MSR Standard Pump Control Valve Failure

Discussion in 'Fettling Forum' started by Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O

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    Hi all

    Firstly, thanks to all the knowledgeable posters on this site whose comments and advice I've often found informative, useful and interesting.

    I have an MSR fuel pump which came with (what I believe is) an earlier model Whisperlite International - labelled and boxed as such but with rounded wire legs like 600 if that helps with identification. I bought this just about the end of the century or the early 2000s and have used it pretty regularly since.

    I recently found that once the fuel bottle was pumped up to pressure, the pump was leaking very slightly from the fuel tube port. Rather than eat a cold supper I moved well away from my tent, reduced the amount of (Coleman) fuel in the bottle a minimum and went ahead and cooked on it without issue. After cooking, I was able to turn off the fuel flow sufficiently to cut the flame but if left connected and pressured-up, the pump continued to slowly drip fuel down the tube into the priming pan. Not good.

    Back home, I checked the only obvious source of the fault; the control valve o-ring but that seemed okay and there are no signs of damage to the outside of the pump body i.e. no cracking or splits in the casing. I also swapped out the entire control valve assembly with a brand new assembly from a replacement pump but the issue persists.

    I can only conclude that the pump has failed somewhere inside the chamber where the control valve stem sits which is why it's no longer possible to fully shut off the control valve. I've looked here and elsewhere for similar failures but can't find any mention of any (perhaps I haven't looked hard enough). I've also contacted Cascade Designs but they aren't interested in honouring their (previously excellent) lifetime warranty and, to be fair, I have had a good run out of this excellent piece of kit and can't really grumble.

    My questions then are:
    1. Is this a known fault that anyone else has come across?
    2. Does anyone know if it's possible to order the pump body on its own?
     
  2. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    @Doc Mark
    Your presence is requested at the quarterdeck.

    Ken
     
  3. theyellowdog

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    I have a modern red msr pump that leaks from an crack in the pump, where the fuel line enters. The crack is too small to be seen.

    Have you tried pumping up with air and submerging in water to find the leak?
     
  4. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark Subscriber

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    @snwcmpr , Ken, you cracked me up with that one! DM reporting, as requested, Sir!!

    @Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O ,

    Welcome to CCS! A few questions, if I may? Does your WPLI have a white, red, or black cloth mesh around the rubber fuel hose? Or, is your fuel hose covered with woven brass? If you have the cloth mesh, you have a V1 WPLI which is not great a burning kerosene, over time. If you have woven brass mesh over the fuel line, then you have a V2 WPLI, which is a far superior stove to the V1! Next, what colors are on the pump body? Is it one of these, by any chance?

    DSCN5773.jpg

    These two pumps are the worst pumps that MSR ever developed, and both have a long record of cracking, inside, and out, and should not be used, IMHO!! Here's what happened when one of my own like this (red and grey) "let go", with Coleman fuel, and in only seconds the whole thing went up in flames! See the pump on the far left.

    DSCN5768.jpg


    Instead, is your pump this next one? THIS is the pump that you will want to get. Yes, it "can" be damaged, by someone who is exceedingly heavy-handed in using it. But, that is rare, in my experience with this pump.

    DSCN7060.jpg

    As an aside, any MSR pump can be damaged down inside the area where the control valve is located, IF someone trying to be King Kong, screws it down too tightly, which cracks the pump at the bottom of that part of the housing. I've never had that happen, in extensive use. But, I'm also careful with any and all MSR pumps. As mentioned above, there were only two real DOGS in the MSR pump line, and both were made when REI owned the company! You can draw your own conclusions from that, but in my mind, REI was more fixed on making more profit money, and thus seriously compromised the design of both of the "worst pumps", shown in a photo up above!

    I look look forward to hearing back from you, and seeing what you actually have. If you can post photos of what you have, that would be best. Otherwise, please answer the questions I asked, and we can figure it out. Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
     
  5. Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O

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    @snwcmpr

    Thanks for the call to arms.

    All hands to the pumps!

    Much appreciated.
     
  6. Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O

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    @theyellowdog

    Thanks for your reply and suggested diagnostics. A good tip.

    I'm pretty certain of where the leak is coming from due to the dripping fuel in the priming pan and slight hiss from the fuel port of the pump when I pressurise an empty can.

