Fix or Return Traeger?

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by robertwhite, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter

    So we bought a Traeger Texas pellet smoker when Costco had a Traeger rep there back in April. Grill was discounted from the online price, came with some extras, etc. Plus, its Costco, where I could bring it back if not happy.

    Set up the grill, pre-burn it and then when used for the first few times I noticed a huge fluctuation in temps, smoke setting would go from 165*-205* at random times. When used as a grill, same thing, big fluctuations. Called up and tech people (who were very cordial) said to change the P setting from factory P2 to P1. , but also said that 40* swings were "normal". Thought that to be odd because if I am smoking something at 205*, I want it to stay at 205*, not fluctuate 40*

    Worked OK for a while, but then started having issues in which when turned from smoke setting to any higher temp (say 350*), the smoker would sometimes stop climbing in temp, and the temp would spiral downward. Called again, told to clean burn pit (already done), time the auger, (checked OK), check the fans (checked OK), and other things. Worked with it for a while until last week, I could no longer deal with it as it was happening pretty much every time.

    Called again and while going over a bunch of stuff with the tech on the phone, I actually stood there and watched when I turned it up (usually, turn it up and walk away). Sure enough, as soon as I turn it up, it fails to dump and ignite new fuel. So the tech sent me a new circuit board and temp probe which I just received. However I have really started having doubts about keeping the smoker, since this issue was there since new, and I don't know if I trust the new controller to continue to work (hopefully it works) for a long time to come.

    In reading some past threads, it seems as though there are a number of people who have had controller issues, and while the grill cooks meat just great when it works, I question how long it will work.

    So, do I return the grill and look at another brand (I would REALLY like a USA made unit) or fix and keep this one? Do any other brands have controllers and/or build quality that enables them to stay at a fairly close to temp setting? What brand to look at? The traeger I have is around 650sq inches.
  2. I don't have a pellet popper but I know some people who like theirs. Replace the parts and see what happens.

    Happy smoken.

  3. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I feel your pain.....Traegers USED to be made very close to me here in the PNW.....sadly, now made in China (corporate greed?) Me? I'd take it back to Costco while you can. I've had computers like that...brand new, set them up, works for a day or two and then issues start cropping up. Back in the box it goes for an immediate return.....Costco has an outstanding return policy. I'm not shelling out 800 bucks for anything and then have to start dealing with repairs, chats with techs, trying to 'fix' shit over the phone etc and for how long will it last before shooting craps again? I got a Char Griller pellet pusher from Lowes for 450 bucks, half the price of a Traeger, and much bigger at 580 sq. inches. Unfortunately, I cannot afford a USA Yoder or MAK.....but, IMO, Traegers and GMG's are not worth the dough after seeing them up close and personal.......My opinion only, Willie
  4. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter

    Good thing about it being bought at Costco is the return policy, bad part is that if I do bring it back and purchase a different brand, I own it, permanently. That's fine if it works, but if not, where am I then? That is the only thing having me question bringing the traeger back.

    I like the Yoder, but really can't see spending almost double what the traeger cost. I also was looking at the MAK, but it's cooking area is TINY when compared to the traeger. Did some looking at the Rec Tec and while the body is china, electrics are USA and they have a great warranty. Only problem with that is will they be around in say 5 yrs if the warranty is needed?

    Pellet is so much easier than using my old stick burner, but value vs warranty vs quality is just all over the board with pellet grills.

    First time in a long time that something actually has me doubting each decision I think I have made. [​IMG]
  5. Take that trash can back and go buy a GMG. It's not USA made, but I've had mine for over a year with no issues. GMGs work awesome for a little more $$$. Good luck.
  6. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter

    Read a bunch about the GMG already. Lots of positive AND negative reviews. One major thing I notice is that the controller looks very similar to the Traeger and if it is anywhere near the same quality, no thanks. Also, GMG only has a 2 yr warranty.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  7. I'm thinking about selling mine. They're making a new model which comes with, or give the opportunity, to download an app that will give the opportunity to control the smoker, set temp programs, and save prior cooking profiles. Sounds tech! Not really tecky personally but sounds great. There's some good pellet smokers out there but some cost a lot of $$$. No issues with my GMG and the folks at GMG are really great. Good luck.
  8. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Agree with Willie on this...if it was me I'd load it up and return it to Costco while you still can.  Too much money invested to have to mess with tech support and doing repairs all the time.

    If you're thinking about trading for another grill in the same price range as that Texas, consider Rec Tec.  They are also manufactured in China, although they are assembled and QC'ed in Georgia...and IMO they are better in quality and craftsmanship than those Traegers.  Plus they have a rock-solid PID temp controller.

    If you're set on an American built rig, plan on spending more money.  Yoder, MAK, and Blazin' Grillworks are 3 excellent products built in the USA, but are more pricey than the China-built brands.

