Lowes Dual-door Master Forge Smoker to natural gas

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by baddaybeav, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. baddaybeav

    baddaybeav Newbie

    Ok, so I picked this up a few weeks ago and spent that time smoking and doing some research.

    I didn't take pictures, but it's not the most advanced thing in the world to take apart.


    Lay it on it's back, and remove the front legs.

    Remove the whole assembly that holds the gas regulator handle and the starter.

    remove the copper piece from the front assembly.

    I used a 1/16 inch drill bit since I have a 7" water table gas line (call your local company to ask), so I went from 15,000 btu to 14,100.

    Drill out the oriface on the end.

    The next part is the interesting one.

    Once you remove the propane tank hose (this is extremely tightly bolted on).

    You'll see that you have a 1/8 inch end.

    You'll need from Lowes or anywhere else:

    Included are the lowes part numbers where I have them...

    1/8th female to 1/4th male (71486)
    1/4th female to 3/8th male (75603)

    3/8th female to 3/8th male 90 degree angle (83057 I think, can't quite read the bag).

    This part is the confusing one that took me and 2 empll

    3/8th FIP female to 3/8th Flare male

    Then grab just the hose line from Charbroil's conversion kit (it's availble near their full kits)

    make sure that you get the Quick Disconnect end on it, at the store I was at, they were missing like 4 of those, but had the rest of the hose.

    From there it's as easy as hooking it up to your gas line at your house.


    The only thing of note is that the starter won't quite fit 100% correctly, so you'll have to remove it, then reseat it after putting the whole assembly back on.

    --
    Mark
     
    jsphoto likes this.
  2. Its actually a straightforward process. I did it on new Broil Mate a couple of years ago. The interesting part in hindsight is some of the advice that I got.
    From my Gas company, I was told that they did not handle any propane fittings. (I had to convert from the fittings on the smoker to the fittings on the gas company's line) and they sent me to a plumbing store, who also did not have any propane fittings, and sent me to a hydraulics store,

    "because they have both gas AND propane fittings".

    At the hydraulics store, the man said:

    "there is not such thing as propane or gas fittings. There are just fittings. What do you need?"

    And it worked fine.
     
  3. I had had enough of my old electric smoker, so I started looking for a gas-fed smoker. I converted my Holland grill to natural gas about four years ago when we did a kitchen remodel and I had my contractor run a n.g. line out to my backyard.  I was very happy to get rid of the propane tanks, and was not about to start that again...

    Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed when I saw the minimal selection of gas smokers.  I checked out the Master Forge smoker at a local Lowe's but could not get any information as to its convertability to natural gas.  So I started searching the web, and found this thread.  I have plenty of mechanical aptitude and am comfortable working with gas.  Bought the smoker and the various parts mentioned above, and did the conversion.  I decided to do the change before assembly to make it easier, and I took pictures...

    Here is the unaltered control valve and ignitor assembly:

    [​IMG]

    I removed the four screws holding the valve and ignitor assembly to the burner portion, and pulled the orifice out of the tube that transfers the gas and air to the burner.

    Pull the black knob off the adjusting dial, and unscrew the two screws that hold the trim ring and valve to the metal frame:

    [​IMG]

    Now you have the raw valve and orifice, with the propane hose still attached:

    [​IMG]

    I put the end of the hose in my vise, and used a pipe wrench to turn the valve body off the fitting:

    [​IMG]

    Put the valve body in the vise, with the orifice pointing up.  Use a 1/16" drill bit to enlarge the hole in the orifice.  It doesn't take much to do this:  the metal is soft, and a sharp bit will expand the hole in no time.  I then made sure there were no metal shavings inside the body.

    [​IMG]

    Using the various fittings described above, assemble the modified body.  Be sure to use teflon tape or dope on each connection.  Again, I put the body in the vise and attached each fitting.  I used flare nut wrenches, but you don't need to.  Insure that each fitting is firmly tightened.  You will need to repeatedly check the 90 degree fitting to be sure that when the valve is put back in the smoker body that it is pointing down.  Don't loosen the fittings if you go too far.  Gently tighten further to get the proper alignment.

    [​IMG]

    I found in reassembling the valve into the smoker that I had to loosen and spin the ignitor ground wire about 90 degrees to clear the new valve configuration.  Also, the ignitor body (the part behind the button) needed to be turned slightly to accommodate the valve.  Everything went back together smoothly and looks completely original. (except for the now 10' ng hose).

    Do not put tape or dope on the hose fitting when attaching it to the valve body.  It uses a flare fitting, and that is what makes the seal.

    [​IMG]

    Before putting the modified valve/burner assembly into the bottom of the smoker, I attached it to my gas line, made sure the smoker valve was off, and turned on the gas from the house.  I sprayed soapy water on all my newly assembled fittings to be sure that there was no leaks (any bubbles indicate that there is gas coming out).  Only then did I proceed with the rest of the smoker assembly.

