Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Operation BBQ ressurection

I've been wanting a weekend project for quite some time since moving to the Gold Coast and finally with a free weekend up my sleeve and the hankering to get messy with a couple of afternoons of DIY, I found a suitable candidate. A 6 burner hooded BBQ that really needed a second lease on life.

So...Almigo to the rescue then!
Turns out (once again) that it was quite the adventure,

The confusion. Oh the confusion.

It was my wife Donna who found this BBQ for sale for just $80 and messaged the seller straight away to see if it was still available. Apparently there was someone coming to look at it that afternoon. No worries, we'll wait a day and see if it's still available. 
The next day she text again and mentioned that if it was still for sale, we'd pop around at 2:30 to take a look.
'Ok' was all we got in reply.

This is going well. 

When we asked if it was easily dismantled, he replied that it was just once piece. Wait, no it's not. 
Then he followed up with 'It's real wood and not veneer.'
On a stainless steel BBQ? What was going on here?

Still, I jumped in the car and drove to another millionaires neighborhood to go and have a look.

More than meets the eye.

It turns out he was selling practically everything he had to make it easier to move back to New Zealand. And in dealing with my wife he confused her for someone interested in a big bit of outdoor furniture which is why he was telling us about the wood and the fact that you couldn't take it apart. You could take the BBQ apart of course, cos it's a BBQ. 

The claim that it was only one year old? Rubbish. This thing had seen many a season of frying grilling and burning.

While it did look well used I figured even I could get it back to it's grilling and dealing best and handed over the 80. All I had to do now was get it to the wagon...

The struggle.

Massive 6 burner bbq covered in grime + the owner living on a gloriously steep hillside + the two of us carrying this massive monster up the grass and the driveway = not much fun at all. Then of course I had to break it down into plenty of bits that would fit in the back of my Stagea because fully assembled, I had no chance of getting it in. Out came the toolkit and 40 minutes later toiling away on a warm afternoon, I finally got the last piece in. Wow, this would be fun putting it all back together wouldn't it?
(Especially when one of the rusty burner rails snapped off in the process and made me start to regret my bargain BBQ...)

So where do we start here?

The best place possible. Bunnings Warehouse! Full of cleaners and replacement parts for all your BBQ restoration needs. We ended up with a couple of new rails, a decent scraper, a new ignition clicker switch, bbq cleaner, a regulator and a new gas bottle. The previous owner offered to sell me his gas bottle but given the condition the BBQ was in, thankfully I passed.

The journey

Brace yourself, plenty of pics on the way...

First things first, I found one of my mechanics gloves. I cut myself a couple of times the day before with no hand protection while attempting to dismantle it so even one glove was better than none.

This cleaning pack for just 20 bucks turned out to be insanely helpful, especially the can of foaming cleaner. Anything that was removable soon found itself enjoy a nice long chemical bath...

In went the well worn flame tamers...

And the battle scarred plate...

And while they were soaking, I set up another bath in another tub for the grates and other flame tamers. Which left....ugh

A whole lot of burnt in crispy crap to chip away and a missing rail to sort out. So chip away with a scraper I did (no wonder this thing weighed so much with all that cooked on food!) and then it was bath time once again..

I took the hood off so the back could get some attention too. 

Right, now lets have a look at our burner problem. First things first, lets free up the mounting holes for the new rails. I have no idea where my can of WD40 ended up and since the bolts were rusted shut, extreme measures were called for..

Very handy that these things come in packs of two as I later noticed a big dirty crack in another of the rails and thankfully had a spare handy.

Your grilling days are over old rail...

For some reason the new rail holes are mounted on the left (I originally had them the wrong way around until I looked at the other old rails) and so to keep them relatively straight, I had to bring out the power drill and make some new holes. Still, things look far nicer now.

Mounted the wrong way around. The horizontal holes should be facing the bottom.

The dead clicker was the next problem...due to the fact that it didn't click or produce any spark any more.

One year old. Sure. If you believe that there's some real estate on the moon I'd like to sell you...

Thankfully Bunnings sells a replacement by Gasmate for around 10 bucks. (It's called a Piezo ignition)

The original one was spot welded to the rail itself so to attatch this one, I used an all metal hose clamp and tightened it up with a screwdriver. Fires up straight away now. Excellent.

So now we have workable lines and proper ignition, it's time to test the gas flow. This particular gauge and regulator has a leak test function - you run the gas for a minute, pump the dial five times, turn the gas off and wait. If the needle makes a bee line for the empty part of the gauge in under 60 seconds, there's a leak. If it holds steady in the green, everything is good. I detected a leak the first time around, tightened up the connections and everything tested fine the next time around.

After de-gunking the flame tamers, back they went. The semi rusty ones are now under the solid hot plate so that nothing falls on them during cooking and starts a fat fire.

The hotplates still came up pretty yuk after repeated cleaning attempts so rather than waste any more time attempting to scrub some life back into them, we opted to buy new ones instead. So back to Bunnings we went..

Originally the drip tray looked like the remnants of a horde of cats after an all you can eat kebab fest. So I chipped up as much of the old fatsorb as I could and applied a fresh batch.

A quick wipe down and we've got a pretty fine looking BBQ I must say. Now that everything's back to working order there's just one last thing to do...

On full, it flame grilled everything. On medium it did just fine and in our celebration of BBQ rebirth, we enjoyed a feast of lamb chops, snags, chicken sticks, onions and salad. Oh and I made sure I toasted the BBQ for it's fantastic efforts...



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