I have a first-generation Amerique (one of the last I think, since the improved models came out the next month), and I've had some issues with the metal of some of the parts. The drip pan below corroded through. No rust, just corroded through. The drippings made a mess over the floor over and over, until I figured out what was going on and put drip pans under my drip pan until I replaced the original with a deep serving pan. Also, my woodbox started getting areas of weakness, and some crud built up on the underside in a corner, and it too eventually corroded through, and now the the top door won't close properly. The replacement box for this old model was $146 with shipping.
Is there anything I'm doing wrong? I've lined the box top and the floor with aluminum every smoke, and punched a hole for the drain. I've had a few grease fires during the 10 years, including a Thanksgiving turkey. I'm sure that's healthy with all that aluminum in there. But otherwise, I just put dry-rubbed meat in the smoker. Should I put a big, rimmed cookie sheet under my meat to catch the hot and/or corrosive drippings so they don't ruin meat that should be able to withstand this kind of use?