Fix up my old AR or get a new table?

I bought an AR turntable back when they were riding high in the 80s as a great budget table. I still have it, and it still works, but (contrary to the predicted end of vinyl) there have been quite a few advancements in analog design over the last 20 years, so I'm wondering how the old workhorse holds up to some of the newer budget tables. Is it worth holding on to the AR and maybe look at a new arm and cart, or have budget tables gotten so much better that I should just start fresh? If the advice is to find something new I'd like to stay in the 1500-2000 range for the whole thing (table, arm, cart). Or would I be better off investing that money in just a very good arm and cart?
Check this site out.
Wow! Thanks Dekay. I'll give this site a good going over before I jump to any hasty decisions.
I would tune up the old AR and save up for something a notch above "budget".

As you can see from the Vinyl Nirvana site, there's a lot you can do to your AR to bump up its performance, depending on how handy you are.

I once gave away an AR turntable, and I still regret doing so.
Also, if you have not done so, search "AR" in the Vinyl Forum @ There is a lot of pertinent info contained in the archives. You can ID/research the arm as well.

I recall "Merril" modifications being popular with the AR decks (might be worth researching). Think Merril was a person/company.
I've found a bit or two on AudioAsylum tonight; I'll keep looking. Yes, Merrill offered a bunch of mods to the AR tables. Like an idiot I didn't buy any of them at the time. Merrill stopped offering those mods a while ago. Well, the only excuse I have is that back then I really didn't have the money to throw around. There's a fellow listed on the Vinyl Nirvana site that seems to have taken over (in spirit) for Merrill.
I had the original AR Table many years ago and got all the full blown mods on it from George Merrill at the time.Then I thought vinyl was dead and I sold it for almost nothing,to this day I kick myself in the pants over this.
I had the new motor that would not hum,new platter acrylic,new outer ring clamp something simmiliar to VPI's that cost $500.00 by itself,new suspension ,also 1 inch cutout for the arm you specifically requested for the table.
The cutout was integrated with the subchassic,Your spindal was sent to them to get remachined to perfectly fit into the platter and would take a few hours to fully seat into your table once you got it back from George.I also rewired all the wires under the table with Kimber Silver and this opened things up even more,and I replaced the .22 600V cap with a Rel Cap and it still improved the sound.Oh well in life you win and you strike out.I'm back to a VPI MK3 Table now with no turning back Good Luck on your Quest..
I guess the question really is, can you get better sound for $2000 than for what it costs for the AR. A nice cartridge and arm pretty much eats it already, table aside.
Yes, I kick myself in the pants every time I think about not biting the bullet back then and sending in my ES-1 for the full Merrill mods. Easy to say that now, but back then money was an issue. It's just too bad that his company stopped doing that kind of work. Anthony Scillia seems to have taken over; he offers new armboards, adjustment studs, SS shaft, and a spring kit. But no subchassis upgrade.

76, how did you like the Merrill acrylic platter? And was the Rel Cap the same value as the original?
If it has the original "AR" arm (actually a Japanese OEM arm), replace it with a Rega RB250 or 300 arm, or modifications thereof. Then buy a new drive belt (around $12) and you're on the way to a tt that can compete with most modern mid-priced tt's on the market.
the acrylic platter opened up the top end,but the outer ring clamp semmed to help the most.The clamp really stabilized the sound field and locked it in with precision.The Rel Cap replacement was the original value
that I has on my machine.
Fix it up. New motor, belt, arm, armboard. Either new springs or a carefull adjustment of what you have. Discard the bottom plate and either run naked replace with 1/2" baltic ply. Look into an external power supply or try with an isotap to reduce the AC to ~85watts. This reduces torque- so you have to give the platter a nudge when you turn it on, but the lower voltage also results in much smoother motor rotation (less vibration transmitted to the TT). The difference is audible.

Denon 103 cartride, Shure V-15vmr, Grado Wood bodies are a few of the favored cartridges.

Seriously for the money and very little effort, this isn't another table out within $1000 that can touch it sonically.

Good Luck !
Iopsc, where would I get a new motor?
Needledoctor or ARguy (audioasylum)sell motors, I use a Goldring 1042 on a Linn Basik and sound is still great