Convert Weber Summit Models To Natural Gas Or Propane.

by grillrepair on November 9, 2014

Converting a barbecue grill is generally a very simple thing.  The parts are simple, simply installed and not confusing.  All this is true for those who allow simplicity.  We have clients who make the process confusing by trying to change parts that should not be changed and the damage they cause themselves is the primary reason so many barbecue manufacturers do not want to sell conversion parts.   Of the BBQ manufacturers who do still sell conversion kits, the kits often include the regulator, gas hose, adaptors, manifold, all the control valves, orifices and all these parts are already assembled.  This is convenient because all we have to do is uninstall the entire gas assembly and reinstall the entire assembly.  There is nothing for the installer to touch that also touches gas.  Unfortunately this solution also involves purchasing a lot of parts that are not essential to the conversion so a bill ends up being two-hundred dollars instead of thirty dollars.  Weber Conversion Grill Parts.

In order to convert a barbecue we need to replace the orifices and the regulator.  In the process of changing the regulator it is common to also need a few gas hose adaptors in order to mount the regulator and gas lines to connect to the fuel but the essential parts are the orifices and the regulator.   Weber Summit models burning liquid propane come with a tank scale to hold the tank off the floor and the newer models also have an illuminated display that shows the level of fuel in the LP cylinder on the face of the control panel.  This is a nice feature to add when converting a Summit from NG to LP but it is not essential to the use of the barbecue.

Weber no longer sells conversion kits to convert any of their models; although until they changed the manufacturing they were the type of company who sold the entire assembled manifold as a conversion.  With Weber no longer permitting the fuel conversions — even among licensed gas technicians who are authorized Weber warranty services — there in no longer a list of which replacement parts fit which models from what years of production.

We have to take the barbecue apart and check to see what we need.  The orifice is threaded into the tip of the control valve and when the burner is installed the front tip of the burner slides on top of the tip of the orifice so the orifice is inside the burner when the BBQ is assembled.  What we need to do is either remove a burner so we can get to an orifice or remove the control panel and uninstall the manifold pipe where all the valves are attached.

change the orifices in the control valve for propane or natural gas

Weber Summit manifold and control valves with orifices converted for NG or LP.

We can get to the orifices either way but generally it is easier to remove the manifold in an older model and easier to remove the burners in a newer model.  The reason is grease.  An older model is going to be filthy and this makes it difficult to remove the burners from inside and it can easily get worse if the screws strip or break because years of grease have corroded the metals.

Once we have the orifice exposed we want to measure the tip of the orifice.  We want the diameter of the orifice.  If we have removed the burners then we will uninstall the orifices by reaching through the inside fire wall from inside the barbecue in order to fit a socket onto the tip of the orifice.  Generally the socket will be either 9/32″ or 1/4″.  Typically the older models have the larger orifice.

New orifice has been installed shiny and new in these old Summit valves.

New orifice has been installed shiny and new in these old Summit valves.

All we need to do to convert the control valves from one fuel type to the other fuel type is remove the old orifices and replace them with the new orifices.  The hole drilled in an orifice is based on two factors: the BTU rating assigned by the manufacturer and by the certifying body who determines the level of use and safety assigned.   In order to drill an orifice we have to know the certified BTU and in order to match a drill bit size to the BTU we need to know the amount of pressure in the manifold.  Without a regulator with a known gas pressure there is no way to drill an orifice to limit the flow of maximum gas.

Although not difficult to do, converting a barbecue incorrectly can be very dangerous so we never guess at drill bit sizes and we never guess regulator pressure.  Most clients who want to convert a barbecue will purchase the orifices and the regulator together which allows the orifices to be drilled based on the regulator pressure.  Sometimes someone will make the mistake of thinking the hose and regulator is the only grill parts to be replaced in a conversion and only after the attempt realize the orifices still have to be changed.  They usually end up buying another  regulator so the orifices can be drilled based on the proper gas flow.

The Older Summit Models are referred to by the model names which were denoted by Silver, Gold, Platinum to describe if the  grill parts were porcelain coated steel, high-quality American stainless steel or some combination of the two. .  The number of burners and features define the grill in the name so a D4 has 4 main burners and a rotisserie burner, smoker burner and a side burner whereas a B6 has six main burners and a side burner range.

Weber Summit control valve and orifice

Weber Summit control valve and orifice in new model flame thrower ignition valves.

Weber Summit models manufactured in these past few years have a kind of control valve referred to as a “flame thrower” because there is an automatic ignition integrated in the movement of the valve.  The automatic control valve ignites the burner as the gas begins to flow through the burner.  These new control valves have a different gas orifice than the older models.  The orifices in the newer models have a hex-head diameter at 1/4 inch.  The orifices are available but it is worth a few minutes to pull the manifold or the burner to check the diameter and see which orifices are needed for the conversion.

The Weber Summit models manufactured after 2006 when the company made so many tremendous changes are referred to by model numbers.  Models with 400 style numbers refer to the 4 burner Summits as the 600 numbers refer to the models with 6 main burners.  A 420 or 620 has 4 or 6 main burners plus a side burner.  As the numbers grow the model number 640, 450, 670 and so on describe the inclusion of the side burner range, smoker burner, rotisserie burner and a sear burner.

The main valves on the Weber Summit will have the same orifices.  The main burners, smoker burner and sear burner will all have the same orifice in the control valve.  The side burner and the rotisserie burner are often different.  For the Summit rotisserie, check the orifice like this:

Weber Summit Rotisserie Conversion

Look at the Weber side burner and get at the orifice like this:

Weber side burner conversion

Once the orifices for one fuel type have been removed the all the replacements installed we also replace the regulator and make any adjustments for the carburetor.

Barbecue carburetor adjustment.

For additional assistance, Please Contact Majestic Grill Parts:

954-2-GRILL-2 (954.247.4552).

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