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"Masterbuilt upgrade kit " inspired Mod with q-view

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by bobbygee, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. bobbygee

    bobbygee Smoke Blower

    After reviewing the mod video,I decided to tinker with my 40". I removed that piece of metal inbetween the heating element and the chip tray by removing the 2 screws on the left hand side and prying off the rivits on the right with a screw driver and hammer.Without that metal the tray was just sitting ontop of the element and was very loose fitting.I then I took a pair of tin snips(the metal is surprisingly thin) and cut out that metal so all is left is 2 "C shaped" pieces that are about 5" long.I secured that back in the smoker using 1 screw in the front left and front right side of the smoking chamber(I didnt secure the back) .

     Works like a CHAMP!!.I now have nice consistant smoke at 225 degrees and the chips burn down to white powder.This is how it should have worked from the beginning.I'll still be using my  A-MAZE-N-SMOKER  for long smokes, but for quick 2 hour session, I can use the smoker as intended.I also drilled out the chip loader holes and the chip chamber to 1/2 inch holes(once again the metal is thin and the drill goes right thru easily)  to increase are flow. I'm sure I voided all warranties, but I now have a smoker that works GREAT.  





  2. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Good job BobbyGee,

    You might want to put some screen inside or outside of the 1/2" holes to keep bugs out, especially when not in use.

  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You guys from PA are so smart!

    Gotta do this little trick to mine too.
  4. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    LOL---Could be that we in PA are in the midst of our annual Fall attack of Stink bugs & Ladybugs, and it is fresh in my mind right now.[​IMG]

  5. mama's smoke

    mama's smoke Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Great idea.  I just received a replacement unit from Customer Service to replace the one I had for less than 7 months, before it died.  The new unit has the smaller wood chip holder.  I've seen the Retro Fit replacements on the video of the Masterbuilt website.  I'm thinking I might be able to replace the new chip holder with the one from my old unit in the same way.  I'll give it a try this weekend.
  6. Hi,

    How did the 1/2" hole mod work out? Would it make a noticable difference in how well the smoker works for ribs, butts, turkey legs and other hot smokes?

    I thought I should get some opinions on this mod before I get my drill out and copcat it on my MES 40
  7. bobbygee

    bobbygee Smoke Blower

    The only reason I drilled out the exsisting holes was to increase airflow for my AMZN.Was it worth it...probably not.You get the same results by pulling out the chip tray a little.Antway..the official retro kit makes this mod obsolete and you'll get the full size chip tray to boot.
  8. Thanks for the advice on not doing the 1/2" hole mod. I just got a shiny new all stainless steel MES 40 and wouldn't want to drill holes unnecessarily.

    Regarding the other mod, I just emailed Masterbuilt about getting the free upgrade kit (to the larger size wood tray) and I am waiting to hear back. If I am unsuccessful it easily getting a free kit from them, do you think is more worthwile to buy the kit myself or was your mod of removing the extra sheet metal more than adequate to get good smoke? Alternatively, I guess I could spend my money and effort on getting an A-MAZE-N smoker instead of messing with the existing wood tray.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  9. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member


    I would definitely get the A MAZE N box as it does wonders when using it with the MES.  First, you instantly are able to cold smoke.  And I don't know where you are in the country, but during the cold times here in New England, I simply use the MES wood tray for loading up some lump charcoal and firing it up with a propane torch to help the element get up to (and keep it there) temp, all while the AMAZE N is still producing that nice thin blue smoke for you.  You can still use a small area of the tray to dump a few chips in as they will smoke off the top of the lump if you decide you are looking for a heavier smoke.  Removing that sheet metal makes all the difference in the world in allowing that smoke tray to do it's thing.  It was a design defect that came with only a couple of models of the MES.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  10. bobbygee

    bobbygee Smoke Blower

      Actually the mod I did was more than sufficient in producing smoke.I just wanted the official retro kit for the larger tray plus I wanted it to work as designed.We should not have needed to mod anything for a smoker that costs 300 bucks.Anyway..If your not getting enough smoke because of a flaw in there design (which many of us had), then your entitled to it for free. I P-Med MBtechguy here on the forum,and he hooked me up.

