What size of dryer vent hose did you use? All I can find is 4"
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I cannot begin to describe the royal pain in the butt that this issue has caused me. I have tried doing a lot of things differently to get the Char-griller up to temp and have even shy'd away from smoking meat and have been just direct grilling because of this issue (don't judge). I am glad I found this forum post but what really pisses me off now is that it is from like five years ago! Why are they still selling these unmodded if its such a problem??? Why not make it better? Because its not very usable OEM for smoking, trust me I've tried! I wish I would have know this before I started using this thing, I don't mind modding it, sounds like fun actually but......it is used I don't see how I am going to get any RTV to stick to it now. Thank you so much for solving this for me! Now I am off t o email Char-Griller a piece of my mind!
Describe for me the things you have done, please. I believe I can help. I have been cooking successfully on a barely modded Chargriller for years. In fact the mods I have done have only been done in the last 2 years, and I don't always use them when BBQing.
Sorry, I didn’t see your response. Since my original post I have done some MODs but am still having trouble holding an adequate temp. I have:
Extended the pipe down to the grate
Installed two temp at grate lvl one on the FB side the other near the new pipe.
Got a firebasket
Used fireplace caulking to shore up openings especially between the FB and main unit.
Installed gasket material around both doors
I used a pan with water and I flipped the charcoal holder upside down to use as a baffle. But I can still not get the temp past 200. Re reading the post I see I need to maybe make sure the charcoal holder (baffle) is placed high and the coal basket as well but I do see how these little adjustments will make that big of a difference. Ideally I would like to have to use the vents a bit to control the temp and not have them wide open and still obtaining a low temp. I am still losing some heat, evident by smoke loss, from the FB door and will try to shore that a bit too. Any other suggestions? I am a bit disappointed with this grill but am not quite ready to throw in the towel yet.
I am not a fan of the dryer vent extending the stack to grate level, I believe you need to improve air flow to increase temps and I don't see how this helps. IMHO you are better off extending the stack up on the outside by 12"-16".
If you want to keep the grate as a baffle then you should certainly raise it as high as you can in the cook chamber. This will help raise temps because it will increase air flow in the cook chamber. Some CG users have also drilled holes in the grate to further improve air flow.
IMHO the best thing to do is to remove the CC charcoal grate altogether(this is what I do BTW), in doing so you will have a hot end, near the FB and a cooler end at the stack. This is my preference and how I learned to use my CG, YMMV.
So I did a test run with no grate (baffle) and with the charcoal up high in the FB. Same results, temp hovers at 200 and no higher. I had the vents all the way open and even propped the FB door open after a bit to try to increase air intake but no luck. I guess I will try one more time. I will take the dryer vent out and see how it does I guess. I think I have tried everything.
So I did a test run with no grate (baffle) and with the charcoal up high in the FB pretty right next to the "football:. Same results, temp hovers at 200. When I put some dry woodchips in the charcoal the temp rises to 250 but quickly dissipated once the wood chips expired. I had the vents all the way open and even propped the FB door open after a bit to try to increase air intake but no luck. I guess I will try one more time. I will take the dryer vent out and see how it goes I guess. I think I have tried everything.
As far as the amount of charcoal I used when I did my last test run I used 1 chimney's worth of charcoal then immediately started another, dumped it then started another and dumped it. The coal holder was completely full. I do not recall what the temp was initial with one chimney but with two it was at 200'ish and the third chimney did not make a difference. I then threw in a couple of handfuls of dry wood chips which flamed up and the temp got up to 250'ish maybe a little more but quickly died back down to 200'ish. This is practically the same result before I did all the modifications.
1ST pic: two new temp gages
3RD pic: dryer vent and seal going around edges where door meets. I didn't do back because it didn't look like it would work too well. I did get a lot of smoke (heat) escaping from here but I used foil to plug it up and it worked pretty well.
4TH pic: I had a lot of gaps in the football area, I think it and the firebox got tweaked a bit when I moved. I filled them all in as well as all other manufactured holes throughout the grill with a high temp chimney sealant. You can see in the pic some spots where the sealant (gray) got hot and flacked away but the sealant between the two components (grill and FB) is still intact and is doing its job. I had removed the FB cleaned it up, got new hardware, put a bead of sealant around the football and all fastener holes, torqued the hardware down and then ran a bead from the outside as well.
6TH pic: an after market coal holder I bought. Initially I had it in this position down low w/ the coal holder in the grill flipped over and used as a baffle. I could not get the temp past 200. I had the baffle down low as well.
7TH pic: coal holder placed higher up and used no baffle on my 2nd test run that I described in my first paragraph which only got be again to about 200. During both test runs the vent and the smokestack were wide open. With the coal holder up high on the grates there was a gap where the FB door could not close all the way (8TH pic) which I didn't think was too big of a deal because it would let more air in. I had bought some threaded rods to run through the FB and suspended the coal holder a bit lower so the door could close all the way but I don't think it would make too much of a difference. The FB door is kind of tweaked a bit too. I installed a seal around it as well and it has helped but I do lose some smoke (heat) at the FB as well. But it should not be enough to not let the cooking chamber get up to temp with the vent and smoke stack open imo.
So I guess the next step is suspended the coal holder a bit so the FB door can close and maybe remove the dryer vent. That's all I can really think of.
I really like this grill, its sturdy and large, but this is ridiculous. They only other smoker I have used was a cheppo small knock-off brand from wallyworld and it worked well for me never had a problem smoking meats in it.
Anything else you can think of that might help? Again I appreciate the assistance.
I did what you suggested in your PM, I replaced the thermometers with a set that had longer (3in) probes and it works! It got up to temp with just one chimney of coals. I dumped another chimney in and was closing the vents off to try to keep it below 300. I don't care what they say about you Cliff, you're alright! Thanks! I can't wait to use it this weekend!