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MSR XGK II 1981-1994

Discussion in 'MSR - Mountain Safety Research' started by SNOWGOOSE, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. SNOWGOOSE

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    MSR XGK II

    The MSR XGK II was manufactured between October 1981 and September 1994.

    Here is a photo of the stove, a 1983 MSR XGK II:

    1329334990-01.jpg

    During that thirteen year period, (the longest period of any MSR solid fuel line stove without major changes) there were minor changes to the stove, however one of those minor changes made a significant differences to the time it took to boil a litre of water.

    When I illustrate a stove in the Reference Gallery I try to make the post interesting, giving as many details and background information that may be of interest to the stovesuser and or collector.

    A brief clarification of the nomenclature used to describe the MSR XGK II stove. First it might be helpful here to those new to the MSR solid fuel line stoves which became known generically as the “XGK”.


    MSR began production of the Model 9 stove, this ran only on gasoline and was in production from 1973 to 1975.

    This was followed by the model 9A which also ran on gasoline only and was in production from 1975 until 1977.

    In 1975 MSR introduced its first multi-fuel model, the MF – so that it could run on gasoline and kerosene. This was in production until August 1977.

    In September 1977 MSR introduced the model G and this ran only on gasoline and was in production until October 1981.

    Also in that month of September 1977 MSR commenced producing the model G/K which ran on gasoline and kerosene. This model ceased production in October 1981.

    Thereafter, all MSR solid fuel line stoves were multi-fuel models, no pure gasoline models were produced after October 1981.

    In September 1981 MSR launched the XGK II stove. It had gained an X and this stood for Expedition. Confusingly, MSR themselves in their own literature, referred to this stove as the X-GK and sometimes the XGK II. Much later, in October 1994, MSR introduced the MSR XGK II shaker also known, and marketed as the XGK II Expedition stove. An oxymoronic use of the English language if there ever was one! (And continues to this day with the latest model the XGK Ex. The MSR XGK II Shaker jet stove was in production from October 1994 until 2004.

    From the launch of the first MSR model 9 stove in 1973 right up to the model G and GK, this stove had gained an excellent reputation among climbers and expeditioners world wide due to its lightweight, (for the time) reliability and ability to melt snow and boil water quickly. A brew could be had very quickly, sub 2 minute boil times for 500 ml of water were normal.

    Then came the MSR XGK II………..

    Climbers who had extolled the virtues of the stove - and good news by word of mouth – (in those pre-internet days where instant world wide communication among climbers was non-existent) travelled quickly.

    But, slowly it became evident that all was not quite right. Climbers on multi-person expeditions became aware that some climbers were enjoying their brew whilst others continued to wait for the kettle to boil. Those climbers using their GK’s were still enjoying their fast boiling times but those with the latest model, the XGK II were not.

    It took some time for the penny to drop and it took sometime for MSR to admit that the problem was due simply to, and I quote from MSR “feature longer pan wires to improve the overall burning characteristics.” Note the language …overall burning characteristics. The interesting use of the adjective “burning” led many to believe that was the same a boiling characteristics.

    It would appear that MSR were using semantic gymnastics – they did not come out, up front, and admit that the sole reason for introducing the longer panwires, and hence a significant increase in fuel consumption and boiling times was due to the fact that the pan to burner distance was now considerably greater. The reason for the greatly increased pan wire height was to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. (CCS has an excellent article on carbon monoxide: New Research Proves Backpacking Stoves More Deadly Than Suspected The article can be found in the Stove Reference Library here: http://classiccampstoves.com/posts/85 )

    It is likely that the new owners of MSR (REI bought MSR in 1981) had read that research and increased the pan wire length buy the exact distance, as recommended in the research: 1 inch.

    What I have failed to establish is the date that MSR acknowledged the pan wire length difference and when they addressed this problem. I suspect 1984/5 but I do not know for certain. The only way would be to have access to a new and unused XGK II stove manufactured in the thirteen years of manufacture. This, unfortunately I do not have. MSR maintenance kits in the mid-1980’s contained both the original and the longer pan wire. See my post in the Stove Reference Library which has a photograph of the maintenance kit including the two different pan wires as well as the instructions. http://classiccampstoves.com/posts/207824


    What I do know for certain is that MSR literature stating “Note MSR X-GK stoves made after 1985 feature longer pan wires to improve the overall burning characteristics” is incorrect. MSR introduced the longer pan wires right from the start of the XGK II production. This I know for sure as I have MSR XGK II stoves from 1981 with the longer pan wires. This unused 1983 MSR XGK II featured in this post has the longer pan wires.

