Did Nixon Erase My Tape?

During my Army days in the early 70s, I bought stereo pieces while I was overseas and had them sent home to wait for me when I got out. One of the pieces was a Teac RTR, and over the next 12-15 years, I made around 50 7" tape mixes, all of them at 7 1/2 IPS. I still have those tapes and have acquired three nice RTRs.....a Teac A-4300SX, a Teac X-1000R, and an Akai GX-636. I was playing a tape today on the X-1000 and when I hit 'reverse' to play the second side, all I got was silence, with an occasional garbled sound every 5 seconds or so. At first, I thought maybe I had erased the second side and never re-recorded back over it, but the back of the box (where you would write in whatever you recorded) showed no changes.So I removed the tape from the right take-up reel, flipped it over so that the B side was now the A side and re-threaded the tape back on the left reel. The recording played beautifully, with no problems, and I'm trying to figure out where the problem lies. The tape was originally recorded on a Teac A-4010SL and I think this is the first time I've played it in at least 20 years. I'm thinking that tracks 2 and 4 just don't line up correctly with the reverse-playback heads on the X-1000, which itself seems goofy to me. Any veteran tape-heads out there that have an opinion, please let me know. The X-1000R has bi-directional recording capability, which the A-4010SL did not.
I'm thinking that tracks 2 and 4 just don't line up correctly with the reverse-playback heads on the X-1000, which itself seems goofy to me.

Correct. But nowhere near as goofy as   

Your header grabbed my attention as my first thought is that many would not have a clue what the Nixon and erased tapes reference was. That I know means that I also lived through an era of amazing music-  
"I’m not a crook"! His VP resigned too. VP Agnew. Then VP Ford, who became president and pardoned, Richard Nixon.

The whole US scratched their heads while our jails were packed with guys doing 20 years in OK for 2 joints.. YUP.. 20 years..

Roll another one, just like the other one.... Sure has changed, now where that pardon for everyone else?

@discnik, most likely cause are one of two things.

1. the tape is not tracking correctly in reverse direction.
2. There is a large switch assembly in the bottom of the deck mounted to the large PCB. If these contacts get dirty over time, when you reverse play the deck the contacts will not make a good connection, giving you no signal or a garbled signal.
Try cleaning these contacts in the reversing switch and see if it helps.
Thanks for the responses, guys....historical and actual operational input is appreciated. I had to go back in time and think about the repair history on my A-4010SL deck.....for reasons more neurotic than fact-based, I had the heads replaced in the late 1970s and it's possible that the tech I used did not correctly align the new heads at the time. The tape that failed to play properly was recorded in 1985 after the head replacement had been done. Thanks for the tip, johnss.....I plan to play the offending tape on my GX-636 to see if it tracks correctly on that deck. If it does, I will have your tip looked into. The reference to Peter Graves being responsible went right over my head, and he was one of my favorite actors from childhood (My Friend Flicka), tom6897.
I thought Peter Graves was in Fury.  “The story of a horse and the boy who loved him”. Peter Graves played the father on the show. 
It might have been a teenage girl, if the events depicted in one of my favorite movies, “Dick”, are factual.

if you don’t know, the allusion to Peter Graves is owed to his role in the tv series Mission Impossible . 
I had forgotten about his role in that series, lewm8. He is the most likely culprit.
You are correct stereo5 - it was Fury, not My Friend Flicka (both show were similar).
This thread will self-destruct.
... the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.
So basically, no one knows about Watergate. But everyone knows about the TV show. Bread and circuses.
Past midnight.  Never knew such silence.  The earth might be uninhabited ...
Good thing I didn't reference the Three Stooges, Miller Carbon. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!
MC, Relax. We know about both. I’ve watched All the Presidents Men and Dick several times over. I prefer the latter version of events. Plus I lived through it in Washington DC. Also, I always considered mission impossible to be a campy joke.
So basically, no one knows about Watergate..


Of course I remember..

Still has a great continental breakfast!!! how’s that security upgrade?

A historical site now...

I wonder how many BANKS are considered "Historical" because Dillinger held them up? yea... Friggen’ Tricky Dick and Elvis, great buddies..
I’m a Zappa kind of guy..