    Cheers
     
  7. Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O

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    @Doc Mark

    Hi Doc

    Many thanks for your reply and the photos of the MSR pump's evolution (and partially melted destruction).

    Regarding the stove, the fuel line has a woven brass outer cover. Apologies, I don't have it readily to hand to post a photo of but will endeavor to do so next time I have it out.

    On to the troublesome pump. This is one of the more recent 'sea horse' style pumps as shown below and has been well used with a range of fuels including some very dirty unleaded petrol/gasoline during a walking and climbing trip in Ecuador in 2006.

    MSR Pump.jpg

    Comparing it to the replacement pump the only two real differences I can see are 1. The pump bore filter on my old pump is a small metal screen whereas on the new pump it is a small white disk of some unknown material and 2. The check valve/NRV in the old pump had a flat seal at the end of the spring whereas the newer pump has a rounded seal at the end of a slightly longer spring (see below: new L, old R). Other than that they appear to be exactly the same in every way (20 odd years-worth of dirt and wear notwithstanding).

    eBay daniellaird-3-2.jpg

    I can't say I've ever been described as King Kong before! I reckon I'm pretty careful about how I use and maintain the stove and don't feel I'm guilty of overtightening the control valve. There are certainly no cracks or damage to the pump that I can see (without a borescope that is). That said, the damage does definitely seem to be to that part of the inside of the pump body so, whether it's cracked or otherwise worn, due to a manufacturing flaw or heavy-handedness on my part, it sounds like it's pretty terminal.

    I also had word back from the Cascade Designs rep in Ireland today who described the pump body as 'threaded' and confirmed that replacement would not be covered under warranty: "[the] Pump body is not available as a separate part. As it is threaded I would be concerned about it leaking and have advised order a new pump." Which I guess just about sums it up. The end of the line for this old friend. A sad day.

    Thanks again for your reply.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  8. hikerduane

    hikerduane Subscriber

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    Why not release pressure when finished cooking until you resolve the issue? No reason to let it leak. This is a remote fuel tank, so if leak is minor, you should be able to use, observing where leaking fuel is. I've had no luck to a question to CD from me back in February.
    Duane
     
  9. Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O

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    Hi Duane

    Thanks for your question/suggestion. The short answer is safety concerns.

    Because it's not possible to completely shut off the fuel control valve it's likely that it won't be possible to turn the stove off. So far, it does choke the fuel enough to cut the flame but the problem's not getting any better so eventually it won't.

    Even without being able to close the control valve, thanks to the swivel connection between the fuel line and the fuel line connector/chuck, it would/is still possible to extinguish the stove by flipping the fuel bottle/pump over so the control valve is facing down. In this position the fuel pickup tube inside the fuel bottle will be out of the fuel and only air/fuel vapour will be getting sent down the fuel line to the stove. (Incidentally, this is a good way of clearing the fuel line of any remaining fuel before packing the stove but I'd only recommend doing this after the flame has been extinguished).

    Regarding contacting Cascade Designs Ireland. I previously emailed them back in June last year and had a reply within a week or so if I recall. More recently I emailed Needle Sports a question about a parts order and this pump issue and they got a reply back to me from Cascade Designs Ireland within a day so it might be worth going that route.

    Cheers
     
  10. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark Subscriber

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    @Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O ,

    If you have used that pump for 14-20 years, than I'd say you have more than gotten your money's worth out of it. IF it were me, I'd not waste time trying to save a pump that has deep internal damage, but rather, I'd buy a new pump, and call it good. Those pumps are relatively inexpensive, and well worth buying, when internal problems pop up on older versions. Having seem, first hand, how quickly a cracked pump can go from normal, to conflagration, I'd not take any chances, and just replace your much used pump with a new one. Reading what you've posted about your comments on your trip to Ecuador, you've certainly pump your old pump through it's paces, far more than the average user. That's cool!! But, maybe time to retire that old guy, and get the new one. Just my 'tuppence..... Good luck and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
     
  11. Marc

    Marc Subscriber

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    :clap::clap::clap:

    Thank you sir, that gave me quite a chuckle.

    Marc posting pre-coffee, nothing new here, move along now.
     
  12. Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O

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    @Doc Mark

    Absolutely agree, I've had good value use from this piece of kit and am glad to say I have now received my shiny new pump in readiness for my next trip.

    Happy days!