Originally Posted by QansasjayhawQ
Thanks a bunch everybody! I sure appreciate the help.
Notley's absolutely right - the tiny gap that remains when the vents are closed down is because the tab that keeps the air intake covers from rotating all the way around are bumping into the fire grate. I will adjust those out a bit so that they don't bump into it and see if that reduces those tiny gaps.
I snapped the interfering tabs off prior to first cook. I recommend this non invasive mod.
Cook a few times before changing anything drastic.
Use some straps or carefully placed bungees for a few cooks to coax the door in to shape.
Try water in the pan. (I don't use it, but it makes a large difference)
Test the dome therm versus a grate level probe. There is variance between bottom grate, top grate, and dome temp.