So, you’re having grill issues and you think the problem is with your auger. Simply put, this is a small electric motor combined with a gearbox, turning a small shaft in order to move fuel from a hopper to the firepot.
Traeger are well known for supplying low-cost, high quality grilling accessories, making their augers a very popular choice. We’re focusing our attention on those specifically, but our fixes can be applied generally, usually following different steps.
Today we’ll take you through several potential issues and their possible fixes, which should hopefully end up with you cooking again, where you belong.
Warning: An auger is a tricky piece of equipment with many pieces. If you’re not familiar with its various components and inner workings, it’s best to avoid tinkering with them. You could always consult the help of a friend with more know-how!
Problem #1: Jammed Auger
Okay, the auger itself is moving, but those all important hardwood pellets aren’t being fed into the firepot correctly?
It’s possible there’s a jam somewhere along the line: when pellets are exposed to moisture, they can expand and cause blockages.
Thoroughly cleaning out your auger requires total disassembly. Unplug it, empty the hopper and remove it from the grill completely.
You’ll then need to remove the shear pin, the motor and the bushing in order to vacuum up any lodged pellets.
It’s also possible that the internal exhaust passages have filled up with dust or ash, causing further clogs, so it’s important to be incredibly thorough whilst you’re cleaning up. Try and be incredibly careful, too, especially with fragile internal parts.
Once that’s done, it’s simply a case of reassembling. If you’re having trouble at all, Traeger themselves have step by step instructions, as well as a video how-to guide for clearing things up, which might help you out more than a written explanation.
Giving your entire pellet stove set up a good scrubbing is also a good idea after every season. If you’ve just pulled it out again following a break, and you didn’t clean it up before storage, then this might be the root of your problems.
Problem #2: Stationary Auger
In the event that there isn’t a jam to be seen, or you’ve cleaned everything out, put it back together, and the auger still won’t move, then there’s another issue at play here.
Perhaps the shear pin is damaged, or there’s a problem with the power source.
First, set the auger motor on a stable surface, plug it into your nearest outlet, and observe whether or not the motor shaft is spinning. If it isn’t, then you’re going to want to install a brand new motor, as this is likely the culprit of your issue.
When you’ve confirmed the problem isn’t the motor, gently attempt to rotate the auger itself with your fingers. Should it prove difficult to spin, the auger can be moved around more than it should, or the bushing also spins, you need new parts!
You’ll want to replace both the bushing and its plate, as problems with either can result in the bushing inadvertently serving as a braking system. By moving out of place, it stops the auger from spinning as it should.
If the auger appears completely dead, it’s also worth double checking that all of the necessary wiring is properly connected, without any evidence of damage or fraying, as it could be a problem with the power supply.
Some pellet stoves have safety features that will actually prevent the auger from moving if either the door or the hopper is open as it operates. Make sure both are closed, just in case you’ve overlooked such a function!
Problem #3: Overfeeding Pellets
When your issue is one of excess than of lacking, it can be a little trickier to fix.
Auger motors usually turn at one constant speed, switching on as the control board tells them to fire up the motor, and stopping when that signal ends.
The holes in your firepot might be blocked, in which case cleaning it out and preventing further obstructions would solve your problem. Speaking of firepots, make sure it is seated correctly, in an appropriate holder.
Ensure your air intake is adjusted via the butterfly valve; you could also check that the vent pipe is not being obstructed, and that there isn't any stray pellets or a collection of ash building up behind the ash drawer.
Another potential cause is a worn gasket on your stove’s door - this is the component that seals any potential gaps around the door itself. If this is the case, replacing the door gasket and clearing everything out may solve the problem.
When none of the above works, either your stove is incredibly dirty, or there’s an issue with your control board. Altering the rate of feeding on your control panel dictates if the motor performs more or less feed cycles - it could be damaged.
Try adjusting the feed rate so that the motor decreases the frequency of its cycles, turning it down as low as it will go. No visible change to the pellet feeding rate would indicate the need for a replacement control board.
Problem #4: Damaged Blades
Whilst inspecting your auger, you may notice there is some superficial or surface damage to the blades, or the end of the auger itself.
This is another issue that could be stopping it from working as efficiently as it should.
Unfortunately, the only solution to auger damage like this is to replace it - it’s pretty much impossible to return it to its former glory. Fortunately, Traeger offers affordable components, so it won’t cost you too much to pick up a new one.
That being said, it’s definitely worth checking if you’re still under warranty with your original auger, as you may be able to get a replacement free of charge if so. Just calling up customer service will be able to answer that question if you can’t recall!