Traeger help

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Smarris
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Traeger help

Postby Smarris » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:55 am

Good morning, this is my first post.

In May I purchased a Traeger Lonestar Elite from QVC. Previously, I had used charcoal and wood to smoke my meats. I really liked the pellet grills and how Traeger markets their grills where you can "set it and forget it." Also, I wanted something that I could feel comfortable with my wife and son operating, as well. The food was coming out great for about a week, then one day I put a couple of pizzas on and the grill caught fire. It got so hot that not only did the paint peel on the grill, but my patio overhang (which was 6 feet over the grill) buckled. When I cleaned out the grill there were the remains of an overly excessive amount of pellets. When I spoke to Traeger, they told me that the auger continued to feed pellets and instead of smothering the fire, they all ignited. To Traeger's credit, they sent me out replacement parts for everything, but the legs.

So now I had a practically new grill, however the excessive pellet feed persisted. Instead of catching fire, I would get an "LEr" error and the fire would die, due to it smothering. This would only happen when I would cook on the lower temps: smoke - 250, and sometimes the grill would run 4-5 hours then LEr.

Traeger then sent me out an Lil Tex Elite and the very first time I tried smoking a brisket the same thing happened: 4-6 hours in flame out, too many pellets. Traeger then said it was a faulty RTD probe, so they sent me a new one last week. Right out of the bag, I installed the new probe and put a brisket on the grill at 225. 4-6 hours later, flame out. I clean out the extra pellets, start the grill over again, 4-6 hours later, another flame out. It happened again during the same cook.

What I've noticed is the the temps never will settle at 225 or even +/- 10 degrees. It will drop to sometimes 160 then jump to over 300, and just keeps repeating that. It is important to note that I follow the proper startup procedures provided by Traeger and my pellets are stored properly. I live in South Louisiana, so the outdoor temps have not been below 65 when I've tried to cook.

I'm not sure what else to do here and Traeger seems to be of no further help, so any advice I can get here would be greatly appreciated.
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Papa Tom
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Re: Traeger help

Postby Papa Tom » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:33 pm

Sounds like Traeger support has been good if not effective and sounds like you have been patient.
In my 18 years living with a model T I have seen a lot of issues but not one exactly like this however the company makes changes to parts so as to introduce a whole new bag of challenges.

First lets talk about the "P" setting this is used to keep the fire burning in spite of other variables. It is the time adjustable time between auger feed cycles.

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=ht ... QQ9QEIHzAA

Check your unit to make sure the auger timing matches the P setting. Note the auger will run continuously for the first 4 minutes to start the fire.
Make sure your firebox is completely clean debris in the bottom sometimes makes one think it is clean.
Check your pellets long pellets (2" or more) can cause flameout problems 1/2" to 3/4" is about the ideal length. This isn't a common problem but I have experienced it. Long pellets also cause temperature swing issues.
Combustion air flow can cause troubles but I suspect this is not your issue. What happens is if the fan goes slow or there is some air obstruction it typically works ok at low temps but overflows the firebox at higher levels because there is not enough air flow to support the fire.
Make sure the coupling between the auger motor and the auger is secure and there is no drag on the auger.

I'll keep thinking. Good luck.
tarde venientibus ossa....
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Re: Traeger help

Postby Smarris » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:45 pm

Papa Tom wrote:Sounds like Traeger support has been good if not effective and sounds like you have been patient.
In my 18 years living with a model T I have seen a lot of issues but not one exactly like this however the company makes changes to parts so as to introduce a whole new bag of challenges.

First lets talk about the "P" setting this is used to keep the fire burning in spite of other variables. It is the time adjustable time between auger feed cycles.

