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Author Topic: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild  (Read 1589 times)

ReanimatedRobot

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My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« on: June 22, 2019, 06:46:45 PM »
So I recently acquired a Weber Ranch after a long day trip with my father.  Looking at the pictures it appeared to be in pretty good condition.  The owner indicated he used it half a dozen times and it showed as it didn't appear to be very dirty and the stainless steel grates appeared to be in pretty good condition.  Upon getting the grill home I ran the serial number and determined it was a 2015 model and the seller indicated that he had not registered the grill.  I went ahead and did so and now I have some of the remaining warranty that I hope I will never need.  Whatever damage that has been had to the grill was mostly just some bang ups in the guy's shop or from occasionally leaving it outside in the elements. 

Looking over the grill the frame had some scrapes and surface rust on the exterior and interior.  The ash pan hand a few chips in the porcelain and one or two spots with surface rust as well.  The kettle itself appears to be in pretty good shape except that the edge has some scrapes (without rust) and there is at least some porcelain chipping on the front handle.  I may find some more after doing a deep clean, but over all considering that I paid for it and getting to have a long overdue road trip with my father I was pretty darn happy.  If nothing else it was fun showing it to friends and family just to see their faces. 
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 08:01:59 PM by ReanimatedRobot »
ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

ReanimatedRobot

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2019, 07:03:54 PM »
The day after the build I couldn't help myself.  Before I could even grill on the thing I had to take it apart and figure out what needed to be cleaned, touched up, and improved on this grill.  As I do with a lot of things I enjoy making my own improvements and tend to over kill it just for the heck of it.  After a lot of time and scouring the internet to see what other members had done and what I might like to do I came up with a game plan.

1.) Clean the kettle and grill grates and do my best to bring them back to like new condition.  After getting them clean and removing any small rust spots I will treat them with high heat grill paint.  I probably wouldn't do this if it was any other color than black as many members had indicated that it would probably turn black if the paint was any other color.  My chips in porcelain coating was pretty limited so touch ups likely won't even be seen.  The main objective is sealing them from any future rust that might develop. 
2.) Improve the framing in anyway I can for longevity and make sure it is prepped for a larger axle and larger wheels.  Then since surface rust was found in the interior of the frame, Rustoleum Rust Reformer will be used to eliminate rust and seal for the future.  The exterior will be sent off to be sandblasted and powder coated at the recommendation of another member @varekai who did something similar. 
3.) Upgrade the wheels.  Unfortunately Weber tends to drop the ball on wheels when it comes to their high end products.  They work great for the regular kettles, but seeing them on this hulking beast is kind of like seeing a giant bodybuilder with chicken legs.  The plastic casters also tend to break and just look puny.  This will also give the added benefit of just being easier to move around at family or church events that are away from home.
4.) Reassemble the grill with as much stainless steel hardware as possible and eliminate all plastic parts from the grill with exception to the lid rollers. 
5.) Improve upon the existing lid handles by adding heat shields and custom wooden handles. 
6.) Grill to my hearts content. 
ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

ReanimatedRobot

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2019, 07:38:22 PM »
With exception to cleaning on the stainless still grill grate (still not done) and other small parts I have kinda been slacking in the cleaning department.  However, I did manage to take the frame to my father in law's shop this weekend and get to work.  I essentially asked him to help me add any welding to the joints that might need to be done, cap the tops of the square tubing to eliminate the need for the aluminum removable caps, and get it ready for the much thicker 5/8" axle. 

Drilling out the original axle holes on the legs that were designed for a 3/8" axle was simple enough as we just used slightly larger drill bits until we got the adequate size.  However, the square tubing for the lid holder that rests on the axle was drilled out and was about a quarter of an inch from the edge.  Being concerned about the metal eventually bending/tearing we welded some 5/8 washers and ground them down to make them look cleaner.  Joints that were not welded at the factory were then welded to make them stronger, and the top caps on all of the square tubing were welded on.  The square tubing for the lid holder did not have the lid hook welded to it as it wouldn't have allowed the rest of the lid holder components to be placed properly.  We also chose not to weld any of the other framing components together as it would make it difficult to disassemble in the future (if you do not have double doors or a garage door then you would be in trouble)  With these improvements there is no more plastic in use other than the lid rollers and it is now much stronger than before.  After the welds were made, an angle grinder was used to clean them up and make sure they wouldn't get in the way during reassembly. 

