I went to the cabinet and grabbed the tapes. But where was the take up reel? After a fifteen minute ransacking of the area, I found it on top of the filing cabinet where the 8-track unit had been sitting.
Ok, mount the reels and let's rewind the tape, which had been carefully stored tail out. And after a short time, the rewinding function slowed down. That's not good. I found that I could pick up the speed by lifting the right tension arm by hand. Ok, that'll work for the moment.
Tape rewound. Channels enabled in Cubase. Hit play on the recorder.
And it sits there.
Apparently, there's something wrong with the transport mechanism, which would explain the trouble with rewinding.
Thud, thud, thud.
Update: I've opened up the front panel and the capstan belt has definitely gone bad, so I've ordered a new one off of eBay that should get here some time next week. Installing the new belt looks like an adventure. I think I have to partially remove the head stack.
On the other hand, having the machine opened up this way allowed me to clear some remarkable crud off of the metal parts around the heads, so...
The heads themselves were clean. And easier to reach. :)