In this topic:
new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker will probably be perfect right out of the box.
However, as long as the product is built, packaged, and shipped by humans, there
will always be a small number of units with problems.
Here are some
major and minor problems you should be on the look-out for when unpacking
and assembling a new Weber Bullet. If you find a serious problem with your
new cooker, don't hesitate to call Weber
They want you to be happy with your purchase and are quick to send free
replacements for bad, damaged, or missing parts.
on any of the pictures to view a larger image.
Access Door Doesn't Fit Tight
common affliction of new Weber Bullets is that the access door does not fit
tight against the cooking section. An example of this condition is shown in Picture 1.
The access door is not meant to
provide an airtight fit, so don't worry if there are small gaps or if you see a
little bit of smoke creeping out from around the door on occasion. The main
concern is that too large a gap allows unwanted air into the cooker, making
it difficult to control temperature even with all the bottom vents
To adjust the door, just bend
it gently by hand, making small adjustments and checking the fit often on the
cooker until you get it just right.
- If the curvature of the door
does not match that of the cooking section, hold the door by the edges and
gently flex to add or subtract curvature (Picture 2).
- If the curvature of the door
is fine, but the vertical edges are warped or bowed, using the palm of your
hand, hold the edge of the door on a sturdy surface with a straight edge and
gently bend the door into shape using your other hand (Picture 3). Thanks to
Doug D for posting this suggestion on The
Virtual Weber Bulletin Board.
A door that fits properly will have a
slight spring action that requires you to push on the knob slightly to engage
the door latch.
Knob Is Loose (Model 2820 only)
access door knob turns too freely while the access door is in place, bend the
latch a tiny bit toward the door so it engages the body of the cooker more
tightly. Another approach is to gently shape the curvature of the door so that
it has to be pushed tight in order to latch—sort of a slight spring action.
If the access door knob is
coming off the threaded post, a few drops of Loctite Threadlocker adhesive
should fix the problem. Otherwise, always turn the knob clockwise—that way
you're always tightening the knob, not loosening it.
Sections Out Of Round
A less common problem is what's known as an "out of round" condition, where the
middle cooking section or the charcoal bowl or both parts are slightly oval-shaped instead of
round. As a result, the sections don't fit together properly and air infiltrates
the cooker, making it hard to control temperatures or extinguish the fire by
closing the bottom vents. "Out of round" is usually the result of a
manufacturing error, not damage during shipping.
In a worst-case scenario like
the one shown in Picture 1, the middle cooking section will not even
fit into the charcoal bowl. An "out of round" condition this severe warrants an
to Weber Customer Service for a free replacement
It should be noted that the
Weber Bullet is not intended to be an airtight unit, and as long the parts don't
exhibit large, obvious gaps, you should not be overly concerned. Most people get
along just fine with a minor "out of round" condition. They just close
the bottom vents a little bit more than normal while cooking. Others rotate the
middle cooking section within the charcoal bowl until it binds, resulting in
sufficient pressure to close the gap between the sections. For moderate gaps,
you can place sheets of aluminum foil between the two sections to form a sort of
airtight gasket, as shown in Picture 2.
Minor cases of "out of round"
can be diagnosed by checking for the following symptoms:
- The two sections fit
together, but you see a gap of more than 1/8" between the sections as you look around the circumference of the cooker
and the middle cooking section rocks
back and forth in the charcoal bowl when you press down
- The middle cooking section turns
freely within the charcoal bowl, then binds at a certain point during the
Again, just because your cooker
exhibits one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you need a replacement
part. The cooker may operate just fine for you. If you have a gap of 1/8"
or less, you should try to live with the situation. This is a normal
variance in fit between parts.
If you feel your cooker has a
serious "out of round" condition, you can try to fix it yourself, or you can
contact Weber Customer Service for a free
replacement part. Either way, you need to do some investigation to figure
out which part is at fault—the bowl or the middle section.
