alan tani @ alantani.com fishing reel repair rebuild tutorial Diawa Millionaire 3RM teardown
Reel Repair by Alan Tani
March 31, 2020, 11:57:27 AM *
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Author Topic: Diawa Millionaire 3RM teardown  (Read 282 times)
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« on: March 15, 2020, 11:13:03 AM »

Was a little bored for projects so dug through my stack of old family reels and found this one that belonged to my Father in Law.  It looks like it probably has some stories to tell.  It seemed pretty solid and like it might make a nice little light duty inshore/kelp reel.  I wasn't able to find a lot of information on it, but knowing it's history I am guessing it was from sometime around the 80's?  Anyone that is more versed in Diawa please do not hesitate to contribute your knowledge!  Anyhow, let the fun begin!

Here is the starting point:

The reel features three simple takedown knobs or screws, I am guessing this was probably originally designed to be a reel that could have spools swapped easily for different applications.

Loosening the 3 thumbscrews allows the reel to quickly be taken down into 3 basic subassemblies; the tail plate/frame, the spool, and the head plate/drive assembly.

Tearing into the tail plate/frame assembly, by removing 3 screws we find a pretty basic levelwind drive.  Yes, the gears are plastic, and they are thin.  Elsewhere in the forum wiser minds have explained the reasoning behind the whole "plastic levelwind gears" thing.  This could be torn down further (this reel uses a lot of c-type spring clips) but really no need.  A good cleanup, and a light greasing of the gears and good to go.

This reel has a fairly common form of casting brake to help reduce the chance of backlashes.  There are 2 pins radiating outward from the spool, on which slide two small red plastic sleeves that under high rpms (such as casting) will slide outward and make light contact with the frame, helping to slow the spool.  In theory, the faster the spool speed the greater the drag or friction.  Experienced casters or those needing maximum distance will remove these to eliminate any excess drag on the spool.  Since neither of those conditions apply to me (rat nesting is a far more likely occurrence  Cheesy) I stand to benefit from having them installed.  One of them had been removed previously, but thanks to the Ohana, somewhere on this Forum someone far wiser than I came up with the brilliant fix of trimming a short section off of a typical aerosol lubrication straw (WD-40, CorrosionX, Canned Air, etc) and it works quite well (and you can also see the slight difference between "factory" and "custom" in the photo.)

Okay, time to tear into the guts of the reel, the head plate and drive assembly.  Start by removing the handle, here is everything in the appropriate order.  Note the small "C" clip, can be very easy to overlook if there is grease on the sleeve and the handle will not come off unless it is removed (ask me how I know).  And just like any other small tiny spring or clip, careful removal/containment is necessary if you ever want to see it again to get the reel back together!

Once the handle assembly is removed, by removing the two bridge plate screws the actual guts of the reel can be separated from the sideplate.

Here is a good close look at the bridgeplate, with drag stack and spacers still is place.  There will be more details in the reassembly photos, but overall it is a robust assembly, primarily aluminum, and many of the components are actually rivetted to the plate.  There is a lot of room to tear this thing way down (spring removal, etc,) but again since this reel did not see heavy service or abuse, I'm not going that far as it is really not necessary (and I don't feel like crawling around looking for springs and clips that "launch")

I used the standard tools of the trade throughout on this project as dictated and where necessary: Dawn dish soap, Isopropyl alcohol, and white vinegar.  A few minutes in my "poor man's ultrasonic" (again, not my invention, I learned that from wiser folks on this Forum!) and everything cleaned up, ready for inspection, lube, and reassembly!

I want to devote a little bit of time to the drag stack.  It is a fairly conventional design that just about anyone that has torn into a reel has seen, but it does have a couple of little quirks that need to be noted.  Here is the overview:

I have no idea what the original drag materials were in these reels (and I am positive that anything in here is probably factory knowing the history of the reel).  They were greased, and almost seemed like a graphite impregnated thin paper or cloth.  The reason (and I am guessing) was that there were drag particles throughout the assembly (think "brake dust" if you ever have worked on automotive drum brakes), one of the washers as seen here was clearly failed, and they were very thin, flexible, and easily torn with little effort.  Still, for the time it was probably pretty advanced I am guessing (coming from my previous experiences with old Penn's that use asbestos poker chips for drag materials).

