Makaira 50W angular contact bearing mod

Started by limitdown, March 26, 2013, 02:33:49 PM

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Mak 10 now that get's my attentions. Making a tank more durable!


 Thanks for your work and contribution to this site.  I just stumbled on your post about angular bearings for the solution of the pinion bearing dragging!    I,m so happy about this site.  It Rocks with good friendly free information.    Thanks Again.    gst.

Reinaard van der Vossen


Thanks for your hard work.

I'm considering this mod for my 50W

Does anybody have a good source for these angular contact bearings in the SS version (preferably 440C material or equal) ABEC rating is important but does not have to be very high ABEC 5 will be sufficient ABEC 7 is not neccessary but ok

I'm getting ridiculous prices over here locally >:( (even up to 250€, per bearing that is) The standard chromium steel is much easier to get but I prefer the SS version


I did a similar thing with an Okuma Andros - chrome steel (couldn't source SS) abec 7 AC bearings. Cost £120  :o per pair from GMN bearings.
I can get similar results (from standard bearings) by backing the drag off to 10lb at strike - 20lb full. More than enough drag for a stand-up combo.

Reinaard van der Vossen

Quote from: Tiddlerbasher on June 23, 2016, 08:26:15 AM
I did a similar thing with an Okuma Andros - chrome steel (couldn't source SS) abec 7 AC bearings. Cost £120  :o per pair from GMN bearings.
I can get similar results (from standard bearings) by backing the drag off to 10lb at strike - 20lb full. More than enough drag for a stand-up combo.

Yeah, i'm not using it for the average fish but i don't use a makaira 50W for the average fish either. Last fight was over 50 lb drag standup, that's why i am interested in the mod.

I noted that chromesteel bearings "might' be up to 20% stronger than 440c stainless bearings. Maybe i should reconsider my preference for stainles.


Hi guys, has anyone found a place to purchase any Angular Contact bearings for the small Avets and Accurates ? I would be willing to commit to at least 100 pieces.


Quote from: captainmmm on September 30, 2016, 12:09:57 PM
Hi guys, has anyone found a place to purchase any Angular Contact bearings for the small Avets and Accurates ? I would be willing to commit to at least 100 pieces.

A few of us have played around with A/C bearings to replace the pinion bearing in Avet reels. Myself and at least one other person on this site that I can remember found changing the pinion bearing in Avet reels alone did not help with the side load issues with the non-Raptor reels.

IMO fish the non-Raptor reels within the drag specs of the manufacture and all is well. Exceed those specs and you will have problems. If the specs don't work for you then other reels like the Raptor or other manufactures should be looked at.

A few weeks ago I caught a 75 lb blue fin on a Avet JX 6/3 with a 40 lb topper, did not exceed the drag specs and the reel handled the fish easily.


Thanks SoCalAngler and totally agree with you. The issue here in our part of the world is that the local anglers don't bother with proper settings and destroy the bearings in no time. I am currently looking to replace these bearings with Angular Contact bearings so we avoid so many breakages. Any suggestion is welcomed.


Would this mod work on a Shimano Tiagra 50LRSA or 80W?


couple of question for the bearings gurus

1. for those who are not engineers (like me) can explain me whats the difference between angular contact bearings and thrust bearings?

2. on fathom reels, I have seen the thrust bearings on the left side of spool while on the right side plate (pinion) is using a normal radial bearing,  how that helps to eliminate the problem on pinion bearing found on LD reels at high settings?

The Baja Guy


Hi mate, these may help...
Angular contact bearing versus normal bearing:

Thrust bearing:

All the best, Justin
Fortitudine vincimus - By endurance we conquer



by the pictures I can say that angular bearings are not similar in any way to a Thrust bearing

The Baja Guy


well this was one informative thread, for me
Luck is when good preparation meets opportunity.


