Introduction: Grill Wheel Upgrade
Tired of my grill slipping down my driveway I've searched for a way to improve the wheels.
My grill's current casters do have a locking feature on two of the wheels, but they are insufficient on my slopped driveway (and I live in a condo with limited, approved grilling locations). Last year I tried replacing the casters with the intent of reusing the existing bolt pattern. That limited my selection of casters, and the replacements did not perform any better. This year I decided to convert the grill to a two wheel cart.
- 2x4 (I used a 10 foot)
- 10" solid tire (with 1/2" axle bore)
- 3 1/2" exterior deck screws
- 2 1/2" screws
- 1 1/2" screws
- For Wheel Mounting Option 1
- Four 1/2" washers
- Two 1/2" x 3 1/2" lag screws
- Two 1/2" washers
- 3 foot 1/2" solid metal rod
- Two 1/2" hitch pins
- Radial arm saw or miter box
- Corner clamp
- Ratcheting clamp
- 1/8" drill bit
- Counter sink bit
- For Wheel Mounting Option 1
- 3/8" drill bit
- For Wheel Mounting Option 2
- 1/2" drill bit
- Rotary tool or metal saw
Step 1: Remove Old Casters
Remove the propane tank, the grate, heat deflectors, the shelves, and anything else that is loosely attached or detachable.
Place the grill on its side. I used two plastic egg crates to prop mine up, so it wouldn't get scratched and make working on it easier. Remove the old casters/wheels.
Step 2: Cut and Assemble Base
With my grill's design I was able to fit a new base within the old base, so that it would sit atop the new one.
Measure the interior dimensions. Mark the 2x4 and cut to the appropriate sizing. I chose to cut in alternating 45 degree angles (mostly as practice for a building a frame for a mirror). I used a corner clamp to help line up two sides at a time. Predrilling 1/8" pilot holes. Than drilling counter sunk holes. I used a ratcheting band clamp to hold all four pieces of the base together and than attached them using 3 1/2" exterior deck screws. Double checking the fit, I decided to add a small piece of wood to prevent the base from slipping out of place using 1 1/2" screws (hopefully I don't come to regret being too lazy to run out and get an appropriate outdoor screw).
Step 3: Cut and Attach Legs
You're going to want the legs high enough so the attached wheel doesn't block the grill door from opening (assuming your grill has one). While we will only be attaching wheels to two of the legs, you'll want the non-wheeled legs tall enough to match the alternate legs with the wheels attached. Otherwise your grill will not be level. I found it helpful to predrill a hole for the wheels, so I can make sure they would clear the underside of the grill and not cause any other issues. I used 2 1/2" screws to attach the legs to the base (I did not, but should have used exterior outdoor screws. Not sure why I didn't predrill the holes).
Step 4: Prep the Wheels
You have a few options for mounting the wheels. I first tried using lag bolts (each wheel would be mounted independently). I later replaced the lag bolt method with a single axle.
I went with two 10" solid rubber tires, with a 1/2" axle bore (I considered the 10" pneumatic tires, with 5/8" bore; but didn't want to deal with checking the tire pressure of my grill)
Option 1 - Lag bolt
Predrill a larger 3/8" hole in the two legs you prepared earlier. Place a 1/2" washer on the lag screw, than feed it thru the wheel, and put another washer in place. Use a ratchet (or wrench) to screw the lag screw into the leg. You don't to tighten too much, or the wheel won't spin. If you leave it too loose the wheel will wobble. Repeat with the other leg. I'm not sure if my two wheels were perfectly lined up, but it did appear without any issue.
Option 2 - Axle
You'll need to drill a larger 1/2" hole in the two legs you prepared earlier.
Check the fit of a 1/2" solid metal rod through the holes. Place the wheels and washers in place (I just used a washer on the side of the wheel touching the wood leg). Leave about 1/2" of metal rod protruding on one of the sides. Make a mark (permanent marker works well) on the solid metal rod on the outside edge where both wheels end. This is so you can drill a hole to pass a hitch pin, cotter pin, and paper clip through to keep the wheels in place. Also make an additional mark on the metal rod about a 1/2" past the wheel (on the side you have excess rod protruding). This way you can trim it shorter.
Remove the metal rod from the wooden legs. Clamp the rod in place so it won't move around. Drill a 1/8" hole through the metal rod in at both of the spots previously marked (for the end of the wheels). Carefully clean up the metal shavings. I used a rotary tool to sand off any burs. Use a metal saw or a rotary tool with cut off wheel to trim the metal rod to the length you previously marked. I used a rotary tool to sand the edge again (I would not want to bump my leg on that) Place the metal rod back through the wooden legs. Put the washers in place. Put the wheels in place. Now slide the hitch pin into the 1/8" hole you drilled in the metal rod. This will keep the wheel in place, and make it easy to change them out if necessary. You could alternatively open up a paper clip to slide through there, and twist it to hold the wheel in place.
Step 5: Sand and Paint
To give it some slight protection from the elements I opted to apply an outdoor paint. Remove the wheels and axle. I used a palm sander to prep the surface. I used a can of black outdoor spray paint (with primer).
Step 6: Finish Assembly
Reinstall the wheels. Fit the new base into place. Bring the grill back to an upright position. Reinstall the grate, heat deflectors, shelves, propane tank, etc.
To roll the cart, lift slightly on the side opposite the wheels. When placed back down on the legs, it should now be free from jostling around. I'm able to lift my grill from the sides of one of the fold down shelves.
To make moving it easier, I may be fastening an improvised handle.
The base appears to be staying in place, but I am also considering putting a few 1 1/2" screws in through the metal trim at the bottom into the new wooden base.