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Morso Squirrel Woes


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Yesterday as I made up our Morso Squirrel stove, thankfully from cold, it returned a massive clunk as I tried to engage the door latch and literally came apart at the seams. The front panel complete with door has come away from the top of the stove and there are gaps down both the sides and the back panel again where the whole stove seems to have dropped away from the top. I don't like to think what would have happened if it had been roaring away!

 

It was fitted new with the boat in 2001 and so is only thirteen odd years old and looked in pretty good nick. I'm told from a couple of independent sources that it's unlikely to be repairable and will need to be replaced. I will save all the old bits and try and discover what has failed so spectacularly and hope it doesn't happen again.

 

Has anyone else ever had the same sort of experience with a Morso?

 

Cheers,

 

Mike.

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Good stoves when in perfect order, but... They are renowned for cracking.

 

If the front has come away the lugs at the top have probably broken off or simply slipped off the bolts that hold the front to the top. That will probabl;y have broken the lugs at the bottom.Once the front is loose it is probable that the rest of the stove will fall apart as the top and the bottom are what hold the whole thing together. Dismantle the remains carefully and see what you have that is re-useable- the top and base will be OK I expect as will most of the internal works, the doors and the side panels. Expect to get very dirty!

 

Might be worth a visit to a chandler or local stove shop to see inside a clean one and understand how it is fitted together.

 

All the parts are available from Harworth Heating and if you only need a new front it will be an economical but not cheap repair. Use new stove rope in every join and new stainless steel cap head bolts to hold the stove together and don't overtighten them as this prevents the various parts moving as the stove heats up and cools off.

 

 

 

N

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I say it again everyone praises morso stoves but yet another broken one and if it had been lit and home alone the boat would be now gone!!! If it was the last stove in the world and you got fined for not having one I would pay the fine

 

Peter

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It does see, while they work really well, they dont last for ever.

 

That said, having replaced the first one after about 8-10 years due to a piece of lip edge of the top cracking, the boat is now 23 years old and only on its second stove. Unlike you describe the failure of the first was highly unspectacular, and in fact the stove was used for some time afterwards with a repair effected with fire cement before being consigned to replacement.

 

 

Daniel

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Thanks for your advice. I've actually taken the plunge and bought a new replacement but will then set too and try and rebuild this one and sell it on. I wonder if Morso use stainless steel bolts on their new stoves?

 

M.

 

 

No- they use passivated/plated ones and they rapidly rust in place then the heads rust away.

 

 

If you have bought a new Squirrel I would replace the securing bolts with stainless cap-head ( allen screws) ones- particularly the ones for the door glass clips- before installing it. Do them one at a time. Put copper grease on them and they will be easy to remove if you break a glass. You will also then see how the old one was meant to be held together.

 

 

N

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It does see, while they work really well, they dont last for ever.

 

That said, having replaced the first one after about 8-10 years due to a piece of lip edge of the top cracking, the boat is now 23 years old and only on its second stove. Unlike you describe the failure of the first was highly unspectacular, and in fact the stove was used for some time afterwards with a repair effected with fire cement before being consigned to replacement.

 

 

Daniel

Lovely boat Daniel, Must be hard work to keep her going? I prefer steel stoves due to the problems of cast iron ones falling apart. I recently went back to my old cottage in which I fitted a spencer stove back in 1985, it is still in there and still working well and yes it is a steel stove. The 3 stoves we have now are all steel stoves as well a boatman, bubble and Tim Sistems Magic Stove so maybe its just me being strange? :)

 

Peter

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All the marketing stuff, and many stove experts, like to say "cast iron is the material of choice" for stoves, whatever that might mean, I strongly suspect that a well made welded steel stove is a much better machine.

 

.............Dave

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Just what i did after my 13 year old stove cracked, keep what bits you can for spares, although i put the old bits in the new stove and kept the new bits as spares.

Its just not worth time or money trying to fix an old stove, if you can wait, midland chandlers 20% day is bound to be coming up soon...

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We should make have a canalworld forum 'squirrel bits' warehouse. We ended up giving our first one away I think (slightly before my time to know exactly where it went) even though it only needed a new top the cost of the top wasnt far that of the stove considering the work in rebuilding an 8 year old stove.

Cast iron should rust less than steel, and you can thericically make better shaped parts with it, but it is also more brittle and requires very different design considerations to that of steel fabrications.

 

 

... Must be hard work to keep her going? ...

The overheads, such as a day to winterise the enigne/boiler/etc, and a day to re-commission it, and a day for the boiler test, are greater, and if a part fails or wears its a bigger job, and we do all out own work including dry docking, etc. But equally its sort of manageable, and me do very well for friends and other steamboaters doing bits of work for us in exchange for beer money or the like, so its sort of manageable. Last year was a very quiet year for the boat for various reasons but the plan is to get out and about much more this year, as well as do a full repaint on the roof removing all the vents/fittings/etc.


Daniel

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Thanks for your advice. I've actually taken the plunge and bought a new replacement but will then set too and try and rebuild this one and sell it on. I wonder if Morso use stainless steel bolts on their new stoves?

 

M.

Hi,

If you consider selling the parts individually I'm interested in an 'Ash Pan Door'

Edited by Androo
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Thanks for all the replies and now having inspected the bits of my old stove it's a wonder it didn't collapse a lot sooner! In my defence we've only had the boat since September and I've been busying myself with what I considered more pressing maintenance but this could have been a disaster. I will definitely, as BEngo suggests, replace all bolts and screws with stainless and obviously much easier to do from new.

 

As for wheather Morso are the best or not some of their fittings in my view could be very much improved but they seem to have held a very high market profile for a number of years now and so I imagine there are more of them to go wrong. Just my 2ps worth but once I've cleaned everything up I'll let anyone know who is interested in spare bits.

