Z grill is one of the most outstanding grills out there.
They come up with premium features that is not easily found in other grills.
They use wood pellets as the main source of fuel that are automatically added to the fire pot by an auger motor.
In this way, you do not have to keep adding pellets manually.
There is a combustion fan fitted inside the grill for proper air circulation to keep the pellets burning in the fire pot.
So, you just need to set it and forget it!
You don’t need to babysit the grill while cooking anything over it.
As the pellet grill is made of lots of different parts and technical components, where even a single small loose screw could cause a problem.
But don’t worry, they’re easier to fix than they are prone to breaking.
What if you set the grill properly, but you notice that the Z grill auger is not turning?
As I said above, you can easily fix this issue. For fixing the issue, you need to get into its causes.
It may occur because of auger gets clogged.
Sometimes auger motor is a culprit. The dead or defective auger motor leads to this issue.
The Z grill auger won’t turn during the initial start-up process.
If it happens to you, you are not alone!
Many Z grill owners encounter this issue.
Today we will go through its causes and fixes in detail.
Let’s dive into it.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is Auger Shaft?
- 2 What are the Signs That Your Pellet Grill Auger is Malfunctioning?
- 3 Main Causes for Z grill Auger Not Turning
- 4 Solutions for Z Grill Auger Not Turning
- 4.1 Enough pellets in the fire pot at initial start-up of the grill
- 4.2 Clear the jammed pellets by power Cycling the Auger Motor
- 4.3 Gently Tap the Auger Shaft to clear the auger jam
- 4.4 Use best pellets for your grill
- 4.5 Store the grill in a closed/covered area
- 4.6 Get rid of the obstruction in the hopper
- 4.7 Clean or replace the auger shaft
- 5 How to Clean or Replace the Auger Shaft?
- 6 Final Thoughts
What is Auger Shaft?
Let’s get to know first, what is an auger shaft?
The auger shaft is a long spiral metal shaft that performs as a worm drive.
It pushes wood pellets at a very slow rate from the hopper through a feed tube into the fire-pot.
The auger shaft pushes the wood pellets through the feed tube.
There is an auger motor attached to the end of the auger shaft.
The auger motor rotates at very slow RPM, i.e 1.6 to 2 RPM depending on which Z Grills model you own.
What are the Signs That Your Pellet Grill Auger is Malfunctioning?
If you have an auger on the pellet grill that is not working, you might notice some indications on your grill.
They are as follows:
Feeding pellets more slowly into the fire pot
Most of the Z grills rotate the auger very slowly, only 1.6 RPM to 2 RPM.
If there is an issue with the Z grill auger, it feeds the pellets even slower rate.
Then you should look into it immediately so that there wouldn’t be a bigger issue happen in future.
Wild temperature fluctuation
You can observe a wild temperature issue if the auger has some problem.
Your grill may shoot high temperature or reach a very low than the set temperature.
The auger stops feeding pellets into the fire pot
If you find the auger suddenly stops feeding the pellets, then obviously you have to fix the auger.
If the auger stops feeding the pellets into the fire pot, the grill stops functioning.
The auger not turning and seems to jam
If the pellet grill auger not turning and it gets jam inside the grill, it may occur due to various reasons that we look into it further in detail in this article.
The auger motor gets hot quickly
The auger motor is a device that is connected to the spiral auger.
It feeds wood pellets from the hopper through a feed tube into the fire-pot at a slow rate.
The Pellet grill auger stops feeding the pellets halfway
If the auger stops feeding the pellets halfway during the grilling process it means there is having some issue with an auger.
Main Causes for Z grill Auger Not Turning
Initial start-up of the grill
If you recently buy Z pellet grill, you may encounter an issue that the grill auger not turning in the initial start-up.
It takes a time to get the auger fully loaded with wood pellets during the initial start-up of your grill.
Typically, the auger won’t turn when you start the grill for the first time.
Auger gets jammed
If you find that your grill auger not turning, it means it gets jammed
The Z grill auger may get clogged due to the following reasons.
