Also has anyone swapped out their factory temp gauge fpr an aftermarket one? Recommendations on one? Feel its accurate?
I have an WSM 18.5 as well, and before I added the gasket the door was pretty loose, but after installing gaskets it is a really good fit and I can keep most of my smoke inside the smoker :)
My temp gauge is the factory fitted one, and I am not really using it anymore, instead I am having a probe from my Maverick inside the smoker at all times, just to have a rough idea as the factory fitted is not really working.
I have added an additional grate to mine, it is really good when making ribs. (just to let you know in case you have been thinking of adding mods).
I've had a 18.5" WSM since 2005. No gaskets. If your door is not sealing 100% it can be lightly bent by hand to tweak it. I've never had an issue with the door latch either, but new model door and latch are different from what I have.
As to the thermometer, mine is the old model that did not come from the factory with a dome thermometer. I bought a 3" Tel-Tru thermometer and after drilling a hole in my dome installed that. I can't speak to the accuracy of the current factory models, but yes, you can go aftermarket.