    I guess I am lucky: during the break in, I used a calibrated digital thermometer to check the accuracy of the one that came with the smoker...by all indications, I am within 3-5 degrees of the actual temperature in the box.  Woohoo!!!

    Thanks to those that figured this mod out, and posted it here.  I am already impressed with the smoke this box produces, and not having to worry about charcoal or propane tanks makes it a great deal.

    Tom
     
    newbie smoker, fyrefightr and max2 like this.
  4. I had had enough of my old electric smoker, so I started looking for a gas-fed smoker. I converted my Holland grill to natural gas about four years ago when we did a kitchen remodel and I had my contractor run a n.g. line out to my backyard.  I was very happy to get rid of the propane tanks, and was not about to start that again...

    Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed when I saw the minimal selection of gas smokers.  I checked out the Master Forge smoker at a local Lowe's but could not get any information as to its convertability to natural gas.  So I started searching the web, and found this thread.  I have plenty of mechanical aptitude and am comfortable working with gas.  Bought the smoker and the various parts mentioned above, and did the conversion.  I decided to do the change before assembly to make it easier, and I took pictures...

    Here is the unaltered control valve and ignitor assembly:

    [​IMG]

    I removed the four screws holding the valve and ignitor assembly to the burner portion, and pulled the orifice out of the tube that transfers the gas and air to the burner.

    Pull the black knob off the adjusting dial, and unscrew the two screws that hold the trim ring and valve to the metal frame:

    [​IMG]

    Now you have the raw valve and orifice, with the propane hose still attached:

    [​IMG]

    I put the end of the hose in my vise, and used a pipe wrench to turn the valve body off the fitting:

    [​IMG]

    Put the valve body in the vise, with the orifice pointing up.  Use a 1/16" drill bit to enlarge the hole in the orifice.  It doesn't take much to do this:  the metal is soft, and a sharp bit will expand the hole in no time.  I then made sure there were no metal shavings inside the body.

    [​IMG]

    Using the various fittings described above, assemble the modified body.  Be sure to use teflon tape or dope on each connection.  Again, I put the body in the vise and attached each fitting.  I used flare nut wrenches, but you don't need to.  Insure that each fitting is firmly tightened.  You will need to repeatedly check the 90 degree fitting to be sure that when the valve is put back in the smoker body that it is pointing down.  Don't loosen the fittings if you go too far.  Gently tighten further to get the proper alignment.

    [​IMG]

    I found in reassembling the valve into the smoker that I had to loosen and spin the ignitor ground wire about 90 degrees to clear the new valve configuration.  Also, the ignitor body (the part behind the button) needed to be turned slightly to accommodate the valve.  Everything went back together smoothly and looks completely original. (except for the now 10' ng hose).

    Do not put tape or dope on the hose fitting when attaching it to the valve body.  It uses a flare fitting, and that is what makes the seal.

    [​IMG]

    Before putting the modified valve/burner assembly into the bottom of the smoker, I attached it to my gas line, made sure the smoker valve was off, and turned on the gas from the house.  I sprayed soapy water on all my newly assembled fittings to be sure that there was no leaks (any bubbles indicate that there is gas coming out).  Only then did I proceed with the rest of the smoker assembly.

    I guess I am lucky: during the break in, I used a calibrated digital thermometer to check the accuracy of the one that came with the smoker...by all indications, I am within 3-5 degrees of the actual temperature in the box.  Woohoo!!!

    Thanks to those that figured this mod out, and posted it here.  I am already impressed with the smoke this box produces, and not having to worry about charcoal or propane tanks makes it a great deal.

    Tom
     
  5. Interesting, I wonder what it would take to make this work for an indoor NG gas line setup. We have more than adequate hood ventilation at the restaurant for exhaust. But I highly doubt a modified smoker would be covered in our insurance policy if it went up in flames.
     
  6. drjqh

    drjqh Newbie

    These were GREAT instructions from beginning to end and it went smooth as silk for me, thank you for posting this, it's much appreciated.
     
  7. I just tested my smoker after following this thread and it works beautifully!  The extremely clear instructions made this conversion a snap.  Thanks!

    Fish Smoker
     
  8. shawdog

    shawdog Newbie

    Thanks for the excellent information. Lowes was out of one of the fittings, so I ordered a custom fitting.

    3/8 Male Flare to 1/8 FIP Elbow - $6.44, too bad shipping was $7.50. Though, I did get the fitting via UPS in 2 days.

    http://www.fastfittings.com/product/10318

    [​IMG]

    Also purchased two packages of fireplace gasket rope from Menards, and installed those on the doors.

