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55 not keeping temperature up

I have a model 55 (built in 2008) that turns on and starts to smoke and warm up then then the temp drops.  This is my first time using the smoker and I didn't have a thermometer when I did ribs a couple of weeks ago and it took a couple of extra hours to get them "done".  So, I picked up a good thermometer and thought that I would give it another try and be able to track the temps.  Tried to do a pork butt and after 8 hours the meat temp was in the low 140s and the smoker temp was in the 150s.  I tried turning it off and unplugging and re plugging it in and the smoker temperature never really got higher than 170-180 and the meat has not gotten about 147.  What could the problems be?  Is this something that I can fix (would it be the heating element and or the thermostat?). How difficult are these to replace?  Are they worth replacing?

Thanks in advance for your time and help

HD 

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