I found this boombox on Facebook market with the description that the cassette deck would not work. I decided to buy it and try to repair it.
I assumed the issue would be a bad belt or two in the cassette mechanism and once I took the unit apart, I discovered that was indeed the case. This model only uses one belt for all three functions: playback, rewind and fast forward. Cleaning the old melted belt off of the wheels took much longer than installing a new one.
While I had the unit open, I also cleaned the contacts for the volume control and balance switches.
The tuner uses a piece of plastic with teeth on the bottom that is moved by two wheels. The plastic was no longer aligned properly which I was able to fix as well. Realigning this piece was actually harder than installing the new cassette belt.
Overall the unit is back to functioning properly and sounding as well as intended.
Part of me feels silly for taking the time to repair a mostly plastic boombox from the 1980s like this. It’s not as if it is worth a lot of money. I could probably be using the time to repair something more valuable instead.
But then I remind myself that I enjoyed the challenge of bringing the deck back to life and I was able to start and finish the repair while watching the Lakers Heat NBA finals game. I didn’t spend days on the project, just a couple of hours.
Also, I’m not the only one who has restored a boombox like this. Here is a video from someone who restored a model very similar to mine: