Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby slamkeys » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:49 am

Since the Kingman keeps coming up in this discussion I've calculated the vent area for it too.

vent-area-kingman.gif
vent-area-kingman.gif (8.13 KiB) Viewed 704 times


Feldon's BBQ Pit Builder calculator results: 24" round firebox 24" long requires an air inlet area of 32.57 square inches. Since the Kingman's factory vent area is larger than the required size, it most likely works despite some flow-reversal from the top hole.

Here's another comparison of the intake vents:
kingman-wichita-vent-compare.gif
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby slamkeys » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:33 pm

There seems to be a direct correlation between the low point of the heat management plate and the heat build-up in the firebox. I think the original Yoder Wichita probably didn't have a heat management plate, and customers had less flow issues. We can certainly remove the plate, but I paid for it and I want to use it.

I did an analysis using a 6' level to see where the heat build-up would occur at the fire door. The test requires that the pit be perfectly level, because the unit is built with a downward slope towards the grease drain. When the pit is level, the lower shelf is level.

Here's the lower shelf, which is perfectly level:
pit-perfectly-level.jpg


The test involves placing a 6' level under the heat management plate, and then leveling it to see where it intersects with the fire door. This should approximate where the heat build-up occurs. I did a quick mock-up using this Yoder side view, but I didn't want to rely on this rendering because I wasn't sure how accurate it is, so I tested this on my actual smoker.
6-foot-level-side-view.gif


From this angle, you can see that I have the level wedged directly under the heat management plate, and held level using some props.
6-foot-level-end-view.jpg


The level is dead center:
6-foot-level-perfect-bubble.jpg


... and here is where it aligns with the fire door:
6-foot-level-below-vent-opening.jpg


Notice the smoke build-up line on the inside of the fire door. This completely agrees with this test, and demonstrates that the heat build-up is directly relational to the lowest entry point into the cooker. According to this test, at least half of the upper vent opening will always flow outward, which ruins any design calculations that were used to determine the size of the vent cut-outs.
heat-line-inside-fire-door.jpg
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby Russ » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:06 pm

Slam keys , you are 1 devoted dude. Respect man. :D

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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby slamkeys » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:20 pm

Russ wrote:Slam keys , you are 1 devoted dude. Respect man. :D

Russ

My devotion intensified when Yoder_Herb over at the Yoder Community forum responded to my complaints with this little nugget:
Yoder_Herb wrote: With all due respect, the cooker was designed to cook in a specific manner, and it does an excellent job. Nothing about the cooker has changed in years, which is a testament to the design.


That kind of condescension did not win any points with me. It's more of the "learn your cooker" nonsense that tries to place the blame on the cook instead of the cooker. There's obviously a problem here, and I'm hoping to get it corrected for future customers. I spent a lot of money hoping to get the best smoker available, and I did not expect to find that it has inherent design issues. These companies should realize that some of their customers are actually engineers capable of analyzing the science behind these things. People who spend this kind of money on a smoker are definitely serious about BBQ. In my mind, I bought a Ferrari, so I want it to perform like one.

Also, I didn't expect to have so many quality issues either. Last week I discovered yet another bad weld that is causing paint break-out and rust on my counter-weight arm. Inexcusable.

The guy who welded my cooker had issues getting his bead to flow into both surfaces he was welding. Here the bead is securely welded on the arm, but it never melted into the lid, hence the weak spot and cracking/rust. The last weld issue I presented to Yoder was deemed "within tolerance" and never fixed, so I won't even bother them with this one, because their response will mostly likely be that the arm is not falling off, so it's fine.
counter-weight-cracked-weld2.jpg
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby Russ » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:12 pm

As An ex welder I find that weld good to start with but maybe too much heat near the end.

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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby slamkeys » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:13 pm

Russ wrote:As An ex welder I find that weld good to start with but maybe too much heat near the end.

Most of the welds on this unit are beautiful, but it looks like the welder was having a drift issue where he terminated his welds. The two areas where I had leaks, as well as the counter-weight weld crack, show the same tendency to drift upward at the end of the weld.

In this one he completely missed the joint and drifted up enough (blue weld) to create a hole in it, which is dripping grease in this photo (first cook!):
smoke-stack-weld-leak.jpg


The weld drift on the underbelly of my firebox (blue weld) isn't quite as pronounced, but you can see that he had good penetration on the upper piece, but barely touched the bottom piece resulting in another grease leak. The red weld on the right looks perfect:
firebox-weld-leak.jpg
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby Russ » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:28 pm

Shocking welding. Should be a nice even fillet, slag should just peel off.

