Help! My Nakamichi LX-5 won’t play, rewind, ff, or record.

Every time I press play, it starts up, then automatically stops. The counter doesn’t move at all, either. Any idea what this could be?
The belt driving the counter is probably perished. There is a good chance that the tire on the take-up spindle is too. The transport will eat tapes if the take-up spindle stops, so the counter belt runs off of the take up spindle.

There are replacements available through Russell Industries on the east coast and there may be replacement rubber part kits on ebay too (I’ve not checked). Its a bit of an operation to replace these parts! Its also noteworthy that while Russell probably has the parts, they don’t know which one; you may have to do some accurate measurements of the take-up spindle to sort out which tire they make works.

Since these parts are suspect, if I were you I’d replace the supply spindle tire as well as the main drive belt- all the rubber parts in the machine are likely perished at this point.
I have not fixed cassette players before.

These 2 YouTube channels are fairly helpful with electronics repairs. The process for repair should be similar, if not identical.

you are right. When I put in a cassette, every time I'd preso play, It would pull maybe 2 inches of tape out

i replaced the tape detector light, which I thought was the problem, but it did nothing.

I've probably repaired thousands of cassette machines over the years- I started in 1974. Nakamichis are a bit trickier to source parts but not impossible. If you plan to do this yourself be warned that you have to be careful!! I would take it to a qualified technician and expect to spend $200-$300 getting everything sorted- it likely needs new filter capacitors in the power supplies as well.
atmasphere Yes, I think i'll take it to a cassette deck tech. I opened it up once, and it was very cluttered and I didn't touch anything, because I was afraid I would mess it up more.