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=ht ... QQ9QEIHzAA

Check your unit to make sure the auger timing matches the P setting. Note the auger will run continuously for the first 4 minutes to start the fire.
Make sure your firebox is completely clean debris in the bottom sometimes makes one think it is clean.
Check your pellets long pellets (2" or more) can cause flameout problems 1/2" to 3/4" is about the ideal length. This isn't a common problem but I have experienced it. Long pellets also cause temperature swing issues.
Combustion air flow can cause troubles but I suspect this is not your issue. What happens is if the fan goes slow or there is some air obstruction it typically works ok at low temps but overflows the firebox at higher levels because there is not enough air flow to support the fire.
Make sure the coupling between the auger motor and the auger is secure and there is no drag on the auger.

I'll keep thinking. Good luck.


Papa Tom, thank you for the reply.


The temperature outside is 60 degrees. That's the coldest it's been all year, and i've had these issues when it has been over 90. Unfortunately, the controller that was sent out with the Lil Tex, I am not able to change the P setting. The chimney cannot be opened anymore or it will fall off. I've had these issues with every pellet that I have used, and I've only used Traeger pellets. As I said in the original post, this happened with the temp probe straight out of the bag.

I have spent the last hour on the phone with Traeger, and the tech that i spoke with had me turn the grill on lid open, and when the temps started to drop close the lid. Over the next 45 minutes it climbed to 380+ multiple times, and would drop never lower than 225. After 45 we changed the temp to 225, which it never reached. It held around 212 for a few minutes then he finally told me to shut it off around 163 degrees.

From my most recent conversation with Traeger they are recommending a new controller where the P setting can be changed, even though the tech himself said that the Lil Tex does not typically need the P setting to be adjusted, and that's why a controller was sent out where it cannot be changed. So a new controller should be on the way, and we shall see if this works.
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Papa Tom
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Re: Traeger help

Postby Papa Tom » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:12 pm

Good, controller would be suspect.
When i talk of airflow problems I'm talking of the incoming airflow before it gets to the firebox, once again I do not suspect this is your issue.

You never said but how does the thing work on the "Smoke" setting where the temperature probe has no effect on the pellet feed?

Traeger pellets are no better or worse than other quality pellets. I have had trouble with Traeger pellets but pellet problems while they can occur are not common.
tarde venientibus ossa....
Smarris
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Re: Traeger help

Postby Smarris » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:32 pm

I have spent the last hour on the phone with Traeger, and the tech that i spoke with had me turn the grill on lid open, and when the temps started to drop close the lid. Over the next 45 minutes it climbed to 380+ multiple times, and would drop never lower than 225. After 45 we changed the temp to 225, which it never reached. It held around 212 for a few minutes then he finally told me to shut it off around 163 degrees.


I did not mention it in my previous post, but this was on the smoke setting. After 45 minutes, I upped the temp to 225. So on smoke most of the time it gets over 210.
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Re: Traeger help

Postby Papa Tom » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:52 pm

Smarris wrote:I have spent the last hour on the phone with Traeger, and the tech that i spoke with had me turn the grill on lid open, and when the temps started to drop close the lid. Over the next 45 minutes it climbed to 380+ multiple times, and would drop never lower than 225. After 45 we changed the temp to 225, which it never reached. It held around 212 for a few minutes then he finally told me to shut it off around 163 degrees.


I did not mention it in my previous post, but this was on the smoke setting. After 45 minutes, I upped the temp to 225. So on smoke most of the time it gets over 210.



:shock:
OK it is my professional opinion that something is FUBAR in the controller.
The reason he had you hold the lid open was to get past the initial 4 minute continuous feed then the temp should have floated somewhere between 180°F and 200°F. The temp probe is not utilized in Smoke setting only a constant timer for auger feed.
Let me know what the new controller does.

