I warped my WSM :( How can i fix it

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by dougmays, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    Hey guys,

    So i've been transporting my WSM on my smoker trailer for competitions and its a very tight fit where I put it (thinking of expanding the length of the trailer)....but i think i have warped the smoker slightly :(

    The water pan doesn't hold tight on the braces inside, i actually had it fall through when i filled it almost full of water and i noticed it doesn't fit in snuggly into the base, so i'm narrowing it down to the chamber being warped. As a results i think more oxygen is getting in then i want and its been cooking very hot! I couldn't get it below 300 last weekend with all vents closed.

    I'm mad about this and trying to figure out how i can fix it. Im thinking if i put a ratchet strap around the top and bottom and gradually tighten it (over the course of a couple days?) it'll slowly form back into a perfect circle. Does anyone see this method not working? Should i take it to a welder? I dont want to crack the porcelain coating

    any help would be greatly appreciated! I'm hoping i dont need to buy a new chamber portion because i'm sure that's almost half the price of the smoker
     
  2. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If it is mostly just the water pan support look at the mod link bellow my signature. The last picture shows what I did in a similar situation. My WSM body was slightly out of round and my top rack was able to fall down onto the bottom rack if it got bumped off to the side. I just stacked some washers between the support bracket and the ID of the smoker to push the bracket in about 1/4" or so. It has worked fine that way for many years.
     
  3. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    That's a good idea!

    I'm mostly concerned with it not sealing around the bottom because i could not for the life of me get it below 300 degrees, i think that air gap is just feeding the smoker
     
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hmmmm..... I think the best bet is a slow steady pressure applied over time. I don't know that load straps would bend it back to circle since they apply pressure evenly 360°, and you want to apply pressure in two places 180° center to center.

    Two options jump to mind:
    1. Use the load straps but place a couple of 2x4's (maybe pad them with a couple of old towels?) at the high spots. Then ratchet the straps snug, ratchet just past snug and leave them alone for 24 hrs. After 24 hrs. check for roundness, if not round repeat process with slightly more pressure.
    2. Place the body on a flat surface with the high points in the 12 & 6 o'clock positions, use some 2x4's to keep it from rolling. Place sand bags on top along the length of the body (might take a couple of layers), let it sit for a day or so and see how that works.
    If you have a weed burner you could apply a little heat to the inside to help it gently drift back into shape.

    .... all else fails you can order a new middle section from Weber.... not the first choice though.
     
  5. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Damn Doug.. that's not good... I'm not sure what to say with the porcelain coating on it... ortherwise I would say JL has a good idea with the straps and 2x4's and a little bit of heat from a torch... just keep the torch back away some, not right up on it.... see what others say ...
     
  6. Hello Doug.  I read this earlier and the porcelain coating had me scratching my head.  If we crack that we have lost the battle.  I think JL has the best solution to the problem.  I could come up with nothing but his solution seems worth a try.  In theory it should work especially if you add some heat. Heat SHOULD relive the metal stress and allow it to return to the original shape.   I am old school welder; WHACK it with a BIG hammer!  But the porcelain would not hold up well.  [​IMG]   I hope you get it sorted out.

    Danny
     
  7. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sorry to hear that Doug, hope ya can get it fixed !
     
  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The plus side is that the porcelain is actually fairly tough, and your not trying to flex it very much. So as long as you go slow and make small changes it should actually hold up just fine. Main thing is to pad stuff and avoid sharp edges.

    If you don't have a weed burner you could set up straps and boards with minimal pressure, then light one or two chimneys of charcoal in the WSM, place the body section on and apply pressure with the ratchets, let the fire burn till its done, let the body cool, then remove straps. The other benefit to that method is you are using the fire bowl section to judge how far you are flexing it, and it also helps you to not over flex it.
     
  9. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    I'm going to try the 2x4 technique that @JIRodriguez   mentioned. I'll have to find the "high points" because its not so warped that its immediately obvious. i'll probably take a few measurements with a tape measure and see where the diameter is larger then other spots. Once i get the wood and straps in place i'll put a chimney of coal in the bowl for heat and then gradually tighten the straps

    i'll post up and show my progress. hopefully this works!
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  10. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good luck! Hope it goes well.
     
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you ever get your middle section re-rounded? Just curious.
     
  12. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    Not yet, been really busy the past couple weeks but hoping to give it a try this sunday. I'll definitly post my progress (or lack there of) on here so that you guys can follow along and tell me when i mess up :)

    thanks for checking in on it!
     
  13. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    hey guys..sorry for the delay. Finally got around to this Monday night. First thing i wanted to do was mark areas around the bottom edge with distances so i could find where "high points" are. Then the plan was to use some pieces of wood pallet to put at those places then to wratchet strap them tight over the next several days to even it all out.

    Well to no dismay i couldnt really find high or low points...everywhere i checked they all seemed to measure out the same :/ *scratches head*

    So i wanted to see if just putting the strap around it and slowly, over a few days, tighten it down in opes that it would pull everything together in a nice circle. 

    Here are some pictures. I hope this works, if not i'm kinda stumped.






     
  14. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you measure both ends? Is it possible it is out or round at the bottom more than the top?

    Just spit-balling questions off the top of my head here....lol.

    I would try laying it on it's side and rolling it a little then letting go, if it stays about where you let it go then it's mostly round, but if it rolls back or forth a lot then something is oval. It should want to lay on the narrow spot meaning you could rough guestimate the high spot and measure approx 90° off of the low spot. Another gauge would be to make a length of wooden dowel that just fits inside the body, then try inserting it at various points around the circle (on both ends) if it binds or gets super loose those could be spots to look at as well.
     
  15. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    Awesome idea @JIRodriguez  keep 'em coming! 

    So i used the smoker last night to smoke up some chicken for a vending event this weekend but didnt really get to test over a long smoke so i'll see this weekend. I did try the roll test as you suggested and it definitely has a "high point"....Almost seems like the entire chamber is warped. So after this weekend i'm going to try your other idea on sitting it on its high point and putting weight on it to hopefully push it back into place.

    Very frustrating that i bent my baby :( I'll keep ya updated next week with my progress
     
  16. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah... chasing bent metal in a circle can be a frustrating thing. I worked in a metal fab shop years ago and sometimes worked a straightening press, you would press down on a high spot only to have it move over to another area. I still think your best bet is the strap and 2x4's with some heat, but you have to be able to find the high spots to apply pressure correctly.

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes!
     
  17. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    I definitly found a spot where it i put it there and let go it would roll to the left...so that's my area of focus right there. 
     
  18. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    And you may only be off by as little as a 1/4" or so, it's amazing how little it takes...lol.
     
  19. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    its killing me! used it this weekend and didnt even hook up the probe cause i knew it would be hot. food still came out good though
     
  20. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Even a "damaged" WSM still makes great Que! lol [​IMG]

    I had another idea that might be worth trying - arrange 6 or 8 lengths of 2x4 as evenly spaced around the center body as possible, tighten the strap just past snug, then fire up the WSM with a small/medium fire and let it run for as long as possible at 250'ish, re-tighten the straps after a couple of hours. Let the fire die of its own accord and keep it under tension as it cools. My thought is that ring of boards will more evenly spread the load, and using the heat to first soften the metal, then letting it cool into proper shape slowly.

    Still just spit ballin here, so if anybody else has a good idea chime in! [​IMG]
     

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