Zebco XRL40

Started by festus, June 08, 2019, 01:57:09 AM

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Here is a Zebco XRL40 that went cheap on ebay.  It looked pretty good from the outside, was pretty stiff in reeling and the bail function was slow.

It definitely wasn't very fishable straight out of the shipping box.

Popping off the side plates, first look inside it was fairly clean, but dry of grease.  I still see this same engineering in modern day reels, main gear, oscillation gear, oscillation slider fastened to the axle.

As in many Zebcos, an non-threaded, non-symmetrical pin secures the axle.

Didn't take long to find the culprit for the stiff reeling--this was some nasty grease.

A screw secures the oscillation gear

The rotor is secured by a 12mm nut, no keyways or extra washers involved.

Some old sooty looking hardened grease took some scraping to remove.

Underneath all that was a brass bushing.  I screwed the nut back onto the threads to give a better grip to remove the pinion gear.

The rotor wasn't very dirty.  At least it was clean enough I left the trip lever, spring, and screw as it was.

Since the bail was pretty weak, it was a good idea to remove the bail arm, spring, bail wire, screws, etc and give them a good cleaning.

Here's the brass bushing on the pinion gear.  Wonder if it would be worth adding a bearing here?

This was the easiest bail spring and bail arm to re-install in a while.

Pinion gear and cover reinstalled, other parts ready to go back in.  They took a bath in lacquer thinner.

Reinstalling the oscillation gear and slider.

Almost ready to put back the side plate.

Whoa! Got ahead of myself!  Everybody knows you have to reinstall the rotor before putting in the axle.  ::)

A look at the drag assembly.  

I would have appreciated this reel in my early teens.  Sure beats the old plastic three-buck Zebco 707 that was my first spinning reel.

It feels about as expected for a simple, non-bearing reel, similar to those little silver entry level Daiwas that were produced in the late 1970s and early 80s.  Weighs 8.6 oz, not considered ultralight, of course.  From what little research I've done, these reels debuted in 1971 or 1972, about the same time I entered college.


That's a pretty little reel Chester. That pinion bushing is probably nearly as slick as a bearing. I doubt adding a bearing to the pinion would improve the feel much...literature from the era says it's an Oilite bushing. Burnishing those main supports might help though. That is a very fishable reel when serviced as you've done here. 8)  


Awesome tutorial Festus.💪
I was just looking at picking up one of these. The seller wants too much.
Solid reel for its time.


Haven't seen much of Chester...good guy and great technician. Wish he'd check in.

Paul Roberts

Yeah, people do get busy. But it would be good to hear from people, esp post-COVID. Chester has added a lot to this site.