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Do all Big Joes have hinge and lid fitment issues?

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  • Do all Big Joes have hinge and lid fitment issues?

    Ok so I ponied up big time and went with a BIG JOE.....to say I regret it would be a understatement. I did an enormous amount of research on all of the kamado companies and made a decision to purchase the one that I believed had great value and would hopefully hold up for the long haul. I don't make a lot of money and $1600 is quite a bit for a "grill" as my girlfriend put it.....but I explained how it was something that would "hopefully" outlive me! However, I don't feel this has been the case.

    Let me preface this by saying I'm a chef and because of that I cook.....a lot. I currently have nights off and will use my grill 4-5+ nights a week or more.

    I am actually on my second BJ....I was sent a replacement because of the issues I had (hinge, pinholes, etc). The first one I received had the expansion joints cut into the firebox and fire ring...The second didn't, and as you can imagine, the fire ring broke......I will commend KJ for their quick warranty replacement service but I'm disappointed that I've had to use it soo much.

    Anyway onto my biggest issues: The lid hinge never really being adequate to hold up the lid and the gasket failing in less then 3-4 months.

    I can never get my lid to stay up on its own.....it's especially fun at 700 degrees trying to slide a pizza on. When I crank down on the springs in the hinge enough to get it to actually work it leaves a gap and the rear left side. I have adjusted bands etc to try to get rid of this gap. No luck. I am now wishing I would have bought a black banded grill now as my SS bands are sooty and gross.

    The gaskets....I'm not entirely sure, may just be a product of inadequate hinges. They seem to flatten out extremely quickly and if the lid doesn't fit perfectly it leaks like crazy.
    So about this hinge? Do you guys have this problem? Is there a stronger spring that may help the lid stay up easier? I wish I could figure this out....The same issue on two grills now can't be coincidence, right?

    I LOVE the KJ service....I get quick emails and resolutions.....I have researched all over google trying to find anyone with the same issues but I haven't found many. This leads me to believe I may be missing something. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for my frustrated rant!

    Thx

    Brian

  • #2
    Originally posted by Swampsquash View Post
    Ok so I ponied up big time and went with a BIG JOE.....to say I regret it would be a understatement. I did an enormous amount of research on all of the kamado companies and made a decision to purchase the one that I believed had great value and would hopefully hold up for the long haul. I don't make a lot of money and $1600 is quite a bit for a "grill" as my girlfriend put it.....but I explained how it was something that would "hopefully" outlive me! However, I don't feel this has been the case.

    Let me preface this by saying I'm a chef and because of that I cook.....a lot. I currently have nights off and will use my grill 4-5+ nights a week or more.

    I am actually on my second BJ....I was sent a replacement because of the issues I had (hinge, pinholes, etc). The first one I received had the expansion joints cut into the firebox and fire ring...The second didn't, and as you can imagine, the fire ring broke......I will commend KJ for their quick warranty replacement service but I'm disappointed that I've had to use it soo much.

    Anyway onto my biggest issues: The lid hinge never really being adequate to hold up the lid and the gasket failing in less then 3-4 months.

    I can never get my lid to stay up on its own.....it's especially fun at 700 degrees trying to slide a pizza on. When I crank down on the springs in the hinge enough to get it to actually work it leaves a gap and the rear left side. I have adjusted bands etc to try to get rid of this gap. No luck. I am now wishing I would have bought a black banded grill now as my SS bands are sooty and gross.

    The gaskets....I'm not entirely sure, may just be a product of inadequate hinges. They seem to flatten out extremely quickly and if the lid doesn't fit perfectly it leaks like crazy.
    So about this hinge? Do you guys have this problem? Is there a stronger spring that may help the lid stay up easier? I wish I could figure this out....The same issue on two grills now can't be coincidence, right?

    I LOVE the KJ service....I get quick emails and resolutions.....I have researched all over google trying to find anyone with the same issues but I haven't found many. This leads me to believe I may be missing something. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for my frustrated rant!

