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Old 04-07-2014, 12:13 PM   #1
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Default Traeger, you have to be kidding me

Some of you will recall that last spring when I took out my traeger smoker that it died. The culprit turned out to be that I had left pellets in the auger and they swelled and jammed the auger taking the motor and possibly the circuit board with it. Okay, my bad.

So this past season I was very careful with my new $600+ traeger and at the end of the season, not only ran the auger dry but used the shop vac to both suck out dust and blow out dust. I covered the grill with the official traeger cover and stored it in the storage shed out of the elements.

Fast forward to today. I cleaned the whole thing yesterday and was happy. It was good to go and I planned on baby back ribs for dinner tonight. I'm drooling.

This morning, I plug in the traeger and turn it on to the lowest setting. I have no pellets in it as I want to make sure that the auger is working (see note on last year). Immediately trips the GFI. Reset, runs for a few, trips the GFI. Hmmm. Move it to a different circuit. Seems to work. Okay, that's fine for now. Reset GFI but leave traeger plugged in to the other circuit.

Runs on low for about 10 minutes just fine. However, when I turn the temp up, the auger does not increase speed as it normally should. hmmm, says me, this looks suspicious. The auger is turning but perhaps it is working too hard. I suspect some corrosion in the auger feed tube, which moves pellets to the ignition box. Nothing that I can really do except let it run and see if it will break loose whatever may be sticking. Still have an empty pellet box.

After about 10 minutes, the auger quits turning. It didn't trip the circuit, but it has all the signs of a blown auger motor (recall that I've been though this before). Call traeger and explain the situation. No chit, this is basically how the call went.

them: I understand your frustration, sir, but am I to understand that you did not store the unit in a heated location with low humidity. (they really meant some place where the temps don't get to freezing)

me: This is Oregon. I followed the instructions for storage to the letter, which didn't include heated and low humidity storage.

them: Well, sir, it sounds like you got some corrosion in the feed tube based on improper storage.

me: While the statement about corrosion may be correct, the statement about improper storage is not. These things are designed, and used to be built, 20 miles from my house. How can traeger build a product not designed to be used where it was built?

them: I do not have the answer to that question, sir. Since it is an improper storage issue, it is not covered by the warranty. You will have to contact your local traeger outlet and purchase another one.

me: <edited for family viewing>

The quality has been dropping for years and got really poor once they shipped to China. Although to be fair, the Chinese models don't seem to have the poor weld quality of the ones made in Pennsylvania.

I'm done. No more traegers for me. I can't afford to spend $600 on a product that lasts one year and fails because you followed their instructions. For those of you who bought on my recommendation, well, I'm sorry. I'm off to return the pellets I just bought and look at new systems.

sigh. pissed off. not happy.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

That's a *****. Sorry for that experience and I'd be royally pissed too. Try a Weber Smoky Mountain. More work, but cheaper and last forever.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

Sorry to hear about this Mark. It's too bad that there was no way to resolve this issue with them. It really does sound like it is their fault.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

Sorry to hear that they failed to make things right, Mark.
Sounds to me like more of a problem with Customer Support than the product itself. I would write a polite but blunt email to corporate. Maybe they will override what the CSR told you.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

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Sorry to hear that they failed to make things right, Mark.
Sounds to me like more of a problem with Customer Support than the product itself. I would write a polite but blunt email to corporate. Maybe they will override what the CSR told you.
A friend's brother works for Traeger and is one of the heads of customer support. I've asked her to have the brother call me. Basically, if normal storage conditions in Oregon are too tough on a traeger, then I don't want one. I am not moving a car out of the garage just to accommodate this thing. Best bet is that they send me a new motor which I get to replace and I remove the auger and basically resurface the interior of the feed tube at my own cost. I somehow doubt that they would be willing to send me a new auger/burn assembly. None of that will result in me being happy. Buying it back would make me happy, but that is unlikely.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

Damn, that sucks.

There's always MAK grills, also located up in Oregon IIRC, but, their pricing starts above where Traeger's stop.

