alan tani @ alantani.com fishing reel repair rebuild tutorial Disengaging vs Synchronized Levelwinds - some thoughts on durability
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Author Topic: Disengaging vs Synchronized Levelwinds - some thoughts on durability  (Read 526 times)
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jurelometer
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2020, 06:09:03 PM »

I have caught enough strong fish on the Tranx to know after 6 years of use that the levelwind mechanism is strong enough to handle any reasonable pull on it.    The only discerning permanent damage I have is that after catching a Yellowfin tuna of 150lb the extra idler gear “axle” is quite badly scarred and worn.   Otherwise I keep replacing the worm shaft  and line guide pawl.

My assertion is that if the Tranx did not have a disengaging levelwind these parts would last longer. But you fish long and hard enough that you would probably beat up any design Smiley  

Quote
What bothers me is that from day one these reels have a fair amount of slop or play in the levelwind mechanism.   The reel in the picture is 5 Y old but has mainly served as a spare and not worked excessively.  
The line guide moves 1.2 mm laterally.    The height of the line guide from the centre line of the worms haft, to the lowest part of the “line opening” is 11.7 mm which could put a lot of leverage on such a small part.

I am unable to tell if there is any wear on the plastic or metal parts and they are too pricey to simply replace continuously.
These are parts other then the worm shaft or line guide pawl.

I have attempted to reduce this slop by making 0.1mm shims and fitting them everywhere eliminating play as far as possible.   I do this in an attempt to space the line lay equally on either side of the spool with limited success.

The whole levelwind would have been far sturdier if it had also had an upper track, similar to an Abu Garcia 6600C4.   Perhaps this design needs the slop to operate properly, because as I said in my opening remark, it does seem strong enough which is the critical requirement.

I would bet that you are right that Shimano figured that more freeplay in the system would make it last longer.  Any time moving inter-meshed parts (gears, worms/pawls)  have little backlash,  they must be kept well aligned or they will bind, which really accelerates wear.  There is also a shocking amount of freeplay between the worm and pawl in my (moderately used) synchronized Komodo.   I did not see any wear, but would not mind to compare against a new reel someday.

If an upper  track was tight enough to prevent the line guide from twisting it would also scar the the guide and possibly be a source of binding on it's own.  Probably tricky to get right.   The economics probably dictate that the most profit is in a quick and dirty design that does not bind, as most folks that fish these type of reels don't use them that much, and will buy the next hot reel in a few years anyways.

Lots of experience on this site, and always enjoy the discussions, theoretical or otherwise.  While I have never owned or played with one, how would a Penn Leveline bear on this discussion?  In looking at them, (again, I've never held one/had one apart) the leveling bar appears to be pretty robust, and with the line sliding across the bar I would guess that side loads would be minimal in any sort of an "angular" situation? - john

Correct.  I think that the 350 (leveline)  has a twisty "line guide bar thingy" that rocks back and forth?   Or something like that.  There is no line guide/pawl to be twisted, so the problems discussed here are probably not very relevant.  

The 350 is an interesting design.  But it relies on friction to move the line back and forth, so if you are winding  against slack the bar does not help much, probably worse with limp small diameter braid. So not a great  design if you are working lures with a ripping motion that causes the line to be wound without tension (one of the ways I fish my levelwind).
 
But fishing bait, or trolling, especially with mono - might be a nice design.  The 350 was on my list back when I was trying to get get my hands on different reel designs.  

I don't think the issue/tradeoff that I brought up is entirely theoretical.    Even after the correction (thanks to Robert),  I still believe that the durability to casting distance tradeoff is pretty significant if you push these saltwater levelwinds hard enough. Just not as significant as I first thought.

Although who knows?  I could end up eating crow twice in the same thread. Smiley

-J
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 11:19:10 AM by jurelometer » Logged
oc1
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2020, 10:34:45 PM »

The Leveline was sort of a dud in its day.  At least it was where I lived.  It looks like a surf casting reel but is no good for casting because of friction going over the high bar.  On the retrieve there is a lot of fussing with the line to make it lay correctly.  So, you were better off getting a real surf casting reel and laying line by hand.  If you absolutely couldn't handle laying line by hand then you got a Peerless.  

They are as tough as any of the Penn surf reels.  Greg trolls in a kayak with a Leveline which is the most appropriate use for one I have ever heard of.