    In this photograph the 1983 MSR XGK stove is on the left and you can see that the pan wires are substantially above the fuel tube. The middle photo is the GK featured in this post in the Stove Reference Gallery: http://classiccampstoves.com/threads/20613
    Note how the pan wires are almost touching the fuel tube that goes over the burner. The stove on the right is a used 1981 XGK II , the pan wires are exactly the same length as the 1983 model.

    1329335059-02.jpg


    If you have a MSR XGK II stove and the pan wires are as in the photos above, and you want to achieve a minimum of a 20/25% increase in performance you can do two things.

    1. Shorten the four pan wires .

    2. Use the two piece pan wire assembly that were fitted to the MSR XGK II Shaker model and shorten these slightly.

    The Aluminium enclosure that holds the burner unit changed over the years, they look similar but there are subtle changes that need to be taken in to account and I’ll try and illustrate this in photographs.

    First the MSR XGK II Shaker stove with the two piece pan wire assembly, you will note that the pan wires are just a smidgen above the fuel tube. (On some of my XGK II shakers I have reduced the length by 2mm to reduce the distance further.)

    1329335221-03.jpg

    Now, with the same pan wires fitted to a MSR GK. You will note that the panwires are well above the fuel tube. The enclosures are different on the XGK II Shaker and the GK:

    1329335248-04.jpg


    And when the same pan wires are fitted to a 1981 XGK II stove the burner to pan wire distance is also too great.

    1329335336-05.jpg


    If you have a early model GK or similar, or a XGK II and want to use the two piece wire assembly; AND want to achieve the same fuel efficiency and rapid boil times of the early MSR models previously described, you will have to shorten the pan wires – a simple job, particularly for most CCS members.

    I have many MSR solid fuel line stoves, I have yet to see evidence that MSR actually produced XGK II models with the shorter pan wires. I suspect that that they merely sold shorter pan wires as a later option.

    It is likely, based on the evidence of examining a substantial number of these stoves that the “problem” was not addressed until the introduction of the XGK II Shaker stove as shown in the fourth photo above in this post.

    Back to this particular 1983 MSR XGK II stove. As you can see from the code stamped on the alignment block it has the code for June 1983.

    1329335366-06.jpg


    The earlier models, Model 9, 9a MF, G & GK were fitted with a sparker unit which, for example, can be seen in this post in the Stove Reference Gallery:
    http://classiccampstoves.com/threads/20613

    On the introduction of the MSR XGK II the sparker unit was dropped and in its place a small screw threaded bolt, washer and nut were fitted, the colour matching the enclosure colour. Its function is stop unintended movement of the fuel tube/ burner unit which is “keyed” to the enclosure. A photograph illustrating this can be found in this post in the Stove Reference Gallery:

    http://classiccampstoves.com/threads/19569


    1329335398-07.jpg


    All MSR stoves were test burned prior to sale, you can see this by the colour of the burner bell in the photograph below. MSR fitted a new flame spreader before packaging the stove for sale. All stoves came with notification that had been burn tested.

    1329335426-08.jpg

    The Side of the enclosure on all new stoves had this label attached:

    1329335492-09.jpg

    A photo of the enclosure and burner unit:

    1329335529-10.jpg

    The XGK II in the eighties was supplied with a grey pump and a black plunger. This is the new and unused pump that came with this stove. I used one of these grey pumps for nine winters of ski mountaineering and it never failed. I did treat the pump with care and was always very aware that it was a plastic pump and I was very cautious with the valve. Now that Duraseal pump is available I never use any of the old pumps, no matter what their condition as metal threaded valves and plastic seats do not fill me with confidence.

    1329335556-11.jpg

    The MSR XGK II was supplied with an Aluminium heat reflector and windshield. It was also supplied with a K jet, (the stoves invariable were fitted with the G jet by default)a jet pricker, tool and a small bottle for meths or white gas for priming.


    1329335585-12.jpg

    The stove was also supplied with a stuff sack

    1329335611-13.jpg

    I hope the above will be of interest to stove users and or collectors.

    More models will follow in due course.

    Cheers,

    Rob
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2015
  2. lanevitt United Kingdom

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    Rob,
    Clear....Very informative.... Very readable..... Very well illustrated and above all, a jolly good read. Thank you !
     
  3. alanwenker

    alanwenker United States Subscriber

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    Brilliant writing and observations. Thank you.
     
