Traeger has been in the pellet grill game since 1985, when Joe Traeger created the first prototype. Though the company continues to offer reputable products, their grills can develop issues just like anything else.
Our guide to the most common Traeger Timberline 850 problems is designed to help you with the troubleshooting process. With any luck, you won’t need it in the first place, but if you do, we hope you find it useful.
Traeger Timberline 850 Problems
The Timberline 850 is a premium pellet grill, but all units can run into trouble from time to time. The WiFi might not be working, or the grill could be having a hard time maintaining the correct temperature. Whatever the issue, you’ll want to rule out any simple explanations before contacting customer support.
About the Timberline 850
The Timberline 850 is a hot model in Traeger’s lineup for several reasons.
First and foremost, this is a “smart smoker.” You can use the WiFIRE technology to operate the unit from your phone. If you want to set a timer, check or adjust the grill temperature, or gauge the progress of your smoked brisket, you can do it at a distance.
The unit also comes equipped with a pellet sensor. This allows you to monitor the fuel level and receive special alerts if the pellet supply dips too low at any point during the smoke.
If you’ve found that other smokers don’t deliver the right amount of smoky goodness, the Timberline 850 has you covered. The Super Smoke Mode increases the smoke output at the press of a button, resulting in superb wood-fired flavor.
Now for the bad news: This unit is set at a high price point. Shoppers on a budget should consider other options. If you can afford to buy the best, though, the Timberline 850 is worth the cost.
Traeger Timberline 850 Problems
When you’ve shelled out a bunch of money for a premium grill, it can be extra annoying to deal with the inevitable hiccups that occur. Let’s go over the most common problems—and their probable causes and solutions.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Issues
We mentioned that the Timberline 850 is a “smart smoker.” While this is a huge perk, you won’t feel that way if you get the dreaded error message: “Unable to connect to grill.”
Obviously, this isn’t ideal. If you aren’t able to operate the grill from your smartphone, you’ll be missing out on one of its key features.
Your first step in this situation is to make sure your cell phone is connected with your WiFi network. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, go to the WiFi settings on the grill menu to be sure that connection is working as well.
If both your phone and your grill are connected and you’re still getting the error message, try refreshing the network connections. This is a good step to take whenever you notice a decrease in network performance.
To perform the refresh, click on “Forget WiFi Settings” and wait a few minutes. Then try reconnecting with the same network. Remember: In order for the system to work, the grill’s WiFi has to be connected to your mobile device.
Have you noticed puckering and blistering on the grill’s exterior paint—specifically, on the rear of the model?
Contrary to what you might think, this isn’t necessarily a sign of poor craftsmanship. It might be a manufacturer defect, but more often than not, it’s caused by faulty installation of the drip pan liners.
Excess hot grease runoff will cause paint to blister. By checking to make sure that the drip pans are installed correctly, you can prevent this sort of wear and tear from taking an early toll on your investment.
That said, if you’ve only used the grill a couple of times and the paint is already peeling, you should contact the company as soon as possible. That could be a manufacturing defect, which Traeger should be able to put right.
The purpose of owning a grill is to create an environment that’s hot enough to cook food safely. When it has trouble heating to the set temperature, it’s incredibly frustrating.
Should you run into this issue, check the induction fan to be sure it’s working properly. The temperature won’t rise to the desired point if the induction fan isn’t spinning. What’s more, the unit will be unable to produce sufficient smoke to flavor your food.
Accumulated dirt and debris can prevent the fan from running at full power. If you suspect that this is the case, try cleaning the fan with a damp cloth. You might also need to replace the wiring or control panel if either component is faulty.
Using the grill in cold or windy weather can also result in temperature fluctuations. Try keeping the unit in a sheltered area and using a grill cover to keep the heat in.
Another tip: Keep the lid closed as much as possible. Since the Timberline 850 is equipped with a temperature probe and WiFIRE technology, you shouldn’t need to open it much.
Still not getting the results you’re looking for? Contact Traeger’s support team to schedule a visit. A professional should be able to pinpoint the problem.
Failure to Ignite
What if the power is on, but the grill isn’t igniting? In this case, the hopper might be either empty or filled with inferior pellets.
Check the hopper to be sure it’s loaded with a sufficient fuel supply. You should always use Traeger pellets with the Timberline 850 for optimum results. If you choose low-quality pellets, you could run into this issue a lot.
While you’re checking the hopper, make sure the auger isn’t jammed. A blocked or defective auger can prevent proper ignition.
It’s also essential for the lid of the grill to be closed when you try to light it. When the lid is open, the system won’t ignite.
Also, consider the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). If this device is tripped due to a grill malfunction or an overloaded electrical supply, it won’t allow your grill to light.
The problem may also be caused by a defective rod or a split cord. You’ll need to contact customer support for help. Use this as a last resort after ruling out the possible causes listed above.
Fire Dying Out
Usually, when the flames suddenly die out during the smoke, it’s because of excessive ash buildup in the firepot. Using Traeger pellets can help prevent this issue because they burn cleanly, creating fewer ashes.
Even if you’re using quality pellets, be sure to store them properly. If they become wet, they’ll rot, which can also block the air vents in the firepot. Use only as many pellets as you need to complete the cooking process.
Should the auger fail to spin, turn the unit off so you can identify any potential blockage. Jammed pellets, foreign debris, or dirt buildup can all prevent the auger from turning. Fortunately, they’re usually easy enough to remove.
A cracked or broken auger is another cause, and one that’s harder to fix. You’ll need to contact Traeger about a replacement.
How To Reset The Traeger Timberline 850
In the event that the WiFIRE technology stops working, you’ll need to know how to reset the grill. Here’s a step-by-step guide.
1. Turn off the grill and wait at least 30 seconds before powering it back on.
2. Open the WiFIRE app on your phone. Make sure you have the latest version installed. If you’re working with an older version, make the necessary updates before you proceed to the next step.
3. Open the Grill menu and click on Settings.
4. Go to “About Grill” and hold down the ignite button for 10 to 15 seconds, or until the Traeger logo appears on the screen.
5. Pair the grill to your smartphone by following all the prompts through to the naming stage. I like to name my grills after fire-related literary and film characters, but you can choose whatever nickname you prefer.
6. While still in the Settings section, go to WiFi information and check to see if the grill is connected with your home WiFi network. When the connection is successful, wait for about 4 hours, then apply any updates.
7. At this point, the WiFIRE feature should be back in prime working order. Contact customer support if you continue to have issues.
The Bottom Line
Ideally, your Traeger Timberline 850 problems will be minor and easy to resolve. There will be normal wear and tear, but if you perform the proper maintenance, major problems should be few and far between.
Best of luck, and happy grilling!
Hi there! I’m Darren Wayland, your BBQHost. My love of great barbecue inspired me to curate this site as a resource for all my like-minded fellow pitmasters out there. When I’m not researching and learning all I can about the latest tips and techniques, you can find me at the grill—that is, if you can spot me at all through the clouds of sweet-smelling smoke. And since you asked, yes, that probably is barbecue sauce on my face. Welcome to the party!