Ben, as to the squeaky tape, you may find some useful information here:
My paper on tape degradation that was originally presented at the Audio
Engineering Society's 121st convention in October 2006 in San Francisco
was published in the ARSC Journal in the Fall of 2008. It is available here:
As to the Teac, any tape machine requires maintenance, but, if you can,
start with a professional, servo-controlled machine. They sometimes can
be had for crazy little money. For example, I found four Tascam DA20 MK
II DAT machines, each for about half to a third the price of maintenance
on my current DAT decks.
My choices in machines can be found here:
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.