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?
I saw them at the recent boat show, and they look nice. As you are in the Northwest, you might find this book useful, and you might contact Roger McAfee, the author, to get his opinion.
ScanMarine Service - Great so far (with minor caveats)
An update to my post.
ScanMarine has offered to fix my stove free of charge.
They found a problem in my stove, a clogged heat exchanger.
They maintain that my original exhaust run had too many turns and clogged the heat exchanger through lack of flow, and they have said that despite my install causing the problem, they will give me a new stove.
I will have it known that I installed my stove directly according to their manual, including and exhaust run three feet shorter than their maximum of ten feet. There was nothing in the manual about avoid turns. When I mentioned this Mike said that they would never be able to print a manual thick enough to prevent users from mis-installing their devices.
In retrospect, it is clear that in all airflow cases the straightest run possible is essential. It doesn't take a thick manual to say, "Avoid any unnecessary turns. The straightest run possible is essential."
Anyways, as for actions, which is what really counts, if the stove given to me tomorrow works, ScanMarine are true heroes and men of great honor for giving service so quickly. They deserve commendation for backing up their products.
As for attitude, I have certainly received friendlier service, but frankly, if the stove works, I don't care. I'm happy.
I'll be back to let you know if the repaired stove fires properly.
I keep searching for information about the Wallas stoves and ovens but have found very few sources. I'm mainly worried about diesel smell during cooking and excess cabin heat.
Actual installed cost would also be of interest, if you care to share.
I can't comment on the stoves, but I recently installed a 40D forced air furnace and it has worked flawlessly so far. I ran it continuously for a week, 24 hours a day during the recent cold weather and it kept the boat nice and warm. Scanmarine was very helpful and friendly when I called for assistance with the install and when I went in to their store they spent a great deal of time with me suggesting different ways of doing things. I was very impressed and I love the furnace.
"Mike said that they would never be able to print a manual thick enough to prevent users from mis-installing their devices. "
If it is that hard, that unintuitive, and that critical to install the "device" in a manner beyond instruction...I don't think I'd want that "device" on the same boat as me. Even professionally installed free of charge.
I don't understand that statement about the instructions at all, the installation and running of the exhaust and ducting on my furnace was simple and straightforward. I never talked to this "Mike" guy that spent a whole day looking at his installation (how is that even possible?), but the guys I did talk to were great. They did tell me to keep the exhaust run as straight and level as possible, but mostly the whole installation was just common sense, even I managed to do it :eek: . I'm just guessing, but it seems as if the OP must have been satisfied or he would have been back badmouthing Scan.
Well, considering that Badge hasn't reported back in ten months... it probably isn't a good sign.
Yes, but that might not have anything to do with the stove...
How is it going?
How is your stove working now?
Doug at Scan Marine
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