alan tani @ alantani.com fishing reel repair rebuild tutorial SHIMANO TRANX 500HG IDLER GEAR
Reel Repair by Alan Tani
December 07, 2019, 02:23:25 PM *
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Author Topic: SHIMANO TRANX 500HG IDLER GEAR  (Read 507 times)
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Cor
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« on: September 15, 2019, 11:03:28 AM »

Just serviced my 5 year old Tranx and noticed the white plastic idle gear between the level wind mechanism (see red arrow) has a lot of lateral play in it.   I don't have the tools to measure the play but the whole thing moves from side to side quite visibly, the play is in the bush it turns on and to me feels excessive.

For those who are more familiar with this type of reel:
  • Do these plastic parts wear like that
  • or could it possibly be regarded as normal


The reel still works very well after many miles with fairly regular maintenance and periodic replacement of some wear & tear parts.

Thanks
PS  Photo before cleaning Grin


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Cornelis
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2019, 11:12:50 AM »

The screw holding it in place doesn't look centered so I can see that there'd be play in it.
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2019, 11:14:04 AM »

 Maybe someone will have the answer for you. I will tell you What I do in this situation. If possible I just order the part & see what the diff is between the old & new part. Especially if its a reel I like & plan to keep.     Now I hope the parts are still available. One reason I'm not a big fan of Shimano. You could shim it.  The Tranx has a big following... Jeff
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 11:16:01 AM by Rivverrat » Logged
Cor
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2019, 09:37:40 PM »

The screw holding it in place doesn't look centered so I can see that there'd be play in it.
Good observation, I was wondering if someone would see that!    I have been wondering if it could be related to the washer that is on there, it looks smaller then I think it should be.    I could have replaced it with a wrong washer.

Maybe someone will have the answer for you. I will tell you What I do in this situation. If possible I just order the part & see what the diff is between the old & new part. Especially if its a reel I like & plan to keep.     Now I hope the parts are still available. One reason I'm not a big fan of Shimano. You could shim it.  The Tranx has a big following... Jeff
I have 2 more of these reels, I'll open another and check it out.   
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2019, 11:47:57 AM »

Yup that will work. Also I could see what might seem at first as excessive play or slop being put there by design regarding this gear & what it does. So it in a way floats.  Not a good description but I think you get what I mean.
With it having two gears one on both sides there could be a need for a little play with the  load though light, placed on the gear... Jeff
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 11:52:52 AM by Rivverrat » Logged
boon
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2019, 03:24:33 PM »

I can see where there may be a need for a degree of float in a geartrain like that. If the reel flexed under load it could potentially bind if they were mounted with fine tolerances. Is the levelwind in these reels driven off the spool shaft (constantly engaged) or off the drive gears (disengaging)?
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jurelometer
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2019, 03:54:09 PM »

Just serviced my 5 year old Tranx and noticed the white plastic idle gear between the level wind mechanism (see red arrow) has a lot of lateral play in it.   I don't have the tools to measure the play but the whole thing moves from side to side quite visibly, the play is in the bush it turns on and to me feels excessive.

For those who are more familiar with this type of reel:
  • Do these plastic parts wear like that
  • or could it possibly be regarded as normal


The reel still works very well after many miles with fairly regular maintenance and periodic replacement of some wear & tear parts.

Thanks
PS  Photo before cleaning Grin

 I don't know why Japanese reel maker documentation uses "idle gear"  instead of "idler gear",  but it bothers me more than it should  Angry  Grin

I think this type of wear is to be expected,  and here is why:

1. If there is load coming from both sides of the system (winding from the main gear and force on the levelwind from fish/lure pulling on the line),  there will be some lateral motion to take up any slack in the idler hole, gear teeth slop, etc, the remainder being translated to rotational motion.  This lateral motion would push the idler in the direction that you see, and the force would cause the nylon to creep, expanding the idler hole.   The creep will expand the  hole relatively evenly as the idler rotates.   

