Here is my reasoning:
- EM's - Properly rebuild or refurbish line cord, steppers, switches, score reels, flippers and other mechanical assemblies in the back box, lower cabinet and playfield and you will have a TANK of a machine that stays in better working condition the more you play it. And your issues will be minor, cost less and usually quickly resolved.
- Early SS - Properly rebuild the rectifier board, power supply, install new header pins (male/female) on the MPU and driver boards, cap the sound board, new flipper mechs and kick out assemblies. These games will be rock solid. Replacement parts will be available both new and used. Lots of folks in the community available to help troubleshoot if needed.
- Williams System 11 - These games have one of the best hardware systems of any pin era and when properly rebuilt they are work horses. Say no more. The documentation and reputation speaks for its self.
- Gottlieb System 3 - Quite possibly the most rugged mechanical assemblies ever built. Most of these games were built with superior materials and often times resemble their premium or LE counterparts (Look at a Stargate if you doubt me). The boards in these games often times have no visual scars from aftermarket rework. The connections unlike Gottlieb System 80 are rugged and quite often need little more then a quick cleaning with your fiber glass eraser. Flippers in these games after a fresh rebuild are absolute rockets. And of coarse we can't forget silk screened parts locations on the bottom side of the playfield. Everyone wishes this was the norm.
I could keep going. And of coarse the opinions will too. But to say that my statement is bananas tells me you probably didn't read everything I said.
Everything has problems. You maintaining the Co-op know that better then most. But after things are brought back from the dead then the systems I mention are in fact strong contenders for reliability. I will admit, most folks would not and do not go through the machine in the briefly described manor I suggest. And often times revert to quick solutions such as reflowing solder rather then replacing it, cleaning up headers rather then replacing them, repinning connectors rather then buying new ones, leaving old fuse clips or caps installed, so on and so on.
Anyone with the new Stern or JJ argument can take a quick peek at the dozens of threads created for the shit show that is NEW pinball (lack of) quality.