Outside Grill Drama

Turkey Tracks: July 3, 2020

Outside Grill Drama

My little Weber Spirit II is 2 years old.

It is the perfect size for me as it will also handle grilled food when family or guests come. It’s not too big or complicated. It is just right.

Last year I had trouble with the propane hookup, and a kind friend came and helped me. Can I just say that I have no experience with gas and that hearing and smelling it escape terrifies me. My friend said the propane tank was bad, took it back to the local store, replaced it, and got me going again.

This spring, when I went to grill a steak, something went really bad, and I could smell gas. I turned everything off immediately and when my heart stopped pounding, I started to research. The bad tank had been replaced. Was it the hook-up from the grill to the tank this time?

The name for the silver round piece behind the black attachment knob is called a “regulator.” They can go bad. I ordered a new one which came in a few days. There are videos that show you how to safely replace the piece from the gold bolts. It looked easy, if one has the right wrenches. Nevertheless I called a Lion friend who very, very sweetly came to help.

My friend swiftly replaced the regulator piece. That was no issue, but something was still wrong. We couldn’t get the black knob in the tank right and then everything froze up. The handle on the tank would not budge so we could remove the tank. In time, the system “unfroze,” and my friend rehooked the tank and tested that the grill burners would light. All seemed to be ok.

The next night, I defrosted my steak, which I froze when trouble started. I turned the handle on the tank to let the gas flow to the grill, and Oh MY God!!! Gas everywhere. I turned everything off, walked away, and, heart pounding again, pan fried my steak in the kitchen.

What to do now?

I went to bed and woke with the idea that I would call the propane tank supplier, which is also my household propane supplier. I talked with a very nice woman who said that they “don’t do grills.” But she said she’d talk to the propane tank manager and would call me back.

She did. She said he said that it was most likely the gasket in the tank and to take it off the grill and if it didn’t stop releasing gas after I disengaged it, to just carry it out into the yard and let it play out. Meanwhile, she would call the local store and tell them to replace the tank for me when I brought it in.

With heart pounding, again I tried to remove the tank, but couldn’t budge the black connector knob. I think it was freezing up, like before, which is a fail-safe safety feature. After several tries throughout the afternoon, I finally got the tank off the grill—and it didn’t leak gas. Yeah, one victory.

I took the tank to the store and got a new one. These tanks are super heavy when full, and I had to get mine up a set of steps, a hill, and more steps to get it to the grill. But, I did.

The hook-up requires the strength to lift the tank on to its hook-up latch which is UNDER the permanent tray at the side. But it all went well. The grill lit just fine. And I’ve had several meals with grilled meat in the past days.

This is a long story. But it is a success story—made possible by nice friends, a nice person at the propane company, nice people at the local store, online research and videos, and some personal determination to sort and solve this problem.

Not bad for a 75-year old widow.