ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

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ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby och29 » 28 May 2012, 08:52

Hi all,
Hopefully you've come here after reading my 'Hello Post' but either way here's what I've done to my 'Q'. Most of them are the common mods that everyone does to an offset smoker so don't expect anything original yet!

Seals
Something that struck me even before I saw what mods people had done was that there were quite a few places for smoke to get out. There were three main areas that I wanted to seal:
  • Firebox door
  • Main grill sides
  • Main grill back

After having a look around I saw lots of people using aluminium flashing to do the job but I think it looked terrible so I ended up using Fire Rope. I got mine from Vitcas who are one of the main manufacturers but it can be for a better price in other places and I really suggest you shop around. You can get it in various sizes and in black and white, although it is harder to find it in black which of course everyone will want! I decided to get 4m x 12mm so that it would fill the biggest gaps and I would have some left over, just in case
The rope will deform and squash so buy larger than the gap you have, I have a could of spots where the gap is about 12mm but since the rope deforms there isn't a tight seal.
Image
Firebox with chimney starter and rope seal by och29, on Flickr

This shows the firebox which had quite a large gap especially on the right hand side. You can also see the main grill side seal. One of the problems is that because the gap isn't uniform you end up with new gaps where the door doesn't press against the seal... although this is easily solved with a brick:
Image
BBQ smoking by och29, on Flickr

Here's a better shot of the side seals:
Image
Firebox with chimney starter by och29, on Flickr

The middle photo should show that there's quite a good seal. One area that does seem to leak is the slide door but for the convenience it brings I'm happy to live with it.
Image
BBQ front 3/4 by och29, on Flickr

I did manage to reduce the leak by lashing the two handles together:
Image
String between BBQ handles by och29, on Flickr
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Re: ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby och29 » 28 May 2012, 08:53

Chimney
Another really common mod is to lower the entrance to the chimney to the level of the grill. Most of the BBQs I've seen this done on have the entrance on the roof but mine had it on the left hand side. Either way the principle seems to be sound, that if you lower the entrance to the chimney you stop smoke and heat making a diagonal across the grill and in doing so keep it where it should be!
Luckily my BBQ has a bolt right above the chimney entrance:
Image
Chimney entrance

I bought some flexible aluminium ducting, almost on a whim, while at Homebase but it was simply a case of cutting an appropriate length to size:
Image
Cutting chimney tube
adding a bend:
Image
Chimney tube - bent

And then putting a hole at the top so I could bolt it in to place.
Image
Chimney mod

As you can see it will stay attached when the lid is up:
Image
BBQ chimney extension

The tube itself is 4'' diameter but the chimney is much smaller than that. In the future I might change this system because you loose a not insignificant amount of grill space. I would prefer to have something that bolted to the chimney itself so I'll probably have to rig up a flange mount at some point but I'm happy with the bodge for now.
Last edited by och29 on 28 May 2012, 09:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby och29 » 28 May 2012, 08:53

That's everything I've done so far but my list for the future includes:
  • Dual grate level thermometers
  • Firebricks
  • A baffle/tuning plate
  • 2 coal baskets for the firebox )

The ProQ trailblazer has an adjustable tray for coals, in the main grill, which I have been using as a deflector plate and seems to work quite well.
The idea behind having 2 baskets is that a smaller, tall basket will have a reduced surface area for coals so the burn will be slower but there will still be the height (equalish to burn time) for long cooks. I plan to fill a basket will charcoal and then put hot coals on top. They will slowly light the ones below it and so on. If I have two baskets it will mean I can swap them over for really long cooks or have both for a quick heat up phase and then remove one/fill it with fewer coals so that I don't produce too much heat during the cook.

If anyone has any comments I'd love to hear them as I'm pretty new to proper BBQing! I've done a write up of my first cook, here, if you want to see more pics.

och29
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Re: ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby KamadoSimon » 28 May 2012, 10:22

Great write up - thanks for this - as I said in another post, this'll be useful for a mate of mine who has bought one of these too. Cheers, Simon
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Re: ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby Pooky » 28 May 2012, 16:33

Awesome post and really helpfull as I'm planning the mods to my Maverick Deluxe (Thanks again to Ed & Emma), which John is very kindly looking after at Bar-B-Q Shack HQ, until I get off nights and get myself over to pick it up (Hopefully this weekend) - I was planning on a baffle, tuning plates and firebricks - I will make the above mods too, to seal up the gaps. Very busy with work at the moment, so might take me a few weeks, but I'll also post photos, when I can get onto it.
Thanks for this Och29
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Re: ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby och29 » 04 Jun 2012, 14:37

Just wanted to give you a quick update about the fire rope seals. Despite using lots of adhesive they have all fallen off. It might be due to the change in weather but I have read that this happens quite a lots with the adhesive the company provides. I have contacted the company but don't expect them to do anything. What ever happens I'll post an update when I decide how I am going to reattach the seals.
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Re: ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby och29 » 07 Jun 2012, 16:12

Further to the above update I've contacted Vitcas, the manufacturer and the people I bought the rope and adhesive from. Their customer support was rubbish TBH: having contacted them via email they looked up my phone number from the order and eventually decided to call me at lunchtime to ask me to provide photo proof. Surely any decent company would have offered at least a token refund to compensate. Having sent proof I had to chsase them up to get a reply. They have said that the adhesive will fail if it gets wet, which because it is a BBQ they said it will do.
I have told them that not only was my 'Q covered but the adhesive actually failed during the hot spell that we had. I don't think we had any significant dew/condensation so I can't see any reason that it should have failed.

They haven't got back to me but I either way I suggest that you not only avoid buying fire rope adhesive if you plan to use it on your 'Q but also avoid buying fire rope direct from Vitcas... as I have said before they are not the cheapest place to find it and their customer support is poor.

I'm going to be looking for some high temperature contact cement or sealant in the mean time and will update this thread when I decide what to go for.
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Re: ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby Fishwick » 07 Jun 2012, 17:11

Hi Och29

I used this stuff to seal the gaps round the door of my offset. It was recomended by Adie, aka All Weather Griller, on this forum (thanks Adie) Its worked great.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Everbuild-Bla ... 357wt_1139

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Craig
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Re: ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby och29 » 13 Jun 2012, 07:30

Thanks Craig, that's the stuff I was looking for!

I was contacted by Vitcas who agreed that there was no reason for the adhesive to fail so they have sent me a replacement order. They also sent me some more fire rope which I can't think of a use for but it is a nice gesture.
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Re: ProQ Trailblazer Mods with Pics

Postby fleagle » 01 Jul 2012, 05:29

Cheers for the mods any chance of close up photos of the baffle you set up? Also is the chimney extender only bolted in at the top?

Probably looking to do the same mods to mine at some point :roll:

On my first smoke I had problems getting the temp up when using the firebox any ideas/tips?

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