How to build a better Mouse, I mean Drip Trap, a Covid project

RemE

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I've read several folks complaining of grease fires and poor grease drainage. I was cleaning my grill yesterday and really looked over the front drip channel to see what could be done. The front channel is pretty integral to the grill and mine clearly collects and burns most of the drippings that collects there. It "should" drain quickly to the left side, down, and out into the collection pan, most of it does NOT.

I placed a level in the channel and mine is basically level in the middle, but slopes slightly to the right on the right side (where it can't drain) and slightly to the left on the left side. This is why the grease sits and burns up here, there is not near enough slope in this pretty hot area. I was going round and round on how to fix this and here's what I came up with.

I sparked on the idea of a channel liner, something that was sturdy, thin, and removeable for cleaning. I cut up some cardboard and made some models, then sketched up a simple folded channel. I called my local sheet metal shop, emailed them the sketch, and had the part in about 2 hours, apparently they like us smokers! Their minimum charge is $50 but they dropped it to $35, well worth it if you don't have the tools to cut and bend thick metal!

This simple folded 16 gage (about 1/16" thick) stainless steel liner just drops into the front grease channel. I marked and trimmed the right side for it to be raised and clear the drip pan cut-out. Then I drilled and tapped a 8-32 stainless flat head screw on the right to act as a prop up to raise the right side about 5/8" (15mm).

The liner just drops in place, the drip pan fits normally and drains into the channel. Checking with a level shows that the slope is now very pronounced, grease will drain quickly to the left, down and out. Another plus is that this new liner is protected from direct heat by the existing grease channel around it so grease shouldn't get a chance to burn as much. I'm surprised at how stiff this channel is, very sturdy, should last a long time.

To test it I poured about 2 1/2 cups of water onto the drip tray fairly quickly and it all rushed down into the bottom tray, leaving no standing water anywhere. When I install new drip pan liners, I smash down the edge bead on the liner at both front side grease spouts so nothing pools.

All-in-all I'm super happy with this little add-on, hope it helps anyone in the same situation!

Edit, I have now added a folded 26 gage Stainless flap in the center of the drip channel, just cut with tin snips and hand folded in my vise. I tucked it in between the belly heat shield and the drip channel. This shields any drippings in the channel from the hot fire gasses that pass out the center of bowed drip pan and keeps them from burning up in the middle of the channel.

Edit, I gave away my liner to another user and went to re-create the liner. I ended up taking it further with a bit more fabrication. I had the right end capped off and made the liner a bit wider, and made the sides higher. See further posts in this thread.
 

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mk3boy

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how is it working ?
 
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RemE

RemE

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how is it working ?

I'm happy to say that it works great, even cooking at 500F the my grease channels don't get hot enough to burn up the grease like they used to. Plus, my removeable front channel liner is easier to just pull and clean.
 

DonJ

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Have you been contacted by Traeger yet? Lol
 
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RemE

RemE

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Ha, ya right...

I will say that having that front channel liner be removable has been great!
 

osmedd

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I am looking at building this (okay, a metalworking friend of mine) and the question was raised whether galvanized steel would be an adequate substitute for stainless. My materials and metallurgy class was a while back, any thoughts?
 

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I am looking at building this (okay, a metalworking friend of mine) and the question was raised whether galvanized steel would be an adequate substitute for stainless. My materials and metallurgy class was a while back, any thoughts?

Wouldn't hurt... I'm gonna do mine outta aluminum flashing and use good magnets
 
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RemE

RemE

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I am looking at building this (okay, a metalworking friend of mine) and the question was raised whether galvanized steel would be an adequate substitute for stainless. My materials and metallurgy class was a while back, any thoughts?
I would stick with 16ga stainless as drippings do congeal in the channel. I remove it and use a putty knife and soapy water to scrape it clean. You would scrape off the galvanized coating if the heat didn't flake it off first
 

Slimpicker

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I used one piece of aluminum angle in another spot and it melted into a blob.
I would consider not using it.


