Have you considered that your intake runs right next to the barrel all the way up? The opening is right next to the coals. I think that with the hot air rising, air is trying to rise up the intake and slowing down the incoming air. The nipple at the bottom, other side is 90 deg to the rising air flow so would not have air rising or coming out of it. How hot does the pipe get. I think I would try removing the pipe, install the valve on the nipple and them attach a 4 foot (more or less) rod down to the valve. Put a handle on top of the rod. That way you could adjust the air flow while standing up and not have a "venturi" effect. Nutz
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