Grinding Noises

SillyRabbit

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I started hearing grinding \ binding noises in the auger. This started when trying Bear Mountain pellets. They are the same size as most in diameter, but the pieces are small. Maybe it was just shipping damage, but the majority of the pellets are 1/4-3/8" long. I am guessing this is what is causing the noise. I sent a sound clip to Weber and they agreed that the sound was not right. They decided to send me a new motor. I already have the welded auger. I haven't had any issues with flame out, so I'm doubtful the motor is the issue???? I replaced the motor today. To test it, I put some more of the bear mountain pellets in the hopper and it makes the same sound. I'm going to burn up the rest of what is in the hopper and switch back to lumberjack and do a butt this weekend and see how it sounds over a longer cook.

Anyone else heard this before? It's not metallic, its sounds like something getting wound tight and about to snap. Sometime it even pops. I think that is the pellet splitting\shattering??? My guess is the smaller size is overloading the auger.

Anyone else try bear mountain? Are they typically this small? Not as small as calling them nuggets, but they are not much longer than they are round.
 

Bruno

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I’ve only used and will only use Weber pellets, it’s what the SmokeFire was designed for and I want to eliminate any issues before they start.
That being said I wouldn’t mind if Weber sent me a new motor, from what I have heard it may be bigger than the original. Please keep us updated.
 
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AHoneyman

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I have been hearing noises lately. They come and go. And I have never used Bear Mountain pellets. I have used others. I have replaced all of the parts except the motor.
 

Dassman5

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Not familiar with any of the brands mentioned in this post, since I stick with Weber pellets, not only since their SmokeFire is designed for those pellets, but because, like with some off-brand briquettes, some pellet manufactures introduce clay fillers and other impurities in them to keep costs down

Occasionally I have heard what I describe as a “crunch sound” for a second or two, but attributed that the breaking/shearing of a pellet as it get caught up in the auger feed. I am familiar with that sound from our pellet stove days, so dismissed the concern.

After a month of smoking, I removed the motor and auger assembly to take a look at how it was doing. Found only small amounts of wood “dust” at the base of the auger after taking it apart; something that was reassuring since I was concerned that the shut-down sequence which reverses the auger had the potential to create a bind-point
 

JpsBBQ

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Yeah, I believe you probably have a build up of pellet dust at the start of the auger. I would empty the pellets via the dump
Mechanism and vacuum out all the dust and dump the pellets back in the hopper and carry on. Try to avoid dumping dust in the hopper. I would rather throw a small amount of good pellets away rather than dumping the dust from the bag in the hopper. Same goes for lump charcoal dust and my Big Green Egg. The dust just clogs up the works and affects the performance eventually. The grinding and build up of dust will likely lead to performance issues if left unattended.
Good Luck.
 
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SillyRabbit

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Yeah, I believe you probably have a build up of pellet dust at the start of the auger. I would empty the pellets via the dump
Mechanism and vacuum out all the dust and dump the pellets back in the hopper and carry on. Try to avoid dumping dust in the hopper. I would rather throw a small amount of good pellets away rather than dumping the dust from the bag in the hopper. Same goes for lump charcoal dust and my Big Green Egg. The dust just clogs up the works and affects the performance eventually. The grinding and build up of dust will likely lead to performance issues if left unattended.
Good Luck.
I add my pellets with a plastic pint cup by hand to avoid dust. After I changed the motor, I added 4-5 cups of pellets and it made the noise. I burnt that up and used lumberjack pellets today to grill some burgers for lunch. No noise.
 

JpsBBQ

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I add my pellets with a plastic pint cup by hand to avoid dust. After I changed the motor, I added 4-5 cups of pellets and it made the noise. I burnt that up and used lumberjack pellets today to grill some burgers for lunch. No noise.
I think the dust is not only present due to dust in the bag, but also it is produced by the auger to some degree. Sounds like you have a good routine to keep the vast majority of dust out of your system.
 
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SillyRabbit

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Here is video showing the pellet size and you can hear the noise I am referring to.

 

JpsBBQ

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Yeah, I’ve had this exact issue and mine was a build up of dust at the start of the auger. I believe it forces the auger out of alignment and it rubs on the tube surrounding the auger. When I cleared the dust, it went away. Sounds Like whatever you did solved the issue.
 

Michael

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I started hearing grinding \ binding noises in the auger. This started when trying Bear Mountain pellets. They are the same size as most in diameter, but the pieces are small. Maybe it was just shipping damage, but the majority of the pellets are 1/4-3/8" long. I am guessing this is what is causing the noise. I sent a sound clip to Weber and they agreed that the sound was not right. They decided to send me a new motor. I already have the welded auger. I haven't had any issues with flame out, so I'm doubtful the motor is the issue???? I replaced the motor today. To test it, I put some more of the bear mountain pellets in the hopper and it makes the same sound. I'm going to burn up the rest of what is in the hopper and switch back to lumberjack and do a butt this weekend and see how it sounds over a longer cook.

Anyone else heard this before? It's not metallic, its sounds like something getting wound tight and about to snap. Sometime it even pops. I think that is the pellet splitting\shattering??? My guess is the smaller size is overloading the auger.

Anyone else try bear mountain? Are they typically this small? Not as small as calling them nuggets, but they are not much longer than they are round.
So far I've used Pit Boss, Weber and Bear Mountain pellets in my Smokefire and haven't had any issues with any of them. I've noticed that I do achieve a better smoke ring and flavor with the Weber and Bear Mountain pellets. Luckily, I haven't noticed any issues with any of them creating a logjam in the hopper or causing any issues as described.
 

Differentdrummer

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I’ve only used and will only use Weber pellets, it’s what the SmokeFire was designed for and I want to eliminate any issues before they start.
That being said I wouldn’t mind if Weber sent me a new motor, from what I have heard it may be bigger than the original. Please keep us updated.
Different mfgr. on the mew motor but not likely to offer anything extra Performance wise as the amp draw has to be the same or less than the motor it replaces...
 

Dassman5

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Different mfgr. on the mew motor but not likely to offer anything extra Performance wise as the amp draw has to be the same or less than the motor it replaces...
I am new to the Weber SmokeFire and their system. However, from long-experience with gear-motors and PID systems in industrial control systems, the issue is not so much the amp-draw, as is the gearing of the motor/ gear case unit and whether or not both the control board (PID logic) can handle it.
 

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