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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby K2Techie » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:34 pm

Very interesting thread! I'm picking up a Yoder Wichita on Saturday and I think I just might have to make this mod. I'd be interested to see how successful others are with modifying the door before I take the plunge, though. I'm a software engineer, so working with my hands on anything other than a keyboard can be a challenge. I'd hate to screw up on such a big ticket item.
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby slamkeys » Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:00 pm

I noticed a new rust stain forming below one of the axles inside the wheel.
wheel-leg-rust-stain.jpg
wheel-leg-rust-stain.jpg (49.86 KiB) Viewed 614 times

Looking closer, the welder did a lousy job connecting the welds on the inside of the legs too. Both of them have a visible hole where water is penetrating and rusting, and one of them just looks very amateurish and lumpy. Time for more rust treatment and sealant. This is really getting annoying. It's hard to believe this thing was welded in a controlled environment by a professional welder. The one weld is so bad I can't believe it passed the quality control inspection. This is hardly the quality you would expect after watching Yoder's video of an old craftsman taking pride in the fabrication of his hand-made Wichita.
front-wheel-weld-rust.jpg
front-wheel-weld-rust.jpg (43.12 KiB) Viewed 614 times

rear-wheel-weld-rust.jpg
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby Papa Tom » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:43 pm

Very interesting thread, at first I thought here's just another griper but NO you are being very objective and your findings should be helpful for many other folks.

In following all the way through it seems odd to me that the original designer didn't subscribe to the laws of physics that the heated air (smoke) WILL follow the path of least resistance.
Keep up the good analysis and engineering.

BTW that Yoder Amish cafe is a favorite of ours and we try to hit it when heading up north.
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby JohnnyUtah » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:11 pm

Slamkey

I had spent countless hours researching a new high end smoker. I had decided on a Loaded Wichita and was awaiting the dealer to send me the quote so I could purchase the smoker. During that short wait period, I stumbled upon your posts and was amazed by what you found. The whole reason I was spending upwards of two grand for this pit was the fact Yoder had a great reputation and several issues related to COS are not factors with the high end, 1/4" pits. Your research and the subsequent testimonials from other owners experiencing the same issue with the fire box and heat management caused me to reevaluate the Wichita and eventually turned me away from it all together. I ended up paying a little more and ordering a 24x36 offset from Lone Star Grillz and can't wait to get it. Thanks for your thorough and clear evaluation of the Wichita. Your ingenuity is impressive. Hopefully Yoder will correct the issue in the near future.
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby Dirty Dawg » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:42 pm

I hate seeing that my post has been turned into a beat-down of Yoder with potential customers being turned away from a product I've been extremely pleased with. As I mentioned previously, my welds look beautiful, I have no problems with the vent/draft once the cooker has warmed up and the meats I've produced are second to none. In fact, I've enjoyed this little hobby so much that I just put $6K into a trailer mounted cooker and hope to find a little success in competition and catering.

As for cost, yes Yoder is a bit more expensive than some others but under what I consider "Ferrari" level of a Jambo or similar custom built cooker. I sincerely believe you get what you pay for with Yoder. You are welcome to disagree, vociferously if you must, but that does not make you right.

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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby txsmkmstr » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:16 am

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Good points DD.... I'm glad to hear your cooker is working for you. Looking back I can see where this should have been split into two separate threads. Both sides can be fairly represented here. Hope you'll stick around and share some pictures of your new rig. Best of luck to you in your comps and catering gigs. :salut:
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby slamkeys » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:55 pm

Did anyone else buy the propane log lighter from Yoder? I ended up getting one since the mounting hole was already on the firebox, but I haven't really had much of a need for it. It does come in handy when I run out of charcoal though.

The reason I bring it up is because the regulator they give you is really cheap and doesn't work well at all. When I use it I can never tell where the knob needs to be and I have had some close calls where I tried to light the gas and it surged, causing a massive flare up. Then, even after you get it lit the flames go up and down over time like the regulator just isn't capable of holding a steady pressure.

Mine looks exactly like this one shown by T-Roy Cooks in his fire management video:
Image


I was reminded of this cheap regulator the other day when I was watching a T-Roy Q&A video, and he mentioned it while talking about his Loaded Wichita:

T-Roy Cooks (Yoder propane log lighter):

"I have the log lighter ... but I need to change the valve on that thing, because just barely cracking it - it's almost like I've got to stick a fire starter (that's lit) on the burner and then turn the gas on when I'm not close to it, because if I try to start it with a lighter where my hand is in there I'm liable to get the hair singed off me. When it lights it's like [a large flare up] - it's going all out just barely cracked on that valve, so if you'all get one be careful with it."

I agree - that's exactly my experience. I'm going to see if there's a good propane regulator available in the area so I can swap that piece of junk out. I'm amazed nobody has been injured yet (at least that I know of).
Last edited by slamkeys on Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Just Bought A Yoder Loaded Wichita

Postby Dirty Dawg » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:02 pm

I have the gas starter, no complaints, surprise. If you're having difficulty, I suggest you light a paper towel, place it near the log lighter, and slowly open the valve. Problem solved.

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