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Well, My Trager Has Died, Need Recomendations To Replace


Calamity Kris

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Well, I believe my Trager has died.  It had faulted a couple of times and I had to restart it.  The temperature seemed to be all over the map.  It kind of stabilized so I continued to use it.  I was committed at that point.  I was smoking some meat for a gathering yesterday and it came out cooked but not as good as it had in the past.  It's about $100.00 worth of meat so I'm going to try and salvage the meat somehow. 

 

Any recommendations for replacing the Trager?  I hear Yoder is really good but I'm not sure I can pull that freight. 

 

Thank you:wub:

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I used to be a big Traeger fan until the company was sold and their service went down the toilet. I’m using a PitBoss now, it’s okay, but if I were going to do it again I’d bite the bullet and get the Yoder. A friend of my wife’s has one and I’ve checked it out pretty good and it’s a nice smoker. There are lots of other pellet smokers out there so I’m sure other pards will let you know about their favorites. One issue the Traeger and PitBoss and others have is the auger freezing up if the pellets you use have too much loose sawdust in them. The sawdust will build up in the auger channel and with the humidity turn almost as hard as concrete. It takes some work but you can remove the auger and beat and chisel the sawdust concrete out and get the auger working again. I sift the sawdust out of the pellets now before I add the pellets to the hopper and have never had it happen again. From the sound of your post the auger feed may be the issue.

 

When the auger channel gets blocked with the hardened sawdust the auger can’t feed a consistent amount of pellets into the fire pot, so you get the fluctuation in temperature. You can probably salvage the Traeger if you want to tackle the job of cleaning the auger channel. PM me if you’d like to discuss it.

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15 minutes ago, Yul Lose said:

I used to be a big Traeger fan until the company was sold and their service went down the toilet. I’m using a PitBoss now, it’s okay, but if I were going to do it again I’d bite the bullet and get the Yoder. A friend of my wife’s has one and I’ve checked it out pretty good and it’s a nice smoker. There are lots of other pellet smokers out there so I’m sure other pards will let you know about their favorites. One issue the Traeger and PitBoss and others have is the auger freezing up if the pellets you use have too much loose sawdust in them. The sawdust will build up in the auger channel and with the humidity turn almost as hard as concrete. It takes some work but you can remove the auger and beat and chisel the sawdust concrete out and get the auger working again. I sift the sawdust out of the pellets now before I add the pellets to the hopper and have never had it happen again. From the sound of your post the auger feed may be the issue.

 

I will check the auger but it seemed to be running fine.  It wasn't able to maintain temperature.  The digital gauge was reading 400, two minutes later 250, five minutes later 350 and so on.  It seems as though the temperature was much lower than it registered.  I didn't have a thermometer to tell what the actual temperature was.  That will change.  I will get an auxiliary thermometer so I know what the temp is.

 

Thanks for the info.

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2 minutes ago, Calamity Kris said:

 

I will check the auger but it seemed to be running fine.  It wasn't able to maintain temperature.  The digital gauge was reading 400, two minutes later 250, five minutes later 350 and so on.  It seems as though the temperature was much lower than it registered.  I didn't have a thermometer to tell what the actual temperature was.  That will change.  I will get an auxiliary thermometer so I know what the temp is.

 

Thanks for the info.

I added to my post. Your problem with the temperature fluctuation sure sounds like a clogged auger channel.

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I don't do anything fancy, but my Masterbuilt electric does what I need for $200. Downside is it has a limited temp range of 100- 275. If I do skin on chicken of turkey, I have to crisp skin on the grill after smoking.

 

I don't smoke very often.

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@Calamity Kris your Hot Rod may be dying. They can be replaced. 
 

Check out this article:

https://learnhowtobbq.com/how-to-tell-if-traeger-hot-rod-is-bad/#how-to-check-andnbspknow-if-the-hot-rod-of-traeger-has-gone-badnbspor-not-working
 

This Traeger Hot Rod is supposed to work on any Traeger, but I would verify that. Look in your manual. 
Traeger Grills BAC432 Replacement Hot Rod https://a.co/d/3NcP2CX

 

If it turns out to be your Controller, God bless you if you call Traeger. You end up talking with a Call Center jockey that only has a handy 3 ring binder to help and no clue. 
 

I own a Louisiana Grill and love it. I bought it at Costco after fighting with my Traeger Grill and their call center for two months. I finally took the thing back to Costco and got the Louisiana Grill in exchange. 

 

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According to Traeger and PitBoss the HotRod is only on for the first 4 minutes to ignite the initial fire. Once the fire is lit the auger feeding the pellets and the fan blowing air keep the pellets in the fire pot lit. I doubt the controller is bad but if Traeger can’t come through I’ve bought them new on Amazon and they work just fine. From the symptoms you describe I believe you have a clogged auger channel. 

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3 hours ago, Yul Lose said:

According to Traeger and PitBoss the HotRod is only on for the first 4 minutes to ignite the initial fire. Once the fire is lit the auger feeding the pellets and the fan blowing air keep the pellets in the fire pot lit. I doubt the controller is bad but if Traeger can’t come through I’ve bought them new on Amazon and they work just fine. From the symptoms you describe I believe you have a clogged auger channel. 

 

Well, I removed the grate, drip shield and pot cover so I could see as much of the workings as available.  I fired it up and watched for about 10 minutes.  The auger dumped the pellets into the pot and they ignited.  I continued to watch the actions of the auger and it was pushing pellets into the pot in a slow continuous stream.  I was also watching the temperature gauge.  It was 250, then 400, then 325.........  At the 10 minute mark, everything stopped and the display read fault.  I unplugged it and put it away. 

 

Since it's well out of warranty, (I purchased it in St Louis at least 8 years ago), I'm going to order the control unit from Amazon.  I will clean out the auger channel while I have it apart, just to be sure.  If that doesn't cure the problem, there are a couple of retired electrical engineers living in the neighborhood whom would love a project like this to work on.  I will replace it with something else.

 

Thanks a lot for the info.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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Pit Boss and Traeger , well pit boss is ran by one of the Traeger brothers  . 
 I like the pit boss but heavier , no issues other than a fire pit after 5 years which is the longest I have owned a grill so that’s my vote , when I replace it I will go with one again

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My son just bought a RecTec pellet drill and it is great.  Couple of weeks ago he did his first overnight cook.   10 lbs of pork shoulder for 15 hrs.   Absoulutely perfect.   Not real common in some areas but have a loyal following.   I have a Pit Boss pellet smoker and its been good.     GW

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Don't bother with the lower price stuff made overseas. Get a Yoder.  They are absolutely worth it.  Made in Kansas too.  Their customer support is top notch (similar to Dillon for the one issue I had).  https://www.yodersmokers.com/

 

When our oven died, we used this instead.  Cooked everything from the "normal" smoked items to bread, cookies, quiche, lasagne, kabobs, steaks, salmon, etc.  It's really an amazing tool.  Not cheap, but well worth it.

 

I think we've had ours for 5 years now.  The igniter died once, they replaced it, priority mail, no charge, with a short phone call.  No questions, no difficulty.  Very easy to change.

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Another one to look at would be a Green Mountain. I have the smallest one in the camper...it actually runs on 12 volt. Comes with a converter box or you could plug it into a cigarette lighter. 

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I have a Pit Boss that turns out really good BBQ meat.  I use it A LOT and it is consistent and dependable as long as you keep the ash pot cleaned out.  Its also notably cheaper than a comparable Traeger and the company claims that they are manufactured in the USA.

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