Just wanted to provide what I did with the smoker on my last smoke that turned out really good with no real modifications. Hoping to pay back a little for all the help I have gotten. Wish I would have taken pictures and hope I described this in enough detail.
My first smoke was a disaster. Food came out ok eventually but had to finish in the oven. Couldn't maintain temps, went through a bag an 1/2 of charcoal.....
Did a lot of reading and this is what I did with no purchase or mods:
Flipped the charcoal pan upside down and hung at the highest level. This formed a barrier from the heat blasting out of the SFB and really distributed it evenly across the main body. I put aluminum foil on top of the charcoal pan to make it easier to clean up. Also put some aluminum foil where the SFB meets the main body about 1 ft long and tucked it over the side and below the right grate on top of charcoal pan. This I thought would keep the heat down and not blast up the right side. Temps measured even between the right and left sides of the grates in the front of the main body.
I had a huge issue with not being able to keep the temps up on my last smoke, mainly due to the coals being choked out. This time I built the fire on top of the cast iron grates. Bought a chimney to start the charcoal (was using lighter fluid since that's what my dad always did) and put one unlit chimney and dumped a lit chimney on top of that. When the coals were all lit, I closed down the SFB vent to about 1/4 open and kept the chimney vent wide open. After about 1 1/2 hours, added another chimney of lit coals and did so about another 1 1/2 in. Total use about 4 chimneys, a lot less than the first time. Used just Kingsford charcoal and some apple trimmings for smoke. The SFB got pretty hot and burned a lot of the paint off the top. Had to also dump the ash tray about 1/2 way through (3.5 hrs) to make sure there was good air flow.
The main body leaked pretty good so I just folded up aluminum foil and stuffed it along the back. Will try and seal this up better, since every time I opened the lid it fell out.
The stock thermometer read the same as a cheap oven thermometer at grill level and maintained 220-225 with no issues. I'm sure this won't last and a digital is on the horizon.
I am planning on cutting the grate that came with the grill to place the charcoal on in half an putting it at the front of the SFB on top of the grates to prevent coals from falling out when dumping them in. It got warped pretty good from my first cook so it is either that or pitch it.
Hope this helps someone out there.