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  1. 19 May 2015: Post note to readers who have come across this thread and plan restore their own Kamado brand cookers. Feel free to post your efforts in this thread. This thread was started to follow the refurbishment and upgrades done on my Kamado K7, but has since its inception has grown to include the more general topic of repair of all of Richard Johnson's family of Kamado products. I will not consider it thread Hijacking for you to post your efforts here, and in a way it makes good sense. This saves people from having to search around to find repair methods for some of the more common modes of failure which can occur with this type of cooker. Topics which have been covered (thus far) include are: Stuck upper damper, Replacement of upper threaded mechanism (also called the spider), sagging dome lift springs, Cracks minor and major, Tiling/Retiling, Firebox replacements and restoral, Stucco removal and sources of materials and parts. Be sure to post pictures of your K-Series Kamado with year of production, as I am building a library of features which appeared across the years of manufacture. (Beginning of original post) I found an older Kamado K7 #7 on Craig's List. The pictures posted showed a Kamado which had some serious, but resolvable problems. The top damper had frozen threads, which made it impossible to make adjustments. There were some cracks in the refractory cement, in various places. This Kamado was one of the Sacramento era units, which were made before the company spiraled downward with it's choice of materials. The cracks are largely superficial, and the Kamado survived being dismantled for transportation (including removal of the lid). In short, it seems to have good bones, which is an important characteristic for any rebuild. The seller had many of the optional items available (at extra cost), so the stainless upper rack, upper grill surface, wire charcoal basket and lower rack were picked up as well. He also tossed in the adapter plate to connect a stoker to it. To remove the dome, there are 3 bolts which secure the bands to the lower body. They are drilled through the band and lower shell and rust had them seized up (zink plated steel bolts). One came off with an electric impact, but the other two resisted. Even with PB blaster, they would not pop free. I finally got tough with one of the 3/8-16 X 3" bolts, and managed to snap it in half. The last one had to be sawed off with a Makita 4.5 inch right angle grinder. There were two additional set of nuts and bolts which provide tension to the band; unlike the other bolts they were stainless and removed without incident. The lid lifting springs were locked in place while the lid was raised about 2 inches from blocks placed between the lid and body (to facilitate lifting). I attempted to pull the firebox, but ash and charcoal bits filled the very narrow crevice between the firebox and the inner walls of the lower half of the grill. It was effectively glued in place. The plan had been to lighten the lower half as much as possible for transport, but we had just enough people to lever it into the back of the SUV in spite of the additional weight of the 3 inch thick firebox. As said earlier, all of the components arrived back home without incident. I ran out and purchased new stainless hardware to replace the broken/rusted/cut bolts, and began the process of putting it all back together. Once carefully aligned, the new bolts went back into the band/case holes with a light tap from a soft faced hammer. The through-bolts and the band bolts were torqued back up, and the unit was effectively back together in the same condition it was purchased in, minus the rusty bolts. The spider (the threaded assembly which raises and lowers the top damper) was coated with PB blaster late in the evening so it can start to work it's magic. Hopefully, a couple of days will see the threads for the upper damper become less stubborn. One of positive things about this Kamado is, it was manufactured without the problematic "falling off" tiles this model was known for. I am considering adding tiles, if the right thinset with elastomer can be found. The stucco finish will need to be stripped away first with a wirebrush, and it is quite baked on at this time. The stucco shows clear discoloration above the firebox, which shielded the lower portion of the body from the heat. The original fire grate and firebox appear in good condition, which can be problematic on some of the earlier Kamados made with refractory cement. Next, some pictures.
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