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Thread: My Old Gray Mare-- she needs some sprucing

  1. #1
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    My Old Gray Mare-- she needs some sprucing

    My poor WSM 18.5 from 2000 has been a faithful friend but she hasn't always received the TLC she needs and as a result she has issues. Now I want to go on record from the start and say I smoked my first brisket - just a little flat - this weekend and it was great. And while I have been encouraged by a couple of friends to spring loose and get a new smoker, I don't feel like you give up on an old friend. I've been following the rehab threads here for my gasser and this weekend shined that baby up nicely (Blue top Genesis Silver C circa 2000 that runs like a champ)and my Green Performer Touch n Go will be next on the list for its personal spa day.

    So Ole Smokey has a handful of issues. Her poor legs are bent (will order replacements) and she is out of round but still fits together. My biggest problem is due to the out of round condition, gaps in the door and a couple of rust spots, I can close up all the vents and I might get her under 200 degrees - let's not even discuss trying to extinguish.

    The very bottom base has a couple of "natural vent holes" in the bottom due to water collecting and rusting through. What can I use to close these holes? I don't weld (yet anyway...) is there a high temp silicone I can use that would be food safe?

    Any recommendations on trying to bring the middle chamber more into round? I'm loathe to get the nomex seals if I don't have to.

    Would it be worth it to buy the cajun bandit door. I can see light out one side of the door so I know that's my biggest venting issue.

    I'm pretty fond of what the kids these days call "hacks" and what I learned growing up as "jerryrigging" or "making do". I'm actually thinking of wrapping a fire blanket or water heater blanket around her to mitigate some of the body air leaks. Knowing that people have smoked for thousands of years using devices they fashioned themselves that were not airtight, I'm trying to work with her with most of her wrinkles and old age issues. I'm not the same I was 20 years ago either. I'm not looking for perfection - I am not trying to automate this smoker so I don't need it leak free. But it would be nice to work with her and have a little more control over the temps.

    For my brisket this weekend I used the water pan (also has a rust hole in it - we plopped a disposable aluminum pan in it and filled that with water - worked great) , closed all the bottom vents and the top one was 3/4 closed. I usually like the minion method but this time decided to try the snake because minion often ends up with too much coal igniting and I run hot and fast. She stayed in the 225-265 range on the snake and I have no problem using that adaptation.

    So I am looking for suggestions - safe way to plug the rust holes, Cajun bandit door, yea or nea, and are there any ways to try to somewhat "re-round" the body"?

    Thanks for the help!!

  2. #2
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    Hhhhmmmm....maybe some RTV would help seal the hole?
    Primo Oval XL

  3. #3
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Bob Correll's Avatar
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    For the out of round problem, maybe this will help:
    http://virtualweberbullet.com/partstrouble.html#middle
    Cooking a steak to well done is like killing the bovine twice.

  4. #4
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    If the holes in the charcoal bowl are smallish, you might try using J-B Weld 37901 Extreme Heat High Temperature Resistant Metallic Paste. It withstands temps up to 2400*F and is used to fill cracks and holes on metal surfaces like exhaust manifolds, engine blocks, tail pipes, and grills. Use a Dremel tool or a grinder or similar tool to remove the rust and porcelain around the hole to get clean, bare metal, then patch with J-B Weld, let cure, then consider whether you want to grind the patch somewhat smooth on one or both sides.

    As for the water pan, you can no longer buy the original shallow pan for the 18.5" WSM. You can order the new, deeper one as a replacement, but many don't like how low it hangs over the fire. You can order the Brinkmann 812-0002-0 charcoal pan which many used as an alternative to the original shallow pan. Or you can try J-B Weld, or continue putting a foil pan inside as you've been doing.

    For out of round, I'd try gently bending the pieces back into shape and see if that fixes the problem at the door. If you get the body relatively round and the door is still tweaked, you can try adjusting the door for a better fit.

  5. #5
    TVWBB Hall of Fame timothy's Avatar
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    If you can take some pics it might be an easy fix with some tweaking and washers.

    Tim
    Different smokes for different folks. Wish the Dollar Store sold gas!

  6. #6
    TVWBB Gold Member Larry D.'s Avatar
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    For the holes in the charcoal bowl, you might consider simply putting an appropriately sized stainless steel bolt through from the outside, with a washer and nut on the inside. Like Chris said, clean up the hole down to bare metal, and I would then spray with black high-temp paint before inserting the bolt to reduce the chance of future rust. That would be the "quick and dirty" fix, and would probably outlast the rest of the WSM.
    "If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?"
    18.5 WSM | 22.5 OTG (green) | 22.5 Kettle (OTS, black)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry D. View Post
    For the holes in the charcoal bowl, you might consider simply putting an appropriately sized stainless steel bolt through from the outside, with a washer and nut on the inside. Like Chris said, clean up the hole down to bare metal, and I would then spray with black high-temp paint before inserting the bolt to reduce the chance of future rust. That would be the "quick and dirty" fix, and would probably outlast the rest of the WSM.
    That reminds me so much of something my dad would do. I bought some stuff to patch the hole but if it doesn't work out, I will probably try the bolt and washer trick! I've ordered a new grate and water bowl and will probably work on it next weekend, as I plan to smoke a butt tomorrow!

    Plus I am still in the throes of battling my Silver C. I ordered new rails for the drip tray as they rusted off but the bolts that held them in Will. Not. BUDGE. I have been trying for a week. I've used Naval Jelly, Penetrating Oil and PB Blaster. I've used a blow torch on them. I tried a screw extractor and it tore the head off the bolt and the head become one with the extractor, ruining that. Now we are trying to drill out the screws. I've become buds with the nice lady at the Ace Hardware. If this doesn't work, she said to come by and she'll help me figure out something as she has had to help with the repairs on a lot of grills. At this point, it's become personal and I refuse to be defeated! I feel like I should put war paint on each time I walk out there to face it. LOL

    But I ordered new grates for the Silver C and the stainless ones for my Performer and my WSM, so I am pretty excited about everything being all shined up and sexy lookin'. My boyfriend laughs at me because I am talking to my grills like I am talking to my vegetable plants.

    Despite the roadblocks, I like working on these old-timers. Then again, I also rescue senior dogs (3 out of my 5 dogs are seniors) so I'm sensing a pattern here...
    Featuring the Weber Y2K lineup: 18" WSM, 2000 Green Performer TNG, , Blue Genesis Silver C and a Jumbo Joe for on the go-

  8. #8
    TVWBB Gold Member Larry D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieAnn View Post
    That reminds me so much of something my dad would do.

    I tried a screw extractor and it tore the head off the bolt and the head become one with the extractor, ruining that. Now we are trying to drill out the screws.
    Your dad sounds like a resourceful man. Was he a Hollies fan, by chance?

    As for the screws, depending on how well you can get at them, a grinder or a Dremel tool with a cutoff disc might work.
    "If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?"
    18.5 WSM | 22.5 OTG (green) | 22.5 Kettle (OTS, black)

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