Here's how to proceed:
- As shown in Picture 3, use a measuring tape or yard stick to measure the diameter of each
in four positions—first with your right hand at the 12 o'clock
position, then at 3 o'clock, then halfway between 12 and 3 o'clock, then halfway
between 3 and 6 o'clock. This results in four measurements separated by
- You should now have an idea of
which part is at fault, how big
a variance you have, and the direction along which it occurs.
- If the variance is 1/8"
or less, you should try to live with the situation. This is a normal
variance in fit between parts.
If you have a large "out of
round" condition and want to try to fix it yourself, you'll need to gently bend the part back into shape, but you
will risk cracking the porcelain enamel finish in the process, as shown in Picture
4. Do not undertake this effort
unless you're completely confident that you can do it and are willing to
accept the consequences of some cracked finish.
bend the part inward along the longest diameter you measured. Position the part on
its side on a protective surface like a blanket or towel, then slowly and gently
apply pressure to make a small adjustment. Now check the fit of the
- Repeat the process of measuring,
small adjustment, and checking fit until there's not more than about a 1/8" variance along any
dimension. This takes patience, so take your time and go slowly.
- When you've
finished, your WSM should exhibit little, if any, of the symptoms described above.
- Any minor damage to the
porcelain enamel finish can be touched-up using black high-temp barbecue
paint to prevent rust.
If after all this, you are
unable to resolve a severe "out of round" condition yourself, do not hesitate to
call Weber Customer Service for a free
Charcoal Bowl Damaged
This problem usually manifests itself as a flat spot along
the edge of the bowl. As mentioned in the WSM Unboxed
article, this can happen if the top edge of the box is crushed during shipping.
the rim of the bowl carefully. It should be perfectly round, smooth, and have no
flat spots. There should be no flaking porcelain finish or exposed bare metal
you have a damaged charcoal bowl, contact Weber Customer Service for assistance.
Chipped Or Missing
In rare cases you may
find small areas where the porcelain finish is missing around the edges
of the charcoal bowl, the cooking section or the lid. It may be
that a spot was missed during the finishing process or that the part was
dinged while moving through the factory or during the packing process.
Areas with missing
finish can foster rust. You can touch-up these areas with high-temp
black barbecue paint, or you can contact Weber Customer Service for assistance.
Sometimes a WSM is shipped
with a loose vent damper...it moves at the slightest touch.
A loose damper is the result
of the rivet not being compressed enough during manufacturing. To
tighten the rivet, position the rivet head (the rounded part that's on
the outside of the lid or charcoal bowl) on top of a hard surface like a
vise. Using a hammer and cold chisel (or maybe an old straight-blade
screwdriver you don't care about anymore), tap on the inside edges of
the rivet to flatten it slightly. Take care not to hit the porcelain
surface, which will chip if impacted.
On rare occasions, a vent
damper on the lid or charcoal bowl will get hung up on something and get
bent out of shape during packing or unpacking, or while you are
transporting the cooker to an event. Since the damper is curved to
conform to the shape of cooker, it's just about impossible to bend it
back into shape and get a good fit that controls air flow.
In this case, the
damper must be replaced. Order a WSM vent damper replacement kit from
Weber Customer Service. It consists of three dampers and fastening
hardware: 1/4-20 x 5/8" truss head
screws, 1/4" flat washers, and 1/4-20 inch acorn nuts.
To remove the old
damper, use an electric drill with a 1/4" metal bit to drill out the
inside of the rivet to weaken it, then use a pair of pliers to crush the
rivet and pop it out.
Sometime the tabs on the vent
dampers are bent or flattened. The damper "stops" that control the
open/close position of the damper can also become bent. This happens when the
box is dropped during shipping, causing the lid and charcoal bowl to compress into the packing material, bending the dampers.
In this picture, you'll notice
that the tab on the right side of the vent is almost completely flattened.
You can easily bend these
pieces back into shape by hand or with a pair of pliers.
