Sunday, June 1, 2014

Roadside Find -- A Napoleon Travel Q Grill

People throw out stuff that often has little wrong with it. This may be one of those items.

The gridiron inside is filthy, but I don't think the unit has been used all that much. The only thing I see that's not quite right with it is the nipple that a propane bottle attaches to.

It's showing traces of oxidation verging on corrosion. I'll unscrew it and give it a good burnishing on the lathe.

- - -


When I tried to unscrew the nipple, it snapped right off at its threaded shank, leaving the threaded shank inside the regulator.[1]

To make a long story short, I managed to bore out most of the shank and extract its threads without totally ruining the female thread in the regulator -- progress.

The next hurdle was to come up with a replacement nipple. I had an idle propane torch head stashed away that was of no real use to me, so I took the nipple from it and tried it. No go.

It turned out that the torch head nipple had a 1/4"-28 thread on it; the grill's regulator had an M6 thread. Hmmm.

1/4" is a little bigger than 6mm, And 28 threads per inch is not that far off from 1.0mm pitch. I rethreaded the nipple's shank with an M6 die, and there was my replacement metric part, like so.

At the left is a 1/4"-28 threaded nipple; at the right is my M6 threaded nipple made from a similar one. Problem solved.

I installed the modified nipple with blue threadlocker, to be certain of it staying put in the regulator's somewhat abused thread. Here it is in place, ready to do its job.

The grill works fine, and is in good condition overall. After cleaning up its frightful gridiron, my wife and I tried it out with a couple of frozen beef burgers -- complete success.

The only downside I see to this style of grill is fuel consumption; a grill's burner asks a lot from a little, disposable propane bottle. Grilling two burgers used up about one-quarter of a 16 oz. bottle's contents.

Aside from that quibble, the grill is a nice piece of gear, and the roadside store's prices are hard to beat.

- - -


[1] Lesson: Beware of overly-tight threaded components; they may have been installed with threadlocker.

The good news is that threadlockers are not heat-proof; sufficient heat will soften them. I should have applied a small torch flame to the nipple before cranking on it forcefully; I might have saved myself some aggravation.

# # #

# # #