Some notes about the framing in general in the event that you find one of these and the framing is completely trashed/rusted.  I found that if the framing is in good condition it is adequate for the grill, but could have been done better.  The tops aren't capped, the brackets that attach to the bowl could have been done cleaner and stronger, and it wouldn't have hurt if the tubing had been a thicker gauge steel.  My framing was in pretty good shape overall and had I not been wanting to change out the wheels would have been fine to get sand blasted and repainted as is so I used it.  However, if it was trashed/rusted badly and you have the tools and ability to fabricate (or a really good friend/relative) I think you could do better.  I think the steel might cost you in the neighborhood of $150 or maybe less if you have some scrap or leftovers you could use.  I wouldn't doubt if the parts direct from Weber was in this ball park.  @Jason did a great write up and lots of pictures showing how his mini Ranch build was fabricated and I think it would be a great source for this.  I wouldn't recommend welding the cross bars together on an actual Ranch though unless you never plan on going through a regular door (it is wider than 36") and you really need that extra structure to protect the bowl.  If you are constantly trucking this thing all over then making the frame one piece that doesn't rely as much on the bowl to keep shape might be wise.  Jason's write up can be found here.

http://weberkettleclub.com/forums/weber-grill-modifications-customs/custom-'mini-ranch'-26'-weber-kettle/


« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 08:04:27 PM by ReanimatedRobot »
ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

ReanimatedRobot

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2019, 07:41:28 PM »
Unfortunately it is time to get to cleaning and I will update with how it looks after.  In the next few days the casters, axel, and collars to keep the rear wheels in place should be arriving.  Upon arrival I will do some test fitting to make sure it all works well and the frame will be cleaned, interior tubing is treated for rust, and then painted. 
ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

Walchit

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2019, 01:45:10 AM »
Looks good! Cant wait to see it with the beefier drive train.

ReanimatedRobot

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2019, 10:32:28 AM »
So today I really went after the kettle and ash pan for the Ranch.  Fortunately the bottom wasn't horribly filthy, but the lid had a solid coating of grime.  With a good stash of old rags I started with wiping them down with a good coat of water and dish soap.  This removed some of of the nastiness and at least turned the grime into a very clear brownish color rather than black.  Then I set to work with a razer scraper to get most of the grime off and followed up with 0000 steel wool to get into the hard to reach areas.  Where I could see chips that had rust I did my best to work the steel wool into the spot to get rid of it as much as possible.  Oddly enough an old mechanical pencil tip and eraser helped get into those really small chips with the steel wool.  Afterwards I tried to wipe down the inside and outside fairly well.  I do have some Weber exterior cleaner, but I only plan on using it on the outside after I am done with reassembly.  Using an old plastic container I sprayed some Rustoleum High Heat Ultra that can be used for grills into it.  With the container and a small sponge paint brush I proceeded to coat any chips I could find and around the entry holes of the bowl and lid. 

Some tips to keep in mind when cleaning a monster like this.
1.) If you don't have a trash can to set the bowl/lid on top of, then make sure you at least lay a towel down under it on a table.  I was cleaning the bowl and got some scuffs on the bottom because I wasn't thinking.  It won't really matter as I don't expect someone to crawl under the grill, but it was senseless scuffing that could have been avoided.  The bowl is just too heavy to move around on a table without some damage.
2.) Take special care to look around the rim of the lid, rim of the bowl, and any entry holes as they seem to be the weakest areas for damage and rust. 

I don't anticipate doing a thorough cleaning like this for at least a few years.  At that point I will look over the previous areas of damage and make sure they aren't getting worst. 
ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

bladz

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2019, 02:55:02 AM »
She’s looking good!


Sent from my iPhone using Weber Kettle Club

ReanimatedRobot

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2019, 04:30:47 AM »
I haven't had much time this week to work on the ranch, but I woke up really early this morning and decided to do a test fitting with the axle, wheels and the framing.  The axel was a little tight going into the framing holes, but this is both a good and bad thing.  Good in that the wheels have bearings that I want them to roll on rather than the axle.  Bad in that it is a pain to run through the framing and I wouldn't doubt if I have to take a sander/grinder to it after the paint job just to widen the hole slightly.  I might do it ahead of the time just to be safe.  I did find another issue with the framing rod that holds the lid.  When welding the washers to it we got the hole slightly off and the rod doesn't want to thread through it properly or the right angle.  I plan on grinding this out with a multitool bit to make it work.  I also found that the grill is slightly off from being level due to the casters being about 1/8" too short.  I plan on fixing this by adding another stainless steel washer under it. 

On the plus side, in my opinion, it looks pretty awesome.  The new wheels brings the grate height up to about 33.5 inches which puts in at a similar height to a performer I believe.  This will be appreciated by about anyone around the height of 5'8" and above and gives it about a 2.5" lift.  If you are shorter, you could go with smaller tires/casters or even cut the frame length.  I wouldn't recommend cutting the frame length if you can avoid it though.  With the casters and the new bearing wheels it just glides over the floor.  I think the size of the tires and casters just looks about right.  Below are the parts I used to get this new wheel set up. 

