Insulating Timberline850, a Covid Project.

DSKG

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I made my first Brisket a while back, it was so incredible I wanted to hug the grill, but didn't lest I end up with a Trager tattoo burned into my chest by the hot logo on the sheet metal! After discussions around insulation here about how it improves efficiency and safety, I dug deep into my Timberline. Also, there are many reported issues with max heat for reverse searing causing paint bubbling in the rear of the Timberline grills.

So my goals were this,
1- Fix the rear overheat issue.
2- Fix the overheated drip collection system.
3- Insulate the entire grill barrel.

I'll detail out what I did in the following posts over the next day or two as I have time. I don't have a metal shop so only used basic tools, vise, hack saw, tin snips, hand drill. I got the stainless steel sheet metal from my local metal fabricator, cut to strips as needed.

Warning, use gloves and a respirator or goggles/face mask while working with the insulation material. While it's ceramic and not asbestos, it is still considered dangerous material to handle.

1- Fixing the rear overheat issue and insulate the barrel bottom.
The dynamics of the airflow inside the grill go like this;
a. The firepot is covered with a baffle, heat blows mainly right and left.
b. 75% of the heat goes up the rear center, front center and up the sides, like a convection oven, recirculating inside the grill barrel.
c. 25% of the heat goes out two small exhaust ports on the right and left, below the drip pan.
d. Those two exhaust ports vent into the rear exhaust box to the outside world.

Looking at the rear of the grill, the exhaust ports are at the bottom right and left of the exhaust box. The grill is "double walled" however, those exhaust ports are single walled and get direct heat blasting into them, then up and out of the box. This is where the paint bubble issues are being seen because it's the hottest spot on the grill. I believe the Timberline 850's get this the worst compared to the bigger models because the grill barrel is shorter so the exhaust ports are closer to the fire pot.

I decided to insulate these corner ports so the hot exhaust could be deflected up into the box and keep these corners cooler. I used 1/2" ceramic wool insulation blanket material, then covered with thin 26 gage stainless steel to take the direct heat.

1- Remove one sheet metal screw from the outside of each each lower exhaust port. replace with a 8-32 stainless machine screw with two nuts, 1 inch long (will trim when done). This will be the post to slide the stainless port protector metal onto and anchor down the material. Insert the screw, add nut inside, then insulation, then sheet metal skin, then 2nd nut.
2- Remove the lower belly pan that surrounds the fire pot.
3- Get the strips of 26gage stainless, make a paper template for the narrow and wide strips, then cut and hand bend them to fit up unto the exhaust ports, drill the hole in each strip to allow them to fit over the stainless bolt, then remove and install the insulation.

This is the ceramic wool material that I used to insulate everything, I also used some foil lined material but I think the basic wool is fine for everything and easier to work with, cuts with scissors.

4- Insulate the lower belly, pack layers of insulation under the drip channel
5- Add the new stainless strips up into the exhaust ports vertically and down into the belly, then add the horizontal ones. (going 2-3 inches inside). Slide them over the stainless screw, add the 2nd nut and tighten enough to hold but don't squish the insulation too much.
6- I insulated the whole belly area, so I had to add additional stainless strips to cover any insulation that the belly pan metal didn't cover, on the right and left sides. Once in place, then replace the belly pan. I had to bend the pan's left side flaps up to allow it to go over the added insulation and stainless covering.

This cured the rear heat issues for me and was the hardest part to do, but wasn't very hard in the end. I can now touch those two corners most of the time, except at max heat but they are much cooler than the stock single layer of steel ever was.

Insulating the rest of the grill was a super easy, read on if you are interested.
How much stainless steel did you use for this whole project?
 
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RemE

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How much stainless steel did you use for this whole project?
I didn't total it up, but strips on the right and left of the belly, to cover the insulation that wasn't covered by the stock center panel, plus the strips used to line the exhaust ports.
 

Holden

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I didn't total it up, but strips on the right and left of the belly, to cover the insulation that wasn't covered by the stock center panel, plus the strips used to line the exhaust ports.
So, you're saying the 4'×10' sheet I bought was overkill? Hahahaha.
 

miguelb

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This post needs to be stick or part of the welcome to the forums since it's something that will come handy. Anyone did this mod on Ironwood 885?
 
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This post needs to be stick or part of the welcome to the forums since it's something that will come handy. Anyone did this mod on Ironwood 885?
I believe that Ironwoods are not double walled, this would make insulating it much harder. Perhaps the belly?
 

JamesB

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This post needs to be stick or part of the welcome to the forums since it's something that will come handy. Anyone did this mod on Ironwood 885?
Don’t think you can do it on an Ironwood.
Timberline has double wall….
 