The washers themselves are 4A size, but no need to worry because Dawn at Smoothdrag has a kit with fresh drag washers and undergear washer as well!

Before reassembly (with Cal's, of course!) there are a couple of quirks to note that can cross you up if not careful.  Firstly, the "eared" washer is a stamped design, and the ears are not flat in the same plane as the washer, but actually are rolled over.  Take extra time on reassembly to make sure that the ears are in the proper orientation (point "in" to the gear) and that they do not bottom out in the grooves or catch on the keyed washers.

Also the top washer in the stack is heavier and has a unique bevel on it, having this washer either out of sequence or reversed (the bevel needs to be on the outside) can cause poor drag performance and uneven pressure.

A quick check of the old drag stack thickness vs. new thickness shows .11" vs. .12", or an increase of thickness of .01" - not enough to worry about adjusting spacers or bellevilles, the drag star still has plenty of range.

Since I was having a hard time finding specs, I took the opportunity to do a quick count of the pinion and main gear teeth.  I came up with 13 pinion and 49 main, for a retrieve ratio of about 3.77:1

And here is an overview of the entire head plate/drive assembly:

Here is where you get the time honored "Assemble in Reverse Order" clause, no need to show putting it back together.  Anything needing grease was greased, anything needing oil was oiled, and anything needing neither was given a light coating of CorrosionX since I will be using this in salt water.  After reassembly and break in, and loaded with 30# Powerpro, I was able to consistently hit about 12# max drag with it; while I don't know what factory specs were I am sure this is probably pushing the structural limits of the reel (especially the levelwind!) but more than adequate for having fun with calico bass.  After giving it a trail run I will probably "surprise" my Brother in Law with one of his Dad's old reels and hopefully he can give it a workout around the reefs on the Big Island (although it may not by up to those bruisers; I don't know enough about the fishery)

Final Thoughts:
Pros - This actually looks like a pretty sound design from "back in the day".  I have been through enough Sealines to know that Diawa were famous for being "inspired" by existing designs and improving or simplifying them as they could for efficient Japanese manufacturing practices, so I am guessing there are other reels from that time period (Abu?) that may be very similar.  All of the bearings in the reel are of a solid/bushing type design, so nothing to really fail from that standpoint.  I don't know what the used market is like on these things but at this point the line I have on the reel far outweighs any other expense; I'm in it for basically beer money if that.
Cons - It's old.  The levelwind is DEFINITELY the weak link on this reel, and in the event of a catastrophic failure it probably wouldn't be worth repairing and that is IF replacement parts could ever be sourced (it could always be removed and used as a straight non-levelwind if it ever were to come to that - cross that bridge if we ever get to that river).  It's not very well sealed, and while it uses a lot of aluminum it will still be susceptible to salt water intrusion and potential issues WITHOUT DILLIGENT SERVICE (like that applies to anyone on this site  Cheesy).  I hope that this walkthough is helpful to anyone that might find themselves with one of these Millionaire variants from that time period and a rainy day on their hands.  Thanks to the Ohana for help and tips; please do not hesitate to add comments, suggestions, or any questions that I may be able to answer. - John





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foakes
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2020, 11:18:16 AM »

Nice work, John!

Best,

Fred
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2020, 11:28:05 AM »

Nice clean work John!...thanks for posting.

Sal
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2020, 12:01:53 PM »

Thanks for the detailed walk through John!
Looks like a great reel!
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2020, 12:34:19 PM »

Great work, John!  Thanks for the look inside.

That reel is very similar to my Millionaire 5H.  Three differences that stand out are the yoke, yoke springs, and drag stack.

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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2020, 01:24:57 PM »

Thanks for posting. Those were a great Reel in their day. They still preform well today.

Keith
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2020, 08:46:47 PM »

Nice work John this is from a 1986 catalogue.

Kim


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alantani
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2020, 09:58:35 PM »

very nice!!!!!
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send me an email at alantani@yahoo.com for questions!
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2020, 05:06:16 PM »

Kim - Thank you for the information!!!!  So cool to have original info! - John
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