Re: Having troubles with my KM (and Vortex)--help me?
Use a piece of paper towel (ie bounty) for the bowl and hose seal; not only do they work great, but you can easily shape them to fit any size you need. Your problem is most likely do to the coals you are using/how you are poking the holes.
You didn't mention hole pattern, so if you don't know don't poke a hole in the middle--some people will tell you to but it isn't a good idea. Also use the metal clips from those big paper clamps in the middle of your vortex bowl to increase smoke flow as they prop up the aluminum foil, even whilst hitting the hose.
The only thing I can think of is that there might be a problem with the seal of your base and stem. For this use a full paper towel and poke the stem through the paper towel. Make sure the paper isn't covering the holes at the bottom of the stem when you place it down.
These are just some general tips that you might already know. I hope this helps.