OH CRAP, MY BAD... I'm in the WRONG thread!! HAHAHA I thought this was about the 'pellet chute"...
So the answer to osmedd would be NO, you never put Galvinized inside your smoker

RemE is right, stick with the stainless


(sorry guys, still working on waking up this morning...LOL)
 

Fallsilent

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Ok, so I'm just reading this now. I'm upgrading from a Pro 575 to a TL850 and I just picked up my TL850 last night. It's still sitting in the box in my garage. I plan on assembling it tomorrow and seasoning it. This grease issue seems to be a legit concern. However, after reading this, Reddit and this forum are the only two places I can see this problem being mentioned. Nobody has made a youtube video about it yet (at least I couldn't find one) which is surprising. It's leading me to believe that only a small percentage of 850's are affected with this issue.

My question is this........Is everyone experiencing this same issue or are there some 850's that are functioning correctly? Has anyone actually said their 850's grease system is working properly straight out of the box?
 
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RemE

RemE

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I suspect that Traeger may have fixed this on newer units as it is a build flaw on mine for sure, which is 1 1/2 years old now. From day one, I noticed that the majority of the drippings burned up in the drip pan and front channel when cooking with higher temps. Very little actually made it to the lower drawer at all. I don't know how many other 850 users have bothered to dig into the issue. I used mine a year before really analyzing how it all was supposed to work, and what wasn't working well.

When I analyzed my unit, I found the front channel did not have a pronounced slope to the left, in fact it is level in the middle and slopes down to the left but unfortunately down to the right with no escape. This caused drippings to burn up in the middle and right where there was no escape. I made the insert with good slope, problem solved, plus easier cleaning.

You can test yours by pouring water gently on the drip pan an watching the water flow, especially from the right side with very low flow.

Side note, I also had drip tray issues, liners tended to melt and "weld" to the pan. I called Traeger about this and they sent me a new drip pan this week. The new drip pan is now stainless steel, the old one wasn't. This is a nice improvement so they do seem to be updating their products along the way.
 

Fallsilent

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I suspect that Traeger may have fixed this on newer units as it is a build flaw on mine for sure, which is 1 1/2 years old now. From day one, I noticed that the majority of the drippings burned up in the drip pan and front channel when cooking with higher temps. Very little actually made it to the lower drawer at all. I don't know how many other 850 users have bothered to dig into the issue. I used mine a year before really analyzing how it all was supposed to work, and what wasn't working well.

When I analyzed my unit, I found the front channel did not have a pronounced slope to the left, in fact it is level in the middle and slopes down to the left but unfortunately down to the right with no escape. This caused drippings to burn up in the middle and right where there was no escape. I made the insert with good slope, problem solved, plus easier cleaning.

You can test yours by pouring water gently on the drip pan an watching the water flow, especially from the right side with very low flow.

Side note, I also had drip tray issues, liners tended to melt and "weld" to the pan. I called Traeger about this and they sent me a new drip pan this week. The new drip pan is now stainless steel, the old one wasn't. This is a nice improvement so they do seem to be updating their products along the way.
Thanks for the reply. This is very useful information. I will test mine with water once I have it setup. I’ve actually already asked my shop to have that stainless channel fabricated based on the drawing you provided. I work in an industry where we rely on fabrication shops daily so it was a no brainer for me. Thanks again.
 
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RemE

RemE

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I gave my channel liner to a new friend here. I got back to fabricating a replacement and made some changes to try to make it even better. I slightly widened it, capped the right side, the raised the sides as well. This ensures that the liner covers the stock channel completely and catches the drippings from the pan better. It cost me about $120 since the right side needed an additional fold and weld to cap the end, the left side was trimmed at an angle, so more labor from my sheet metal guy.

I drilled, tapped, and installed the tilt screw into the right side, then inserted the liner into the grill's stock channel. I then took a black Sharpie and traced the back edge of the curved channel onto the liner. Then I used a small angle grinder to trim the liner to match that curve. Now the liner really covers the entire stock channel and decisively drains all drippings.

Here's the new look and sketch.

IMG_9320.JPG

V2 Channel Liner Sketch.jpg
 

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