Well I finally got a chance to test this out.
Before loading my last 2 smokes up, I did take some time to clean the charcoal pan of my WSM. It was a bt built up and I wanted to remove that as a problem.
Eventually I was 2 different smokes. One with some of the old wood hunks and some new stuff (layered new on top old on bottom) and one with all new.
I can say this: I believe there was somethign wrong with the old wood. 1/2 way through my smoke on the first try, got quite a bit of white smoke for 30 minutes, and no TBS. If I added a piece on top of the fire it would burn up white smoke, no TBS and then nothng. When I originally started the smoke and the new wood lit I got TBS almost right away.
The second smoke I also got good TBS with new wood. Now I can't discount the fact that when I had ths original issue, there was quite the heavy / sdeways rain going on, and its possible I got some water inside through the vents... maybe. Maybe also the built up caked on ash was choking the fire.
Either way I'm using new wood now, there wasnt much left of the old stuff so its gone, and I'll be cleaning the smoker more often. :D