The axle is a 5/8" 304 stainless steel rod that I purchased in a 6 ft length.  So far I think my axle will be just a shade over 36 inches.  I plan on leaving some extra space between the lock collars and the frame as well.  I probably wouldn't purchase the 3 ft length because these rods sometimes come with larger tolerances on length (one was +/- 3 inches).  You can go with a different material to save some money, but my goal was to use as much stainless steel as possible on this build.

https://www.gamut.com/c/raw-materials/stainless-steel-rods?q=stainless+steel

The rear tires are powder coated black no flat tires.  You can save a few bucks by getting the similar pneumatic tires, but why bother with air when it is just getting rolled around the yard and etc.  These are from Harbor Freight.  Make sure you use a 20% (25% if you find a holiday coupon) on each of these for more savings.

https://www.harborfreight.com/13-5-32-inch-x-3-7-16-inch-flatfree-tire-67469.html

As for the casters I went a little overboard and found stainless steel 4" casters with expanding stems.  I definitely recommend the expanding stems on this build as it gets rid of that silly plastic piece where the old casters fit into.  The expanding stem is 1 1/8" if you wish to go with a different material or lock type.  I got these from the Service Caster Corporation and they appear to be quality.  Not to mention I think I ordered on a Thursday and got them the following Monday.  The thing I love about their website is it makes it very clear as to the rise height of the caster so you know you can get the right one.  I searched on Amazon before and some items gave you this info and others didn't. 

https://shop.servicecaster.com/stainless-expanding-stem-caster-p/scc-ssttlex20s414-hrs-mtg43.htm

The final random piece to the puzzle is this set of stainless steel collars I picked up in the 5/8" bore size.  They work really well and look good.  Again you could go a different material to save a few bucks.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019978Q28/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

After seeing it in its near glory I can't wait to get the adjustments made, pick up stainless steel hardware, and get the frame painted up for reassembly. 
ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

ReanimatedRobot

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2019, 04:32:06 AM »
Additional pictures.
ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

ReanimatedRobot

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2019, 04:26:29 AM »
The 4th of July brought some much needed time to get the monster (my wife affectionately calls it the "Duggar" given that it is big enough to feed the Duggar family) cleaned up.  With the help of a kiddy pool and some evapo-rust the bottom grate looks like new!  It really ate through all the rust and after pulling it out a good session with a wire brush on a corded drill has it shining like new.  I also used the kiddy pool to treat the rust that had settled inside the frame.  The only part that was kind of tricky was the middle portion of the frame that sat up high enough that there just wasn't enough evapo-rust for the kiddy pool to get to it.  Fortunately, I found an old TV box that I had been keeping in case it needed returned and the styrofoam was the perfect size to dip the middle portion of the frame.  The directions called for treating the evapo-rust, rinsing it in water, and then dipping it in clean evapo-rust.  I didn't have THAT much evapo-rust (5 gallons), so I opted for wiping everything down really well after I was done treating the metal.  The inside of the frame just air dried.  The good news is that the evapo-rust was so effective I think that using Rust Reformer is kind of unnecessary.  I think I will be returning this assuming the rust doesn't come back in the next few days. 

Now I need to get in touch with the guy who is going to powder coat the frame and make a trip to the hardware store (or stores) to get the stainless hardware. 
ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

Walchit

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2019, 06:27:38 AM »
Nice work!

ReanimatedRobot

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2019, 09:32:48 AM »
A recent development with the styrofoam dip tank.  It did work very well, but it comes with a time limit.  I switched out the frame parts this morning when I woke up at like 6:30 and all looked well.  However, a little after noon the foam had become saturated with the chemical long enough that it started leaking.  It could have just been a slow leak or it could have been breaking down and would have eventually bust open.  Either way, I would try to do this some place where you aren't worried about a mess.  However, I wouldn't recommend doing it outside unless you can cover it up to keep animals away from drinking it.  Everything worked well though!
ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

ReanimatedRobot

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2019, 07:07:01 PM »
Finally done!

Sent from my SM-G925R4 using Weber Kettle Club mobile app

ISO: 18" & 22" Lime, 22" Cado, Clean SSP Frame, Clean & Colored 18" for Midget Mod, and the usual Grails.

inkaddictedchef1

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2019, 09:37:48 PM »
Wowzers nice work!!

Sent from my SM-G965U using Weber Kettle Club mobile app


Walchit

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Re: My Weber Ranch Clean Up and Rebuild
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2019, 01:21:54 AM »
Bad ass! I'm glad you got it finished up, are you gonna cook on that thing or what?