This article covers how to replace the auger motor in a Z Grills 700 series pellets smoker.
For Grill Models: 7002B, 700E, 700E-XL
Spare Parts (from Z Grills):
- Auger motor
- Cable ties & spiral wrap
- 7/16″ Allen key
- Pliers or small socket set
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Scissors or knife
What is the Auger Motor?
The auger motor connects to the spiral auger that feeds wood pellets from the hopper through a feed tube into the fire-pot.
It rotates the auger very slowly, only 1.6 RPM (revolutions per minute) for most Z Grills models.
The controller turns the auger motor on/off intermittently to supply wood pellets into the fire-pot to reach and then maintain the set temperature.
A small fan on the front of the auger motor cools the motor, not to be confused with the large fan underneath the hopper that supplies air to the fire-pot.
Auger Motor Failure
The auger motor can sometimes “burn out” and stop working if the auger is jammed (can’t rotate) or due to some component fault. A burnt out motor will often release a “burning plastic” smell and have visible brown discolouration on the motor windings or cables. A visual check of the motor is therefore an excellent first step in diagnosing if it could be the reason for a power trip or blown fuse.
Z Grills stocks replacement auger motors and this page provides a step by step guide to replace one.
If still within the 3 year warranty period, please contact our customer support team who can provide you with a replacement auger motor. If out of warranty you can purchase an auger motor from here in Australia, and here in the US.
Check out the step by step instructions with photos on this page to understand how to replace a burnt out auger motor.
Step 1. Unplug the Power
Before doing any maintenance or cleaning, always unplug the power to the grill.
Step 2. Empty the hopper
Scoop as many pellets out as you can using a plastic scoop or cup.
Vacuum out the remaining pellets so you can see the Auger.
To make cleaning out all the wood pellets easier, you may want to temporarily remove the guard plate. 4 screws are located just under the front and rear lips of the guard. Take care not to drop the screws down into the auger entry hole.
Step 3. Remove base cover
Remove the 6 screws (3 front, 3 rear) to release the base cover.
The base cover should drop down once the screws are removed but will be held in place by the power cable.
If possible, gently push the cable up through the cable tension ring to drop the cover down a bit lower. This will make getting the hopper box off a little easier.
Step 4. Release the Controller
Remove the two screws from the controller.
Gentle pull the controller forward and then tilt sideways to push back in through the hole in the hopper box.
Once pushed through the hole, the controller may dangle down below the hopper box as shown.
Step 5. Remove hopper box
Remove the two front and two rear screws.
Carefully lift the hopper box up and off and place to the side out of the way.
You now have clear access to the controller and all the electrical components.
Step 6. Check the fuse
If the auger motor has failed and tripped the power (quite common) the fuse is most likely blown.
A spare fuse is zip tied to the top of the green fuse box.
Cut the white cable tie and pull the top off the green box with the fuse housed inside.
If blown, swap the fuse out with the spare.
The fuse type is a 3A M205 Fast Blow Fuse, which is widely available from electric parts outlets and hardware stores.
Step 7. Unplug the auger motor cable
Cut off all the cable ties to free up the cables.
Identify the cable labelled MOT on it which powers the auger motor.
Carefully unplug by gripping the plastic connectors, not the wires.
Undo the knot in the auger motor power cable and pull the cable and plug through the hole in the metal plate.
Release a stuck auger shaft
The auger shaft (and motor on the end) should be able to freely rotate and move in/out as shown above. If it is stuck in position (due a jammed pellets or moist concrete wood dust) it needs to be pulled out and cleaned.
If the auger motor can be removed do so first. If the Allen key head of the bolt cannot be accessed, then the auger motor will need to stay attached for the moment.
Using a screwdriver or similar instrument break up any accessible wood pellets (or wood dust) in the auger tube and vacuum them out.
Remove the screw in the side of the tube that secures the white plastic spacer.
If the auger motor is still attached, carefully grip the shaft without damaging the black bolt. Gently rotate the shaft.