Foreign objects stuck in the auger shaft
There are foreign objects in the auger that may cause the auger to get jammed.
If there is any foreign object in the pellets, it may go inside the hopper while filling the pellets into the hopper.
It will reach into the auger through the pellet hopper.
Once this foreign object goes into the auger and it clogs the auger tube.
The contamination from a hard foreign object leads to the auger getting jam.
Sometimes also the small screw or nail gets into the pellet hopper and it goes into the auger.
Finally, it clogs the auger.
The wet pellets cause the auger jam. If there is enough water on the grill and it goes into the hopper, the wood pellets inside the hopper get wet.
Once the wood pellets get wet located inside the hopper, it turns into sawdust.
When sawdust sits into the auger for longer, it eventually dries up.
This sawdust becomes very hard.
The auger cannot push the hard sawdust and so the auger won’t turn.
Once the pellets are contacted with humidity, they swell up and cause an auger jam.
If the auger gets stuck with these moist pellets, it won’t able to feed pellets into the fire-pot.
Sometimes the wet pellets become hard like concrete and you need to extract them manually.
Burnt/ faulty Auger motor
Sometimes the auger won’t turn because of auger motor burnout.
The auger motor burns due to various reasons such as a jammed auger or another component fault.
If the auger shaft is moving freely, but it is not rotating, there is a possibility of the auger motor issue.
It will expel a burning plastic smell if the auger motor gets burnt out.
You should inspect the auger motor for any visual damage.
If the auger motor gets burnt out, you will notice brown discoloration on the motor windings or the cables.
Sometimes the auger motor is itself is faulty, so that auger won’t turn.
Because of the dead auger motor, the auger won’t work at all.
So, in both the cases such as a burnt auger or faulty/dead auger, you need to replace the whole auger motor.
Solutions for Z Grill Auger Not Turning
Enough pellets in the fire pot at initial start-up of the grill
If your grill auger not turning in the initial start process, you should put enough pellets into the fire-pot.
The auger will feed a few pellets to start the fire without loading the fire-pot with wood pellets.
Once you notice that the fire has started, the auger should turn regularly to feed the pellets to the fire-pot.
So, if the Z grill auger not turning at the initial start-up procedure of your grill, then you are not alone!
It’s normal, especially for the initial start-up procedure.
Clear the jammed pellets by power Cycling the Auger Motor
If your grill auger not turning due to jammed pellets, you need to clear them immediately.
For this you have to go through the following steps;
1. Turn the controller knob repetitively between Shut Down Cycle (2 seconds) and Smoke setting (2 seconds).
2. You will see each time the knob is turned to Smoke, the auger motor will run for about 3 seconds.
3. You can check the auger, at the bottom of the hopper, whether it is turning properly or not.
4. If the auger is not turning after 4 to 5 tries, you should try the next method.
Gently Tap the Auger Shaft to clear the auger jam
1.By using a hammer and wood piece slightly tap the end of the auger in the fire-pot and the blades of the auger shaft located at the bottom of the hopper.
2. It will assist to free up the auger shaft.
3. You can try wobbling the shaft. After that, if you observe that it is freed up, power cycle the auger motor again as aforementioned in the above method.
If the above methods won’t work you will need to take apart the grill and remove the auger shaft and clean it thoroughly.
Use best pellets for your grill
You should always use good brand pellets in your Z grill.
For the right functioning of your grill, you should use Z grill wood pellets.
Their pellets work wonderful and full flavor without being harsh or overbearing.
But you can’t find Z grill pellets handy, you can use other trusty brand’s pellets.
Make sure the pellets you are using are 100% hardwood.
Store the grill in a closed/covered area
If your grill gets wet outside due to rain or other environmental conditions, there is a possibility of water gets into the hopper and getting the wood pellet wet into the hopper.
So that it is essential to store your Z grill in a closed area like a garage or place where your grill doesn’t get wet in the rain.
