I also bought a Masterbuilt electric stainless steel smoker from Sam's, three years ago. After using it a little over a year, it quit heating. I called the factory, and was told they would send me a new cabinet, less the door for $180.00. I would then have $479.00 plus tax, in a $299.00 smoker. Didn't like that. I was also told you could not remove the heating element. Wrong again! I am working on memory now......after removing the screws inside the cabinet, around the heating-element, the element was loose. It even had a mfg. name on the bracket, and they are on the internet. My unit also had one of the wire connectors to the heating element burned off. I bought high temp wire and new connectors to use. I also mounted a metal electric switch box behind the hearing element. I had to cut a hole in the back of the cabinet for it to fit, and holes in the back of the switch box for the heating element connections. It protrudes about 3/4 inch past the back of the cabinet. After hooking up, I gave everything in that electric box two coats of clear spray paint. Then, I bought a tube of high heat silicone, and coated all the connections. I bought a metal plate to cover the switch box, and used more silicone to seal it. I have never had any more trouble with my smoker....so far. If I do, I will just remove the switch-box cover and make my repairs.
Yes, Masterbuilt does know about this problem....I told them about it almost two years ago. Sounds like they didn't listen. I also told them at that time, I thought the wiring needed to be larger, with bigger connectors. RVBBQ