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Abu Garcia Upgrade

1282 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  devontie
I have a 5500 C3 Abu Garcia reel that I would like to upgrade. My favorite reel is my Abu 6500 TCST, I replaced the plastic gear on the left side of 6500 reel (don't know the name of it) with one that has a bearing. That reel now has 5 bearings and is smooth as silk.

I have the power handle on my 5500, but it is just not as amooth as the 6500, any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Great, I'm glad you asked this question. But first - how did you arrive at 5 ball bearings in your 6500 TCST? Because the factory only used a pair of bearings on either side of the spool in that TC series of reels..

To arrive at 5 bearings, inclusive of the one you added to the levelwind drive gear, to the best of my knowledge you would have had to upgrade the levelwind worm subsystem to the twin ball bearing carriage, from the C5 reels. Is this what you did?

I tend to shy away from that levelwind setup for SW reels, only because the worm gear sheds tons of water right into those bearings - which does tend to errode the surfaces of the super tiny race and the balls - creating even more of the roughness than was there originally. You need to be super careful about keeping those teeny bearings well lubricated, so to shed that water. This lube has to renewed aftr every use - or eventually you will have some badly rusted bearings to deal with. Not the end of the world of course, but something to watch for in reels that are so equipped.

So anyway, with an Abu smoothness is almost always a relative thing. Some of them are just natively smoother than others - right from the get-go. To really smooth a questionable one out usually requires a fresh drive gear/pinion swap out (they are only relatively soft brass, don't forget) and a careful inspection & relube of the spool bearings with the proper lubricant. I like Reel-X for this.

The least little bit of roughness in those bearings will make a big difference in the relative smoothness of the entire geartrain.
The way I evaluate those bearings is to degrease them 100% with automotive brake cleaner - in an OUTDOOR setting of course. Then I let them air dry - or you could use compressed air or even canned air. Then I mount them on the point of a sharpened pencil and give them a spin. If they sound like smooth little sewing machines, then I give each side a drop or two of Reel-X and spin them up again - they should be silent. If so, good to go - drop them back in the reel.

If the dry bearing intially sounds a little grindy, then I will take a finger and physically move the outer race slowly back and forth and listen and FEEL for roughness. If any is present - the bearing is toast and a candidate for replacement. if its marginal, then its an owner's call - the bearing might still be usable for bottom fishing - but casting will be out of the question - that reel will make the bad-bearing whine and not achieve much in the way of distance.

Another issue that heavily influences an Abu's relative smoothness is wear on the little plastic drive gear that's on the far side of the spool. This little pinion gear is the one that drives the big gear (that you replaced in your other reel) and takes a terrific pounding every time you turn the handle under load. Since both gears together cost like $6, I routinely change them out when doing a reel overhaul. You would be amazed how well this seemingly insignificant replacement works towards smoothing out a recalcitrant reel. But you have to get the right set - Abu made at least two different gear sets that I am aware of, cross them and forget it - you'll know immediately.

Lastly, when I do this job, I look at every single component and its relationship to the next, especially including how everything lines up on the brake plate. I give extra inspection time to the perpendicularity of the drive gear post. I use a right angle rule to check this. You would be shocked how many I find are just a smidge deflected. I don't know if its because the factory riveted it on wrong to begin with, or if reeling in a biggie fish under heavy load bent it slightly. It really doesn't matter how it got that way, but it makes a huge difference to the locating of the drive gear relative to the pinion on the spool - any misalignement there will make the reel "geary" if its a minor issue, or "grindy" if the bending of that post is more significant.

Or you could can the whole thing and just let me look at the reel for you. Never a charge for an IT&T member - if you need parts though - its on you. ;)

Best, Lep
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