I’ve always liked to tinker with things and make them better than they originally were, just look at my truck, HA! So it only stands to reason that I would do the same thing with my fishing reels. While its true that a quality reel performs well straight out of the box, for those who want something more there are a few things that a person can do to improve its overall performance. We can rebuild him, we have the technology, we have the capability, we can make him better, stronger, faster.
Let me start off by saying that any servicing or upgrading that you do to your reel you do so at your own risk and I will not be held responsible for any damage caused so proceed at your own risk. I highly recommend that if you don’t feel comfortable upgrading your reel then pay a professional to do it for you. While its true that it can get a little expensive its still cheaper than having to replace the reel because of damage caused. I’ve been servicing and tinkering reels since I can remember and trust me when I say that I have ruined more than 1 reel over the years. Upgrading them yourself can be very a very rewarding experience, WOO HOO, I did it myself!
I suggest the following before you dive into upgrading, first and foremost be sure you have the schematics for your reel. Next Google the specific reel your upgrading, chances are there is a ton of information out there and maybe even a video or 2. Finally, use a digital camera or video camera to “document” the tear down process that way you have a visual of how it looked before you removed all the pieces making it easier to put them all back together. I know whenever I upgrade a “New to me” reel I take pictures every time I remove a part for reference.
Because there is a lot of information involved in Super Tuning reels this will be broke into 2 parts. In part 1 I will talk about bearing upgrades. In part 2, I will talk about smoothing and polishing contact points to get the most out of your reels. Seeing how I already talked about the Carbontex drag upgrades in my Revo Upgrade video post I wont be talking about that here although in my opinion the drag upgrade is a very important part of super tuning a reel. I will not be going into high tech things like Spool, Frame and Side Plate drilling to lighten things up because you can easily throw the balance off by drilling holes in your spool or damage the structural integrity of you reel.
The first step in my super tuning process is replacing the stock bearings with Ceramic ones. Ceramic bearings have 1/10th the friction of steel, weigh about 60% lighter, last up to 5 times longer than steel and will run cooler because there is no micro weld adhesion between the balls & races which equates to lower friction. Ceramic also has a lower amount of thermal expansion which also reduces temperatures so they run cooler.
You may ask yourself, with all the choices, which bearings do I need? First I’ll cover a little background on bearings. I’m sure you have all heard the term ABEC ratings but what does that mean? The ABEC scale is an industry accepted standard for the tolerances of a ball bearing. It was developed by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee (ABEC) of the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA). There are five classes from largest to smallest tolerances: 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. The higher ABEC classes provide better precision, efficiency and greater speed capabilities, but do not necessarily make the components spin faster. The ABEC rating does not specify many other critical factors, such as smoothness of the rolling contact surfaces, ball precision or quality/type of steel used. Kind of confusing huh? Bottom line, just use quality bearings and you wont go wrong.
While most reels stock bearings only have an ABEC rating of 1 or 3 I prefer to upgrade them. Like I mentioned above, there are ABEC 5, ABEC 7 and even 9’s but in my opinion the 9’s are complete overkill. Once again, in my opinion the 7’s are not really needed unless your competing in distance casting contests so I like to use the ABEC5’s because they are a great upgrade that wont break the bank.
I’m not going to go into to much detail on how to replace the bearings because every reel is a little different and unless you know that your doing I would suggest paying a professional to do it for you but if you’re an adventurer its really not all that difficult, especially with all the information that is readily available via the internet.
Back in the day you had to physically measure your bearings, inside and outside diameter and the order them but today sites like Boca Bearing have a search feature that you just put in the reel information and it tells you which bearings you need. They sell kits that contain a total bearing replacement of just the spool bearing replacements. I usually like to do the complete replacement because it makes the reel overall smoother but you will notice better performance by just replacing the spool bearings. Of course, if your going to take the time and money to use quality bearings be sure you use quality oil.
Usually the bearings from Boca Bearings will come dry and you will need to oil them lightly prior to installation, detailed instructions are included with the kits. You can also ask them to oil the bearings, free of charge, prior to them shipping them.
OK, that completes part 1, stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll talk about smoothing and polishing contact points to get the most out of your reels.
Thanks for visiting my site. Be sure to tell all of your fishing buddies and come back soon
Until Next Time, Good Luck and Tight Lines To Ya!