NP glad to see you making progress. Fixing the ash lip plate is no biggie. We did mine. For what its worth I burned my IR without the ash lip for a couple of months. I'd think the same weld shop could fabricate you a burn tube just like the others. Take one with you and see what happens. I'm guessing they are stainless. With a baffle and a burntube you are basically in business. We load ours from the front so there is no need to lift the top.