Problem w Esoteric SA-10- send in or fix locally

My Esoteric SA-10 has recently developed problems. The transport first became noisy, mostly when playing SACD's. Most recently it is giving me a "disc error" on the display, and won't read discs, again only on SACD's. When it does read one, it will have intermittent split second audio drop outs, as well as put out short blips of distortion.

My question is this- I am not the original owner, so it is not under warranty. Shipping it is costly. UPS is around $90.00 including $3500 of insurance (the box is huge and heavy). This won't include my return shipping, or the cost of parts and repair. I am also nervous about putting it in the hands of UPS or FedEx.

Should I take it to a local tech I have experience with who I have confidence in and is reasonable for costs for repairs? OR should I bite the bullet and roll the dice shipping it to Esoteric and back? It could be something relatively simple that is cheap to fix anyways.

Any thoughts?
This may not help much... but I had a TEAC T1 repaired (new laser) by the local factory service shop. The problem (wouldn't read discs, at first just a few, then most, then all) recurred after three or four months.

Had two other shops look at the unit. They tried some adjustments. Nothing really helped. Then I was given the name of a new technician a few hours away. He fixed that transport, boy. It worked like a charm off his bench, I used it, sold it, shipped it and AFAIK it's still working.

Conclusion: it really helps to have a technician who knows what he's doing, and he doesn't necessarily work in the factory service shop.
In fixing locally you pay for the education of the tech and often a high mark up for parts. Unless the tech will give a "I'll fix" for a flat rate price, go with the factory service but, only ship in the factory boxes. Double box if you can. The $90 shipping is reasonable given the cost of the unit.
I do have the original packaging, which is actually triple boxed, by the way. That is one of the reasons it is expensive, as it is an oversized box at 30" x 24" x 18" and heavy at around 45 pounds.
First, I would find a good optical disc cleaner - there is 1 that has a bit of felt on it that is excellent. That may very well fix your problem. That's the "cheap" fix.

If it doesn't, call Esoteric, tell them your issue and see what they say. They are very helpful and also have a "special shipping" deal that isn't as expensive as UPS, since they KNOW their boxes are big and heavy. Most people aren't aware of this, but now you are.

The additional benefit to sending the player to Esoteric is that you can get them to give it a good cleaning/inspection so that you have piece of mind going forward, ESPECIALLY since you are not the original owner. To me, this is the obvious way to go. I have had very good luck in dealing with them. Good luck
Thanks for the posts guys. I have decided to bite the bullet and send it into Esoteric.

I couldn't agree with you more. It will give me peace of mind from this point forward having it sent into Esoteric.

I will post again after I get it back from them.