      Regarding getting a AMZN,definetley worth getting, regardless of any retro kit /mod you do. For 3 hour smokes,I dont bother with the AMZN.I find feeding the smoker for a few hours no big deal.For briskets or butts or any cold smoking..It's a MUST have.Good luck with your choice.
  11. johnvh

    johnvh Fire Starter

    Just found this thread, I modified my 30" like this yesterday then used it last night, much better, heat actually gets to the chips now. I have not drilled all the holes as you did though, just the tray mod.
  12. Thanks for the advice. I went ahead and ordered the A-MAZE-N smoker and I am now waiting for it to arrive. I plan to use it mostly for hot smoking (for ribs, butt, brisket, and turkey legs) so I probably won't be using the built-in wood tray much. I did contact Masterbuilt and they are sending the upgrade kit to me, so I will have it as another viable choice for some smoking situations.
  13. texacajun

    texacajun Meat Mopper

    Masterbuilt had some issues with users placing wood chips in the loader and dumping them in with out the wood chip tray. I think this is the reasoning behind the placement of the extra sheet metal that was placed in between the wood chip tray and the heating element. After users started to complain about the lack of smoke they where getting with the units. Masterbuilt came up with the retro kit to fix the lack of smoke issue. The kit has a new housing without the extra sheet metal in between the heating element and the wood chip tray. Older MES do not have the issue because the peace of sheet metal is not there. I have included some pictures to help.

    As for as the reasoning behind the smaller wood chip tray and loader. Masterbuilt was addressing users complaining about unburnt chips. As with many users on the forum I don't think you need a full size chip tray loaded down with chips to get the right amount of smoke. The half chip tray work just as good if not better. Due to the fact that you don't have to use as many chips when smoking.

  14. I agree. I just did this mod on my MES 40 and it smokes just fine now. It is certainly an easy mod to do and I think worth trying before doing an upgrade to the larger tray. Just my opinion.
  15. fife

    fife Master of the Pit

    I ordered the upgrade kit on Monday and it arrived on Wednesday. The people at Masterbuilt did not say nothing but what is your address when I told them about the smoker not putting out much smoke. So I guess they have had alot of people with this issue and are more than happy to fix it for FREE.
  16. djm3801

    djm3801 Fire Starter

    Same here. Called, gave them serial number, model number, address. Got it today. GREAT people. They seem to have a good time at work. Their Facebook site has all kinds of photos of folks there enjoying food and parties, nice.
  17. I just got a new Masterbuilt smoker directly from them today.  My old one the element died and Masterbuilt said they could not replace, which I had read in this forum.  They assure me the new one can be replaced, and I see a separate part for it in my manual.  I did see some posts on re-wiring and doing a retrofit but I was too lazy to mess with. 

    Model 20070910 is what I just got.  My smoker is open at the bottom like the "clean" picture above.  No extra metal between the element and the chip tray...so maybe they've gone back to the original design and no-longer a retrofit issue.

    Also, 2 changes I noticed from my old model are the smaller wood chip loader space, and now the water tray rack, is incorporated into the rack for the bottom rack. 
  18. I just did this little mod to my mes30 I noticed the aroma of smoke at 135 degrees but I didn't see any smoke, I also have the larger chip tray retro fit mod on order, as I was tearing everything apart I was checking out the design and noticed the larger part of the element is not even under the chip try and it has virtually nothing above to disperse heat, so this is the reason for the back corner  of the smoker being hotter than the rest, and why people are placing ceramic tiles on top of the smoke box in the back corner, it looks as if the new chip tray should cover the part of the element that is not being used and hopefully will take care of the uneven heat problem too
  19. I did the mod on my MES 40 and it works fine set at 225 degrees and above and I usually hot smoke at 225 degrees. I would not expect the large or small MES chip tray (modified or not) to provide smoke at 135 degrees. You would need an AMNS/AMNPS or other smoke generator for that.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  20. region rat

    region rat Newbie