Akai GX-266D Repair And Restoration

Almost every vintage tape deck needs to be disassembled for cleaning and to fix existing problems. This Akai GX-266D tape deck is no exception.

The first thing that I'll do is clean the tape path and give the tape deck a quick check of it's basic functions.

I found that the pause control was stuck on this Akai GX-266D so I removed the top faceplate to have a better look.

With the faceplate removed I was able to follow the linkage of the pause control and see why the control was binding.

I used some bearing oil to help free up the old grease. The pause control now works fine in this Akai GX-266D reel to reel deck.. 

After fixing an issue it's always a good idea to test out your work before moving on.

A clip on LED light really helps you see into the tight areas of the chassis.


With any vintage audio restoration there is always plenty of cleaning to do. Warm water and a dish soap will be used on the faceplate.

As well as making the faceplates easier to clean when they are removed you also have easier access to use deoxit on the controls.

Wherever you see old grease like in the image below clean it with isopropyl alcohol. You will need to do some disassembly.

e-clips will easily fly away so take it slow and easy when you remove them. Replacement parts for this vintage Akai GX-266D may not be easy to find.

The image below shows the capstan motor with the thrust angle removed from this Akai GX-266D open reel tape deck.

There is a small steel ball that fits between the capstan motor and the thrust angle. This steel ball may fall out.

The steel ball is very small and easy to loose. So when you loosen the screws that hold the capstan motor to the thrust angle, watch for that ball!

There are many different assemblies that need to be cleaned up in a 40 year old reel to reel. Make sure that you have the service manual.

Take pictures before you remove anything. That way if you get in trouble trying to put it back together you have a reference.

Sometimes you have to remove a clip in the back to get an assembly out from the front. The service manual will have illustrations.

With the e-clip removed you can now remove a part from the tension block though the front so that it can be cleaned.

I'll clean the heads and tape path of this Akai GX-266D reel to reel tape deck before I do any serious testing.

I'll make sure that the tape tension looks good.

I'll use a HAN-D-MAG to make sure the heads and tape path are not magnetized.

I'll also use a MRL calibration tape which is the standard in this day and age as Akai no longer produces test tapes.

I'll follow the procedure in the Akai GX-266D open reel service manual and do some adjustments with a signal generator and a scope.

I'll use a sound technology 1510A for the final testing of this Akai GX-266D. Any tape deck restoration or repair should include bench testing.

I found during testing that the right channel had a very noticeable "hiss" during record/playback. This was caused by a bad 2SC458 transistor.

2SC458 transistors are known trouble makers in vintage stereo equipment. I used KSC1845 transistors as replacements.

With the bottom cover of this Akai GX-266D removed I unsoldered 9 pins to remove the NE-5223 board. This makes transistor replacement easier.

With the NE-5223 board removed I'll also change out the 40 year old electrolytic capacitors in this Akai GX-266D reel to reel.

I have changed out the old electrolytic capacitors and the 2SC458 transistors. I'm ready to reinstall the NE-5223 board.

Everything checks out well on the test bench. I'll reinstall the top faceplate and do some test recording.

This Akai GX-266D reel to reel tape deck repair and restoration is complete. It's time for some music!