Weber Q - low flame or no flame

Ira B

New member
Hello everyone! I am a certified gas fitter and I have been working in the barbecue repair industry for about 5 years now. As you all know, the Weber Q grill is extremely popular, both for portability for camping, etc., and for size in small condos. Far too often I hear people complain that their Weber Qs aren't getting hot enough, or that the barbecue used to work great but now it doesn't. On occasion it's the regulator, or sometimes a dirty burtner, but in almost every case the person is using an adapter hose with a 5/10/20lb propane tank, not the disposable 1lb canister that the Weber Q is designed to run on. I decided to write up a guide for my website on how to fix this issue and I figured it would be a good idea to spread the word so people can stop swearing at their barbecues and get back to grilling!

Why won't my Weber Q work?

In my career as a gas fitter and barbecue salesman I have encountered literally thousands of people that have issues with their Weber Q grill not getting hot enough, or perhaps not lighting at all. Sometimes it is a bad regulator, or sometimes they haven't cleaned their burner, but by far the single biggest cause is the use of an unregulated propane adapter hose. This hose combined with the "OPD" safety device in a modern tank can cause issues with insuffient or no flow of gas.

What is an OPD?

Modern propane tanks sold in North America are equipped with a safety device called an OPD. OPD stands for Overfill Protection Device, and in very basic terms it could be described as a hollow ball in a cage at the end of a tube. It's primary function is to prevent propane tanks from being filled past 80% capacity, which provides the space necessary for propane to turn from liquid to vapor. When the propane liquid level reaches the ball, it raises and blocks off the flow of gas from the tank. A secondary function of the OPD is to shut down or reduce the flow of gas in the event of a signifcant depressurization of the propane hose, such as would happen if the propane hose were severed.

This is what an OPD most commonly looks like, though there are other types. (Image taken from http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/26283959/gotomsg/26289078.cfm)

Why is this happening if the hose isn't severed?

In most cases the OPD is triggered because of the initial flow of gas into the adapter hose which triggers the OPD, combined with insufficient wait time to allow the pressures in the tank and the hose to equalize. If the barbecue is lit too soon after turning on the tank, the hose never pressurises and so the OPD ball never drops to allow full flow of gas. In most cases the equalization of pressures takes less than a second, however when using an adapter hose this can take much longer because the high pressure gas (150+ PSI!) rushing down several feet of hose triggers the OPD long before the hose has a chance to fully pressurize.

But my barbecue works for a while then stops, what gives??

When using an unregulated adapter hose, even if the OPD triggers prematurely there is still sufficient pressue in the hose to run a low demand appliance for several seconds to several minutes. A standard Propane (LP) appliance runs at 11" WC (Watercolumn). 1 PSI is equal to 27.68" WC, so a propane appliance runs at less than half of a PSI, thus if the hose contains even 50 psi it can still contains enough gas to run a low BTU appliance for a while.

So what's the solution?

Unfortunately there isn't really a solution to the problem, because the problem is using an unregulated adapter hose. However the problem can be completely prevented by using the appliance the way it was intended to be used; with a 1lb disposable propane canister. If the disposable canister option is too expensive, inconveinient, or wasteful for you, then you can use the following method to convert your barbecue to run only on propane tanks with a standard OPD fitting on them. Keep in mind that you will no longer be able to use disposable propane canisters without purchasing an adapter!

WARNING: Propane gas can be EXTREMELY dangerous. If you are at all unsure of your ability to perform the following modifications please contact a licensed gas fitter to perform the modification for you. I cannot be held responsible for any damages to property or injuries sustained from gas leaks or improper installation of parts during the following procedure!

