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The Dreaded MSR WhisperLite Internationale

Discussion in 'MSR - Mountain Safety Research' started by idahostoveguy, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. idahostoveguy

    idahostoveguy Subscriber

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    This is another in a series of MSR stoves from Idaho, the dreaded, much hated, despised and often scorned MSR WhisperLite Internationale. In the other corner, there's a group of people who swear by these stoves, but back in the other corner there people who swear at these stoves. Which camp are you?

    I don't love or hate this stove. For some, it would be love-hate relationship.

    There are a few things I like about this stove:
    • It is quiet, not whisper quiet, but it is quieter than many roarers.
    • It's made of stainless steel so it won't rust.
    • It works great on Coleman Fuel!

    I don't like:
    • No simmering capability, but then there are a lot of stoves that don't simmer.
    • It'll work on kerosene, but it gets really dirty. I spent an hour cleaning it before taking pictures.

    So, again, which side are you on?


    And now for the pictures....



    Here it is in its glory with a 33 ounce fuel bottle. You could cook for days with that much fuel. Love it? Or hate it?
    1267946863-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-01.jpg


    Here are all of the parts to the stove minus the pump. I went ahead and tore it down so that we could all see the individual parts and pieces.
    1267946869-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-02.jpg


    Here is the fuel tube block. It has stamped on it '094 MSR'. Would that be 1994?
    1267946874-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-03.jpg


    Here are the shaker jet components: cleaning needle and Coleman Fuel or Gasoline jet.
    1267946878-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-04.jpg


    This is the main burner tube. Very simple and easy to clean.
    1267946883-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-05.jpg


    Here are the burner rings. They look a little worn but still in good shape.
    1267946887-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-06.jpg


    Getting the pot stand legs back on. They definitely have to go back on a certain way. I did some guessing and trial & error to get them back on so that the fuel tube was going through one of the legs.
    1267946892-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-07.jpg


    Don't forget to put the cleaning needle and the jet back on before assembling the rest of the stove. Working on the jet does require some work and a near complete tear down to get at the jet.
    1267946896-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-08.jpg


    Here's a shot of the fuel tube going through the first leg of the stove. The other legs will be extended around the burner bowl of the stove.
    1267946901-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-09.jpg


    Here is the burner bowl, burner rings and the fuel tube coil installed. It's a bit of a trick to get them all on at the same time. If you put the burner bowl on first, and then the fuel tube, and then finally the burner rings, it works out much better.
    1267946905-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-10.jpg


    Here is the stove reassembled...
    1267946910-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-11.jpg

    The grey and black pump that are slowly phasing out of existence as each one breaks and is replaced by the latest standard pump.
    1267946965-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-12.jpg


    Here is the pump oil tube, the kerosene jet, O-ring and tool. The jet looked like it hadn't been used, which is ok, it has a hard time anyway.
    1267946984-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-14.jpg


    Here's the bag to pack the stove into...
    1267947032-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-15.jpg


    Here we are priming the stove with a new wick in the spirit cup. The old was too soiled to put back into service, while this new one is made of wood-burning stove door insulation. Works like a charm.
    1267947039-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-16.jpg


    Now that is a nice pretty blue flame with some touches of purple. I would say that this stove is combusting the fuel quite well.
    1267947044-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-17.jpg


    Here's the last pic of the stove doing its thing under a pot of water...
    1267947049-MSRWhisperLiteInternationale-18.jpg


    I suppose this is one of those stoves that works for some people and not for others. For some users, it is a great stove, while other users have a disdain for the stove. I don't have a feeling either way, it just gets me closer to the series of MSR liquid stoves that I'm collecting.

    sam
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
  2. RonPH

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    Sam, great presentation. Gives me another great idea. Coming soon!

    Ron
     
  3. itchy United States

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    Another good series. Thanks.

    Sorry to always be asking picky questions, but you seemed to imply that it had be run on kerosene which necessitated cleaning, but the K jet looked unused(?). Certainly priming with kero will result in soot regardless, but do you know if it also been run on kero with the gasoline jet?
     
