Lest you think all is smooth sailing through The Straights of Pioneer, let me assure you it isn't.
In the case of this thing:
We ran smack into Halsey's Typhoon. It fought me Every Step Of The Way. Fix one thing, something else pops up. Fix that, and then you have to fix a brittle plastic part that broke while you were fixing the first item. Or a teeny, tiny part gets away from you, and goes sailing off into oblivion. The bent chassis was straightened so all mechanical assemblies were in proper alignment and dry-fit perfectly. The tape transport mechanism was taken apart and cleaned FOUR times. New drive belts, idler wheels, and pinch rollers were fitted. The last cleaning would have done a Class 1000 clean room proud. Use of lubricants was strongly discouraged, and highly controlled.
And STILL it doesn't work with front panel attached. It plays, records, and fast forwards 100% with the panel removed. Rewind is a bit flaky, so something is still amiss in the tape transport. It might be something subtle I'm missing, but I'm all out of speed, altitude, and ideas on this one. I went 10 rounds with this thing, and I'm battered, bruised, and bloodied. I'm "ahead on points", but I just don't have another round left in me, so I'm throwing in the towel, cutting my losses, and making a strategic withdrawal.
Nest stop in The Journey, The Bay of Nakamichi, where I hear the natives are friendly.
We should be pulling into port Monday afternoon.....