    $14 - Fitting

    $2 - Pipe Dope

    $35 - Natural Gas Conversion Hose

    $15 - Gasket Rope

    ----

    $66 in improvements

    Thanks again--
     
  9. jstanford

    jstanford Fire Starter

    I gotta try that one, The perfect solution. Never messed with gas lines but if I check for leaks hard enough it should be fine... Thanks
     
  10. ethanw

    ethanw Newbie

    Great post and great description for the modification. I was wondering why no one tried modifying the other end of the gas hose, the end going to the tank? I plan to hook up mine to NG and rather than getting all those parts for going on the burner side, why not just get an adaptor for the other end and then hook it up to the NG line.  Does the entire hose have to be changed to something bigger in size or the original one is fine?  What do you guys think?
     
  11. baddaybeav and tclark - THANK YOU!

    The folks at Lowe's didn't know much about the conversion to ng, so they sold me the conversion kit which only works for half a dozen of their grills - but NOT the smoker.

    Your instructions and pictures made the conversion itself a simple, straightforward job - once again the internet is awesome - try to get this info from a library book.

    I did find a part that made a slight shortcut - 3 parts on the smoker instead of two.

    Watts actually makes a 1/8F:3/8M - that worked fine vs. the two different parts shown.

    Here's what I used with great success (the two turkeys and ham are already done for Thanksgiving):

    1/8F:3/8M bushing   Lowes Part #34949   $2.13

    3/8F:3/8M street elbow   Lowes Part #34952   $4.03

    3/8F:3/8M Flare   Lowes Part #027598   $2.22

    The use of only 3 connections took less space, and fit nicely uner the hood!  The igniter did have to be rotated a bit, but the ground wire was fine as is!

    And (after going to three Lowes) I did find the separate Car-Broil ng hose Part #206469  $33.22.  (They do like to sell the more expensive kits).

    The hardest part for me was getting all the stuff to connect to the house line.  Another "opportunity"!  The house was built with a ng line thru the center of a brick porch column extending neatly out one side near the base, so very convenient.  I already had installed a 3/4" quick connect for my gas grill - but this conversion (Murphy wins AGAIN) required a second quick connect (5/8) - nothing simple!

    So, let's see - I now have a super smoker.  $149 original cost; plus about $20 for wheels; plus about $28 for heat rope kit for the doors; and this mod for another $60-ish!  No more propane to fizzle in the middle of cooking!

    Thanks again guys!  My wife was even impressed by your guided instructions with accompanying pictures each step of the way!  [​IMG]
     
    fyrefightr likes this.
  12. My guess would be the difference in pressure ratings, but that's only my guess!
     
  13. arh757

    arh757 Newbie

    When I converted my gas grill to NG, the hose came with a regulator, do I need a hose with a regulator for the smoker conversion?  The photo seems to indicate I do not.  If not, can you tell me the make and model number of the hose?  Thanks.
     
  14. You are right - no regulator!

    Hose and quick connect kit are from Lowe's -

    Char-Broil Natural Gas Connect Kit


    Item #: 206469  |  Model #: 4384203

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_206469-451-...&gs_upl=&langId=-1&storeId=10151&rpp=24&gs_sm=

    Tried three Lowe's stores before I found one in stock.

    Can order online, but of course I was in a hurry to get smokin'!  [​IMG]

    Good luck - you can also get all the fittings at Lowe's, too!

    See above discussions for specifics.
     
  15. harleysmoker

    harleysmoker Smoking Fanatic

    Was the Teflon tape you used for gas connections or just regular plumbing tape? The reason I ask is all the tape for gas I have seen is usually yellow not white. I have read that the regular white stuff will deteriorate with time from the cold of the gas flowing.

    To check for leaks a spray bottle with soapy water works, if you see bubbles you have a leak.
     
  16. Yes, I used the yellow teflon tape - the white is for regular plumbing (water) - yellow is for gas. 
     
  17. harleysmoker

    harleysmoker Smoking Fanatic

    Good, I just asked because the picture it looks white, and its good for others reading that there is different types.
     
  18. Kitbashing is a great thing when you have the skills to do it, but I wouldn't recommend this modification for inside a restaurant.  Too many things that can go wrong and the worst is a fire your guests won't be able to write home about.

    Restaurants have their own rules and they are for the public's safety.  I for one am in favor of that.
     
  19. chadwick

    chadwick Newbie

    Hey guys, I too did the conversion and it worked great... for awhile.  I bought and converted my Master Forge early last year (April 2011) and was a big hit at family gatherings.  I made some great brisket and pork shoulder.  Then later in the year, I really struggled to get my smoker up to temp anymore.  My last smoke I had to finish in the oven as I could not get it over 200F.  I put it away for the winter and now finally getting around to getting it working again.  I did a dry run today and it still can't get over 200F.  I confirmed with a second thermometer.  I did not make any changes to the smoker or my gas lines.  I tried playing around with the vents, both all open and all closed, with little effect.  Any ideas???  My dry run was with water in the pan, but no wood in the box or food on the racks.

    Here is the picture of the flame on full, does this look normal or is this too small?  I can't remember what it looked like when it was working good.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for any tips.

    Chad
     
  20. chadwick

    chadwick Newbie

    Sorry for duplicate post...
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012

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