Required parts:
1 x 3/8 Male flare to 1/8 Female pipe thread fitting (I use Fairview Fittings part # 46-6A)
1 x Barbecue hose and regulator, Any length with do.
Gas tape or pipe thread sealant
Wrenches

1. Disconnect any hoses and tanks from barbecue.
2. Remove cooking grill and burner from barbecue. Burner is held down with a 7/16" nut and bolt, or a 3/8" bolt.
3. Pull off control knob and remove brass lock ring from gas valve with an adjustable wrench. Remove valve and regulator from barbecue. Newer models have a black bracket that can make removal difficult.
4. Remove valve from regulator. Inspect for oil buildup in valve. Excessive oil build up will require replacement of valve.
5. Apply gas tape or pipe sealant to threads of the gase valve. Do not get any tape or sealant in the valve that could obstruct the flow of gas.
6. Screw 3/8FFL x 1/8MPT fitting onto valve and tighten. DO NOT over tighten, the brass threads can strip.
7. Attach hose and regulator to fitting on valve. No gas tape or pipe sealant is necessary on flare fittings. Snug flare nut hand tight and give it an extra 1/4 turn.
8. Insert gas valve back into barbecue, tighten lock ring. Reinstall control knob and burner. Do not install cooking grills yet.
9. Ensure gas valve is in the OFF position. Brush or spray a solution of 50/50 dishsoap and water on each connection and fitting. Connect regulator to propane tank and open tank valve. Look for bubbles at all connections. Retighten connections if necessary.
10. Observe flame on high and low. There should be a distict difference between high and low settings. Clear any obstructions in burner ports with a straightened paperclip.

Hopefully this helps a few people that are having difficulty with their Weber Qs! Feel free to ask whatever questions you may have and I'll try to answer them.
 

Tony R

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Great info.
I just purchased the adapter to use my big propane tank. Hopefully I won't have any problems.

I read that I need to open the propane valve slowly then wait a minute or so before getting the weber q going.
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
If you’re experiencing problems using the 6’ adapter hose and 20lb bottle with the Q not getting hot enough or won’t light at all this is a recurring problem that has been posted here before. Here is the Weber response to that problem.

http://www.weberindia.com/support/faq/faq.aspx?id=1

If it doesn’t work with the small bottle it might very well be the regulator.

I did find on my Q100 the small bottle had to be really snug before gas would flow.
 
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Robert McGee

TVWBB Gold Member
Ira;
Thanks for sharing this information with us. Last year, my seldom used gas grill gave me some problems. I finally figured it out but the information you are sharing with us would have made short work of my problem.

Keep on smokin',
Dale53:wsm:
 

Ira B

New member
Tony: You can indeed open the tank slowly to alleviate the sudden rush of propane past the OPD ball. In some cases you can actually HEAR the ball tick up when you open the valve. This doesn't always work, but it's a good first step if you're having issues with an adapter hose used with a Q.

Rich: The first thing I do when I'm troubleshooting a Q is put on a 1lb disposable tank. If the grill lights up fine I know the problem is in the tank or the hose. If it doesn't light up properly I know it's the regulator or a dirty burner, which you can visually inspect for blockages.

Glen: That method works as well, the fitting I listed is just one fitting instead of two so less potential leak points, otherwise it's the same thing.

Also, as an add-on to what I posted earlier, I always recommend turning off the gas at the TANK first, letting the propane burn off, then closing the control valve. If propane is left in the hose it can over time condense into a thick oil which will eventually clog up the hose, regulator and valve and they will need to be replaced. In addition to this, if storing your Q for a long period of time without use, it is a good idea to remove the adapter hose from the barbecue so it doesn't stick to the regulator. I've seen people pull the brass pin right out of their regulator because the rubber o-ring stuck onto it so bad!
 

glen jones

TVWBB Pro
Welcome Ira and thanks for the post. I have noticed the people having the most trouble with the conversion is they are trying to use the existing regulator instead of getting a new regulator with hose. Why would that be a problem? I have had my Q100 for some time and have always used it with a 1 lb bottle,but I concerted over not to long ago. I thought I had regulator problems with the regulator before, but all it was the burner needed cleaning.
 

