Pre Garcia...ABU Cardinal 40, 60, 70, 40-A, 60-A, 70-A, 140 & 160

Started by Midway Tommy, April 04, 2019, 10:58:07 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Midway Tommy

In the mid '70s, as a result of the Asian cost cutting reel manufacturing movement, competition and profit came to the forefront. Many companies folded, while others tried to find ways to be more competitive. ABU Sweden, while still producing their famous Cardinal lineup and prior to their acquisition of Garcia, decided to offer an economy version of their successful Cardinal fulcrum brake line. It was somewhat of a melding of their earlier ABU 444 and the current Cardinal design. They came out with the Cardinal 40 first. It was fairly popular in the UK & Europe, so in the late '70s they added the Cardinal 60 & 70. Those reels have a blue body and light gray rotor cup. They are equivalent in sizes to the original Cardinal 4, 6 & 7. In '79 those reels were changed to a black body with a tan rotor cup and became the 40-A, 60-A & 70-A. In '81 they were again modified to incorporate a skirted spool. They were also changed to an all black color and the numbers were changed 140 and 160. The 70 (large) size was eliminated at that time. For the purpose of this tutorial I am using the original blue Cardinal 70 as the example, but the 40, 60, 40-A, 60-A, 70-A, 140 & 160 will be basically the same procedure. Disassembly will generally be just the opposite of this reassembly process.

As is my usual process, all the internal parts were wiped off and soaked in a jar with lacquer thinner for a day or two. The plastics and painted body parts were cleaned with Original White Goop (NO PUMICE), then washed in warm water with Dawn detergent and thoroughly dried.

These are the parts cleaned, dried and ready for reassembly.

Before my fingers get greasy my first step is to assemble the rotor and bail mechanism. These economy models have two bail springs just like their higher quality cousins. The bail springs are wound opposite and this photo shows them relative to their correct side. They must be installed on the correct side or they will be bent, sprung and difficult, if not impossible, to re-bend or adjust.

Here again, there really is no reason to fight or struggle with bail spring installation. First install the spring and bail arm on the line guide side. I use ArmorAll for lubricating bail arms and springs because it stays slick and does not collect dirt or get gummed up. I lightly grease the bail trip screw hole. I also put some grease on the nylon trip bar. Then I install the bail stopper (trip lever) and spring. Once installed, you can pull the bail stopper back to allow the bail arm to rest correctly on it. Next I thread the bail plate all the way onto the bail and then back it off 1/2 to one full turn so that it lays parallel with the bail.

Check the bail to make sure it lines up perfectly with the hole in the bail arm. Bend or adjust it if needed so that there is no pressure sideways or up and down. Misalignment is one of the main reasons why bails don't work properly.

Once the bail is adjusted for perfect fit rotate the bail plate so that it lays parallel with the bail and install the spring and bail plate/bail adding a drop or two of ArmorAll, or lube of your choice. Once installed rotate the bail in the appropriate direction to add tension to the spring and then turn the bail 90 degrees.

These models do not have a rolling line guide or teflon bushing. If the bail is adjusted properly attach the bail to the bail arm with the washer and bail nut. Check to see that the bail snaps back with authority and if not adjust it accordingly. Set the rotor aside for later installation.

It's time to move to the body and I first install the anti-reverse button using the e-clip. These reels have an interesting anti-reverse design and it is tricky to get the bronze spring clip placed in the dog and adjusted into the correct position. It is imperative to take good photos when removing this combination so they can be used as a guide for reinstallation. Add a little grease on the dog, retainer spring and body slide ridges.

The button mechanism actually twists (i.e. lays over a little bit) to wedge into the linear teeth in the pinion gear.

Now I install the pinion and main gear. This model doesn't utilize the normal pinion ball bearing or rear pinion bushing. That's part of the economy design on these models. The pinion is supported, and rotates, in a bronze oilite bushing. They are secured by the retaining clip. There is also a spacing washer. The rear of the pinion is supported by the main gear teeth.

As a result of the design, the main gear has to be installed prior to inserting the pinion gear. There's a bronze washer that goes between the main gear and the housing bushing. Grease the bushing, cavity, main gear on both sides, main gear shaft & pinion inside and out and secure them with the retaining clip. The next step is to attach the rotor cup using the retaining washer and hex nut.


Now I assemble the drag stack & fulcrum mechanism. These models came with one fiber drag disc. The washers are laying in the order they go together, from the left to right: SS washer, click washer/gear, SS washer, keyed fiber washer, SS washer and SS spring washer. All washers install on the long side of the click washer. The flat side of the washers rest against the side of the body.

It's time to install the brake knob retention spring on the back of the housing.

The brake cashing slides in from the outside with the bronze washer between it and the body. The brake screw threads into it from the inside, but only by a couple of threads at this point. Grease & lube the drag components and put the entire stack together. Also grease the area that supports the click washer/stack.

Install the stack into the support hole. Grease the brake arm and slip it under the cross bar of the brake screw and up over the drag stack/click washer. Turn the cashing to snug up the brake arm and install the drag knob. The drag knob screw is standard right hand thread. Next install the main shaft and oscillation guide/block. I grease and oil the inside of the pinion tube before inserting the main shaft. The oscillation guide snaps into two grooves on the main shaft. I grease the main gear, oscillation block and add a couple of drops of synthetic oil to the face of the main gear.


It's time to install side-plate, handle knob & dust cover, crank handle and spool. The body is metal and the side plates are plastic. The plastic side plate makes for a loud drag click when line is being payed out. The blue plastic plates also have a tendency to discolor from extended UV rays. This side plate is in unfaded nice condition. A quick check makes sure everything is functioning properly.

Complete, everything works as it should. Even though these reels were sold as ABU's economy line they have a large European following and considered quality reels by many anglers. 

Below are the Cardinals 40, 60 & 70 together and the skirted spool 140 & 160 together.

Love those open face spinning reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco Cardinals)

Tommy D (ORCA), NE

Favorite Activity? ............... In our boat fishing


Very nice work Tommy. I used to think all fulcrum drag ABUs had worm drive gears. Not so. I also thought all worm drive ABUs had fulcrum drags. Also not so.
MY cardinal 55, an example.
Your posts are always very interesting and informative.
DAM Quick 3001      SHIMANO Spedmaster 3   Jigging Master PE5n