Yup the basket is only 6" high. i haven't had the opportunity to do a long smoke in it yet, but have been told it will do a 12-14 hour smoke. I fired it up for it's test run with all the vents open and let it run wild. it took 1 1/2 - 2 hours to get up to 525º and I let it run that way for awhile, then shut it down to 225º and did a 4 hour smoke. I closed the bottom vents at 10:30 PM and when I went to load it back up the next morning at 9:30 AM it still had hot coals in it. That's 18 hours.
All the bolts are stainless except the leg bolts and those got heated with a torch almost til they glowed.
You can still take one of your 12 x 24 sheets back. you probably won't need one larger than the one that I have. And yes, coat hanger wire will work just fine. I used "L" brackets bolted to the expando and bolted to the bottom of the charcoal grate.