If very tight, the end of the auger shaft (in the firepot) can be tapped with a blunt object (piece of wood with hammer), or even the spiral blades on the auger. Tap in both in/out directions to free up the auger shaft enough to be twisted and pulled out.
If the auger motor was able to be removed, the process is easier as you can tap the end of the auger shaft in and out with a blunt tool (piece of wood and hammer) as well as rotating with pliers or vice grips, to help free it up.
Continue to clean out any wood dust or pellets that can be accessed.
Eventually the combination of rotating the shaft and tapping gently should free the shaft up and allow it to be pulled out.
Clean off any wood attached to the auger shaft. A wire brush can work well to achieve this. If wet pellets were the reason for the jammed auger shaft, the surface of the auger metal may have some surface rust, which is not a concern. Just give it a good clean with a wire brush.
If there is wood dust stuck to the inside of the feed tube, run a rag through the tube and scrap off any chunks so it is clean and smooth.
Once clean, reverse the above process to put the auger shaft back in place and attach the auger motor (if removed).
At this point it is worth checking if the auger motor is actually dead, or if the issue was just a jammed auger shaft. If the auger motor looks clean, without any sign of burn out (discolouration), then re-attach the auger motor and connect to the controller and test operation before replacing the motor.
Step 8. Remove auger motor shaft bolt
Start by removing the screw on the side of the tube to release the big white spacer ring. The auger shaft can then be easily rotated to access the black bolt.
With a pair of pliers or socket on the nut and Allen key (7/64″ or 2.5mm) undo and remove the shaft bolt.
Switch over the old auger motor with new one, reversing the process to put back in the shaft bolt back, and then the side screw to secure the white spacer ring.
Make sure the auger motor is put back in the correct position as shown above with the cable to the side with the elongated hole.
Pass the cable through the elongated hole and make a loose knot, providing enough slack for the auger motor to freely rotate left and right.
Step 9. Connect cables
Connect the auger motor plug back to the controller plug labelled MOT.
Bundle all the cables together neatly using the thick white cable exiting the hopper box (power the ignition rod) as an anchor so that the cables are across to the right of the auger box.
Use several cable ties to secure the cables neatly.
Plastic spiral wrap is great to make the cables even neater. It is important to ensure that none of the cables are close to either the auger motor fan, or main fan.
Ensure the temperature sensor cable is handing down on the INSIDE of the mounting plate as shown above.
Step 10. Put Controller Back
Pass the controller back up through the hole in the hopper box.
Do the two controller front plates screws up.
Gently pull up all the slack in the temperature sensor cable so no loose cable is in the hopper box.
Bundle the cables up and secure using twist tie or cable tie, then tuck down between the hopper and grill.
Using a mirror or the selfie camera on your photo check underneath to ensure none of the cables are close to the main fan or the auger motor fan. It should look nice and neat like the image above.
Step 11. Test operation
Before replacing the bottom cover first test the operation of the grill.
Plug into power, switch on and turn the controller knob to Smoke setting.
- FAN: Listen for the fan sound and air blowing into the fire-pot
- AUGER MOTOR: Look to see if the auger it slowly rotating and intermittently. You may need to wait 30-40 seconds to see it rotate.
- IGNITION ROD: Check if the ignition rod is getting hot (in the fire-pot) by touching with long piece of rolled up kitchen paper. It should start to get hot enough to char/burn the paper after a few minutes.
If any of the components are not working, turn the grill OFF, disconnect from power and check the plug connections of the cables.
If a high speed buzzing sound is heard, one of the cables is contacting a fan. Check the view from underneath again to ensure all cables are neatly in place and not close to the auger fan or main fan.
Once confirm everything is working, turn the power OFF and disconnect from power.
Step 12. Replace bottom cover
Slide the cover back up into place by wiggling the cable through the cable tension ring.
Put all 6 screws back in place. Don’t over-tighten them.
If the auger feed tube has been totally emptied of wood pellets you will need to follow the initial startup procedure to prime the wood pellets. Click here for instructions. The initial burn-in does not need to be completed again.