  4. idahostoveguy

    idahostoveguy Subscriber

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    Hi itchy!

    The K jet is definitely used! Cleaning does wonders! As a matter of fact everything is very used on this stove. It had the characteristic smell of kerosene and not the Coleman Fuel smell. Actually, you bring up a good point, the sooty stuff could have also been car gas, which leaves even worse soot than kerosene. Rest assured, neither one of those fuels will be used in this stove. I tried the K-jet and took a lot of effort and priming to get it to light (dirty vaporizer?). It eventually did, but was a lot easier with CF.

    sam
     
  5. hikin_jim United States

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    I appreciate your posting a photo of the stamp on the fuel tube block. That one confuses me a bit. It can't be 2009/4 (April 2009) because the gray and black pump had been replaced by the gray and red pump at least eight years earlier. But if the year code is '94 -- which it might be; I'm not sure when the gray and black went out and the blue-green and red came in -- what does the "0" stand for? Pesky MSR. :rage: :lol:

    HJ
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  6. Knight84 Canada

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    January? Jim Who knows? :-k

    Thank you Sam. You have really added to the Ref gallery. I never thought of any of MSR stoves as classic camp stoves. Maybe retro but not classic. :lol:
    There is something to be said about MSR stoves though. Thanks for the great pictures again.

    Cheers,

    Jeff
     
  7. idahostoveguy

    idahostoveguy Subscriber

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    HJ, if you look under the 'O' there looks to be the start of another character there. Maybe I'm just seeing things, but could that be the lower 10% of the number '1'. If so, that would make me think that it was supposed to be stamped '1094 MSR' but maybe the '1' was off kilter and only the three other numbers made it onto the stamp.

    Jeff, I think you are right. I don't think the WLI can be called classic as it is readily available at just about any sporting goods store, but I posted it since there are numerous discussions on this stove (much hated by Doc Mark) and the others like the DragonFly. If you had never seen one up close and personal, you miss some of the meaning of the conversationalists, if you know what I mean, particularly on the fuel pumps. I did the postings for those that are without.

    Of the MSRs I've posted, by far, the GK is the most pleasing to me. It has that old hot rod feel to it, but not too old of a hot rod.

    Plus, I've been reading about modern day Polar expeditions, particularly 'A Walk to the Pole' by Roger Mear and Robert Swan. In it, they talk about the MSR XGK they use on their walk to the South Pole (great story even with the mishaps with the sinking ship and crusty Americans). There are two faint pictures in the book that show XGK's yellow exterior. As I read they talk about the stove's pulse waking them every morning, keeping them alive during their whole adventure. They trusted it enough to use it inside their tent for 70 days.

    sam
     
  8. Knight84 Canada

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    Sorry I didn't mean to sound like I was saying the WLI didn't belong. I think the more stoves the better. Well none of those isobutane/propane stoves.

    I think a lot of people will find your post helpful to understanding this and other msr stoves.

    Best Regards,
    Jeff
     
  9. 111T

    111T United States Subscriber

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    ...oh... where's Doc?! ;)
    Nice review. A couple of years ago i picked up an earlier pre-shakerjet model that was i believe the true focus of Doc's rancor. They've increased the diameter of the generator since then.

    I fixed it up and passed it on... Nova for me.
     
  10. idahostoveguy

    idahostoveguy Subscriber

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    Hey Jeff,
    You have only ever been a gentleman. Your comment was just a jumping off point for my further thoughts on what this place is - a place for classic camp stoves and what 'classic' really means. Does it mean antique? Well there are plenty of antique stoves. Does classic mean vintage? Does classic mean rare? Maybe. Does vintage mean antique and vice-versa? Does it mean pressurized, liquid fuel stoves? I guess I'm going with the baseline that classic, in general terms, means all of the above except for those stoves that are readily purchased from a local retailer, of which, WLI is and a few others.