Won't Close Fully Because Tab Hits Charcoal Grate (22-1/2" WSM only)
Editor's Note: Beginning
in early 2010, owners have reported that this design issue has been fixed in new
The 22-1/2" WSM is designed such
that a damper tab may hit the charcoal grate when the damper is in the closed
position. This prevents the damper from closing fully.
Click this photo for a larger
image; the problem area is circled in yellow.
The easiest solution is to
break off the offending tab with a pair of pliers. The three remaining tabs are
more than sufficient to control the open/close position of the damper.
picture that compares two WSM legs. The bottom leg is normal, but the top leg was misshaped
during the manufacturing process and could not be
attached to the charcoal bowl. Notice that the position of the bottom bolt holes
Weber Customer Service for
assistance if you get a leg that just doesn't measure up.
The tubular aluminum rivets that
fasten the dampers to the lid and charcoal bowl are supposed to be "outies"—the
round head on the outside of the cooker. But sometimes you'll see an "innie",
where the rivet is installed backwards.
This is purely a cosmetic
defect and in no way affects the performance of the cooker.
Cooking Grate Doesn't Fit
In early 2000, there were reports of new WSMs being shipped with top
cooking grates that were too large in diameter. The handled top cooking grate
should fit easily within the diameter of the cooking section and sit flat
on the top flanges of the four grate brackets. If you have a cooking grate
that's too big, contact Weber Customer Service for a replacement.
There have been several reports
over the years of top cooking grates that fall down into the
middle cooking section unless placed just so on the grill strap flanges. This is
most likely caused by an out of round condition at the top of the middle cooking
section, not by a problem with the diameter of the grate. A stainless steel
washer or two placed on each of the four screws at the top of the grill
straps—between the straps and the middle cooking section—will move the grill
strap flanges inward and fix this problem.
Sometimes the top cooking grate
will "rock" because it doesn't sit flat on the grill strap flanges. In this
case, bend the grate gently to flatten it and remove the rocking motion.
Water Pan Falling Down
Variations in the diameter of the
middle cooking section and/or water pan may cause it to fall off the grill
straps and down into the charcoal bowl—a very messy and potentially dangerous
If you feel the
water pan does not fit securely on the grill straps, remove the bottom screw
from one grill strap, slip a stainless steel washer between the grill strap and
the inside surface of the middle cooking section, and replace the screw. Check
the fit of the pan. If it's OK, you're done. Otherwise, continue to add washers
behind the other grill straps until you've got a stable water pan.
Alternatively, you may be able to
remove the grill straps and bend the bottom portion outward, below the bottom
screw hole, so each strap engages the water pan more securely.
Editor's Note: As of
June, 2012, several owners of new
22-1/2" WSMs have reported that Weber is shipping the cooker with washers
for just this purpose.
Lid Handle Loose
A loose lid handle can
be tightened with a Phillips-head screwdriver.
Out Of Round
Sometimes Weber gets a
little sloppy with the fabrication of the charcoal chamber, resulting in a
ring that's not quite round.
While it looks odd,
this condition does not affect the performance of the cooker. You can try
bending it back into shape by hand if you like.
Vinyl Cover Logo Upside Down
I have a friend who
unpacked a new WSM and found that the Weber logo was applied to the
vinyl cover upside down! Someone was clearly asleep at the wheel on
This faux pas does not
affect the functionality of the cover, but I'm guessing that
Weber Customer Service would replace it if you asked.
Wrong Or Missing Part
It doesn't happen often, but occasionally Weber ships a cooker with a
part missing or a wrong part in the box. I know of one person who
received two charcoal bowls but no lid!
Weber Customer Service a call and they'll provide a free replacement part right away.
Putting Things Into Perspective
hope you don't read this topic and think, "Gee, look at all those
problems. I'm not going to buy a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker." These
problems can and do occur, but as I said before, most units arrive in
good shape. I just want you to be aware of the problems you should be looking
out for. And if you find one, give Weber Customer Service an opportunity to make things right. That's what they do best.
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