I think they should have made a narrow one.
-steve
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Sonnett
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2020, 09:16:22 AM »

This conversation has been very stimulating. One of the things it has caused me to think about is the following. Though most of my fishing is with older baitcasting reels with synchronized levelwinds, I have had some experience with the most modern, low profile baitcasters with non-synchronized levelwinds. After casting for an extended period of time (an hour lets say) I find line piling up one end of the spool. This problem is present in all the non-synchronized reels I have used.  I have burnt up a good many brain cells trying to figure out the reason for this. Levelwind not centered before the cast? Casts all bout the same length? I would like to hear your thoughts on this. On vintage baitcasters I always try to make sure the braided line/mono leader knot is not under my thumb as the cast starts. but really never have the kind of problem outlined above.
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Cor
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2020, 12:32:22 PM »

I have caught enough strong fish on the Tranx to know after 6 years of use that the levelwind mechanism is strong enough to handle any reasonable pull on it.    The only discerning permanent damage I have is that after catching a Yellowfin tuna of 150lb the extra idler gear “axle” is quite badly scarred and worn.   Otherwise I keep replacing the worm shaft  and line guide pawl.

My assertion is that if the Tranx did not have a disengaging levelwind these parts would last longer. But you fish long and hard enough that you would probably beat up any design Smiley  


Mimmmm……
when I bought the Tranx I actually did not know about engaging and disengaging levelwinders, in fact I had never used a reel like that.

Although I am not an engineer, I could figure that a levelwinding mechanism would probably take much strain and stresses and purely by its design would not be everlasting.   I did have the benefit of watching one guy who had one and used it for a whole season 6 month without any serious mishaps.

I very respectfully feel that that I am not convinced that your conclusion is correct. Embarrassed   Since I have been using these reels the fishing has been fairly poor and I am also no longer putting in as much time as before and guesstimate I work the reel as follows in a normal Summer month:-
Number of casts and retrieves:-   8 000
Fish caught           :-        20
A normal retrieve takes 1 minute, therefore the reel is in retrieve mode for 133 hours per month.

The main problem arises when the line guide and the line on the spool are out of sync putting sideways stress on all the working parts.   Right?

Now that happens in two situations, 1) mainly, when a strong fish pulls line from the reel against the drag & 2) during the first few handle turns after a cast.

The Yellowtail I catch here are relatively small, 12 lb is a good average and as I use strong line I do not let the fish take line for much more then 15 seconds if any.   If I were to regularly hook Tuna these reels will break, those fish take of at neck breaking speed over and over again and can quickly strip 50 yd from the reel at a time.   The Yellowtail do not do that.

The first two handle turns are of no consequence I would say!

The casts only puts very light stress on the levelwind mechanism and is also of little consequence.

However I am inclined to think that perhaps the constant drag created by fast retrieving a 3 oz lure with 5/0 trebles dragging at the back in strong water and wind is more likely the culprit.
The reel is subject to this type of stress a lot more then the other.
As the line guide is not supported on the top it inevitably has to be pulled sideways and tilts nearly 1.2 mm from side to side.    I noted your comment and probably agree with the possible binding an upper track may create.

I posted a picture of the worm shafts which all show how the silver coating has worn away which to me is an indication of the sideways friction between the line guide and worm shaft.
Should I be correct, that it is more likely the retrieve that causes the wear and tear that I am experiencing then it should be no different if it were a synchronised level winding system.   However the latter type may have more wear and tear from the fast left to right movement during a cast.

I would not know how to conclusively test this, but does it really matter? Cheesy

« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 12:45:28 PM by Cor » Logged

Cornelis
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2020, 07:59:33 PM »

. After casting for an extended period of time (an hour lets say) I find line piling up one end of the spool. This problem is present in all the non-synchronized reels I have used.  I have burnt up a good many brain cells trying to figure out the reason for this. Levelwind not centered before the cast? Casts all bout the same length?

Spool not centered?  For example, if the spool tension knob was loose enough, and you angled the reel a bit toward one side the spool would shift over, and the last couple wraps would overlap.   Each cast clears some/most/all of the bunched up line, so it is unlikely that this is building up as the day goes on unless your casts keep getting shorter.

Maybe someone who has more experience with different freshwater levelwind models might have a better idea.

I have caught enough strong fish on the Tranx to know after 6 years of use that the levelwind mechanism is strong enough to handle any reasonable pull on it.    The only discerning permanent damage I have is that after catching a Yellowfin tuna of 150lb the extra idler gear “axle” is quite badly scarred and worn.   Otherwise I keep replacing the worm shaft  and line guide pawl.