    I guess if the mods cared, then this posting wouldn't be here, or am I stretching the boundaries???


    sam
     
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  11. hikin_jim United States

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    You know how we all groan over how no one kept records at Primus on what the characters under the date code mean? "How could they not have written down anywhere what the meaning is!?"

    Well, we take MSR for granted because we can all walk down the street and buy ten of them any day of the week. Twenty five years from know when MSR has been bought out by a company from China and everything is revamped, we'll all be flagellating ourselves, "if only I'd written it down back then."

    I think it's important to write down things about MSR stoves not so much because it's important today but because such information while prosaic today will be lost to the sands of time tomorrow.

    Now, if I may change the subject slightly, regarding the date stamps on the fuel tube block of an MSR stove. If you'll recall, I said that they're "inconsistent." I pulled out several MSR stoves last night. On the Dragonfly and Simmerlite, there were four digit codes. On my Simmerlite, it says 0807 for example. I take that to mean either August 2007 or July 2008, either of which would be reasonable since it's a fairly new stove. On two XGK's I pulled, both had three digit codes. Yipes. Like I say MSR's date codes are inconsistent. They at the very least appear to differ from line of stove to line of stove.

    Over the next few weeks, I'll try to post some of the codes -- by line of stove (Whisperlite, Internationale, Simmerlite, Dragonfly, and XGK). Perhaps we can solve the mystery of the MSR date codes before, as in Primus codes except the date, a solution is forever lost to the sands of time.

    Ron, if you're monitoring this thread, what is the date code on the aluminum block of the Whisperlite I gave you at CASG3?

    HJ
     
  12. RonPH

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    Jim, on the one you gave me top is 121 and bottom is 084.
    1268077510-wlnumber001.jpg
    On the one I bought is MSR stamped vertically and on the right of it is 043
    1268077519-wlnumber002.jpg

    Hope that helps. I wish they had a standard format. The hose of the WL that HJ gave me is just a rubber hose with sort of non-metallic braid cover using a two eared crimp on both ends while the one recently acquired is braided brass cover and both ends are like full jacket crimp much like those on car hoses.

    Would it be safe to assume that the brass braided cover is the newer model? So logically if the numbers were date codes Jims would be April 2008 and the one I bought would be March 2004?

    Ron
     
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  13. brassnipplekey

    brassnipplekey United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I'm watching history .. In the making.
    Or at least a tabular guide of MSR stoves .
    How many models ? ... Less than 25-30 ?
    Im not pooter fluent enough to (Nor have a specific interest in MSR products) to make , say something like a X reference grid arrangement of years , models, weights, fuels,output ...
    Theres a lot of MSR specific information in this thread ..Condense & present ...
    For a Primer on MSR ... You guys are writing it .
    I've no interest in MSR stoves ..But the world of stoves is an Elephant :-).....
    My thinking ...seems this thread has a good 'handle' on the Elephant = A Timeline of the MSR bit ..
    Not enough Brass in them to interest me .
    Keep it Blue :-)
    Bloody pooters B'strdo InterWWebby's .
    Stovies ? .. Who'd be one ?

    They're all Mad .. Mad as FyX .I tell ya .
    They'll even watch threads that have lil or no interest for them .
    Ooops .
    Nick
     
  14. brassnipplekey

    brassnipplekey United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Write the history now .

    Nick
     
  15. hikin_jim United States

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    Ron, the stove I gave you is actually a historically interesting stove. The MSR Whisperlite was introduced in 1984. Your stove is one of the originals. I'm not sure what all the numbers mean on yours, but "084" to me indicates that it is from 1984. It is definitely not from 2008. Your stove is one of the earliest production Whisperlites in existence and it's in fantastic shape. TAKE CARE OF THAT STOVE. You've got a piece of history. If you just want a beater stove to play with, let me know and I'll send you another Whisperlite. The one I gave you at CASG3 should be preserved as is. Now you see why I keep telling you not to file it down so you can put a new generator in it. :lol:

    The earliest Whisperlites can be identified first by their non-shaker jets. The earliest jets look like a small funnel rather than the more conventional nipple shape that Whisperlite jets took on later.

