Don't the ash pans have a hole in the bottom of them? I seem to remember mine did. With a small mesh over it? If you elevate the ash pan enough you can tap the ash out and free up the live coals. I've seen tools that lift the grate too. Its usually a wire fork bent on nearly 90. You lace the forks between two grate rails then lift when you are at the 90. Its hard to explain. Imagine the letter L with the flat part under the grate, the bend between the grate rails and the vertical above and perpendicular to the grate. Not quite a 90 gives you more leverage when you lift.
WannaBeBBQueen's Prince Consort
Swamp Pit BBQ's freeloader
To part or not to part: that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to part and suffer the slings and arrows of ostentatious brothers or to not part when faced with a sea of dissent, and by compromise end it? To part: to succeed. Forever more: and by succeed to say we win.
Yeah it looks good...but how does it smell?
Member of The Big Guns BBQ Team Semper Fumantem
"you're eating tree RAT, tree RAT, you're eating RAT!" -- landarc