If it continues to be erratic I would try running it off of a car battery and inverter. It is possible that some trashy incoming AC power could cause the controller to reset to startup with the 4 minute auger cycle.
tarde venientibus ossa....
Smarris
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Re: Traeger help

Postby Smarris » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:06 pm

Thank you again. I will keep you posted. I am supposed to be getting a new controller sent out, so maybe that will resolve things.
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PointHunter
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Re: Traeger help

Postby PointHunter » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:44 pm

Not really needing any help, and this question may have already been asked and answered, but I can't find it on here. I was thinking about taking the legs off my Texas and mounting it to a cement counter top with holes built into it. Pros/Cons?
yoyomala
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Re: Traeger help

Postby yoyomala » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:44 am

I have been dealing with the same issue for over 3 years and traeger has replaced the controller 3 times and the remaining parts once. I've concluded that the traeger is an absolute pile of garbage as it can't hold a temp for longer than 4-6 hours, with any of the replacement parts. They have sent the fancy "professional" controller and it is still the same garbage as the rest of them by crapping out after 4-6 hours. The customer support has provided such BS answers such as:

1. You need to stir your pellets every hour as they are getting stuck. (no, stuck pellets are not overflowing the firepot and putting the fire out)
2. You need to oil the inside of the hopper so the pellets don't get stuck (WTF!)
3. The traeger is not a set it and forget it machine (so your advertising is false?!?)
4. The controller runs on an algorithm to feed the pellets and you need to trust it. (Ummmm)
5. Don't use the 180 setting unless you are in a winter zone. It doesn't work in warm climates. (Then why have it, or why isn't that in the manual?)
6. Don't use the 225 setting as it is the tricky one and can't hold a temperature. (Then why have it??)
7. My personal favorite, the pellets are old. Pellets have a life span of 6 months and you need to get fresh pellets. If this is the case, put freaking expiration dates on the pellets.

Friends have other pellet grills, love them, and don't have the same BS problems like we have. Traeger doesn't stand by their products by replacing them, they just send faulty replacement parts that don't work. If you have the chance, return it. It will save you hours of headaches!
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Re: Traeger help

Postby OldUsedParts » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:54 am

obviously NOT a Satisfied Customer but also consider this could be an isolated situation - - - most folks that I've talked to really like their Trags - - - - also, if I may and with all due respect, sometimes we (especially ME) get to overthinking things - - - I know from experience that "I" can be my own worst enemy at times :banghead:
OUP

" Country by choice, Texan by the Grace of God "
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Papa Tom
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Re: Traeger help

Postby Papa Tom » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:59 am

First yoyomala Welcome to the forum.
I can understand your frustration and I agree that at least most of the excuses they gave, you listed are BS however there is a reason for your troubles.
I have had pellet pits for nearly 20 years 2 of which are Traegers and frankly I too had trouble with their support even when it was family owned. They no doubt staff their help desk with folks that can identify only the most common maladies and offer a remedy for them.
I just happen to have an extensive electro-mechanical background so am able to resolve most issues myself. if you were close I'd offer help but you are a bit distant.
My advice is to log all that has been done and any changes that occurred due to the action.
Then slowly and methodically eliminate possible causes.
1) Is the flame out caused by too much fuel or too little?
2) Is the flame out the result of poor air flow?
3) Is there possibly some thing causing a intermittent electrical outage?
4) Pellets can cause problems but I'm assuming that during your 3 years you have used different pellets.
5) Is the "P" setting at the proper point?
6) Is the pit capable of reaching high temps (like 400°F)

I would probably check out some mechanical possibilities as well:
1) Uncouple the auger and check for binds (1 screw).
2) Pull up the firebox and check for anything obstructing air flow. (4 screws)
3) Check wiring to make sure there are no interference issues (since you have changed out controllers I'm betting you have already done this)
4) Closely examine the bottom of the firebox to make sure there is nothing there. ( this may seem remote but it has bitten me more than once "klinkers" form in the ash and are not easily vacuumed or even seen)
tarde venientibus ossa....
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02ebz06
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Re: Traeger help

Postby 02ebz06 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:22 pm

Papa Tom wrote:if you were close I'd offer help but you are a bit distant.


You could get one of the vettes out of mothballs and take a road trip. :laughing7:
Memphis Elite built-in pellet grill, Wood Fired Pizza Oven, CampChef Griddle
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spacetrucker
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Re: Traeger help

Postby spacetrucker » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:39 pm

if he ever comes back ask him to check his temperature probe over the 6 to 8 hour period it seems to go astray... :scratch:
Good Cue to ya..

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