You can also make use of a canopy to protect your grill. It saves your grill from rain or even hot sun.
Get rid of the obstruction in the hopper
Sometimes there are some sawdust or any foreign objects in the pellets.
They go through the hopper into the auger while feeding the pellets into the auger.
You can sift your wood pellets to get rid of excess sawdust or foreign objects that are mixed with pellets.
If you have already filled the hopper with pellets without sifting, you need to take out the pellets and inspect if there is any obstruction.
So, cleaning the pellets and the hopper and once again starting the grill will help to get rid of this issue.
Clean or replace the auger shaft
If your auger gets clogged you need to clear the auger.
Sometimes you’ll have to replace it for the proper functioning of the grill.
For this, you should disassemble the grill.
Below, we mentioned in detail how to clean or replace an auger motor on the Z grill.
How to Clean or Replace the Auger Shaft?
No matter what causes the auger to get clogged, you need to clear the blockage.
You can free up or replace the auger shaft by following step by step process:
Unplug the power cord
You should unplug the power cord from the electrical source before performing any maintenance or cleaning job of your grill.
Get hopper empty
Using this pellet scoop remove out as many pellets out as you can.
You have to vacuum out the leftover pellets in the Auger.
Making cleaning of wood pellets easy, remove the guard plate temporarily.
There are 4 screws are fixed under the front and rear lips of the guard.
Take care not to drop the screws down into the auger entry hole.
Release the base cover
Remove 3 front and 3 rear screws to remove the base cover.
The base cover will remove once the screws are released but it will be held in place because of the power cable.
Gently push the cable up through the cable tension ring which helps to drop the cover down.
In this way, the hopper box comes off easily.
Remove the controller
Using a screwdriver, release the two screws from the controller.
Gently pull out and then tilt the controller sideways to remove it through the hopper box hole.
Disassemble the hopper box
Using a screwdriver remove the two front and two rear screws.
Lift the hopper box carefully and put it sideways.
After completing these steps, you have clear access to the controller and all the electrical components inside the grill.
Unplug the cable of the auger motor
Free up the cables by cutting all the cable ties.
There is a cable labeled MOT that powers the auger motor.
Unplug it by holding the plastic connectors, not the wires.
Untie the knot in the auger motor power cable.
Release the jammed auger shaft
Using a screwdriver remove any accessible wood pellets or wood dust in the auger tube and vacuum them.
Remove the screw located at the side of the tube which secures the white plastic spacer.
With this take-out, the auger can slide right out.
You can also tap the end of the auger in the fire-pot with a hammer and piece of wood.
Make sure you won’t the auger haft while doing this.
This helps to break the wood concrete enough to pull out the auger motor and shaft.
Pull out the white plastic bearing by removing the screw located on the side of the tube.
Now, you can rotate the auger shaft to access the black bolt.
Remove the shaft bolt by using the pliers and Allen key.
Put everything back together
Now, replace the faulty auger motor with a new one.
Make sure you are fixing it in the right place.
Now, do the reverse process to fixing back everything.
Connect the auger motor plug into the controller plug that is labeled as MOT.
Now, zip ties all the cables and back everything into their right places.
Replace the controller back in its place by fixing it with two screws.
Test the auger motor
Before fixing the bottom cover first test the auger motor for operation of the grill.
Once it is confirmed that everything is working fine, turn the power OFF and disconnect from power.
For fixing the bottom cover, put all 6 screws back in place.
If the auger feed tube is totally emptied of wood pellets, you have to go through the initial start-up procedure of the Z grill to prime the wood pellets.
But there is no need to complete the initial burn-in once again.
Now you know, how to fix the Z grill auger that is not turning.
First, you should find out the main cause behind stuck auger, then only you can fix this issue properly.
All it requires is a little time and patience to understand the problem and then speedily deal with it.
The next time you see the Z Grill auger not turning, no need to panic.
With our detailed troubleshooting tips and fixes, you’ll have your Z Grill up and running in no time.