As a follo up I did replace the pinion  bearing with an angular contact bearing on my china 16 2-spd project reel.   The posts are in past "Drag Ramps and Curves"  Photo,s section.   The Angular bearing made a wold of a improvement.  at sunset the cranking is very smooth, even in hi gear.   Well worth changing if you pull the reel down for inspection or maintenance....  Luckly the metric bearing was available on Amazon and less than 20$,     I,m planning now to replace the pinion bearing as needed with these,   sidethrusters   ....Cheers! :)


Would a similar mod work on the Tiagra 50 or 80?

Quote from: limitdown on March 26, 2013, 02:33:49 PM
All of the comments that I received on my Avet 50EXW modification thread inspired me to modify my Makaira 50W. Although in its factory state, the Makaira 50W can put out more drag than I'll ever use or could possibly handle, I wanted this to be more of an experimental and exploratory modification which I want to eventually replicate for smaller reels that have serious handle binding issues even at low drag.

As most lever drag owners know, the biggest problem is the axial load (side load) on two bearings. The pinion bearing (right side plate bearing) and the left spool bearing (the left side plate bearing if you have a "push" design drag like the EXW). The Makairas have a "pull design" drag so the left spool bearing shares the axial load with the pinion bearing.

Although deep groove radial ball bearings can handle some axial load, they weren't designed for heavy axial loads. Also, if the radial bearings are small like in the small Avets, the amount of axial load capacity is pitiful and causes handle binding. The easy solution is to use a much larger radial bearing. Since most of us don't have CNC mills to machine new right side plates with larger slots for large radial bearings, we'll need to get a different type of bearing, one that can handle some radial load, and lots of axial load. The 3 types of bearings that I found during my research are:

- Tapered roller bearings
- Spherical roller thrust bearings
- Angular contact bearings

Of these 3, only angular contact bearings are available off-the-shelf with inner diameters (ie bore) of less than 15mm. The world has "metricated" (ie moved to the metric system), so it's very difficult and expensive to find inch/imperial bearings. I haven't been able to find inch angular contact bearings for my EXW50 so I've put that project on ice.

For small R4-sized bearings (0.25x0.625x0.196 inch) used in the small Avet SX, MX and JX's, angular contact bearings are either way too expensive at $125+ or need to be custom made at quantities over 500 pieces. If I can get 100 people to commit to purchasing 2 pieces each, then I'll commit the capital and take inventory risk. From my chats with a few bearing manufacturers, the best choice for our application would actually be tapered roller bearings, but they are much more difficult (ie expensive) to produce in small sizes.

Luckily, the Makaira is all metric and correctly-sized off-the-shelf angular contact bearings can be found.

Through a contact of mine in the machine parts business, I was able to squeeze in an order for some SKF 71900-sized angular contact bearings to replace the pinion bearing (10x22x6mm). For some reason, I didn't properly measure the left spool bearing when I serviced my reel a few months back. I figured that I'd just look at Alan's 50-Regular rebuild thread for the bearing size, 10x22x6. Nice, the same as the 71900. It turns that out the 50W's left spool bearing is 608-sized (8x22x7mm). I didn't realize this until I removed the left spool bearing and noticed that that the size wasn't right......

So...I was only able to mount the 71900 to the right side plate. I just happened to have some full silicon nitride (Si3N4) bearings in 608 size left over from another project so I mounted one to the left side of the spool. I'm not sure what to expect from the Si3N4 bearing. The radial load rating is much higher than with 52100 bearing steel and 440C stainless steel, but I'm not sure how it would perform with axial load. Axial load rating of radial ball bearings is theoretically about 25% of static radial load, but I'm not sure if the Si3N4 balls are too brittle and will get crushed by the axial forces. I'll be doing some torture test and will let everyone know how this Si3N4 bearing holds up. I'll try to get a proper angular contact bearing for this soon.

I haven't had time to do any pull tests with a scale, but my initial feel is that the handle is still very free-turning with the preset cranked down ridiculously and lever thrown to full.