This is my first post here.
. However, I had written off the MES not because of the failures, but because it seemed almost impossible to repair them. Everyone who had an element go out reported that it was not a simple plug-n-play repair and required a new cabinet housing.
First thing First, WELCOME aboard "low-n-slow", glad you decided to join in the Q-postin fun here at SMF.
Your observation may be accurate for the posts you read, but it is not actually the whole story. Older MES units prior to the replaceable element models, easily could replace the element with a 3rd party element (search the internet there are several companies that sell elements that will work). If you search SMF there are several who have replaced elements and documented the procedure with good how to plus pics. Of course the new models have replaceable elements, and if you shop you can get the 30" models that have that feature. However as I pointed out, it isn't necessary to have the new replaceable version, the older version owners can easily replace the element . Note, to replace the element on the older version requires removing the back panel by drilling out the rivets.
I have posted several times I bought my 40 " MES Sam's version, with the expectation that I would eventually replace the elements, internal wiring, and the digital control, using 3rd party sources. The flexibility of using 3rd party components makes the MES an even better investment. Sure there is a bit of labor involved,
Check out this thread which has links to several re-wiring and a element replacement.