Tascam 38 - Capstan Motor Troubles

Mike Johnson

New Member
Jun 30, 2014
Gear owned
Tascam 38 Analog
Hi Gang

I'm a 66 year old musician/engineer. Have had some experience dabbling around with mechanics.

Used this machine back in 2002-2003.

Recently noticed the obvious:
Deteriorated belt and pinch roller which turned to 'Goo'. Replaced both of them.

Now I find that, (using several tapes same results); the capstan mechanism 'tries' to move the tape forward in 'Play Mode', and 'tries' to rewind and fast forward. It struggles then stops in all functions.

Without tape, and activating 'both' tension rollers manually, the mechanism seems to work fine in all functions.

My guess is that the motor, or motors may need cleaning & lubricating?

Anyone try to do this before? Or have 'other' ideas?


Did you remove the front cover and replace the belt from the front or did you go in from the rear.

If from the front, did you remove the pinch roller solenoid from the deck, to make it easier to lift up the complete head assembly / capstan bearing block?

If you did it that way, maybe the solenoid is not quite seated in the original position (doesn't take much misalignment) therefore lowering the pinch roller pressure.

To verify that, try manually putting extra pressure on the pinch roller while in play mode.

If that is the cause, you will need to follow the pinch roller pressure adjustment instructions on page 59 of the Operation/Maintenance Manual. You will need a spring scale. Pressure should between 1.9kg to 202gk (4.19lbs to 4.85lbs).

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