2.  A reel winding under heavier loads, should expand the idler hole more quickly,

3.  A disengaging (when casting) levelwind will contribute to greater load on the levelwind, causing greater expansion in the idler hole as well.

4.  An offset idler should contribute to the wear when things start to go south (I could be wrong about this).

5.  The wear should accelerate over time.

6.  Not sure how much a tight fitting washer on top would help.  Pure nylon will expand significantly when wet, so the idler hole has to start with a bit of extra gap, and over time the load will cause the nylon to creep, expanding the hole further.   Maybe  the right washer might slow down the creep some without causing any binding, but  maybe not...



Since you got five years out of the idler, and have already replaced some other parts for routine maintenance (which you find to be reasonable), I would just consider this another part to replace on a reel that you are happy with.


-J
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Cor
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2019, 11:16:52 AM »

jurelometer, thanks for an interesting reply and some food for thought!

If I understand this correctly, the force on the gear is in one direction as both resisting gears are being exerted that way.

I may then also be able to see that on the inside of the post upon which the nylon/plastic gear revolves.   I do think the reel body and then the post the gear turns on, is Sintered metal and a lot harder then the nylon/plastic part.

I don't quite understand what you mean by "4.  An offset idler should contribute to the wear when things start to go south (I could be wrong about this)."  What is offset?

I have 3 of these reels, this one has seen by far the most work.    I will compare it with the newest one when I have some time (being retired keeps me very busy) Grin  and report my findings.


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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2019, 06:51:37 PM »

jurelometer, thanks for an interesting reply and some food for thought!

If I understand this correctly, the force on the gear is in one direction as both resisting gears are being exerted that way.

Exactly.     Think of it this way- how would the idler move if you cut off the idler shaft?

Quote
I may then also be able to see that on the inside of the post upon which the nylon/plastic gear revolves.   I do think the reel body and then the post the gear turns on, is Sintered metal and a lot harder then the nylon/plastic part.

Agreed.  The nylon is much softer and very smooth. Maybe more rubbing showing on one side of the post.  My guess is the the nylon is squishing out of the way (creep) as opposed to wearing down.   Nylon will stretch and recover to some extent but if stretched log and hard enough, it will take on a new shape.  I would expect to see an enlarged hole on the idler with maybe a lip at the top and/or bottom where the extra material was pushed.

Quote
I don't quite understand what you mean by "4.  An offset idler should contribute to the wear when things start to go south (I could be wrong about this)."  What is offset?

If  the reel was designed so that you could draw a straight line between all three shafts, it would make it harder for the outside gears to drive the idler laterally.  It has to do with how the curved faces if the gear teeth mesh and transfer rotational force.  But with the  idler shaft offset from the other two, it  creates the opportunity for the two outside gears to get on the same side of the idler and push it in one direction.  At least that is my theory.

 BTW it looks like the Tranx 500 has a three gear levelwind (with an idler),  but the 400 has only two (no idler).  I wonder if the offset idler was something Shimano had to use on the 500 in order to get the body shape that they needed, even if it meant introducing a part that would wear out faster than the rest of the reel...
   
Quote
I have 3 of these reels, this one has seen by far the most work.    I will compare it with the newest one when I have some time (being retired keeps me very busy) Grin  and report my findings.

Looking forward to the results.  If my theory turns out to be wrong- here is my second choice:  You are catching too many big fish.  You just need to fish less or catch smaller fish  Smiley

-J



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Cor
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2019, 10:52:51 PM »

-J

[/quote]
I can only comment this one at the moment.

Not true,...... Cheesy went to sea yesterday on a glorious beautiful day for the 5th time in a month, pulled and lost 2 Yellowtail, one was lost to a big dog that got itself hooked and I held it for probably another 5 or 6 minutes.    I haven't caught anything useful during this month!!   Holding a 200lb seal like that can not be good for that reel either.

