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8 Track Tape Tune Up

Now that most of these tapes are at least 30 years old, it goes without saying that some of them may need a little tlc to either keep them functioning or get them back into working order.  The biggest issues I have run into involve rotted foam pads, missing felt pads and sensing foil that either breaks if the tape is played through with the original foil in place.  Or in many cases the sensing foil is on the inside of the reel and it has corroded to the playtape resting on top of it.  Essentially locking the reel in place.  Another less common issue I have run into is with the 3 tab TC8 cartridges having dried up lubricant on the spindle that the pinch roller rides on.  Which will cause horrible tape drag.  Fortunately most issues with these tapes can be fixed.  Aside of course from demagnetization, physical damage to the playtape (including mildew) and the rare tapes that are chemically breaking down and turning to goo. 

The hardest part of the tape tune up in most cases is opening the cartridge itself.  The rest is usually pretty straight forward (emphasis on usually).  Which is where my cartridge opening videos will come in handy.

I STRONGLY suggest you practice repairs on tapes that you do not care about as it can take a bit of finesse to get things right and you will make mistakes initially.  Much better to do this on tapes you do not care about than your prized 80's Record Club Only tape!!!!

Creating A Tune Up Kit

A properly stocked tune up kit will make repairing your tapes easy and even fun!  A proper kit should contain the following:


*Rubbing Alcohol (I prefer the 99% concentration)

*Cotton Rounds

*Cotton Swabs

*Small jar of vaseline

*Magic Eraser (works great at cleaning the white cartridge shells)

*All Purpose Cleaner for cleaning the outside of cartride

*Splicing tape

*Sense Foil

*Replacement Foam Pads

*Replacement Felt Pads

*Splicing Block

*Single Edge Razor Blade


*Utility Knife

*Glue Stick



The following video contains information on proper tape tune up procedures as well as some problems you may run into during the tune up.  I hope you find it useful!

8 Track Tap Repair Video Link

*** Please note:  Even after doing a proper tune up of your 8 track, you may need to  periodically fix tape tension issues that may arise after repeated plays. ***

Resetting Tape Tension


Tape tension issues can be fairly common and will need to be corrected to get the best sound from your tape.  And to help prevent it from getting eaten!  The following video contains instructions on how to identify tension problems and fix them.

8 Track Tape Repair Video Link

Not comfortable diving in and repairing your own tapes?  Click Here to go to my Tape Repair Service page.  I will give your tapes a thorough tune up and clean the cartridges too!
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