One channel cuts out randomly
I have a philips 212 turntable that I got for free. I've been trying to get rid of a nasty gremlin ever since. I installed a Shure m97xe cartridge to replace the Grado with a worn stylus (cheaper for the whole cart than to replace the Grado stylus). The problem I had at that point was a hum that would come on and then one channel (left) would cut out. I managed to eliminate the hum by cutting the ground connection on the Shure cart and using a separate wire to ground the cartridge to the existing tonearm ground. I thought that would fix it, but even though the hum is gone, it was still cutting out at random. If I pulled the rca jacks out and fiddled with them and then put them back, it would be fine again. Then I figured out the left rca jack had an issue when you bent it a certain way. So, I replaced the rca wires (which weren't the originals, btw) with a Sony digital audio wire. I thought this would be the end of it, but I still have the same problem. If I swap rca jacks, the problem goes to the other side. If I swap cartridge leads, it remains on the left. To get it to reboot, so to speak, I either pull the rcas and replace them, or I pull out the cartridge and touch the tonearm wires. Either of these actions creates a big hum and "fixes" the problem. The problem can come up after part of a song or stay away for 7 albums. I've cleaned every post and connector and tried moving the tonearm up down and sideways while checking connectivity. I even put the Grado on it temporarily (with a tossable record) and it did the same thing. I'm guessing I need to replace the tonearm wires, but I'd really like to hear someone say, "Yeah, that will fix it." And mean it.
If I understand it correctly, there should be only one thing left in the audio path from stylus to amp, right?
If all this makes sense, is the Cardas 33 wire the way to go? Litz? Generic? Did I mention this was a "free" turntable. I don't want to spend a fortune on it. And I've never done this before, so any suggestions will be gladly accepted.
Thanks for any help,