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Reel maintenance and lubrication


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How do you decide on when to lube your reels. I often see a recommendation to do it yearly. It seems to me that time is the wrong criterion to use. I have had, for e.g., a Shimano Sienna for quite a few years that i have never lubed. The rotating head still spins quite freely so I don't see why I should bother. I tend to subscribe to the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it" philosophy.

What has been your experience and practice? TIA
 

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To me, it’s totally dependant on a reels usage. My smallmouth stuff holds up a hell of a lot more than my dirty flipping largie stuff. 
 

i try to prioritize the reels that I use most, but also refrain from totally breaking down new reels and resort to simple oil, regrease of the spool shaft and worm gear and a cleaning of the exterior. Stuff that’s been used heavy for a few years I break right down. 
 

i find certain reels especially your classic JDM greenie curados and chronarchs and stradics etc, those reels seemingly can be brought back to life with a good cleaning that’s why I love buying them for a good deal. Break em down clean and oil and they fish like brand new almost every time. 
 

breaking down reels becomes a hobby for me like fly tying, it passes long cold winter days that are too miserable for me to be out in the garage tinkering on the boat.

i will say, high end well built reels a heck a lot of the time just need a good cleaning and at worst a set of new bearings. The components in them are usually so robust that aside from a bit of cosmetic boat rash those reels are as good as new once serviced.

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This was introduced to me over sixty years ago (holy smokes I'm getting a little in the tooth Haha) any way just plain old vaseline. It's all I've ever used since. Preventive medicine. On the other hand I have reels I've used for decades and used a lot in all kinds of weather and never had them apart and still work as smooth as new. Most reels are sealed very well and keep the dust out that cuts into the bearings and gears. Depending what they were lubricated with at the factory it could break down and lose it's viscosity over time. It certainly won't hurt as Akrisoner mentioned a good cleaning and then lubricate. Any way I swear by vaseline, you don't need to apply a lot, it's water proof and doesn't stiffen up in the winter.  

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5 hours ago, lew said:

We knew what you meant Barry, there's a few of us around here with the same issue.  LOL

Geeze Lew...Wadda you gonna do when you get as old as me...LOL

 

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1 hour ago, Barry Willis said:

I'm just two fishing poles shy of being hosted on the tv show hoarders. -  LOL.

I have a rule when people describe apparent “fishermen” to me. To check how serious they actually are I ask one simple question, how many fishing rods do you own. If they know they typically aren’t that serious.

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Even though it was meant as a joke you brought up a very good point there Akrisoner. I have lost count. I collect antique rods and reels which I seldom use. I display them in my man cave.  I have six (modern ones of course) I use depending where I'm fishing and what I'm fishing for. Whether it be a small stream, river or off the east or west coast, it's all I need. I spare no expense on rods and reels, so  why wouldn't I know how many I have. So counting them and not my wife's  I have sixty eight in total. I can assure you I am much more than an apparent fisherman. I've been doing it almost daily since 1961. Not to brag but I still hold to this day a few records. I Have fish on my wall that few will see as big. !8 1/2 lb. rainbow - Colpoy, Bay, 42 lb. Chinook, Colpoy Bay, 14 a 9 and a 7lb. Koho,  Colpoy Bay. The first known to exist and caught.  7.2 lb. small mouth bass Georgian Bay, 8 1/2 lb. x 2 largemouth, Stokes bay. 1981, one oz. shy of 18 lbs. Bull Trout, Lower Kananaskis Lake Alberta. And still is the record Bull Trout caught. The Provincial fish of Alberta. The list goes on. So yeah, myself and my family take our fishing very seriously. Any way enough about that. I hope I haven't bored you and my fellow anglers too awfully much. Thanks for reading.

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On spinning reels you can use what you want but on a bait caster there are spots where you do not want to use grease, Vaseline nor KY gel 

but the proper light oil in the right spots will keep you making long casts 

I do them about every two years   More often when I was doing tourneys 

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47 minutes ago, Terry said:

On spinning reels you can use what you want but on a bait caster there are spots where you do not want to use grease, Vaseline nor KY gel 

but the proper light oil in the right spots will keep you making long casts 

I do them about every two years   More often when I was doing tourneys 

KY gel? on a reel or er rod?

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Thx for the comments, guys.

 

From what I read on Google, Vaseline should never be used. It's on the web so it must be true!😃

I have never taken a modern spinning reel apart---just my vintage Mitchell 300s. There is a beauty in their simplicity. My understanding is that modern reels have a clutch that should never touch oil or grease.

Terry---do you just go by time---2 yrs or whatever---or do you check their operation first to see if there is a problem. The reels that I have checked seem to spin just fine even though I have had them for a few yrs and never greased them.

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1 hour ago, SirCranksalot said:

Thx for the comments, guys.

 

From what I read on Google, Vaseline should never be used. It's on the web so it must be true!😃

I have never taken a modern spinning reel apart---just my vintage Mitchell 300s. There is a beauty in their simplicity. My understanding is that modern reels have a clutch that should never touch oil or grease.

Terry---do you just go by time---2 yrs or whatever---or do you check their operation first to see if there is a problem. The reels that I have checked seem to spin just fine even though I have had them for a few yrs and never greased them.

For me, the reels may be operating just fine but when you break them down you realize the grease has dried out and although you thought they felt smooth, a clean, oil of the bearings and roller clutch and grease of the gearing and bail make the reel feel as smooth as new. 
 

i recently bought a used JDM chronarch and cleaned/oiled that baby up, I swear it’s even better than new now.

typically you will see factory grease where it’s supposed to be, the rest just attracts dirt.

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9 hours ago, AKRISONER said:

For me, the reels may be operating just fine but when you break them down you realize the grease has dried out and although you thought they felt smooth, a clean, oil of the bearings and roller clutch and grease of the gearing and bail make the reel feel as smooth as new. 
 

i recently bought a used JDM chronarch and cleaned/oiled that baby up, I swear it’s even better than new now.

typically you will see factory grease where it’s supposed to be, the rest just attracts dirt.

Thx.

For me, with my big fat fingers, there is a real risk that I will make things worse rather than better. Maybe much worse if I lose a tiny screw, so I would settle for a bit less than optimum performance.  

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27 minutes ago, SirCranksalot said:

Thx.

For me, with my big fat fingers, there is a real risk that I will make things worse rather than better. Maybe much worse if I lose a tiny screw, so I would settle for a bit less than optimum performance.  

Oh god trust me handling these things is a total pita I’d be completely lying if I said that it’s not a 100% regular occurance for me to open up a reel and then have a hell of a time putting it back together. Heck I’ve got a tatula downstairs right now that I put back together but now I can’t get the bail to re-close and I’m still not sure why lol. Things misalign and suddenly your reel no longer works. 
 

a pain in the but too because you basically have to totally re-assemble them for them to work and then you realize you’ve screwed something up along the way and have to break it all of the way down again. 
 

i flung a yoke spring the other day by accidently releasing the bail on that same tatula, a bit of crawling around and I found it again but yikes!

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I can relate with my arthritic hands and being far sighted. And yikes is right.  What I now use is now for them little screws and bail springs I drop on the floor is one of those telescopic magnets available at most automotive stores. It's saved my butt quite a few times.

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6 hours ago, AKRISONER said:

 

a pain in the but too because you basically have to totally re-assemble them for them to work and then you realize you’ve screwed something up along the way and have to break it all of the way down again. 
 

IMO, there's a just thin line between a challenge and a PITA and often depends on which side of the bed I get out on. The vintage Mitchell was a challenge. I think my Shimanos would be squarely in the PITA camp.

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I like to break down any used reels and give them a good clean and lubrication.

For grease I use Cal's Universal Reel and Drag Grease. It's available in 2 formulas, tan and purple. Tan is the general purpose one I use, purple is for small reels and cold weather use. It's fantastically smooth and not overly viscous, yet very sticky. It stays where it's put and keeps things running smoothly. Plus one of it's recommended uses is the greasing of certain drag washers in order to keep drags running smooth and to retain drag force ratings.

For oil I use Super Lube oil with a needle applicator. I use it sparingly on high speed parts.

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I use cue tip and those alcohol packets . And some how have never ran out of little oil tubes from Shamano.

At less 30 years ago my mom got on me hard for number of fishing rods I owned. She though I was compromising our future. So the count began at Sunday dinner. At 75 rods I lied to my mom and said that's all. The truth I could have got to 100.

All those are gone and replacements plus I added salt water. This maybe a problem.

 

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I do alot of my own maintenance but for any shimano gear I own its tough to beat sending it back to peterborough for a more detailed overhaul. The amount of new parts the reels come back with far exceeds the cost of the service. Not something that needs to be done each year but maybe every 5 or so gives you a reel like new

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3 hours ago, steellee said:

I do alot of my own maintenance but for any shimano gear I own its tough to beat sending it back to peterborough for a more detailed overhaul. The amount of new parts the reels come back with far exceeds the cost of the service. Not something that needs to be done each year but maybe every 5 or so gives you a reel like new

I am surprised that a reel would need new parts. What parts were replaced? I have balked at sending to P'boro with the postage cost etc. I had my Stradic serviced by a guy in Missuagua(sp?) someplace and was not too impressed. 

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