As far as the RtR goes no time like now to learn HOW to align the heads. I have to go through the whole head alignment, and check the bias. Been a while, but its not all that hard. Good time to do a little cleaning and lube.

I have EXtra motors that need to be cleaned inspected, (shaft micro polished) lubed.
 Always a little work, if not for dust and demag alone..

I would really make sure that the heads, guides, capstan, pinch roller and tape tension sensors are all clean! Old tapes can shed and leave behind a surprising amount of gook in a very short time.

In auto-reversing decks you can have a problem where the machine plays fine in one direction but not the other, due to problems with the capstans and pinch rollers. Usually you can see this by observing the behavior of the tape itself as it passes over the heads in either direction- it should look exactly the same!
Thanks for the suggestions atmasphere, oldhvymec, et al. The problem evidently rests in the pinch roller/capstan domain as a different tape was played with thew same result. Dirty tape path isn't the explanation....I've only used the deck 2 or 3 times since buying it over a year ago and I visually inspected the heads/tape path with a hand mirror when I received it. I guess any device with as many moving and inter-related parts can be expected to require more and more maintenance as time goes on. But I'm in love with the sound from RTRs, so I'll just have to suck it up.


Talks of "Non Pinch Roller Parallelism", In other words it works one direction but not so well in the other.. Bi directional playback is really cool, but it also adds a complexity to simple playback. The head bias and adjustment are more complex. Still no biggie.

I’ve never tried it...BUT BRAVE on good fellow brave on. I’ve always had Studer and Otari though as a kid I had a Military Roberts 770 close to  Teac adjustment

Thanks for the service manual data-base info oldhvymec. It will help me to delve into this problem and decide whether to tackle it on my own or get competent help (I'm leaning toward the latter). I learned the Law of Diminishing Returns in painful way years ago when I replaced a trap under the kitchen sink, but failed to seal it correctly. Woke up the next morning to an inch of water on the flooring. Or maybe that was Murphy's Law?
Every time one of these threads come up, with one or more persons singing the praise of R2R, I am tempted to get into it.  Then, one of my local friends who is already deeply into it says, no.  That I would be crazy.  But when I listen to his tapes at his house, the sound is very very good. He's invested many thousands.
R2r is the best legacy playback and recording format. It also happens to be the most limited in regards to pre-recorded releases available.
If you are into making your own tape recordings, then R2R is the best. Hifi VHS is also very good and a much easier format to deal with but not nearly as sexy or applicable for live recording 🔥😉
What brand of tape?
First, check out the mechanical pieces on the deck and get that straight.If there is still an issue you should consider "baking" the tape.
Not an uncommon practice in the pro-audio world. Especially with tapes from the 70's.
One major tape manufacturer had a fleet of "rolling evens" visiting pro recording studios. It worked.

If I have to resort to 'baking' a tape to get it to work, it's time to discard that tape. The only stereo-related item(s) I have ever cooked are Vibrapods - when they get squashed from the weight of whatever they've been under, cooking them in a 200 degree oven for a few minutes will be like a dose of Viagra to them. How does that treatment benefit older tapes, tuzarupa? I've always stored my tapes upright in their plastic baggies and boxes to avoid problems with them settling unevenly. And I never used high-speed rewind except for very brief spaces because of my fear it would stretch the tape.
I visually inspected the heads/tape path with a hand mirror when I received it.
If the problem was buildup in the head gap, you might never see it.
If I have to resort to 'baking' a tape to get it to work, it's time to discard that tape.
I would be careful about that. Once a tape is baked, its useful for some months before baking is needed again. If baking it properly doesn't sort it out, **then** its time to discard it.

To avoid having to bake tapes I have two tips. First, place the tape in a plastic bag when it goes in its box. Place a small bag of Silica Gel in the bag with it. Second, never store tapes in the basement- if in long storage, place them in the attic, or other location that tends to get warm (and tends to be dry). I store tapes I'm working with on a radiator in my house. The heat helps keep moisture from attaching to the polymers of the tape.