  4. Trooly74

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    Nice.
    Learned something new. Actually don't know much about MSR stoves but I try to catch what is available.
    Anyway, learned something that I didn't know.
    Thanx SNOWGOOSE

    Trooly
     
  5. DAVE GIBSON United States

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    well that post sent me down to the basement in bathrobe and bare feet to check out mine.
    a solid pipe with no markings on the block or jet.it came with the yellow pump and the cup over the burner.i just noticed the owners name for the first time tonight,i was using a magnifying glass,
    "a r weisbrod".they lived out side the small village i had a cabin at and were selling off stuff before they moved to "someplace warmer" in Washington state if i recall.this was in the early 90's.
    so anyway..no numbers on the block,was it made so early MSR did not do that?
     
  6. SNOWGOOSE

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    See this post of mine:

    http://classiccampstoves.com/threads/20613


    And this comment:


    The Aluminum block is not date coded on this GK, in fact, I am unaware of any date coding until 1981 when the company was taken into REI ownership. The practice of date coding the Aluminium alignment block was continued under the ownership of Cascade Designs.

    Cheers,

    Rob
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2015
  7. DAVE GIBSON United States

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    good info,thanks.i'll have to move the spring thing around the fuel tube to where it belongs.on mine it's not over the tube but more down the side.
     
  8. hikerduane

    hikerduane United States Subscriber

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    Thank you Rob, good read. Just don't test me later. With your writing and research, it seems I am only missing the 9A model from the early stoves.
    Duane
     
  9. DAVE GIBSON United States

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    Rob..here is another odd question.
    on my stove there is a hole drilled in the base of the burner bell that has a small cotter pin in it.
    i see no purpose at all for that.any ideas? 1329424487-stove_bell_pin__Small_.jpg
     
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  10. hikerduane

    hikerduane United States Subscriber

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    Dave,
    So fuel can drain down and get soaked up by the pad underneath to prime the stove.
    Duane
     
  11. DAVE GIBSON United States

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    Duane..that never crossed my mind,the best i could think of was that the pin was in there to keep the bell from turning out of the manufacturers setting.
     
  12. teletim United Kingdom

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    Brilliant reading and great photos as usual

    Cheers Tim
     
  13. BGP213

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    Hey guys, I've read through everything here I can find ref MSR-XGK stove. Mine is an early-90's model I believe. I'm having what seems to be long boil times. I've read the above thread and shortened the wires as low as possible without touching the fuel tube. It's still taking 10 minutes to boil water. I'm at about 900 feet above sea level. Any recommendations or is this about right? Thanks, Brian
     
  14. thecymbrogi

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    Not sure if anyone would be interested, but my early 1985 XGK with original parts (except I removed the flint lighter since it stopped working) has the shorter pot wires. It also has the wrapped wire around the fuel line, never figured out why it is there since most models don't have it. If you want pictures, let me know and I'll post them.
     
  15. 8R Pete

    8R Pete United States Subscriber

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    I'm a little confused with the dating on the block.I have a XGK 2 gold on the outside,with the MSR code on the block MSR 120.It didn't seem to have the shaker jet and has the pot supports that form an X.What do I have? I think I have a December 1990 stove-would that be correct?
     
  16. 8R Pete

    8R Pete United States Subscriber

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  17. 8R Pete

    8R Pete United States Subscriber

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    What do I have? Pump is obviously new-bought Sunday.Took out jet with screwdriver,cleaned with carb cleaner and MSR pricker and pulled out metal line inside fuel tube(used MSR tool) Sprayed carb cleaner around base surface as it was like black chewing gum texture and reassembled everything.Took a few minutes but everything started right up.
     
  18. 8R Pete

    8R Pete United States Subscriber

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    OK went to Moms house where i keep my stove in the garage.Definitely non shaker,has a X G jet in it.Missing the screw that keeps the metal fuel line in place,also pad is ripped at the bottom of the stove where priming fuel drips onto.Looking for those parts-any ideas?
     
  19. HunterStovie

    HunterStovie United States Subscriber

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    I've bought similar looking screws and parts at the local Home Depot and other than being a Phillips head the #10 size fit perfectly and I had the option of brass, stainless, or plain steel. As for the priming pad I called MSR about a week ago and they still had square pads available, but I also ordered some round pads as well
     
  20. 8R Pete

    8R Pete United States Subscriber

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    Thank You for the reply-I was thinking of going to Home Depot,I also have screws at work-not stainless though.I sent 2 e-mails to cascade designs about MSR stove parts and other info,but have not gotten any reply.
     

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