alan tani @ fishing reel repair rebuild tutorial Browning Mitchell 400S bail springs
Reel Repair by Alan Tani
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Author Topic: Browning Mitchell 400S bail springs  (Read 1596 times)
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« on: May 27, 2017, 02:43:51 AM »

I have only had one reel beat me years ago when I first started my reel quest. Now 15 years later I run into the dark, dark knight from one of Mitchell's owners, Browning, I've been told??  I took this reel in from an older old man in a weak moment. (Some folks don't see the difference in repair work, rebuilds, and restoration work) well this was the later, a reel he wanted for sentimental reasons.  Everything was cleaned, polished and put back together until the double spring, one on each side, bail wire mechanism. I have now spent three session for a total of 5 hours and completely destroyed two spring trying to get this bail wire back on and working. PLEASE! Any help in returning this monster to the very kind gentleman will be appreciated.  Thank you! Con
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Sierra National Forest

« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2017, 10:20:53 AM »

Welcome, Con --

That was a transition reel before being discontinued -- Mitchell was in trouble, business-wise -- Browning wanted to get into the reel business, and had extra cash reserves -- so they partnered (bought out) with Mitchell.  

Sort of like a drowning man finding another guy in the ocean -- Browning found that the reel business was extremely competitive -- and took more than money to keep it viable -- and had no long term committment.

Mitchell drowned -- and Browning swam back to the firearms shoreline.

This reel is a basic 300/400 -- but with a skirted spool, different rotor assembly.  Mitchell made some skirted spool reels in the 80's -- and they were good reels -- parts are tough to come by.

If these (2) springs were opposite wind -- and the same as a 300/400 -- I could likely help you.  But they are different part numbers from the 300/400 -- so likely a 300/301 spring combo would not help.

I have hundreds of bail springs -- so likely a match could be made -- but it would require having the reel on one of our benches for matchup possibilities.

Maybe someone else will have some better information.



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Midway Tommy
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Posts: 2028

Right in the middle of USA - Eastern Nebraska

« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2017, 12:10:09 PM »

They are wound opposite and looser than normal older Mitchell springs, somewhat similar to Cardinal springs except both ends are bent straight out. They can be found easily on eBay.

Completely remove the bail from the bail arm on the roller side. Turn the bail wire 90 degrees in the off side bail plate/arm. Remove both side bail arms/plates. Install the springs on each (their correct) side reinstalling the roller side bail arm and then the off side bail plate/arm with the bail turned 90 degrees from normal position. Once both sides are installed rotate the bail holding the roller side bail arm in it's correct position and attach the roller guide, washers, etc. to the bail arm. On some reels you have to start the bail screw a thread or two and then rotate the plate into the correct position before tightening completely, it depends on the reel design. You should be able to feel the appropriate tension on the springs prior to reinstalling the roller guide parts to the bail arm but you can check them first to make there is sufficient spring tension on the bail if you want.

Trying to reinstall them with the bail completely put together is guaranteed disaster and will almost always end up with bent and/or twisted bail springs. Although the parts may be somewhat different the procedure would be similar to the Cardinal tutorial example below that I posted awhile back on another thread. I hope it will help.

Previous Cardinal bail spring example:
No need to fight or struggle with bail spring installation. 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. 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.

Install the spring and bail arm on the roller guide side. Once installed you can pull the bail stopper back to allow the bail arm to rest correctly on it. Install the spring and bail plate/bail on the opposite side. Once installed rotate the bail in the appropriate direction to get tension on the spring and turn the bail 90 degrees.

Have the line roller, teflon bushing, protecting washer and bail nut ready for installation. 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. Other than gummed up bail springs, misalignment is the single biggest reason why bails don't work properly.

Once the bail is adjusted properly lube and install the teflon bushing, roller guide and protecting washer. Check to see that the bail snaps back with authority and if not adjust accordingly. Set it aside for later installation.

« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 10:04:59 PM by Midway Tommy » Logged

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

Tommy D (ORCA), NE

Favorite Activity? ............... In our boat fishing
mizmo67 Sales/Tech
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Mystic Island, NJ

« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2017, 12:10:35 PM »

Other than the amount of swearing I did the last time I tried to put springs in a MIT 300...I can't remember what the trick was.

It may have been handing it off to the other repair guy, lol.


Maureen Albertson Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2017, 03:29:18 PM »

Thank you for the information. I think my problem was the two different springs. I ordered two of the same spring. But still the hardest 5-6 hours I've spent on a reel in 15 years. Not sure what to do now. Thanks Con.
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