MSR Simmerlite lighting trouble

6:46 p.m. on December 10, 2007 (EST)
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I have a simmerlite from MSR, and I am having trouble lighting it. The "prime" function is not working, spilling white gas all over the ground, and then catching it on fire. Is there something I can do to fix it? I really don't want to carry around a fire extinguisher in my pack... :)

7:35 p.m. on December 10, 2007 (EST)
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MSR has really good customer service. I'd call or email them and ask them about the problem.

10:02 p.m. on December 10, 2007 (EST)
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I always found lighting a teaspoon or so of gasoline was horribly easy with a match or lighter. This is partly why I mostly put the excellent MSR Whisperlight out to pasture a few years ago, in favor of cannister stove (MSR Superfly in my case).

Perhaps you can be more specific about your troubles, so that BillS, or K., or Dave, can make intelligent comments. I've never bothered to disassemble an MSR stove, which is really needed, for a complete understanding of subject.

11:25 p.m. on December 10, 2007 (EST)
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When you say it is 'spilling' white gas all over the ground, do you mean that it is leaking out of the fuel line?
If so, then an o-ring is shot.

If it is spilling over the edge of the stove's burner head at start up, then you have turned it on for too long. Just turn it on long enough to see a little bit of gas coming from the burner head and then shut the valve off and light the fuel at the burner head, being mindful that it will usually result in a flare up.


11:45 p.m. on December 10, 2007 (EST)
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I just looked at the manual for this stove on MSR's website. It works similarly to most other stoves of this design, including my MSR XGK.

It sounds like you are are priming the stove with way too much fuel. The manual says half a spoonful. That isn't much. It should be just enough to wet the burner. Watch it closely, then close the stove valve before lighting it. Do not open the valve until the flames have almost died out. Expect a brief fireball, let it die down most of the way, then open the valve. If the stove is hot enough, it will start up as the vapor comes out the holes in the burner.

If the stove is leaking, it will most likely be leaking at the pump, not the stove itself. Make sure that isn't the case, otherwise you will set the pump on fire. I've seen it happen, because I've done it.

12:46 a.m. on December 11, 2007 (EST)

a.k.a. calamity

Sorry... Or Tom D

12:52 a.m. on December 11, 2007 (EST)
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I also have an MSR XGK, and have used it for over 25 years. I also wonder if just a little too much fuel is being used for the prime.

When I prime my stove I open the open/close knob "just a bit" and as soon as I see fuel starting to come out, I then then re-tighten the knob.

2:39 a.m. on December 11, 2007 (EST)
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Calamity, no worries. I don't claim to be an expert. Canisters do make it so easy. No learning curve.

TreeGuy, you are right about the XGK. I've had mine flare up a couple of times from overpriming the thing. Once or twice doing that and you either learn quick or incinerate the stove. That's why they are all metal, although I still have my old plastic pump. As I mentioned, it is a bit worse for wear from a leak. I was lucky to get the fire out quickly before it did any real damage to the pump or my kitchen where I was testing it.

7:09 a.m. on December 11, 2007 (EST)
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Definition of an expert: "Someone 50 miles from home with a briefcase" (as explained to me many years ago by a senior engineer).

I've had an MSR Whisperlite for 22 or 23 years now, the only times I had a fireball was when the jet was a bit clogged or when I overprimed it. As mentioned before, it really doesn't take much fuel to prime the stove. The old Primus stoves (without a pump) tended to be far more "dramatic" to start ....

11:09 a.m. on December 11, 2007 (EST)
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Is this a new stove, or one you've used before?

If you've used it before, and are familiar with its operation, I suggest dismantling it, replacing o-rings, and reassembling. It's not difficult and the MSR website has instructions to download, if you've lost yours.

If it's new, and you're not familiar with its operation, you're probably using too much fuel. I've used the Whisperlite for a number of years and, like everyone else has said, you only need a small amount of fuel to "prime" the stove. I open the valve slowly and close it almost as soon as I hear the sound; if you wait to see how much fuel is in the cup, you'll probably have too much. Close the valve and then look; if you need more, open and close again.

If it's a new stove, it may be defective. I bought a new Whisperlite this past summer; it had a leaky fuel pump and I never did light it, fearing an explosion. I exchanged for another which works perfectly.

6:14 p.m. on December 11, 2007 (EST)
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I think I'm priming it too long. Thanks for the tips guys. (I think I filled it with about 5 sec. worth of fuel. Imagine why I want help) It leaked out the primer pan at the bottom. I guess it was because I was lighting it in the dark. Hmmm. Flashlight? :)

9:09 p.m. on December 11, 2007 (EST)
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Five seconds of fuel sounds like way too much. No wonder it went off with a big ball of fire. Don't do this in the dark. You have to see what you are doing. I would get a headlamp; that way you have both hands free.

1:08 p.m. on December 18, 2007 (EST)
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Unlike the Whisperlite, the Simmerlite does not need need much fuel to prime, if you have fuel in the cup, then you have way too much fuel. Just enough for the burner.

11:14 p.m. on December 18, 2007 (EST)
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I bought a new Simmerlite this summer. If I remember correctly, the instructions said to "wet the entire burner" during the priming process. I believe they also say something along the lines of "you should see a basketball size flame".

So if you're using the instructions as a guide, you may be using too much fuel... :)

10:12 a.m. on December 21, 2007 (EST)
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I may be wrong but i don't think the you use the primer cup on the Simmerlite like you do on the Whisperlite. The Whisperlite has a wick in the primer cup and the Simmerlite does not. I belive you open the fule just enough for the burner to get wet and light the burner, you will have some flame up since the evaporator tube does not heat up in the same manner as the Whisperlite. Check out the instructions and see what they say. I own an Int. Whisperlight and got a friend a Simmerlite. The Simmerlite does not prime like the Whisperlite.

10:59 a.m. on December 21, 2007 (EST)
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I own both a Whisperlite and a Whisperlite Internationale. They both light exactly the same, with a small, very small, amount of gas in the priming cup. The Whisperlite Internationale has the "wick", the Whisperlite does not.

As in both the Whisperlite and the Internationale, the instructions for the Simmerlite say to use just "1/2 spoonful" of fuel; in the case of the Simmerlite, you "wet the entire burner head." However, the basic principle is the same, and if gas is spilling on the ground and burning, you either have a defective stove or are using too much fuel.

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