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Need Advice on My New Traeger

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:10 am
by rms827
New member of the forums here. :)

I've tkane a look at a few of the other posts, and I'm glad people are having better luck with their Traegers than I have had. We got our Traeger Pro 34 on the 11th of this month. It cooks wonderfully, except that it insists on adding paint flavoring to our food. It's burnt off the paint around the fire box on the auger housing.


Traeger sent out a replacement part, BUT after UPS destroyed that assembly, I talked to the area dealer rep for Traeger. He says it's perfectly normal for them to burn, bubble and flake paint. He also says it's normal for the auger housing, heat baffle and drip tray to warp from heat and rust. Incredulous, I checked Google. That lead me to their own website and it's FAQ page. Traeger outright confirms everything that the dealer rep was saying:

Is it normal for my drip tray or heat baffle to warp?
It is normal for the heat baffle to warp, but not the drip tray.

Is it normal for my grease pan or heat baffle to rust?
Yes, due to the nature of the mild steel used to manufacture these items you may see surface rust on the heat baffle and drain pan.

Why is my paint peeling?
Bubbling or peeling paint is caused when the grill reaches temperatures over 600°F.

Needless to say, after dropping $1000 on this thing, I'm feeling ripped off. Even Rustoleum's grill paint will hold up to 1200 degrees and VHT makes a paint that will hold up to 2000 degrees (for racing car exhausts). It'd be different if this was a 5 or 10 year old grill. heck, my parents' 10 year old Weber gas grill never had paint issues ever and it was only $400

OK, so rant aside, how hard should I fight to return this thing and get a different brand? I mean if I buy a Rec Tec (for example), am I going to have similar paint issues also?

Re: Need Advice on My New Traeger

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:20 am
by RonH
that looks like a fan issue
is the pellet hopper lid closed good to keep air flowing in the right direction
is your fan in good shape blades not melted or anything
not a lot of ash in the bottom of the pot

Re: Need Advice on My New Traeger

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:07 am
by rms827
Fan is in great shape actually. I've kept an eye on it. The door has stayed closed too.

There's no ash because I vacuumed it out to show the damage more clearly. Traeger sadly says all of this is normal. :dont:

Re: Need Advice on My New Traeger

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:50 am
by bondobill
I got the RecTec 680 a year ago.
Have No paint peeling or warping issues. Grille has run flawlessly and I have run hundreads of pounds of pellets thru it.
I've only ran it at 450 degrees a couple of times tho. I use it for long slow smokes at temps below 275.
The heat deflector and drip pan are fairly heavy gauge rust or warping so far.
My only complaint on the RecTec are the puny wheels. Dragging the grille across the lawn was painful. I replaced the back wheels with bigger ones and am going to replace the front wheels shortly.


Re: Need Advice on My New Traeger

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:23 pm
by rms827
Thanks for the replies Ron & Bill.

If we can't get Traeger & Emigh's Outdoor Living here in Sacramento to take responsibility for this thing, we'll probably just pull the auger housing off, take it to a specialty shop and have it hot tanked and re-painted with 2000 degree automotive racing exhaust paint. If we can get rid of it though (and it looks like the credit card company is going to side with us in the dispute we filed), then we'll probably replace it with the Rec Tec 680 or bite the bullet and get a Yoder YS640.

Funny Bill mentioned the wheels. That was one of the things that made me go with the Traeger. The new Pro Series Traegers have big solid wheels and thick sawhorse legs. It looked like a more solid grill (yeah right). I also liked that the Traeger grill rack is porcelain coated, which makes for really easy clean up. Good thing too since it's a giant one piece grill rack.

Doing more research, I like alot of what I see with the Rec Tec, BUT about 15% of the reviews on Amazon say the Rec Tecs burn out the igniter rod yearly or have problems with the convection fan. After getting burned so badly by Traeger I'm a little leery of the made in China aspect also. 6 year warranty though... That's hard to beat.

Then there's the Yoder... $600 more. It's a heavy son of a gun too, but the body comes with a 10 year warranty and it's American made. Being able to direct cook and sear is a nice bonus too, BUT looking at it, I imagine cleaning up after a direct cooking session is more of a mess than just peeling off the foil from the drip tray on a Traeger or Rec Tec. I'm getting lazy in my old age and like easy clean up, lol. Yoder accessories are a good bit more also. My biggest concern is that the Yoders seem to burn pellets about twice as fast as most other pellet smokers. That adds up over time.

I know alot of people here and on other sites seem happy with other brands that are in the same or better price range as the Traeger & Rec Tec... Green Mountain, Camp Chef, etc... We want something that's built to really last with a good warranty that won't break the bank like a Memphis Grill though.

Re: Need Advice on My New Traeger

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:59 pm
by Papa Tom
My first Traeger (075) was purchased 19 years ago, still works but lacks some important features like a grease drain and digital controller.

My second Traeger (075) was purchased about 10 years ago and works fine at my sons house.

Bought a Fast Eddy PG500 (S/N 16) about 5 years ago had some early controller issues but it works well.

Bought a Pit Boss 820 about 4 years ago and have had no problems what so ever.

Yeah there' been a few fan & hot rod failures and a controller went nuts on the Traegers but all in all they have been good.

I believe what you are experiencing are new equipment issues that if left to die they will.

Yes I've had heat deflectors and grease drain pans warp but have replaced none the equipment still works.

I did make one mod to the Traegers and Pit Boss that is probably pictured somewhere on this forum that I recommend.
I purchased cast iron griddles (when on sale in the fall) and screwed one each to the top of the flame deflector to help eliminate the center hot spot over the fire box. The mod also adds mass that holds heat and stabilizes the temps a bit.

Re: Need Advice on My New Traeger

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:38 pm
by bondobill
My RecTec has been going on its originial igniter for better then a year now.
Also I have a spare igniter RecTec sent with my originial purchase which I ain't had to use yet.
As far as them being built in China....I think the controller is the only part built there according to their website ..although I maybe wrong :dont:
My grille is a powder coated finish. Also fire box is non painted stainless steel.

Ain't trying to talk you into buying a RecTec....just giving you my experience with my smoker :cheers:


Re: Need Advice on My New Traeger

Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:09 pm
by RogerWilco
We have a Yoder YS640 and have experienced no problems in the almost 18 months of use. It lives outside, under a cover. We have never tried direct-grilling on this unit, but it does seem that fats dripping down into and around the fire pot would be a bit of a chore to clean. It came with the Grill Grates and we have used them once, for an indirect-grilling setup. It worked, but we can't find a reason to try it again, as there is a ceramic cooker right next to the Yoder and it never suffers from a difficult cleaning regimen.
The Yoder generally is not heated to more than 375°F, so I don't know if higher temperatures would warp the deflector plate, but it seems up to the job.
As a pellet-pooping smoker, the Yoder has been everything we had hoped for: we'd get another in a heartbeat.