Stephen111

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Gateway safety goggles are exactly what I was looking for. I was willing to live with a little fogging, but there was none. They didn't even steam up when I got hot and sweaty. And the glasses themselves weren't hot to wear like a mask is. They're sturdily constructed. Very pleased.
 
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Gateway safety goggles are exactly what I was looking for. I was willing to live with a little fogging, but there was none. They didn't even steam up when I got hot and sweaty. And the glasses themselves weren't hot to wear like a mask is. They're sturdily constructed. Very pleased.
???
 

RJ101

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I insulated my 1300 just before it got cold for the winter (1/2 blanket in between the walls on the sides, back and lid). Now that it is warm/hot again, I'm having problems with the temp. Pre-insulation, the controller did a pretty good job at keeping the temp at middle shelf at the temp set in the controller. Now, the actual temp at grate level in the middle is running hotter than the set temp. I've checked the temp at the rtd at the top and what is being displayed as the actual temp on the controller is correct as at the top of the smoker. Problem is that the difference is not always the same - set at 195 and it will run 10-15 degrees hotter; set at 235 and it will run 25-35 degrees hotter, so I can't just offset the same amount no matter what set temp. Right now, have set on 200 and it runs between 20 and 40 degrees hotter. Started a call to Support, but ended because I thought they would just tell me it's my fault for altering the grill. Sure wish we could adjust the controller like some other brands. Anyone else have this problem after insulating or have any suggestions?
 
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I just use my Fireboard to monitor temps and adjust the temp to that. Insulation saves a lot on pellets but it's harder for the grill to dump excess heat. The normal grills lose heat faster, so the controller gets better temp feedback. Insulation tends to hold onto heat as you would expect.

I now ignite mine at 10-20F lower than my recipe needs and then adjust from there.

It's different, but I have no regrets.
 

RJ101

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I just use my Fireboard to monitor temps and adjust the temp to that. Insulation saves a lot on pellets but it's harder for the grill to dump excess heat. The normal grills lose heat faster, so the controller gets better temp feedback. Insulation tends to hold onto heat as you would expect.

I now ignite mine at 10-20F lower than my recipe needs and then adjust from there.

It's different, but I have no regrets.
I'm going to have to take my insulation out. If it were adjusting 10-20 degrees, I'd do it no problem. But set at 200, it runs 25 degrees hotter. Set at 225, it runs 30 degrees hotter. Set at 235, it runs 35 degrees hotter. Heck, I need another PID controller just to estimate how much the offset needs to be based on what temperature is set. I sure liked it in the cold weather, but I can't use it like this in the summer.
 
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I've been using mine for a year, summer temps average 70-90F here and it's not been a problem regulating temp. Only adding Shawn's heavy gage stainless flame baffle and drip pan seems to have added some thermal mass that fights the controller. I have replaced controllers a few times, it is possible that yours is having an issue. Support has been pretty helpful when needed.
 

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Did you contact support after you insulated? If so, did you disclose, or did they ask about the insulation and was it an issue? Did Traeger replace the controller after the insulation?

I too got Shawn's heavy drip pan and baffle, but took them out thinking they were causing the smoker to run hot. I'm trying to remember if this problem started before or after the last firmware update that was pushed out to the controllers.
 
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Actually no, and now that you mention it, my temps issue currently, did begin after this latest update. The insulated grill has held its set temp very well. But, the measured temp with an other probe (Fireboard) would show a higher actual temp in the lower range, but pretty much equal above 250F.

After this latest update, the grill's indicated temp is higher than the set temperature. That is the problem, they tweaked something, and caused this. I honestly don't think it's related to insulation and wouldn't mention it. As I said mine has held set temps for a year, I'd forgotten about the recent update, it is the cause.

Time to check in with support.
 

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Actually no, and now that you mention it, my temps issue currently, did begin after this latest update. The insulated grill has held its set temp very well. But, the measured temp with an other probe (Fireboard) would show a higher actual temp in the lower range, but pretty much equal above 250F.

After this latest update, the grill's indicated temp is higher than the set temperature. That is the problem, they tweaked something, and caused this. I honestly don't think it's related to insulation and wouldn't mention it. As I said mine has held set temps for a year, I'd forgotten about the recent update, it is the cause.

Time to check in with support.
Well, I wanted to test the theory that the update was a problem, but can't get my controller to factory reset. While on the about grill screen I hold the ignite button for 10 seconds until the logo appears and the controller then shuts off. I even unplugged the smoker and power cycled it to completely drain the power. No joy. When turn it on, nothing has reset; still the same firmware, wifi and grill name present.
 

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