Ira B

New member
Glen: There is nothing wrong with using the stock regulator when it is used with a 1lb canister, but the adapter hose sets off the OPD in the tank very easily. Some people never have issues, some people have issues from the first time.
 

JeffG

TVWBB Guru
Glen Jones above has the right parts and video, sorry Glen didn't click on your links until now.
Basically you replace the Weber regulator.

Screw the regulator onto the 20Lb gas can, not six feet of hose going from the 20Lb gas can to the regulator.


Buy the parts below for about $23.00 at Home Depot and you will have no more issues with your Weber Q grill using the 20lb gas can.






Even in the snow.







I give this Home Depot Weber Q Grill fix a big thumbs up.
 
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Claude M

TVWBB Super Fan
$23.66 out the door, and now my Q220 has the flame it never had. Needed to get a new hose anyway (old hose was starting to crack) and came across this mod. Now I just need to figure out which is the adapter to go back to bottle when I use it for camping. Thanks for posting this!
 

Jim OB

New member
I bought the pictured parts at HD, and yes it was around $23.00. I cleaned out the burner tube and orifice with compressed air. After installing the parts, the grill lit on the first try. I think the blue flames are bigger after the install.
 

Lue

New member
I am doing this same conversion on my Weber Q 120 with the same Home Depot brass fittings only I am using a 5ft Sportsman regulator/hose kit which I am still waiting it for in the mail.
 

William Cool

New member
Many, many thanks for your post! I followed your directions exactly, right down to buying the parts at Home Depot. It solved my problem. Bill
 

Clint

TVWBB Olympian
mine is finicky when moved, once it's worked once, the problem seems to stay away. I should've connected the hose and tried to fire it when we first got there but I waited until we were ready to eat. I had to try & re-try a few times before it lit. I'll look into this mod if I don't have it figured out...





How I kept the grate from bouncing around:


bungee
 

Clint

TVWBB Olympian
I went ahead & did this mod - I don't really plan on using the 1# canisters ever again so.... The exact parts (hose/regulator) weren't available and I didn't feel like driving around... Mine cost about $10 more than expected.

I plan on using it twice this weekend----I wanted to do a trial run for lunch today and it sputtered & failed, that's why I did it. I'm taking uncle Steve (not my uncle) skiing for his birthday, & my cousin Ryan skiing this weekend....one saturday, the other Sunday...burning tickets off a 10-use pass before the season's over. I took my friend Will last Sunday, & while I like the bar etc, I don't like $9 beers (they have a $6 shot & beer combo) and $12 entrees. Anyway, here's what I used and thanks to the others for guidance: I got the parts at Lowes





 

Richard Kohnen

New member
Great explanation of problem and repair info. Separating the gas valve and regulator required gently rocking my wrench back and forth to break the threads free and unscrew them. Even so, I had to clean a few threads from the regulator off the gas valve threads. Because I didn't want the new hose cantilevered off the brass threads of the gas valve, I put a semi-circular clamp around the hose and bolted the clamp to the black metal plate that formerly held the regulator. I then bolted the plate to the grill handle.
 

ChrisCMM

New member
Thank goodness for this thread. I picked up a free Q200 grill left on the street in my neighborhood. They were giving it away for free. After cleaning and buying a 25lb tank of gas, I fired it up and only got a wee little blue flame. i called Weber and they said probably the regulator so I ordered one and installed it. It work for a bit but still couldn't reach temps above 450 deg. and many times the temp would fade. So i went back to searching online and lo and behold, here was the post by Ira B. So I took my original regulator and valve, removed the regulator and did the hack with the parts procured by Home Depot. Thank you all for posting those specific parts. Made finding them easy. Bought a proper hose and regulator for about $10. Total parts to fix: $24.45. Total cost for my grill: $24.45. (I was actually thinking of buying a grill Ha!)
I fired up the grill and got it up to 600 degrees!

And to top it off, Weber sent me a RMA and lable so I can return the new Regulator that I first bought thinking it was the problem. I love Weber and their customer service!!! :weberq3000::weberq:

 
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