A 22" WSM or a larger BGE with a BBQ Guru or Stoker controller can do some great stuff. Some of the BBQ Gurus (like the CyberQ) and all the Stokers even have web interfaces on them.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

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A friend's brother works for Traeger and is one of the heads of customer support. I've asked her to have the brother call me. Basically, if normal storage conditions in Oregon are too tough on a traeger, then I don't want one. I am not moving a car out of the garage just to accommodate this thing. Best bet is that they send me a new motor which I get to replace and I remove the auger and basically resurface the interior of the feed tube at my own cost. I somehow doubt that they would be willing to send me a new auger/burn assembly. None of that will result in me being happy. Buying it back would make me happy, but that is unlikely.
Can't say that I blame you.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

Sucks to hear that as I had a similar problem with my Traegar the first winter. I was able to get it unjammed before doing any serious damage to it. I now try minmize the number of pellets in the hopper when I'm done cooking. We had a pretty bad winter here in Maryland this past year and I continued to use the Traegar all winter. I'm a bit puzzled by the improper storage as it is designed to be used outside and the only blip about I can find about storage is this.

If the grill is stored outside during the rainy season, care should be taken to ensure that water does not get into the pellet hopper. Wood pellets, when wet, expand greatly and will jam your Auger. A Traegar Grill cover to protect the grill is highly recommended.

I can't find any warranty information on the Traegar site.
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

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Originally Posted by tsolomon View Post
Sucks to hear that as I had a similar problem with my Traegar the first winter. I was able to get it unjammed before doing any serious damage to it. I now try minmize the number of pellets in the hopper when I'm done cooking. We had a pretty bad winter here in Maryland this past year and I continued to use the Traegar all winter. I'm a bit puzzled by the improper storage as it is designed to be used outside and the only blip about I can find about storage is this.

If the grill is stored outside during the rainy season, care should be taken to ensure that water does not get into the pellet hopper. Wood pellets, when wet, expand greatly and will jam your Auger. A Traegar Grill cover to protect the grill is highly recommended.

I can't find any warranty information on the Traegar site.
It's a one year warranty for manufacturer defects. I was bit last year by the hopper with pellets and so bought a new one. This time, I don't buy improper storage with the traeger grill cover and storing it inside my storage shed were the interior never gets wet.
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

Sorry to hear this, Mark. Outdoor grills not meant to be used/stored outdoors? Wtf?

So...ribs in the oven?
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

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Sorry to hear this, Mark. Outdoor grills not meant to be used/stored outdoors? Wtf?

So...ribs in the oven?
You got it, Mark. I think I'll go back to real charcoal. I did that for over 20 years without an issue.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

I wouldn't be happy either, Mark, and they had better hope I wasn't within driving distance of their place.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

Sucks to hear, Mark.
I received some poor customer service from them last season and thought maybe I just had a bad rep helping me.
I guess this is more the norm now?
Hopefully you can get this made right.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

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You got it, Mark. I think I'll go back to real charcoal. I did that for over 20 years without an issue.
Sorry to hear about your luck. Given the money you've spent a cheap alternative like a UDS, or not so U, DS might be in order.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

I vote for getting a drum smoker. Not that you asked...
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:49 PM   #16
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

That is surely the most infuriating thing, when you buy a thing and it does not perform the way you thought it would.

Loyal ECB (el cheapo Brinkmann) aficionado since that one day when I almost burned my house down as a kid in Milwaukie. Come back to charcoal Mr. Mark!
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

That really sucks Mark. Never had that issue myself, but living down here in a warm, sunny climate likely has a great deal to do with that. I use my Traeger year round so that may have a bit to do with it as well.
I remember my BIL Mike had that issue once with a US built model that he keeps on his covered porch, but since he started emptying the hopper for your ten month rainy season he hasn't had any issues.
If your going back to charcoal take a look at the Big Green Egg. We love ours and it gets as much use as the Traeger does. We often find ourselves debating which unit to use as each of them have unique qualities. You can tell a serious BBQ day at my house when we get them both going at once!
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:48 PM   #18
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

Thanks for posting this markem. As I live just south of you, I can remove Traeger from my planned (and saved for) purchases this Spring.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:58 PM   #19
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

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Thanks for posting this markem. As I live just south of you, I can remove Traeger from my planned (and saved for) purchases this Spring.
If you can store it in a garage, or pack it with kitty littler, then it may be fine. When they work they are great. I may just have rotten luck.

Wish I could afford a big green egg, but that's not gonna happen

edit: I found that I can get the large big green egg local, assembled by the BGE rep, for $799. Basically the same price as a new traeger...

Last edited by markem; 04-07-2014 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: Traeger, you have to be kidding me

How about reporting it to the BBB? That ALWAYS catches a corporations eyes and mandates they take action within 30 days or their rating drops.
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