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Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse Heating Element Upgrade How To

By texacajun, Nov 18, 2010 | |
  1. This is a step by step install or upgrade to the older MES 800 watt heating element to the new MES 1200 watt heating element.
    With little modification I was able to accomplish this. I am hoping this will fix the heat recovery time on the MES when the door is opened.
    Before doing this MOD i would suggest doing a wire upgrade. Masterbuilt is still using the 16 gauge wire on all there MES's so apparently there not to concerned with the old wiring problems they where having.
    The new 1200 watt heating element kit includes 2 replacement wire with connectors. It is very cheep to do the wiring upgrade i did mine for 30 dollars.

    (STEP 1) You will need to call Masterbuilt and order a new 1200 heating element kit.
    This is what you will get in the kit One replacement element, 1 gasket, 2 replacement wire Assembly's, 2 wire nuts, 2 element screws, 1 grounding bolt and nut, 1 replacement instructions.

    This is a pic of the different heating elements side by side

    This is a pic of the back of the elements virtually identical. The new 1200 watt element on top in this pic has threaded screw holes if you look closely you can see them in the upper element.

    (STEP 2) Remove the woodchip loader from the unit.
    (STEP 3) Remove the drip pan and woodchip tray from the unit.
    (STEP 4) Open your mes and remove the 2 Phillips head screws on the left hand side of the woodchip housing support.

    (STEP 5) Remove the 2 Phillips head screws from the right and side of the unit on the woodchip housing support.
    Note: These can be harder to get to if you have a long handle Phillips screw driver it may help. If not you can slightly bend the woodchip housing to get to them.
    (STEP 6) Remove the 2 Phillips head screws from the upper woodchip housing and remove the housing. Be carefully this can be tricky you will have to bend the rear of the housing a little to get to the unit over the heating element.
    You can see this in the next this pic.

    (STEP 7) Remove the 2 Phillips head screws from the heating element on the back of the unit.

    (STEP 8) On the back of the unit. remove the drip pan and the 2 drip pan support brackets with 4 Phillips head screws. On the back of the unit there is 28 rivets holding the back cover on these will have to be drilled out to access the wiring to the heating element.

    (STEP 9) Remove the electronic control board bracket screws on the back of the unit.

    (STEP 10) Push the electronic control board to the rear of the unit to get access to the wire connectors under it. Remove the 2 mo-lex wire connectors that go to the electronic control board.

    This is the back of the unit with the cover off. The lower electrical box needs to be removed to access the wiring.

    (STEP 11) Use a 1/4 wrench or socket to remove the nut and ring connector on the ground wire. You can put your hand threw the chip loading tray and use a Phillips screwdriver to hold the head side of this bolt if your having trouble removing this bolt.
    (STEP 12) Disconnect the 2 push wire connectors to the heating element. You will have to move it to the side and pull the wiring out threw the hole on the right side.
    Be carefully not to cut the rubber grommet you will need this to reinstall the wiring.

    (STEP 13) On the back of the electrical box make a transfer of the holes from replacement gasket supplied by Masterbuilt.

    (STEP 14) Drill out the holes for the heating element and support screws. I used a 7/32 drill bit and a 3/8 for the larger holes. Bend the old screw taps out of the way.

    (STEP 15) You will have to drill out the holes where the old heating element attached to the back of the unit so the new screws will fit threw the back of the unit. Install the new heating element and seal in the unit from the inside. Install the electrical box you drilled out on the back of the unit.Reinstall the new supplied ground bolt and nut to the ground wire ring connector.

    (STEP 16) Reinstall the back cover with sheet metal screws. reinstall the electrical control panel. reinstall the complete woodchip smoker housing on the inside of the unit.

    These last 4 pics are scanned images of the instruction manual masterbuilt sent with the new heating element you can follow them to help with the MOD

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  1. coloradoadrian
    Texacajun, your pics aren't showing.  My element went out yesterday and you idea is appealing.Your description is good but I would love the pictures too. Where did you get the 1200 watt element?  I have only looked for a short time and so far only see an 800 watt element.
  2. jted
    I to have found their customer service to be very good. They sent me a new controller with no hesitation. JTED
  3. kwats4
    I called today and will be recieving a new element. First I thought it was dead batteries in the remote, after testing the unit heating light came on and no heat. Removed the rear panel and there it was wire was off of the connection and corroided very badly on the left side and the wire on the right was ok but the connector was split. Thinking of rewiring with high temp equipment.
  4. nbelcher
    Thanks for this write up, it was most helpful! My 30" 2070106's original 650w element went out but I got lucky and received some wonderful customer service help in acquiring a replacement element.
    The riveted back took only a couple minutes with a drill to remove the rivet heads. All wiring looked good so that will be left alone to upgrade only if there are future problems. Now installed is a Masterbuilt 800w element and while I've yet to do a full run, the initial test showed everything working as intended.
    I'd intended to upgrade to the 1200w element after reading the above post but am glad I didn't. The size difference between the above and mine being a primary difference. The logistics and controls being set for the smaller element I figure would probably result in less than even temps on vs off had I gone with the 1200w element.
    If you own a 30" masterbuilt and are looking to upgrade or replace a defunct element I suggest using PN# 9907090033. Having a part number seems to be one way around masterbuilt's system. Technically, in the older Masterbuilt electric smokers the element is "not user serviceable" so you may have to promise that you won't complain or try to return the heating element if it doesn't work out.
    Good luck!
  5. harrison
    If I can comment on this I would like to ask a few questions. First of all I have been a fan of the forum for some time, but never subscribed. I now had a reason too. I have a MES model 20070106(had it for 3 years), and my smoker just quit heating yesturday in the last hour of a 6 hour smoke. The control panel is working fine and was calling for heat (red light saying it was heating) but I could touch the element. I figured the element went bad! N.E. way, I called Masterbuilt and they said my unit is discontinued yadda yadda and that they normally sell the body unit for the repair, but they are sold out! NOT GOOD! So I took it all apart and found the wire connecting to one side of the element was basically burned to dust! That's when I found this post!
    My question is.. If I redo all the wiring,(upgrade to 14 awg high temp lead wire), can I use the 1200 watt element in this one? My element is only 650 watt. And if I can, Is there a part number you can give me for the element kit? I will have to fabricate an electrical box( as mine was/is just a cover box screwed from the inside through the element, no gasket etc.), not a big deal, and possibly a few other mods. but it seems straight forward to me!
    thanks in advance, Harrison