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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

It's pre-season, and I'm some people may have reel maintenance on their mind. Was talking with Robalo123 about it and figured I'd start a thread so people with more experience than me could really provide some info. Please add info, links, pics, whatever to thread if you please. Conventional or spinning reels - for trolling or jigging - all brands.

I'll start with some info on conventional reels. That is where most of my limited knowledge lies. What I'm thinking about at this time of year are the following general maintenance tasks which can be done to good reels OR can be done to recondition apparently wore out or busted up reels:

1. Replace old / bad line
2. Replace and/or grease drag washers
3. Grease internal parts as needed
4. Replace dog spring (Penn reels)
5. Look for wear on gears and other parts
6. General rebuilds as needed

My hope is that I only need to do #1, #2, and #3 only (and #4 just because I'm in there and it's easy to do during reassembly on the Penns I have). Luckily for me I fish a friend and mostly abuse his equipment, so I don't generally have much to do each year. Actually most of what I've done lately is reconditioning cheap reels purchased at flea markets.

Here is where I would start: http://alantani.com/ Go to the "Reel Rebuild Tutorials and Questions" section to start, but look through the entire website.

This forum has a bunch of great threads. There are a bunch of "stickies" at the front of each brand's forum which goes over general rebuilds for various reels. My favorites for Penn are:

113/114h senator - short version
330 gti
penn 209, which has the good pictures for how to get the dog spring back in
310 gti

Alan Tani has also posted on TF. Most his posts are in the "Fishing Tackle" forum, but some are in "The Original Board" - aka, Chesapeake Board. Here is a link to "all threads started by alantani" (username).

One favorite (which is also probably on his site, but I just found it on TF first) is: 2/0 penn senator rebuild

Where to order parts? Again, I have limited knowledge, but for Penn Reels, www.pennparts.com aka (http://store.scottsbt.com/Penn-Parts-Home-Page-W7C1.aspx), aka Scott's Bait and Tackle in NJ is where I go.

One other important thing to note for amateur reel fixers like me. It seems easy, and it actually isn't that bad. But it can be time consuming. If you are like me and try and limit my time in the basement/garage/shed/etc. so I can fish more, you may want to check out the people on TF who do this. There are many, and I hope their names are brought up by others. ReelSmith (username) on this board has helped me out a lot. He's given me some pointers and looked at a couple reels for me. Hopefully he'll chime in. But again, there are many local people who will do this for a reasonable price, and I'm sure would be willing to provide some pointers.

Again, everyone please add what you want here. I am by far no expert. Also, if the links don't work, sorry, it's late and I'm not gonna check them.
 

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You missed the most important part....CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN.......old grease holds dirt and gets thick and sticky, it needs to be cleaned off parts and especially out of gear teeth and off of shafts and sliding parts......this is very time consuming......but the result is a reel that works like new.
 

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Very complete, but I did notice you didn't mention the pawl & worm gear on the level-winds should be inspected and replaced if any doubt, and of course oil where you don't grease.
 

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One tip - sorta related : While fishing , keep a few tubes of Penn reel lube on the boat. Only takes a few seconds to lube the handles and the level wind worm gear ( flip reel over to see it ).

A good fresh water bath with soap - then fresh water rinse after each trip goes a long way to keep reels working.
 

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Good post been using Alan's site for about 3 years now. I did his tld 25 upgrade and his picture tutorials make it easy. I ordered my upgraded handles and washers from him. I also upgrade my drags to carbon fiber ones and use Cal's drag grease. They are nice and smooth and a cheap investment in my opinion. If you don't have carbon fiber drag washers you should still apply a thin coat of drag grease on the washer so it helps it stay smooth. There are pictures on Alan's website to help show how and if you have questions post them and he will answer them.
 

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Midwayusa.com is having a sale on ultrasonic cleaners, $99. Just drop your reel in there and you're done.
Lyman Turbo Sonic Cleaner Ultrasonic Case Cleaner 110 Volt. Product #: 225214
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey all, great comments. Like I said, I'm an amateur, so I'm sure I'm missing a ton.

Another tip - if you have a buddy who works on reels, ask them if they'd trade a 6pack for an afternoon of advice. I learned most of what I know from my buddy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Not so sure about that "grease drag washers" as a blanket statement?
As I think about it - I can't think of a time when I did this when and I'm also not replacing the washers. So you are probably right. When do you think this should be done?
 

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As I think about it - I can't think of a time when I did this when and I'm also not replacing the washers. So you are probably right. When do you think this should be done?
Just saw your reply. Actually, it's more about "if" you should grease drag washers, rather than "when". It depends on the type of washers.

Here are two sites you can read about drag washers. The second one has a better explanation of different washers out there.

http://www.charkbait.com/article/maint1.htm

http://www.fishraider.com.au/fishing-articles/fishing-reel-drag-maintenance.php

Been my experience to do the following with any of my reels, spinning or conventional:

Grease gears and oil bearings. Any other lubrication depends on what the manual says, and/or what the drag washers require, whether stock or upgraded.
 

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FWIW, a good buddy who rebuilds reels professionally says its a bad old wives tale about using soap and water to clean reels after use. He said think about...what does soap do...remove oil and grease. He contends just a rinse with fresh water and wipe em down. I adhere to his philosophy.
Agreed.

And a spray can of electrical cleaner is good for when a strip down and thorough cleaning is needed.....harmless to plastics.

Other evaporating cleaners are on the market, just need to check which ones are ok on those non-metal parts.
 

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FWIW, a good buddy who rebuilds reels professionally says its a bad old wives tale about using soap and water to clean reels after use. He said think about...what does soap do...remove oil and grease. He contends just a rinse with fresh water and wipe em down. I adhere to his philosophy.
Your buddy is right......repeated washing with soapy water will remove all the grease and oil.....which not only lubricates but also protects metal parts from rusting.....a light spray is adequate to remove any salt residue which will cause corrosion.......if the reel didn't get wet with salt water don't even bother.......no harm done.
 

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There's two things Ralph (Reelsmith ) taught me and that is 1) Do not SPRAY the reels with water! It gets into the reel and causes problems from within. Gently wipe them down with clean fresh water. #2 DO NOT use WD40 on your reels, it is a penetrating solvent that will ruin your drag washers! Use only quality reel oil (Penn is good).
 

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#2 DO NOT use WD40 on your reels, it is a penetrating solvent that will ruin your drag washers).
As with everything in life, moderation is the key. Yes, if you spray ½ a can of WD on the reel I would suspect you'd have problems. A light misting and a subsequent wipe down with a rag afterwards is not going to be harmful your reel. I've seen far more drag stacks contaminated with overzealous oiling of the handle fitting than from the occasional "misting" of WD after a rinsing with freshwater. Even more are contaminated by an overzealous greasing of the internals by the owner.
 

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Seahunter....I was not looking for a debate. I only stated what a Professional told me. I have also attended seminars where he also told the audience the same thing. You can do what you want but Ralph is an expert, so I think I'll follow his advice.
Respectfully,
Charlie
 

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Consider using Corrosion X instead of WD-40 (Ralph got me started on this stuff and Alan Tani must drink it) to wipe your reels down and lube your level wind worm gear. It is far more superior and longer lasting than WD-40 at preventing corrosion and lubicating. It can be found at your local ACE hardware and I think I saw AllTackle is now carryng it.
 
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