Are these Mak 1 Issues Typical?
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Are these Mak 1 Issues Typical?
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Thread: Are these Mak 1 Issues Typical?

  1. #1

    Are these Mak 1 Issues Typical?

    First, excluding the equipment 'quality' issues I've experienced, no complaints regarding the Mak 1 actual cooking.

    That said, I'd like to report my Mak 1 experience to date (my first pellet grill) to see if my experiences are typical.

    My Mak 1 (serial # 350... I think) is approximately 7 years old and has been used maybe an average of 3 hours per week. My latest failed part is another failed igniter which I elected to replace again (will be 4th igniter). I elected to purchase the Flashfire ($200) which has a lifetime warranty so I wouldn't have to replace another igniter. As I was cleaning my grill today before installing the new Flashfire, I noticed the end of the metal auger tube that mates with the firebox has rusted/decayed leaving an open gap between the firebox and metal tube, i.e., a gap / hole is now present which could allow pellets to drop into the grill bottom instead of the firebox. I've not yet called Mak to price a replacement part, but suspect I'll be shopping for a new grill and returning the $200 Flashfire.

    This latest auger tube failure was the catalyst for this post. I'm really disappointed that this highly rated and expensive Mak 1 has essentially failed with what I consider to be relatively light use. But given the Mak 1 is my first pellet grill (I'm 66 years old = I've had numerous grills over the years), I'd like to hear from other Mak users to see if these parts failures are considered normal wear and tear or was my Mak 1 model simply poor quality?

    Parts 'Issues' as the original owner... (Mak stored on covered patio in central TX)
    --3 igniter failures ($50 ea. per replacement; now $200 for Flashfire)
    --Front panel touch pad surface failure (failed approx. year 2? replaced under warranty)
    --Rear interior panel replaced by Mak to correct / improve smoke venting (now requires removing 4 ea. screws to remove the rear interior panel for period cleaning; messy and awkward... PITA)
    --Interior (and exterior) paint started flaking off around year 3 (interior paint flakes into food... yes, paint and not 'smoke' build up)
    --Power cord grommet (where cord enters grill bottom) slipped out at some point (unnoticed) and over time the cord weight damaged the main board connectors (I elected to manually repair -- was out of warranty)

    Again, I'd really like to hear from other Mak owners with similar longevity using their Mak grill. Given the excellent reputation Mak had when I purchased my Mak 1, I was expecting a much long life expectancy without replacing so many major (and expensive) components.

    Thank you in advance for any feedback.

  2. #2
    I canít speak of your issues but I would call MAK. Everybody says their service is top notch. I would at least let them give you options or a chance to remedy it. Hope this helps. Then I would post what happened so you can help others. Thanks for sharing

  3. #3
    Sorry for your frustrations, we are always improving our grills to make them as bulletproof as possible. The 1 Star today is miles ahead of the 1 Star from 7 years ago and we have invented many features (like the flashfire igniter) to solve component failures. Our grills have always been built to last but sometimes components fail so we take a lot of pride in our customer service to take care of customers when they do. Please contact us so we can help you through your issues and get your 1 Star smoking for another 7 years!
    Superior Wood Pellet BBQ Smoker Grills!
    www.makgrills.com

  4. #4
    3/2/2020 Followup...
    I contacted Mak Grills today and had a good discussion. We discussed my previous post including the auger tube rust problem. First the good news... Mak Grills customer service was very helpful and will be sending me (at no charge) a replacement auger tube. The replacement tube (which shouldn't rust) is the newer version being used on the current Mak 1. So once I install the new tube plus the new Flashfire igniter my Mak 1 should be fully functional again.

    Bottomline after my discussion with Mak Grills... I'm optimistic that my Mak 1 will be problem-free for a good while once I've installed these two parts. As a Mak owner, I'm 100% satisfied with the Mak Grills customer service. Thank you again.

  5. #5
    That is great news to know that MAK Grills took care of you and you'll have your MAK back up and running!


    Other than the old style igniters, and a little paint chipping (mainly around the lip of the lids), I had not experienced any of the other issues with either of the previous MAK 1 Stars we've owned. HOWEVER they were always kept in a small shed we purchased just for storing our grills, and not stored under a cover.

    In fact both grills are still working and being used by two different friends to this day. The one is a 9+ year old 2011 1 Star with the original PelletBoss that had the rocker power switch. It was eventually upgraded (by my friend) with the FlashFire Igniter. The other is a 2014 1 Star that was also upgraded to the FlashFire ignitor.


    I agree that removing the back wind guard (which is not really needed unless you live in a high wind area) is a bit of a pain. I always did it in the Spring time after removing the lid as part of a thorough Spring cleaning. If you don't live in a high wind area, I'd consider removing it and just leave it off. I don't believe MAK even includes them anymore, unless you ask for them if you live in a high wind area. When I sold the 2014, I removed that wind screen.

    I also keep a plastic paint scraper on hand and scrape the build-up out of those back vents fairly often. Keeping them clean makes a HUGE difference on performance and efficiency!


    Regarding the old-style igniters, as funny as this may sound, follow me for a minute: The old style igniters burning out is to be expected. They WILL eventually burn out GUARANTEED, just like a light bulb, or heating element in an electric water heater, hair dryer, etc. This is true for ANY brand pellet grill, and should really be thought of as a consumable item that needs to be replaced periodically. Hope this makes sense.


    The new FlashFire igniter is a worthy upgrade, and you will be glad you got it! You are going to be amazed at how much quicker it is.
    Last edited by TentHunter; 03-06-2020 at 10:21 PM.
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  6. #6
    Senior Member NorCal Smoker's Avatar
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    Just to be clear, Flash Fire igniters fail as well. Mine actually failed quicker than my original igniter. I am sure this is an anomaly, but my confidence in the new igniter delayed my identification of the issue. My two cents.
    MAK 2 Star #500
    Weber Genesis Gasser
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by NorCal Smoker View Post
    Just to be clear, Flash Fire igniters fail as well. Mine actually failed quicker than my original igniter. I am sure this is an anomaly, but my confidence in the new igniter delayed my identification of the issue. My two cents.
    Any component can fail, the difference is the cartridge heaters (old igniter rod) failed from normal use where the Flash Fire will only fail if it is faulty (or touches the inside of the igniter tube). Our failure rate on the Flash Fire is less than 1% where the old igniter rods were more like 30%. This is why we guarantee them for life
    Superior Wood Pellet BBQ Smoker Grills!
    www.makgrills.com

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