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  9. lothar1974

    lothar1974 Smoke Blower

    Save up and get a Memphis pellet grill! :) made right here in MN! :sausage:
  10. I have to agree with Red, and for the price range the Rec Tec is the way to go. I am fortunate enough to have a BBQ dealer only 15 minutes from me and he carries GMG, Traeger, MAK, Louisana along with Meadow Creek, Weber, & Abe's so I was able to see a number of smokers first hand. Going with Yoder with some options, a half pallet of pellets and shipping I felt I was getting the best pellet smoker out there for my money. 
  11. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I can empathize.....I agonize over these decisions and will 2nd guess myself to no end. However, IF it wasn't for the S&H charge up here to Oregon, another 2-3 hundred on top easy, I'd of gone with the Rec-Tec. I also was very close to buying RT due to the payment plan offered, and others on here, especially SeenRed, did a lot of due diligence & posting here before buying and are sold on the quality & CS, if needed. I also viewed videos posted up to You Tube on the Rec Tec and it looked like an awesome setup. The dealer by me had the GMG Daniel Boone at $850 & his 'end of season' sale price was $100 off.....I passed, not feeling good about the build for that much $. The bigger Jim Bowie was close to a $1000. Good Luck with the decision and let us know which way you go.....Willie
  12. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter


    Well, that turned out to be an easy decision after all.

    I went ahead and installed the new temp probe and controller that Traeger sent me.

    Fired it up on the smoke setting and after 20-25 minutes, the temp was sitting at 158-160. Now, as some of us know, Traeger (and many others) like to run a smoke temp at a minimum of 180*. So back to the phone again to ask why it was not getting hotter. I was told to change the P setting from the factory P2 to P1 which is where the old one was set at.

    Go through the cycle again on P1 and temp is bouncing around from 155-195 or so. Back to the phone once again. Why is this grill doing this say's me? Well, try putting on the final setting of P0. OK, but what if that doesn't work, I ask? Well, there is no reason it shouldn't say's the tech. Well, there is no need for 10 heat setting say's me!!

    Put it on P0, and it comes up to 190, but again, dramatically drops to under 150* every time the pellet pot has to refill.

    So..................enough is enough. There is no way in the world that on smoke setting, a grill/smoker should fluctuate 40*+ How is one supposed to get a good read on both time and temp when the grill is all over the map? I am done messing with it and it will be returned to Costco on Monday.

    Only issue now is do I want the Rec Tec or the Yoder YS640. Some say the center burn pot is good, others say the left side mounted pot is good. I am undecided at this point. I also notice that Yoder's warranty is only 1 yr on the ignitor (always failing in my pellet stove) and the controller is only 3 yrs. Rec Tec warranty is 6 years, period. Although the Yoder is USA made and a much more solid unit, it is also $350 more and it has less warranty, so I might side with Rec Tec.
  13. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I know how tough it can be to pull the trigger on a decision like that...but I believe you'd be very happy with either of those pits. You can't make a bad call here. I own a Rec Tec and love it. I know many Yoder owners who feel the same way. Personally I believe the Yoder has a better setup for direct-flame grilling, but other than that and the made in USA thing, these two pits compete very well with one another.

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  14. RETURN IT!

    I have a Traeger Jr I bought at Costco, I'm returning it as soon as my Yoder YS 640 gets here. (15 days into a 60 day delivery date can't go smokeless that long, they don't make a patch for that!)

    The problem with my Traeger Jr (1st smoker) was the same temperature fluctuations, so I opted to spend and other $70 to get the "upgrade" temp controller, no change in temp fluctuations just in the weight of my wallet.  But by this time I'm hooked on smoke! So I just decide to deal with the temps and the hot spots. Then I started having issues with the pellet hopper, every time I would cook on HI, after I was done and switched to Shut Down mode. After about 5 minutes the smoke would start backing up through the hopper. The first time I thought it was on fire, it wasn't but I don't trust it next to my house.  Call and emailed Traeger they said it happens occasionally, and questioned whether I turned it off, then back on and off again.  What? I didn't but why would that cause this issue?  It's happened several more times since then, not all the time, but enough and when the humidity is high and the smoke backs up the pellets turn to dust.

    Don't go through what I did, do your research and get a better smoker.  

    For me it was between two smokers, the  Rec Tec and Yoder.  The Rec Tec was cheaper but has a quality digital controller, event temps across the grill,  but still made of the same 14 gauge steel Traeger has and made in China.  The Yoder has a quality digital controller, event temps across the grill, but made of 10 gauge steel (holds temp better) with a 12 gauge drip pan/ defuser and made in the USA.  Ya I spent more money than I should have, but the quality and the fact it's made here was a big deciding factor for me.  The final decision to by the Yoder and spend the money was after I watched this video from - Yoder YS640 Pellet Smoker Grill Temp Consistency Test (  ) I could never do that on my Traeger, some of the bacon would be under cooked and some burnt with the middle cooked properly. 

    That did it for me I call and ordered my Yoder [​IMG]  
  15. robertwhite

    robertwhite Fire Starter

    Guess I forgot to update this thread again...........

    A few weeks ago, a I returned the Traeger and bought a MAK 1 Star. BEST move I have made in a long time. To say the MAK is simple to use is an understatement. Perfect food, every time. The fact that it is completely made in the USA sure doesn't hurt either. I have already had a chance to use their customer service (flash update) and their CS is second to none.
  16. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Congrats Robert...those MAKs are fine cookers, and it sounds like you're very happy with it. Let's see some Qview! Thumbs Up


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