Not really sure about the lid
1.as for pulling the second rack I just tilt it a bit so that it clears the bolts but not enough so that my meet falls off
2.-3. diffuser sets on my charcoal basket. I use a pizza pan with holes in it, not sure if the thickness of the metal used will make a difference.
4.I got my therm from Amazon but you can find good deals everywhere online
5. Paint I got from my auto parts store is called engine enamel. I figured if it was good enough for an engine its good enough for my drum.
Hope that helps bud
Good luck and have fun building that UDS