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PK360--issue with vent tube bushings?

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    PK360--issue with vent tube bushings?


    I removed one of the vent tubes on my month old PK360 to blow some of the ash out of it and was surprised to see this:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	PK360 Melting bushing.jpg Views:	0 Size:	3.18 MB ID:	888047

    That torn up part is a plastic bushing (or half bushing) that the vent tube rotates on. Seems to me like another smart engineering step from the PK folks, and that it's supposed to minimize wear and maybe galling when aluminum moves on aluminum. Except that the material chosen doesn't seem up to the task.

    I'm assuming that the plastic gets soft during cooks, and that rotating the vent tube then tears it up. The other side looks much the same. I haven't done any extended high temp cooks on my PK yet, i.e., no sessions where I'm trying to maintain 500F+ for things like pizza. Just the normal steaks, burgers, chicken (at a sustained 350F) and low and slow pork. Obviously aluminum is a great conductor, but I wouldn't have expected the outside, underside to get all that hot. I'll try to remember to aim the infrared thermometer at it next time I cook.

    I contacted PK about it, stating that while it's not a significant problem yet, I'm a little worried about it getting worse, especially since I've only used my new grill maybe a dozen times. With more wear, it seems like the vent tube won't be able to block incoming air as effectively, making it harder to control temps and shut down the grill at the end of a cook.

    I got a prompt reply from them: "That is actually very normal and will not affect the airflow, no need to worry!"

    I'm not stressed about this, but still I was hoping to hear that maybe that had a batch of substandard parts, or that they were working on a new replacement bushing with better durability. It looks like it should be replaceable, as the lower vent tube brackets that hold this piece are held on with machine screws.

    Anyone else see this on their PK360, and if so, any concerns?
    Last edited by JackJ; July 29, 2020, 07:31 AM.

    #2
    Mine is lucky to get most of the ashes pushed out the ash-hole, much less be taken apart! So I went out and looked, since it came assembled (I'm assuming, I don't remember having to put it together, but then I don't remember a lot anyway.) I see you removed the set screw to slide it out. Mine has a lot of play in it, so even if the bushing were removed I don't think there would be significant wear, and it would take a lifetime to wear through. I also noticed that the bracket comes off easily, so it would be an easy replace. I'd suggest that if you are concerned, just put a thin film of grease on it and put it back together.

    I'll add that I've had mine for at least three years now and have no trouble with the coals not going out at the end of the cook.

    And, if you haven't seen the mods that Polarbear777 and Larry Grover have done, I'll try to find the threads for you. Putting in the fan would solve any worries you have.
    Last edited by ComfortablyNumb; July 29, 2020, 08:57 AM.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks! Good to know that you're problem free after three years. Since ash and dust does get in around those vent tubes, I was worried a little about wear over time. In replacing my aging Weber 22", one of the reasons I switched to the PK was because I expect it to outlive me by a considerable margin, based on the longevity of their original design. I still expect to get that kind of lifespan from it, but the early wear on that plastic part gave me a bit of pause. I'm going to ignore it for now, but if it starts to bother me again, I suspect I can try to shape something a little more durable to fit.

      Just back from the butcher's with a 7.5 lb butt which will hit the PK late Saturday night.

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