I fired up the smoker again the other night. I notched out my exhaust pipe a bit on the inside of the cook chamber. My top temp gauge still runs 150 degrees hotter than the lower two. I am not sure if i need to open it up more, or if I have some other problem. I will get some pics posted later today to show what i notched out.
When i started the smoker this time i used about 1/3 of a bag of charcoal and once it was burning good i started adding wood. It was taking quite awhile to get warmed up so i got impatient and added some more wood. Then the fire got too hot and the temp was running about 350 to 375 and i could not control it until the fire died down some. I shut all of the intakes and opened the cook chamber door a few times and when the fire died down i was able to maintain 225 to 250 by adding a couple small splits of wood every hour or so.
I am starting to learn how to run this thing a little. I need to be patient and make small adjustments. It takes awhile to get all of that steel warmed up but once it is hot it only takes small amounts of wood to keep it happy.
My door still warped a little bit when i got the fire going too big. I hope that if i keep my fire smaller and get my door seal on it will seal up tight. I need better latches also. I can not believe how much things warp. The inside skin of my firebox has warped also.
Hopefully I will figure out how to run this thing with a little more practice and some small adjustments.
If you can not control the fire you are always going to be fighting a losing battle. If you shut down all the intakes to the firebox the fire should die very quickly. If it does not then you are leaking way too much air into the firebox. It would have to be coming from your vents and or door seals. I know you have had trouble with the door warping and I would think this is the likely culprit. I have seen situations on cheap store bought smokers where if you shut down all the intakes the fire actually grew because the air was moving quickly thru smaller openings and was acting like a bellows blowing on the fire. This could be the situation here. I would work on getting the door tight and a seal in place along with the things that Dave suggested. It is going to take some work to figure it all out but once the bugs are out I am convinced you will have a first class smoker. Weedeater