I have an old Penn 49 that I am having trouble with the free spool operation. Taking everything apart did not show any mechanical issues that I could see, but perhaps I don't know what to look for. Should the eccentric jack be up or down when the arm is set to free? Or could this perhaps be an issue with the drag some how? When I flip the forward eccentric arm to FREE, all I am pulling against is the drag and if I loosen the drag up line will play out but that is against the drag not free spool.
Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Its hard to say without some pics, but based on what your description, I'll give it a shot.
The first thing that I would do is dismantle the right sideplate. Take a look at the pinion that is in the center of the inner sideplate. If the casting lever is in the "up" position that pinion should be pertruding out from the bridge plate. This happens so that the pinion grabs the base of the spool shaft and the reel is therefore engaged and ready to crank and fight a fish.
Then, you should move the casting lever "down" and that pinion shluld go into the brigdge plate where it is either flush or sitting below the surface area of the bridge plate. This happens so that the pinion is away from the base of the spool shaft and thus is ready to cast or freespool. If the pinion is not sitting flush or below the bridgeplate, you might want to check the "fins" on the eccentric jack to be sure the angle of the fins are positioned high enough...if not, just carefully bend the fins up a little. You also should check the clutch springs to ensure that they are also not worn or broken.
That should be the source of your problem.
Also, if the reel has bearings, you might want to check that the bearings are not frozen. If they are frozen, that may also be the cause of your spool not being able to freespool.
Give it a try and let us know of your findings....