    Once you've identified your stove as an early Whisperlite by means of the jet, look at the hose next. The earliest versions had a simple rubber hose covered with a fabric with a crimp at both ends. The earliest stoves that came had a tan colored fabric cover. The next series had a red fabric cover. The next series had black. If you have a Whisperlite with a brass sheath, you have a later version. The brass sheathed fuel hoses have a full socket like attachment to the generator tube rather than a simple crimp.

    One can also date MSR Whisperlite stoves by the pumps provided that you're certain the pump you have is the pump that came with the stove. The original pumps where of yellow plastic. Within a year or two, they had switched to gray and black. I don't know exactly when they switched, but I know that my pre-shaker jet stove that I bought after I got out of the army in 1985 had a gray and black pump. I don't remember exactly when I got my stove, but I think it was around 1987. Wish I'd kept the receipt.

    Ron, in your case, I know that the pump I gave you is not the original pump. I couldn't get the original pump to work, so I gave you a working pump. The pump I gave you is several generations later than the stove itself.

    Ron, thanks for the numbers. I don't think we've cracked the code just yet, but we're on the case.

    :lol:

    HJ
     
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  16. hikerduane

    hikerduane United States Subscriber

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    My Internationale had the reddish fuel line, which I replaced 15 years ago maybe and still has the gray/black pump. I don't know what folks can get stirred up about over these, they just don't simmer, nothing that a over heated pinkie or two can't remedy by holding the pot off the stove. I had a offer for mine a week ago while snow camping with a friend. I was admiring his ex-girl friends Whisperlight. I have never had trouble with the jet, don't folks blow the flame out just before it dies?
     
  17. hikin_jim United States

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    Yeah, the Internationale is sort of a stove without a mission. It's basically the same as a regular Whisperlite but more expensive. I suppose it'll burn non-Coleman fuels a bit better than a regular Whisperlite, but burning non-Coleman fuels will gunk up an Internationale quickly. It's not a true multi-fuel stove. I guess it's nice to be able to burn other fuels in an emergency, but other than that there's not much that distinguishes an Internationale.

    HJ
     
  18. hikerduane

    hikerduane United States Subscriber

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    I was reading one of the comments elsewhere here that the thing doesn't handle kerosene. I bought this when I was a stove newbie, thinking it would be good to burn multiple fuels in a stove if needed. Doh! I always cooked over fires and had shyed away from stoves because of that mysterious "priming" thing. Some years back, REI used to post some comparison charts for different gear, one being on stoves. My memory isn't too hot, but I believe the Internationale was supposed to put out more btu's than the plain Whisperlight, so I was glad I had purchased it. Now years later, I read that the head size, shape, direction of the holes in the head vary and should be used with the appropriate pot. Too much info.

    I have had the stove apart a few times, but can't figurate out the correct positions of the legs. I didn't realize until after I had it all apart years ago, that there was a rhyme and reason to the leg placement.
     
  19. RonPH

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    The International does handle kerosene and with proper priming should give you a good heat output. Just use a better kerosene preferably that has less or no sulfur content. I think its the sulfur that gunks up the stove in the kerosene composition. I would recommend that once in a while you run some coleman fuel at intervals to clean it up. And yes different cookset metals act differently but its negligible unless you are in extreme weather most of the time.

    That's just my opinion.

    Ron
     
  20. theyellowdog New Zealand

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    Two Australians rode Recumbent bikes through Russia to China. It is a great tale to read. They often used camp fires but there are some amusing tales of frustration using the MSR whisperlite on deisel. From what I remember of the book the Whisperlite just lasted the journey. 14 months on rough fuels. I think that is pretty good going.

    Tim Cope has a web site with some very motivating photos and some that you look at an think, bugger, I am glad I am not doing that.

    http://www.timcopejourneys.com/index.pl?page=556
     
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