    Thx

    Brian
    Brian: I just order a Big Joe standalone. Did you really regret the SS bands? I'm wondering if I should make a change to my order. Would love to hear your thoughts. Obviously I'm hoping not to experience the same mechanical issues you are dealing with.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Swampsquash View Post
      Ok so I ponied up big time and went with a BIG JOE.....to say I regret it would be a understatement. I did an enormous amount of research on all of the kamado companies and made a decision to purchase the one that I believed had great value and would hopefully hold up for the long haul. I don't make a lot of money and $1600 is quite a bit for a "grill" as my girlfriend put it.....but I explained how it was something that would "hopefully" outlive me! However, I don't feel this has been the case.

      Let me preface this by saying I'm a chef and because of that I cook.....a lot. I currently have nights off and will use my grill 4-5+ nights a week or more.

      I am actually on my second BJ....I was sent a replacement because of the issues I had (hinge, pinholes, etc). The first one I received had the expansion joints cut into the firebox and fire ring...The second didn't, and as you can imagine, the fire ring broke......I will commend KJ for their quick warranty replacement service but I'm disappointed that I've had to use it soo much.

      Anyway onto my biggest issues: The lid hinge never really being adequate to hold up the lid and the gasket failing in less then 3-4 months.

      I can never get my lid to stay up on its own.....it's especially fun at 700 degrees trying to slide a pizza on. When I crank down on the springs in the hinge enough to get it to actually work it leaves a gap and the rear left side. I have adjusted bands etc to try to get rid of this gap. No luck. I am now wishing I would have bought a black banded grill now as my SS bands are sooty and gross.

      The gaskets....I'm not entirely sure, may just be a product of inadequate hinges. They seem to flatten out extremely quickly and if the lid doesn't fit perfectly it leaks like crazy.
      So about this hinge? Do you guys have this problem? Is there a stronger spring that may help the lid stay up easier? I wish I could figure this out....The same issue on two grills now can't be coincidence, right?

      I LOVE the KJ service....I get quick emails and resolutions.....I have researched all over google trying to find anyone with the same issues but I haven't found many. This leads me to believe I may be missing something. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

      Sorry for my frustrated rant!

      Thx

      Brian
      what suggestions has KJ made? Have you tightened the bolts on the back of the hinge that adjust the spring tension?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mewantkj View Post
        what suggestions has KJ made? Have you tightened the bolts on the back of the hinge that adjust the spring tension?

        They sent me a new hinge...But my first grill had the same issue so I'm not sold on the hinge being to blame. I have tightened bolts, bands, everything. I have the springs tightened down basically as far as they can go right now and the lid stays up.....but it leaves a gap in the back left corner that leaks like crazy even with a new gasket. I can't win, I guess I will have to deal.

        Comment


        • #5
          Is your joe on level ground?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mewantkj View Post
            Is your joe on level ground?
            Yes I leveled it out perfectly.....I actually have the grill shimmed a bit now in the front and it has improved the lid being able to stay up but it's far from perfect.....Still leaks like sieve. Are there aftermarket gaskets available that are a bit thicker?

            Comment


            • #7
              It doesn't sound like what you are saying is a gasket thickness issue. Either something is misaligned or the two halves do not sit flat. Does it pass the dollar bill test? Close the lid on paper money in various spots and when you pull on the bill you should feel resistance instead of it slipping easily out.

              Where did you buy your grill from? If you bought locally, then perhaps you could see if the dealer you bought it from can offer some assitance?

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm wondering how this was resolved. I'm having the same type of issues on my 2 month old Big Joe. Hinge wouldn't hold lid up, I tried adjusting and got a big leak at the back which is messing up my gaskets, and now I have the hinge all jacked up I'm afraid. I'm on the phone with tech support today to see if we can get it adjusted back correctly or if I need a new hinge etc...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bringing this thread up.

                  Mine was a LITTLE bit off - but not enough to make a difference in usage. Over a few weeks, the overbite got a bit worse. The last time I cooked, it was definitely leaking out the back.