My assertion is that if the Tranx did not have a disengaging levelwind these parts would last longer. But you fish long and hard enough that you would probably beat up any design Smiley 


Mimmmm……
when I bought the Tranx I actually did not know about engaging and disengaging levelwinders, in fact I had never used a reel like that.

Although I am not an engineer, I could figure that a levelwinding mechanism would probably take much strain and stresses and purely by its design would not be everlasting.   I did have the benefit of watching one guy who had one and used it for a whole season 6 month without any serious mishaps.

Agreed.   Levelwinds will always be subject to more wear.   And I do agree with you conclusion that the wear that you are experiencing is probably not due to the levelwind being disengaging - since you are not using the drag much.  But I still think there are several points worth discussing.
Quote

I very respectfully feel that that I am not convinced that your conclusion is correct. Embarrassed   Since I have been using these reels the fishing has been fairly poor and I am also no longer putting in as much time as before and guesstimate I work the reel as follows in a normal Summer month:-
Number of casts and retrieves:-   8 000
Fish caught           :-        20
A normal retrieve takes 1 minute, therefore the reel is in retrieve mode for 133 hours per month.

The main problem arises when the line guide and the line on the spool are out of sync putting sideways stress on all the working parts.   Right?

Angled, not sideways- it would probably manifest as a twisting load on the pawl/guide.

This is the thing that differentiates the disengaging levelwind.  The stresses can be quite significant when out of sync, but contrary to my original assertion, this will only happen when pulling hard and not winding.   So using a disengaging levelewind with high drag settings should be pretty hard on the mechanism, but only if under  high load when the guide is not not synchronized (line does not have to be going out, come to think of it).   

The stresses on both synchronized and disengaging levelwinds should be pretty much the same otherwise, all else being equal in terms of design and construction.
Quote

Now that happens in two situations, 1) mainly, when a strong fish pulls line from the reel against the drag & 2) during the first few handle turns after a cast.

The Yellowtail I catch here are relatively small, 12 lb is a good average and as I use strong line I do not let the fish take line for much more then 15 seconds if any.   If I were to regularly hook Tuna these reels will break, those fish take of at neck breaking speed over and over again and can quickly strip 50 yd from the reel at a time.   The Yellowtail do not do that.

The first two handle turns are of no consequence I would say!

The casts only puts very light stress on the levelwind mechanism and is also of little consequence.

However I am inclined to think that perhaps the constant drag created by fast retrieving a 3 oz lure with 5/0 trebles dragging at the back in strong water and wind is more likely the culprit.
The reel is subject to this type of stress a lot more then the other.
As the line guide is not supported on the top it inevitably has to be pulled sideways and tilts nearly 1.2 mm from side to side.    I noted your comment and probably agree with the possible binding an upper track may create.

I posted a picture of the worm shafts which all show how the silver coating has worn away which to me is an indication of the sideways friction between the line guide and worm shaft.


Mostly agree, but let me dive in a bit more.

This is where things get complicated. If the pawl has enough slop to twist during retrieve, then the pawl can act like a cutting surface against the edges of the worm grooves.  It does not require much force, especially with lots of repetition.    If the fish is taking line against the disengaging levelwind,  damage on the worm would be limited to one location (more like a dent, if anything), so I am guessing that this is not the final cause of such a failure.    The issue is that it puts a lot of twisting load on the line guide/pawl, and deforming the shape, or opening holes and making the fit looser.   The damage then occurs when winding.

But this is only one of several reasons that the pawl can get sloppy and wear out the worm.  The fact that you are seeing the entire surface of the guide worm losing its plating means that there is also mating surface fictional wear.  since there is some clearance there, and these surfaces do not rub, this suggests to me that sand/dust is getting in there (oil is a magnet for this stuff).  You could be experiencing more than one form of wear at the same time.

My point is that this angular load under high drag is quite dramatic, and not something one would be willing to simulate by twisting the line guide with a pair of pliers at the same level of force. But I agree that there are many other thingd that can wear out a levelwind.
 
Quote

Should I be correct, that it is more likely the retrieve that causes the wear and tear that I am experiencing then it should be no different if it were a synchronised level winding system.   However the latter type may have more wear and tear from the fast left to right movement during a cast.


Agreed.  If you don't have fish pulling at high drag settings, the main negative of the disengaging levelwind is not experienced.     Even if the speed of the sync levelwind during the cast did not make much of a difference in wear, the mechanism is taking twice the number of passes for each cast/retrieve.

