Wallas Stove Woes (And Remedies?)
Thanks to Scan Marine USA's excellent service, my stove was fixed quickly. The Wallas stove served me daily, run all night every night, during a six month cruise through Canada's Inside Passage in 2008. I have since sold my boat to a friend and the stove continues to work to this day.
Sorry that I forgot to update this post! Especially, apologies to ScanMarine and Wallas. The stove was excellent to cook on, an excellent heat source, and once repaired, reliable despite nearly constant use.
First of all, does anyone else here use a Wallas stove? What has your experience been both with the stove and with service?
I took the plunge last spring and believe me, it wasn't cheap. I bought the 85dpu with blower lid. It looked like just the ticket though for my little boat--a 28 foot Cape Dory--a tiny, combination cook top and cabin heater that runs off of diesel fuel from my main diesel tank.
What follows is the saga of my stove. Hopefully this story ends with a remedy from ScanMarine, and a dependable Wallas stove that I can count on. Currently the stove is with ScanMarine, again, being checked out. I gave it to them after choking on diesel fumes last Saturday night and cutting my President's Day weekend short due to no heat source and no way to cook. Stay tuned to see what they find and how they follow through.
The back story:
I bought the stove based on its reputation for reliability, and because a friend of mine with a boat my size sailed his up the inside passage to Haida Gwaii and back on a five-month journey and never had a single problem (well not with the stove anyways).
I on the other hand have had trouble since the beginning.
First of all, my stove would release a puff of diesel exhaust inside the stove's locker every time I started it, not enough to be visible, but enough to smell clearly. Once running, I could detect no fumes in the boat.
Secondly, my stove would over-heat and shut itself down when I used it as a heater. I could only run it on its lowest setting.
In talking to ScanMarine they told me they had not heard of such problems before and that it was probably my install.
So, I took my boat to their dock here in Seattle and had them go over the entire install. I have mixed feelings about the service I received.
To their credit, Mike, the service tech, spent nearly the whole day going over my install and working with my stove. That was amazing. He was very dedicated.
The only suspect portion of the install he found was an exhaust run that was not as straight as they would like. He also suggested I might increase the size of my air-intake.
I immediately fixed both of these items, radically enlarging air intake and shortening the exhaust run and giving it have the absolute minimum number of possible given their fittings. I re-drilled my boat's lockers and made way for the exhaust without any compromise to its run.
That done, the stove did not over-heat as often as before. I could make more heat. But the diesel exhaust smell on startup continued. When I had the stove in, Mike said that he couldn't smell the startup exhaust because he worked with diesel all day and he had lost his sensitivity to it. That bothered me. How do I get a problem fixed that the tech doesn't even have the ability to detect?
Anyways, I continued to use the stove to brew tea and cook an occasional dinner. But I didn't use it for heat. I've been using an electric space heater dockside when I need heat. It wasn't until this last weekend's cruise that I used it as a heater.
The first night, it was fine, a wonderful device.
The second night, at 2 am of course, my cabin started to fill with vaporized unburned diesel. I woke up feeling extremely ill, shut down the stove, aired out the cabin with 30 degree air, and spent a cold night waiting for dawn. With no way to cook, I sailed home and put the boat away.
To steer this long post toward a close, when I took the stove into ScanMarine, they told me they had never heard of this and since these stoves don't do this, this is probably a problem with my install. I reminded them that I had spent a whole day with them going over my install.
What I most want is a stove that works. I don't really want mine repaired. I want one that just works, a new one without such a troubled history. One of their two owners repeatedly inferred that it must be my install, despite the fact that their tech had spent an entire day going over my stove and my install. This really made me angry.
But I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. I love the stove. I just want one that works. Stay tuned and I'll tell you what I get.
In the mean time, is anyone else out there using a Wallas stove? Have you received good service from ScanMarine?
Last edited by badge; 05-06-2011 at 06:56 AM.