                  I just went to readjust. Loosened both top and bottom bands and lift springs.. got it better aligned. Tightened up - still ok.. tightened lift springs enough to actually hold it up... bleh. Big gap in the back (nowhere near close to 'dollar bill' test).

                  Is there a proper alignment procedure? For all I know the place I bought it installed it wrong initially? I got it back to usable - but it's not great.

                  SO far.. I can get it aligned, but without the lift springs cranked enough to hold it anywhere but wide open (if even).. if it's lifting, it's misaligned.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by biggator View Post
                    SO far.. I can get it aligned, but without the lift springs cranked enough to hold it anywhere but wide open (if even).. if it's lifting, it's misaligned.
                    Maybe Andy will chime in, but as far as I'm aware, if you're seeing the above, there's nothing you can do short of replacing parts. No amount of adjustment will be able to align the top/bottom *AND* give you more tension. It's one or the other, as the tighter you make the bolt, the more out of alignment you place the top/bottom. That's the design of the hinge mechanism and unless you have stronger springs with your current bands, or replace the whole assembly, that's not going to change.
                    Red Joe Jr. • Black & Stainless Big Joe

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bferne View Post

                      Maybe Andy will chime in, but as far as I'm aware, if you're seeing the above, there's nothing you can do short of replacing parts. No amount of adjustment will be able to align the top/bottom *AND* give you more tension. It's one or the other, as the tighter you make the bolt, the more out of alignment you place the top/bottom. That's the design of the hinge mechanism and unless you have stronger springs with your current bands, or replace the whole assembly, that's not going to change.
                      Hmm.. for as much as people rave about the hinge on the KJ being better than BGE, this seems like a bit of an issue. Even with the springs loose, it's not a perfect alignment.. but then it also comes slamming down if I'd let it (I don't).. I know other people on there (Andy?) have the springs cranked tight and still aligned.. right?

                      Does KJ support monitor this forum?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        For what it's worth, I have the same issue. To start with all was fine and working well. Then after a couple of months the lid wouldn't hold open. (Not good when cooking pizza)! The following day I tightened the spring to what seems like max, but now a gap to the rear right hand side? Tried other adjustments but to no avail.

                        Problem now is I'm using a lot more fuel as it won't snub out quickly. We really could do with a video on how to deal with this issue. I can't believe that it can't be fixed!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So now it's starting to annoy me. I pretty much have to adjust it every time I use it.. and it's getting to the point where I can either adjust it to stay up, or hold air in - but not both.

                          I guess a call to support is in order?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Did you get this resolved? Did you ever check to make sure your bands were both perfectly level/parallel with the top and bottom ceramics? Based on my own experience, if you're having issues, first back of the tension of the hinge completely, then loosen both band bolts. There are pins in the front that center the band on the ceramics - look at how the band fits there and then lift up the hinge at the back to make the band level/parallel (someone else should do the lifting/holding). Then tighten the bottom band bolt snuggly. Do the same for the top. Now tighten both bolts some more. When you think you're done, tighten them even more. When you see the bolts bend, you can give them a little bit more and then you're done.

                            Now tighten the hinge bolts the same amount and then test the top. Keep testing as you tighten. Mine will hold easily even if you close the lid a few degrees.
                            Red Joe Jr. • Black & Stainless Big Joe

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have the exact same issue as everyone else on this thread. After purchasing the Big Joe my hinge loosened up to the point where it slammed down on my arm one day. I tried adjusting as all of you have with no luck. If I adjust the hinge tension to the point where the lid will stay up there is a large gap at the back which leaks smoke a great deal. Now it is so out of adjustment my gaskets are ruined. After several emails to Meghan I was sent a new set of bands and hinges which I have not installed yet. It seems to be a three person job and I'm waiting for a day I can get a few friends to come over and help me. I see so many posts about this exact issue on various web forums I wonder if there is some design flaw with the hinge system.

                              Comment

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