Back in the Game, Bought a 30th Anniversary Table, Update Recommendations?

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I used to play lots of competitive foos from 2007 to 2011 or so. Went to Vegas a few times, lots of state tournaments, etc. I previously bought a 2007 grey marble coin-op after a SLC tourney. Life changed and sold the table. Last week I bought a 30th Anniversary table so 2003. It's actually in good shape and been taken care of, I know the previous owners from new. Playing field is flat, no de-laminating. One cracked guy but the seller gave me 8 extra guys. Some of the outer grey laminate is de-laminating which is a easy fix and only cosmetic.

I need to confirm of the rods are Merkel or not. I have heard 2003 is the first year those rods were introduced but hit and miss on the Anniversary Editions. Any idea how I determine that?

I have never played on a T3000, are they really that much different? I know a few things have changed, bearings are thinner, guys changed a little, playing field changed, side strips thinner, handles, etc. I'm thinking maybe the bearings and side strips would be the most noticeable? Doubt these bearings have ever been changed so seems about due, I like off the wall passes so maybe these 2 changes would help make those passes more consistent.

Any recommendations? I don't plan on getting too serious again but we all know the addiction foos can have. Are the changes that noticeable?

Offline crazy8

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Changing the bearing and side-strips are usually done at the same time because one affects the other. If the rods are straight and smooth I wouldn’t worry unless you’ve got extra cash waiting to be spent.
Otherwise your table is as good as any - they really haven’t changed. You could always swap out the handles from wood to rubber but I doubt anyone would consider that necessary.