Restoring a Smoker

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rustbucket

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Original poster
Jan 11, 2024
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Hello everyone,

I have a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker that my family has had for a few years now. It uses a wood pellet system. The smoker overall is in pretty bad condition. It works but it's not clean. What can I do to restore it/prevent this from happening in the future? I have put it inside my garage and hope to start cleaning it very soon. I have only smoked some stuff before with family but other than that I do not know much about it.

Thank you.
 

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Looks like a MES30 gen1. With all that rust inside, I don't know what you can do to make it safe enough to run. Hopefully someone will chime in with salvage ideas.
 
I’d suggest you poke around with a screw driver and see whats left for tin. Flip it upside down and remove the 6”X6” inspection panel on the bottom and see if water has gotten into the electrical components.
 
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If you have the means. You could try sand blasting with walnut shells, and see if it's worth saving.

Chris
 
Howdy RustBucket, and welcome to the group from New Mexico.

Some general tips...

First off, clean/scrape/wire brush all the rust/junk off.
Then see if it is salvageable as others have said. i.e. no thin spots or holes.
You may be able to put a new metal plate over it if the bottom is unsalvageable.

Use rust remover if light sanding won't do the trick.
Then repaint with hi-temp paint.
About all you could do with the door latch is rust remover.

If it works, that's a plus, but if you want to consider upgrading, I'm sure JC in GB JC in GB and I think tallbm tallbm are the experts on PID controllers.
You can search for Masterbuilt and PID. You'll get a lot of hits for upgrades that have been done.

Best of luck...
 
That's pretty rough . Might be money better spent on something else .
I'm surprised you say it works . Looks like a breaker tripper to me .
Maybe start by gutting it . Take the chip loader , the rack holders and anything else out of it . Like mentioned above , I bet it's rusted through somewhere , and water in the components .
 
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Hello everyone,

I have a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker that my family has had for a few years now. It uses a wood pellet system. The smoker overall is in pretty bad condition. It works but it's not clean. What can I do to restore it/prevent this from happening in the future? I have put it inside my garage and hope to start cleaning it very soon. I have only smoked some stuff before with family but other than that I do not know much about it.

Thank you.
Hi there and welcome!

I'll answer your question 1st and then provide maybe a less expensive and sensible alternative.

  1. Remove the internal stuff here and leave and exposed element
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    |

  2. Sand down the rust all over so its knocked down as thin as possible and hope there are no exposed holes to insulation on the inside. The outside you can maybe live with and patch over but I don't think there is anything you can really do about rusted hole on the inside that is exposing the insulation.
  3. Get some rust converter to convert the rust to to iron tannate but don't do this on the cooking racks only to rusted areas that is not in constant direct contact with food. I believe this product is a straight converter. The spray can ones are usually a converter and paint primer combined and you don't want a paint primer on the inside of the smoker $18.42:

  4. Paint over the exterior converted rust areas with a paint like this $6.98:

  5. Run a few hours of chip/pellet smoke to season/cover the interior converted rust with creosote and smoke film. This stuff will seal over those spots after a few smoke runs like a paint
  6. Chances are that this level of rust means you may get power to the controller on top but I would bet money the wire connectors that lead to the heating element are corroded away and you won't get heat. I would have these on hand to begin doing fixes replacing those rusted/corroded connectors. Masterbuilt is known for using horrible connectors that corrode/rust way in the best of conditions so I can't see how they would have held up through this much weathering $6:34:

    You will want to check the heating element connectors and the saftey limit switch connectors for sure. You might have to cut a panel in the back to access the safety limit switch.
If you got to this point and it is working then you are doing pretty well for under $35.

If you did all this work and the controller on top is not working or is dead then you would need to do a simple rewire and get a PID controller to make it work. The good news is that it would be like a WHOLE different and way BETTER smoker than it ever was brand new. It will perform like a $1,000 electric smoker if you do this.
The bad news, it will run you like $150 for a PID controller whether you buy or build one (if you've never built one before).

So there are the answers to your question.

****Now an alternative approach.
For $40-50 you might be able to find a used MES unit in better condition or at least with way less work needed on Facebook marketplace or on Craigslist.
You can get it and go. Or if it needs a rewire and a PID conversion you can take it to a carwash and wash out and then do the simple rewire once it dries.
At this point you are at the same PID controller scenario but with less time and effort put in and a smoker in much better shape.

I hope this info helps :D
 
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Hello rustbucket, and welcome aboard!

I used to run a Gen 1 MES -although mine was the 40" model. They were good units - mine turned out lots of good food.

You've already gotten all the advice I would give. tallbm tallbm has given a great, thorough response. The only thing I could add is, after you assess the damage and diagnose all the fixes, you may find you would invest more in that smoker than it would cost to replace it - especially if you consider the value of you labor hours. Like tallbm said, you might find a good MES for sale that in perfect working order for less that you'd invest in fixing that rig.

Just food for thought...

Red
 
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