 

This is a great forum and cheers again everyone.

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I say it again everyone praises morso stoves but yet another broken one and if it had been lit and home alone the boat would be now gone!!! If it was the last stove in the world and you got fined for not having one I would pay the fine

 

Peter

 

I think the market has decided that they are good stoves and since there are possibly more of them on boats than any other stove, it's therefore reasonable to expect that we would also hear more about problems with morso stoves than any other make.

 

Anyway, I've been living with my Morso Panther for the last 9 years and it still looks brand new. I think it will probably need a new grate in a few years but nothing lasts forever.

All the marketing stuff, and many stove experts, like to say "cast iron is the material of choice" for stoves, whatever that might mean, I strongly suspect that a well made welded steel stove is a much better machine.

 

.............Dave

 

Trouble is lots steel stoves aren't that well made. The plate used is too thin to hold much heat.

Edited by blackrose
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I've got two Morsos at home one of which is at least 20 years old and has never had any attention, but there are too many stories of failures on boats for my liking. I wonder if it is something to do with vibration, or because the stoves may be routinely exposed to much lower temperatures when not in use, or other factors I can't think of at the moment.

 

I'm still a fan, but I think I would be looking at the alternatives for a boat installation.

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I read this thread earlier and thought I would contribute with some positive opinions but tonight my glass cracked tonight . ( typical )

I still think the Morso isn't in bad nick for its age.

I will look at replacing the glass. Does anyone have any idea of sizes to replace screws holding the glass or indeed a stockist?

 

Thanks.

 

Paul.

 

PS . Pleased the yours didn't fail whilst hot.

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It's interesting to note that Morso now say, in the new user manual, that it is a wood burning stove. They do have a section on alternative fuels and say that only smokeless (e.g anthracite) fuels should be used. I don't remember any of that in the old manual. This could be to cover their backs under the guarantee or maybe they have cut down on quality, who knows? Mine has a back boiler fitted and I has to say they seem pretty well made. Time will tell!

 

I suspect the longevity of any stove is dependant on the type/amount of fuel burnt and the way it is installed. If, for example, the flue is cemented into place with no room for expansion, the collar is put under a lot if stress as it expands and contracts. I'm sure that's why many if them crack around there.

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All the marketing stuff, and many stove experts, like to say "cast iron is the material of choice" for stoves, whatever that might mean, I strongly suspect that a well made welded steel stove is a much better machine.

 

.............Dave

Agree I have a small range from Midland C and its pretty grim to say the least

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My Morso Squirrel has recently cracked it's top plate too. I must say, for the price of them I consider the design awful and I'm surprised at how little product development seems to have occurred.

 

What is the board's recommendation for a replacement? I'm sure not buying another Squirrel.

 

MtB

I did take a risk and bought another Squirrel (maybe more fool me!). The old one wasn't installed that well but still lasted 10 years. I'm curious about welded steel stoves though, do they last longer? I suppose they are less likely to crack.

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I have a woodwarm fireview 4.5kw stove and so far I find it excellent, although only on it's second winter. External riddling grate, grate turns flat for wood or open for coal. Airwash keeps the double glazed door very clean. Secondary burn, Rope seals held in a channel, so don't need glue. Door catch adjustable by turning the handle, for when the door seals wear down.

 

Cost me £769 for the stove and £145 for a standard steel backboiler.

Only thing I would change is not reduce the flue down from 5 inches to 4and a half inches externally.

 

Jamescheers.gif

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I will look at replacing the glass. Does anyone have any idea of sizes to replace screws holding the glass or indeed a stockist?

 

Don't even try to take the screws out. Get a pair of pliers, and twist the little holding clips to one side. Put the new glass in and carefully twist the clips back into position.

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Hi,

 

Uxbridge Boat Centre produced a useful 'guide' to using a cast iron stove, this included several interesting points, one of which was to warm the cast iron stove up carefully to reduce this risk of cracking and ventilate it well in summer to try to overcome rust problems - might be worth seeing if this info is available on line.

 

I suspect some of the problems are caused by owners arriving at their boat, lighting a 'roaring' fire, burning it for a day or two and then letting the fire go out.

 

Cast iron does not like this treatment and hence the cracks.

 

Having had a Torgem and now a range stove I'm not keen on cast iron units and would go for welded steel ones.

 

M

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I think the market has decided that they are good stoves and since there are possibly more of them on boats than any other stove, it's therefore reasonable to expect that we would also hear more about problems with morso stoves than any other make.

 

Anyway, I've been living with my Morso Panther for the last 9 years and it still looks brand new. I think it will probably need a new grate in a few years but nothing lasts forever.

 

Trouble is lots steel stoves aren't that well made. The plate used is too thin to hold much heat.

I dont know of anyone on our moorings with a Morso and we do chat about such things, In fact 4 of the boats have Machine Mart stoves because they are cheap and when they fail you buy another because they are so cheap Keiths is now 8 years old and still going strong. I am now sat in front of a boatman which is 9 years old and still looks lovely but it is a well made steel stove. I think as long as you like the stove and are prepared to take the risk that your boat might not be there when you get back stick with the Morso.

 

Peter

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My Morso Squirrel has recently cracked it's top plate too. I must say, for the price of them I consider the design awful and I'm surprised at how little product development seems to have occurred.

 

What is the board's recommendation for a replacement? I'm sure not buying another Squirrel.

 

MtB

They are a ridiculous price now, retail is over £800 though I'm sure you can get them cheaper, but still over £600 is too much.

 

I was looking at the Hobbit which I think are around £400 and the company that makes them claims to have a BSS compliant installation kit IIRC. And they are British made.

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