First Traeger...is it working right?

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PNGento
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First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby PNGento » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:44 pm

I bought the Traeger Junior Elite 20 Pellet grill. Never had or used a pellet grill before, so not sure if mine is or isn't operating correctly. Traeger's video indicates you set the temperature...and walk away and you can be confident your meat will cook properly. Their startup instructions say to turn the dial to "smoke" with the grill door opened and wait till you see evidence of white smoke. At that point, you are supposed to close the door, set your temperature and voila. I did the initial 45 minute burn off/break-in at highest setting and that seemed to go well.

However, following the procedure above, when I set my temp at 225, the temperature initially went up to around 365...and then it took it close to 45 minutes until it dropped back toward the set temp of 225. It got down to around 233, then again started rising up toward 300...at that point, I shut it down. I have now tried it a couple of additional times, and get about the same response. I did call Traeger and they didn't offer anything specific toward a solution other than to suggest I fully empty the hopper, put a mark on the auger and then time how long for it to do a full revolution (they had said it should be about 36 seconds and mine is right at that speed). So, am I doing something wrong, or is it supposed to shoot up initially well above the set temp and then you moderate the temperature down by opening up the lid, or something else?

Traeger had promised me a return call after an hour, but 4 hours later, I'm still waiting. Guess I will try them again, but was hoping to have someone offer some advice to give me a place from which to argue with them if they try to tell me all is operating correctly.
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OldUsedParts
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby OldUsedParts » Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:23 pm

I don't have a Trager but I do have a Pellet Pooper so let me ask when the temps go high are you experiencing a Fire in the burn pot?
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby G8trwood » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:37 pm

When you load the pellets in to start it up, you need enough to cover the igniter which is often more than is needed. Those pellets need to be burned up to stabilize. My traegor takes about 30 minutes. Different brands, different times .
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby Papa Tom » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:46 pm

At startup the auger runs continuously for 4 minutes this is probably enough time to overload the firebox but that is not a problem.
After the heavy white smoke clears you will hear the fire blazing let it run a few minutes then close the cover and set the temp to say 225°F within 15 minutes it should have stabilized somewhere close to 225°.
If not there is something amiss, controllers have changed and possibly there could be a "P" setting issue Traeger can help with that.
I have had a bad controller that would intermittently run to high temps but that was certainly a version previous to yours.
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby PNGento » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:09 pm

OldUsedParts wrote:I don't have a Trager but I do have a Pellet Pooper so let me ask when the temps go high are you experiencing a Fire in the burn pot?


Not sure...I can't see the burn pot during startup.
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby PNGento » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:11 pm

G8trwood wrote:When you load the pellets in to start it up, you need enough to cover the igniter which is often more than is needed. Those pellets need to be burned up to stabilize. My traegor takes about 30 minutes. Different brands, different times .


That certainly flies in the face of the promises by Traeger that you should be able to set the temp and walk away. I think I will remove the drip tray and heat shield so I can observe the fire box and see if that gives me more info.
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby PNGento » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:12 pm

Papa Tom wrote:At startup the auger runs continuously for 4 minutes this is probably enough time to overload the firebox but that is not a problem.
After the heavy white smoke clears you will hear the fire blazing let it run a few minutes then close the cover and set the temp to say 225°F within 15 minutes it should have stabilized somewhere close to 225°.
If not there is something amiss, controllers have changed and possibly there could be a "P" setting issue Traeger can help with that.
I have had a bad controller that would intermittently run to high temps but that was certainly a version previous to yours.


I will give this a try...makes sense.
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby spacetrucker » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:51 am

who makes the pellets you are using, different brands of pellets have different btu output? did Traeger ask about this? Papa Tom is pretty much dead on, on the controller comment, from my past experiences with mine.
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby PNGento » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:56 am

spacetrucker wrote:who makes the pellets you are using, different brands of pellets have different btu output? did Traeger ask about this? Papa Tom is pretty much dead on, on the controller comment, from my past experiences with mine.

I am using the Traeger premium blend of pellets.
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby rms827 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:14 pm

Traeger pellets aren't, or shouldn't be an issue. I used them when I first got my Traeger and they worked fine. :)

Now, (newer) Traeger grills, on the other hand, I have an exceedingly low opinion of. Here's *most* of the story of mine:

http://www.texasbbqforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=71&t=29247

Nothing but trouble out of the box. Papa Tom and a couple of the other folks here that have had good luck are fortunate enough to own older Traegers from when the company still lived up to it's reputation. For what it's worth, newer Traegers also no longer have a P Setting adjustment. There's plenty of info on YouTube about how to tweak said P Setting for an older grill, but they did away with the P Setting adjustment back in 2016.

My situation wasn't unique either, my parents had he exact same thing happen with theirs. In fact, Traeger's FAQ page acknowledges the paint burn issue (among other problems):

Image


On top of all that, Traeger shipped replacement parts via UPS, and they were destroyed during shipping. Here's a pic of the replacement Hopper and Feed Assembly box that was delivered to me:

Image

The hopper inside was all mangled, and the auger / feed assembly was bent too. Not only was Traeger unwilling to ship any other way than UPS even after this, they wouldn't even send a replacement box for the return. I just duct taped it all back together and shipped it back in what was left of the original box.


My advice: Make them honor their return policy, get rid of it and buy a different brand. I swear by my Rec Tec replacement, but there are plenty of other good manufacturers out there. Yoder, Memphis Grills (very pricey though), Green Mountain, or Fast Eddy's by Cookshack all rated high when I was doing research. Louisiana Grills got fair reviews too, but they felt kinda cheap (thin metal, etc) when I looked at them at the store.
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Re: First Traeger...is it working right?

Postby rms827 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:16 pm

Almost forgot... If you DO keep the Traeger, it's probably just a bad controller (for now). That was the first thing that went out on mine also.
Rec Tec 680
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Life's Too Short for Bad BBQ.

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