I'll comment on the rest later.
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Cor
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2019, 11:40:20 AM »

I opened my newest Tranx reel to compare the difference in wear between the two similar reels , if any.   As a calculated guess I would say the second reel, has worked about 80% less than the first one.
My findings on the second reel were the following:-
1.   The lateral motion  of the idler gear was negligible, or then within parameters that I would subjectively, find OK for a fishing reel.
2.   Examining the post that the gear turns on with a magnifier, there were very noticeable but light wear marks visible over about 30 degrees of the shaft in the area where it would have been expected because of the greater friction and as indicated on the photo.
3.   I am not able to see any wear or distortion on the gear itself, but neither could I on the older reel, not that I looked for it.
4.   I think this proves jurelometer’s opinion very adequately as correct!
5.   I am no engineer but was always under the impression that many of these types of “plastic” or nylon  parts were self lubricating and not subject to much wear & tear,  Obviously wrong, I do lubricate them though.

I will now order 2 new idler gears at $2-75 each, but the dilemma is that it may not solve the problem as such, as I suspect that the older reel may have significant wear to the shaft on one side.

When I again service the older reel I will try to see or measure  any wear on the parts.



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« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 06:31:34 AM by Cor » Logged

Cornelis
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2019, 08:12:07 AM »

Just serviced my 5 year old Tranx and noticed the white plastic idle gear between the level wind mechanism (see red arrow) has a lot of lateral play in it.  

is there a washer missing? 
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Cor
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2019, 10:46:33 AM »

Just serviced my 5 year old Tranx and noticed the white plastic idle gear between the level wind mechanism (see red arrow) has a lot of lateral play in it. 

is there a washer missing? 
No, but the washer that is there looks too small.    I fished the reel today and caught a number of very strong fish and also had a huge Bronze Whaler Shark take one of my fish and think in that process something slipped or broke in the level winding gear before the line parted.   My guess is that the idler gear slipped one tooth or broke a tooth.

When I got home I also see a parcel with spares which should contain two new idler gears waiting for me.

I'll have a good look tomorrow as Im not going fishing, been out two days in a row.

Perhaps I'll know more tomorrow.
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Cor
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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2019, 11:16:40 PM »

First to continue idler gear issue.
First photo clearly shows scarring on Idler gear axle, Looks much worse then I had originally thought but I must stress that these pictures have been blown up and it is very hard to see with my naked eye.   I also think the camera distorts or accentuates some tiny bits of wear on the old gear teeth.
Other then that I can not notice very much difference between the new and old idler, by look and measure.
I replaced the old one and added an extra washer and at a guess the new one has slightly less play.


Yesterday I experienced "something give" in the reel while pulling on a very strong fish.   Because of the non alignment of the level wind at that point I first suspected that either the idler broke or slipped a tooth.   As there are no visible signs of that having happened, my second thought was that the AR pawl gave way and then held.    Both AR pawls are fairly new and I can not see any material damage but do think that this is actually what happened.
This reel had a modified spring loaded AR pawl at one stage but I removed it after about a year as the spring was awkward when fitting the reel halves together.    Perhaps I should try that again and make a new spring.   I do find it pleasing to hear the dog clicking!
Is there any reason why I should not turn BNT4456 Anti-Reverse Ratchet, around to rotate in the opposite direction?

Anyone with some more ideas or comments will be appreciated.


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« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 11:30:06 PM by Cor » Logged

Cornelis
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2019, 06:49:54 AM »

Turning that AR ratchet around sounds like a good experiment. There could be wear on the bottom surface of said ratchet, and also possibly on one side of the teeth.
That ratchet tooth design is one I've seen in a Torium and a Diawa Lexa. It sucks, IMO. I can see where it might slip. Almost like they wanted to save on weight, thickness and $ in the design. Then again, what do I know, maybe it's supposed to slip under too heavy a load, to prevent damage to other reel parts.
It'ed be nice if there was a metal bushing for that nylon "idle" gear.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2019, 10:48:45 AM by Gfish » Logged

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