A newby to Turntables -- Linn - Thorens

I'm looking at few tables in the $200 to $500 range. In the running is a Thorens 166, 145, 160, or an original 1974 Linn LP12. I believe the Linn is the higher-end table but it seems to be very complex in maintenance, set up and tweaking. Do the Linn's actually require monthly and yearly set up and constant tweaking to perform well?
Even a minimally maintained LP12 (clean, properly lubricated bearing; good belt; balanced suspension; correct setup at purchase; stable, level platform or rack) will perform over a TD166. The LP12 suspension does tend to drift away from optimum, though, so that a recently set-up unit sounds livelier and more dynamic than the same unit a year later.

What happens is that the springs settle in and relax a bit too much, and they need to be turned to a new position where they have a bit more tension. This is a finicky business because getting one spring right can throw the others off. So yes, an LP12 wants you to know a competent setup man, but the rewards are there if you do.

A yearly going-over should suffice. Constant tweaking? Not unless you're very fussy indeed.
I've found the grommets wear on an LP12 and stay in tune if they are replaced every 4-5 years. The ones that go out after a year have 10+ year old grommets. It is more important than the springs. Many decks out there have 20+ year old grommets and it perpetrates the "Linn's go out of adjustment" syndrome.
I bought a TD-160 Super about six months ago as a starter table. Pretty easy to own and work on. You can make lots of chasis adjustment with basic tools. I've listened recently to a couple of other decks and by comparison the TD-160 lacks some solidity and refinement, but in general I'm happy with it, understanding of course that it will not be the last table I own. And as you point out, they can he had cheap. The nice thing about the 160, as opposed to - I think - both the 145 and the 166, is that it has an all metal platter assembly. I believe the others have a plastic center wheel. Also, if you get a 160, make sure you get a unit that has the little metal post next to the motor, otherwise the sprung platter can bounce down onto the motor pully and bend the drive shaft. Very early TD-160s did not have the guard. When I got my TT the springs were out of whack and the platter was actually grinding on that little post. Had the post not been there it would have been riding against the pully and that would have been the end of that.
i recently got my dads lp-12. he is the original owner and it is my first tt. it has been adjusted i put a new cartidge on it a gas sleeping beauty. replaced the cable with a nordost hemidall and use a pbn audio phono pre amp. the sound is quite amazing and i amreally enjoying listening to vynal agan.
Linn is a temperamental unit, go with a Thorens.
Even an LP12 out of tune will sound a lot better than the thorens (most LP12's are out of tune)
Thank you for all your input. I'll digest everyone's suggestions.