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Mix tape mayhem! I gotta have my cassettes!

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Mix tape mayhem! I gotta have my cassettes!

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Old 04-12-2018, 02:47 PM
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Mix tape mayhem! I gotta have my cassettes!

1985 300zx GL - Everything is great and working but the cassette player. Tape goes in, (radio shuts off and antenna goes down strangely, is that normal?) but nothing happens. I've pulled the radio out but it doesn't reveal anything wrong.

Are these repairable and who does it? I'd like to keep the car stock, and get the player working again as I did a vanity plate "MX TAPE"

I have looked for replacement radios on Amazon and Ebay. Little luck.

Any suggestions would be great.

And yes, I did search the local junkyards for mid 80's Z's. No luck.

Thanks to anyone who responds!
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:02 AM
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Talking

Hey, congratulations on keeping your dinosaur-mode cassettes alive and cranking! I remember my cassettes well and they kept me happy behind the Z wheel for 20 years. But they are "not cool" anymore, sad to say. The format is fragile and cassettes fade over time. Cosmic rays? or random magnetic fields, probably. Plus the deck's reading heads wear out over time. I just thought they were dirty and "cleaned" them, only to find they were de-laminating from over-use. Just plum worn out.
If you are recording your own cassettes or even just playing either them or commercial cassettes in the house, you likely have a player/recorder you can hook up to an MP3 creator. Your computer can do this running programs like Roxio Creator. Great way to make MP3 copies of all your music.
Then you replace your Z's head unit with a newer CD player/FM unit with a USB input on the front. Many available, not expensive. I always liked Pioneer. Check out Crutchfield on line, find one that fits your dash. Install your replacement head unit, load your MP3 files onto a thumb drive and plug it in to your new head unit.
There are guys out there who can repair original OEM cassette/FM head units but you would need to find one and inspire him to the point where he stops telling you just to go digital and MP3 with your music, dumping your cassettes for good. Plus, you will like the flexibility of digital. Your music files will last forever, through one head unit after another.

I was in a music store the other day and they had a huge selection of original cassettes for a buck each! Ah, the good old days. I remember paying $14.00!

Good luck

Last edited by zxguy1986; 04-13-2018 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 04-13-2018, 09:21 AM
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Thank you for the info. I know it's a very, very dead mode of entertainment (RIP; VHS, mini disc, laserdisc, 8-track), but for me I'd like to keep going with my own mix tapes.

It's easy to make them. Amazon Prime music let's you create a playlist easily and quickly. The hard part is the actual recording. I bought a Denon receiver and cassette player from a 2nd hand store for $30.00 and black cassettes off Amazon. Connect the computer to the input on the receiver and press "record". Felt like old times, almost.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:12 PM
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Hard to believe! Car Cassette Player | eBay

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Old 04-15-2018, 01:26 PM
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ALso I found found 4 or 5 '85 OEM units available around the country, head/FM radio units with cassette. Go to Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market and enter your info, search for "radio CD" then sort the results by distance from your zip code. Cassette payers will show up. Call the recyclers on their (800) numbers and negotiate. They should be cheap. Maybe you add the working parts of your unit to a recycled unit and bingo! a working '85 cassette player. There are electronic techies around who can repair any cassette player because parts are pretty interchangeable. Good luck!

Hey, I remember the cassette player in my brand new '86 Z31. The head was misaligned at the factory (a very rare Z31 screw-up by Nissan) so I was never happy with the sound. In a couple of years I switched out the head for a CD/MP3 player and transferred all my homemade mix tapes to CD. I had the old head unit hanging around for years and some guy bought it, misalignment and all. He wanted the radio which was still good.

Last edited by zxguy1986; 04-15-2018 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:20 AM
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Thank you again!!

Just to catch anyone up who has been reading this.

I checked with several radio repair locations, United Radio and small shops around the US. All of them wouldn't touch this unit. One guy said it was the number 1 or 2 radio/cassette players he will never try and repair again. FUN! He said there are two major things that go wrong with the CKS-1701Z unit. Many belts, I think five, can break or stretch, and Hitachi used glue to connect several wires to a board instead of sodding them. The glue dries out and moisture gets in.

United Radio said they won't service a unit this old.

So, the best hope is to find a replacement unit that works. It's a long shot but worth a try.

Thanks again for the information. Very helpful
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Old 04-18-2018, 06:53 PM
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One problem with finding a replacement unit from the same era is that those belts dry out and stretch or break over time. I am surprised at the bad grade Hitachi gets for the OEM units - and I wonder how long it took Nissan to dump them as a supplier. That low level of quality would have been the opposite of what Nissan intended for and put into the Z31s. Maybe they hanged the Hitachi execs responsible. When you make the player as fragile as the medium, bad stuff is bound to happen. SO good luck with finding an OEM replacement, especially now, 30-plus years out!

Instead, I think I would go with a brand new Cassette/FM unit that would fit your Z31 dash. Crutchfield (if they are offering a cassette player at all) used to provide a custom made harness (Crutchfield's own) to connect the new replacement unit to the original Nissan Z31 electronics, that multi-socket power/output connector. Very cool feature from Crutchfield, saving hours of fussy wire work. Don't know if Crutchfield or anyone else still does that but if so will make your life a lot easier. Check that out.

If you get it up and working right, let me know. Maybe I can lend you my Iron Maiden and Grateful Dead tapes! Oh, yeah. Moody Blues, too. And I fergot Kiss and Alice in Chains. Time to stone out, dude.

Last edited by zxguy1986; 04-18-2018 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 05-03-2018, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by zxguy1986 View Post
If you get it up and working right, let me know. Maybe I can lend you my Iron Maiden and Grateful Dead tapes! Oh, yeah. Moody Blues, too. And I fergot Kiss and Alice in Chains. Time to stone out, dude.
My '86 Z31 has an aftermarket unit and I'd also like to find an original. When I was cleaning the car up after getting it I found a Beastie Boys cassette in the console. Be happy to lend that too.
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Old 05-12-2018, 04:42 PM
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Not a fix for your cassette deck, but take a look at Redi-Rad. Allows you to hook up MP3 while maintaining stock appearance.

https://redirad.com/
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:31 PM
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I have an issue with mine too and I am still spending some time trying to fix it. But I had taken it to a local repair shop that now that I've talked to other places like 50+ miles away after I moved, I keep hearing them say the place I took it first was the best place and not repairable if they couldn't fix it. Well I've fiddled with it and got it working again, though now nothing comes through the antenna and I'm working on fixing that too!

Anyway, yes repair shops would be the best bet, and maybe having to find one non-local.

For me, it's worth it to fix because I love the all-stock of my car, it's in incredible condition and most everything works except for some minor things that are still fixable. I'm writing because I had looked into the cost of selling the radio and what a replacement would cost, and I found a working one going for $1300. So keep that in mind for fixing it, if someone out there really wants a working one, there may be a buyer and might go for a pretty penny. If I fix mine, I might consider selling it so I can use the money to fix some other things on it.
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