I made a couple more mod's to this smoker with excellent success.
1. got rid of the lava rock and got some sand stone which gave me the extra 15-20 degrees necessary and god knows that state of Oklahoma has enough sand stone. LOL It maintained the 225-275 degree heat range steadily through out the smoke really well. It also seemed to regain the temp a lot faster after adding chips or chunks of wood also using this method. After seeing the efficiency of the sand stone I will never go back to anything else. I actually cut the sand stone using a chisel to shape it just right to fit between the heating element. To my surprise it was also relatively easy.
2. Someone asked how I added a rack for the water pan on a past post: I used all thread with nuts on the inside and outside of the smoker then I took a hack saw and cut off any of the all thread that was left sticking out past the exterior nut.
Just some ideas for people to get the most out of this little red gem.
If anyone else has any other ideas, please let me know.
BAMBAM in OKC