Having just finished (or almost finished) this task, I’m infinitely qualified to give advice on the subject. So here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get the most out of an old gas grill:
1. Throw the old gas grill in the back of your truck.
2. Drive to the local landfill.
3. Give the attendant money to take the grill.
4. Drive to the store and buy a brand new gas grill.
Trust me, you’ll spend far less money and HOURS less time this way, than if you do what I stupidly did and take the old one apart and repair it.
Don’t let my friends or family members fool you into trying to do it yourself, no matter how hard they try.
“It’s easy!” they say. “Just buy replacement parts and put them in!” They’re liars. I love them, but they’re god-damned liars, every one.
In the summer of 2003, I bought a burner to replace the old one. I bought the wrong size, of course, so I had to take it back and get a different size. I managed to remember to do that in the spring of 2004. I opened the burner and read the instructions. They were so complex that I didn’t bother to try to figure them out.
Then I realized that I also needed the ignition switch and grates, too. So the grill sat for another season until spring of 2005. I went to 4 different stores to find the ignition switch.
Replacing the burner was a BITCH. I’m not kidding. Taking the old one out almost kicked my ass and took 3 hours. And putting the new one in took me 4 hours, and the help of my friend Kathy to force the burner into place after I assembled it. The assembly was difficult because it was customizable for several different grills, and I had to measure and figure out which assembly went with mine, and follow unusable instructions to do it. It took an hour to replace the ignition switch, for the same reason.
I also had to replace the rock grate and the food grate. I went Target, Menards, Lowes, Kmart, and WalMart before I found the right size. I bought and returned 3 grates that I thought were right (yes, I measured) before I found the ones I needed. I found the rock grate at Walmart, and the food grate at Menards. Stephanie also found new grill knobs at Menards.
After all the running around, I spent about $80 on replacement parts for the old grill, and about 12 hours either buying parts, measuring the grill, or putting stuff in. (For less than $100, I could have had a new gas grill, and 3 years sooner.) Finally, I was done. Finally, we could eat. Maybe.
Today, I went to replace the empty propane tank with a full one. I went to a gas station nearby that carries them, but the lady behind the counter had no idea how to trade mine out. So I went to 7 other gas stations downtown. No propane. Maybe tomorrow I’ll finally be able to grill out.