I was pretty much sold on the idea of disengaging levelwinds being superior until I calculated the load when out of sync.   So in the end, all else being equal, a disengaging levelwind will have the upper hand unless you crank down the drag and hook some bigger fish that pull hard.  Big fish as in yellowfin tuna.  This will not be an issue for things like largemouth bass.

Quote
I would not know how to conclusively test this, but does it really matter? Cheesy


What you could do is set your drag to the max in the specs (22 lb?), and hook up a couple dozen 50 + lb tuna and report back Smiley  But it sounds like it only took one to break the levelwind idler Smiley

In the end, if something else breaks first, then you are 100% right.   It doesn't matter for that reel.  But it still matters for figuring out how to design the best possible reel.

I was planning on taking my sync levelwind Komodo after mid sized Tuna in the late summer, but there is a good chance that this trip will not happen due to COVID Sad

-J
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Cor
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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2020, 12:58:09 AM »

Lockdown time conversation. Grin


1) Like you, I agree with most of what you say.   Although I wash with fresh water after every trip and clean and lubricate the worm and blow dust and debris out the grooves with a compressor weekly, it is not practically possible to keep it without dust or even some salt residue.

I also do not think the exterior wear on the worm is the major problem.   It is the small line guide pawl that takes the brunt of the wear and that caused breakage of the pawl cap and bunching of the line.
It is not possible to see if some wear is on inside of the “plastic” line guide.

2) I once tested the drag to 26 lb if I remember correctly.   No test is required to see how long the reel will last with >50 lb tunas, I’ve already provided that answer.  Actually <50 lb could be fun.

3) At the end of the day these reels have provided me with a solution to a specific problem.   As I've been told a few times “the ongoing maintenance and cost is the price I have to payUndecided

I have sometimes thought about designing the perfect reel, but that would have to be very specific to a type of fishing.    For what I do, I would probably toss the levelwind away and go back to the finger guide, but then that would also mean I would use mono or overcome the problem of wet braid cutting wet finger. Undecided Undecided

Thanks.

PS  I need to make an adjustable magnetic cast control on these reels, static works but not as well as can be.   I’ll start another thread sometime, something to think about!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 03:31:01 AM by Cor » Logged

Cornelis
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« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2020, 09:32:58 AM »

Glad you are posting Cor, it means you are not locked up in the Simon's Town cells
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Cor
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« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2020, 11:33:45 AM »

Glad you are posting Cor, it means you are not locked up in the Simon's Town cells
Getting close, I can see fish from my house and will have to break the lock down very soon!👮‍♂️👮‍♂️😷
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« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2020, 11:58:45 AM »

Lockdown time conversation. Grin


1) Like you, I agree with most of what you say.   Although I wash with fresh water after every trip and clean and lubricate the worm and blow dust and debris out the grooves with a compressor weekly, it is not practically possible to keep it without dust or even some salt residue.

I also do not think the exterior wear on the worm is the major problem.   It is the small line guide pawl that takes the brunt of the wear and that caused breakage of the pawl cap and bunching of the line.
It is not possible to see if some wear is on inside of the “plastic” line guide.

2) I once tested the drag to 26 lb if I remember correctly.   No test is required to see how long the reel will last with >50 lb tunas, I’ve already provided that answer.  Actually <50 lb could be fun.

3) At the end of the day these reels have provided me with a solution to a specific problem.   As I've been told a few times “the ongoing maintenance and cost is the price I have to payUndecided

I have sometimes thought about designing the perfect reel, but that would have to be very specific to a type of fishing.    For what I do, I would probably toss the levelwind away and go back to the finger guide, but then that would also mean I would use mono or overcome the problem of wet braid cutting wet finger. Undecided Undecided

Thanks.

PS  I need to make an adjustable magnetic cast control on these reels, static works but not as well as can be.   I’ll start another thread sometime, something to think about!

I like the mag control on the side of the Lexa 400.  Set it to a '7' and throw JRI-4's without my thumb on the spool except to stop it when the jig hits the water.  It works so well even a Canook can do it.
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« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2020, 03:03:48 PM »

I like the mag control on the side of the Lexa 400.  Set it to a '7' and throw JRI-4's without my thumb on the spool except to stop it when the jig hits the water.  It works so well even a Canook can do it.


It's nice isn't it - my dad can lob a 4oz jig without really thinking about it and it never, ever overruns. He doesn't even stop the spool when the jig hits.
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