OK, posting back regarding the Char Griller Akorn.
Char-Griller responded to me about a week after my request, and made good. Sent me replacement parts, so I'm satisfied. But it still brings up the question about "fire in the hole" and whether misc grease fires below the coals, in the ash pan, should be burning the paint off the outside of the ash pan. Obviously it's not great to have those fires, but if there's a lot of food on the grate and coals below, it's difficult to see what is really happening down in the ash pan.
For my current question: Another poster asked about stones for indirect cooking. I am also wondering about the indirect heat stone that Char Griller sells. Lowes does not stock it in their stores so it's an on-line item. Is this really the thing to do when, for instance, Steven says "Set up for indirect heat"?
Char Griller has the pizza stone, which I believe is thinner, and the smoking stone, which is thicker and the preferred item for indirect cooking. (You can supposedly do pizza on the smoking stone anyway.) Both have three "ears" or "tabs" that rest in the three "slots" on the inside of the kettle. There are a few reviews on amazon about these stones breaking very easily. Does anyone have any experience to share regarding all of this?
Also, when slow-cooking, what is the arrangement of the smoking stone and a drip pan? Do you just lay a drip pan, with an inch of water, right on top of the smoking stone?