…you probably already know that…it is possible that you haven’t cleaned the parts well enough…my stove is 16 years old and doing fine…

Thanks for the input.
I have repeatedly cleaned the jet. The stove is not a shaker jet model, way older than that. It has worked well in the past. I am using Coleman fuel which burns fine in my Coleman stove. The jet is the original one. The hole seems mighty small. I think that might be the problem. I will try to find a new jet for it to see if it cures the problem. Once again thanks for the help.

Update on stove. Thank you Cascade!
After searching locally and on the net, I called MSR direct. The nice operator is sending me a new jet at no charge. This is great customer service as the only way to get the parts online was to buy a complete rebuild kit at about $25.

Since I’m using a kayak and not a backpack I carry a real stove. A two burner Century with a refillable propane tank. Don’t like using liquid fuels if I don’t have to. Too much chance of spillage. I don’t know anyone, myself included, who hasn’t spilled gas when using a small stove. Usually happens when refilling the bottles. Environmentally my propane stove is better.

BTW my stove and tank cost me $54. What’s a Whisperlite go for these days. I have excellent flame control and can cook two items at once. I’ve even carried that stove on a sled in the winter. Just because your camping doesn’t mean you have to suffer trying to cook on a MSR stove.

Is this true? White gas is pretty boring stuff, isn’t it? When I spill some it all evaporates off, doesn’t it?

It’s not like I’m spilling gasoline/oil refilling a 2-stroke outboard, is it?

I’m going to turn all my sentences in to questions at the last minute, aren’t I?

Another alternative to liquid gas stoves like the Whisperlite is to use Canister stoves. No “spillage” since the canisters are already prefilled and pressurized. And you can still use them in winter with some care.

Sure, the coleman stove is handy if you have the space, but for folks that do backpack, in addition to kayak tour, the MSR Whisperlite, Pocket Rocket, Dragonfly, or the Canister stove, Jetboil, Primus, Sun Peak, etc. are fine, if you’re carefull enough, you wont be spilling gas when you fill which is typically not in the wilderness anyway, unless you like to backpack with your gallon of coleman fuel or MSR brand white gas.


White gas
White gas is basically the same as regular gas, without all the additives, MTBE, or whatever else is going into gas these days…

If you end your sentences with questions, will you ever reach enlightenment?



Quit Backpacking
I gave up backpacking opting for goats,kayaks and sleds. I still have a small Coleman stove. Just haven’t used it in over ten years.

Spilled gas evoporates. That is considered air pollution. Also there’s the problem with flare-ups with liquid stoves. I’ve seen supply lines leak creating a fire hazard. White gas spilled near enough to water will slowly make its way there. You shouldn’t fill a gas stove closer than 100’ to a shoreline.

My personal preferance for LP has more to do with flame control and ease of cooking more than anything else. Try to cook pancakes on a Whisperlite and you’ll be eating burned pancakes. Chili will burn unless constantly stirred. Other than boiling water many backpacking stoves have limited value preparing dinner. I have to admit I like to spoil myself in the backcountry. I even have a Coleman drip coffee maker that sits on top of a stove for use in my pop-up tent trailer. I use an insulated French press when kayaking.

I even have a fitting to be used to refill diposable LP bottles. Haven’t found a need for it though. My 4lb tank fits in a goat pack, kayak and sled without a problem.

Backpacking, etc.
In winter, you can still use sleds, which does give you the benefit of really packing like it was car camping. But there are too many places in the world that are inaccessible other than hiking boots, a pack, and gear. I don’t think I could fit a dual burner coleman stove in my kayak, though if I had a canoe, that would work.

Never stop exploring!


some stoves
some backpacking stoves are awesome for all kinds of cooking. I mentioned the MSR dragonfly, and I’ve used this stove in all applications and it’s amazing. You can run a full pot of water to a boil in no time, or tune the flame down to just a candle flame for any simmering application you want.

My wife cooked everything on our last two trips, including fresh pie everyday…try doing that with an ordinary stove.

Canister stoves have limited application…not to mention environmental concerns on disposing the empty canisters. Liquid fuel doesn’t have that problem.

Plus, if you ever do any cold weather camping…canister stoves suck! Many times the stove will refuse to light in really cold weather even with a full can. That’s the last thing I want happening to me on a cold morning.

With packgoats I could go anywhere a backpacker could go. My choice of campsites was greater with goats. I didn’t need to be near water. My goats could survive on the dew they found on the grass in the morning.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t buy or own small stoves. I’m just pointing out alternatives.

Winter and canisters…
Well, having just got my first canister stove, I can’t say I’ve tried it that much in winter. I have used my whisperlite though. For canisters, you do need to keep it inside your sleeping bag at night, and you do want to always start with a new canister. other than that, you can use those chemical heat packs in a pinch or you could do what some people do for extreme measures. Use a piece of copper wire, and wrap the canister in it, then you can use an alternate heat source, lighter, campfire, etc. etc. to heat the wire, which, like a toaster, will warm the canister up.

I think we’re getting off topic here though…


Although I love the idea of packgoats, I think there are some ethical reasons and some places that a goat could not logically go, or at least easily.

Like the west face of Basin/Saddleback in the Adirondacks. Or perhaps the Knife Edge on Katahdin. Not for the lack of ability, I’m sure the goats have better footing than us, but the bunch of scrambles you have to do to hike it. The re a bunch of trails in the NE where there are scrambling involved which I think would be difficult for any 4-legged creature, dog, mule, goat. And also where going off trail is not recommended due to the alpine vegetation. There are scrambles on these peaks that I’m sure with enough time and determination, you could hike up a goat up but realisticly, not worth the extra time.


Goat’s Abilities
A goat will go anywhere you can unless you’re climbing a rock face. I doubt if there’s places in Adirondacks that can match the mountains I’ve been to with goats. Like the Wind River Mtns, Smokey Mtns (ID), Soldier Mtns, Cascade Mtns, Sawtooths Mtns, White Cloud Mtns, Salmon River Mtns, Lemhi Mtns, Lost River Mtns, Bitterroot Mtns and Beaverhead Mtns. Goats browse and don’t hammer vegetation. Except for rock and mountains climbs goats can be a backpackers best friend.

If your stove is not getting enough pressure, check the pump leather, when you pump is there any resistence? If there isn’t any, the pump needs oil (light oil) to lubricate it. You have to remove the pump from the pump housing to lubricate it. If you have never done this, the pump leather may need to be replaced, but try to poush the leather out after you oil it.

If you haven’t before, get some silicone grease and lube all the O-rings on the pump also.

Goats, continued!
How would you go up a 10 ft wall scramble? Where you literally have to pull oneself up a wall. Not rock climbing, etc. but a simply rock scramble that is prevailent in the rocky northeast. From my hiking that I’ve done in the mountains out west, most of them aren’t too technical. Don’t underestimate the lack of altitude over here, we’re not at 14,000ft but because of the age of the mountains here (older), we’re more eroded which causes lots of scrambles where I don’t think a goat would be that useful, unless you can bring along a winch and pulley system or crane.