alan tani @ alantani.com fishing reel repair rebuild tutorial lubricants
Reel Repair by Alan Tani
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« on: December 07, 2008, 09:40:30 AM »

so here's where i am on lubes so far.....

corrosion x - i pretty much use it exclusively. it was recommended years ago by the guys at my local shop. the claim being that it would not turn to varnish the same way common oils, even wd-40, would. i use in on fishing reel handles, level wind assemblies and in spool bearings. i have also started adding a drop or two to side plate screws when i'm worried about the frame cracking, like the frame of the daiwa saltiga. been pretty happy with the product over the years and i've got no plans on switching. rarely, i will use metaloil, rocket sauce, or hot sauce on bearings for some of the tournament bass guys that are never getting near salt water. i've never systematically investigated anthing else, and don't really see a need to.

yamaha all purpose grease - this stuff was recommended by the guys at my local grady dealership. it's salt water resistant, never hardens and stays blue forever. i can open up a reel 20 years from now and know that it's been service before. and if i open up a reel and i don't see blue grease, i know that it has not. honestly, that (and the $5 a pound price tag) is the reason i use yamaha blue grease. i grease all of the non-exposed metal surfaces with this stuff using just my greasy fingers or a ratty old toothbrush. i also pack all the non-spool bearings with it. it is another product that i have been very happy with.

cal's grease - at $25 a pound, it's a little pricy. i go through 6 pounds a year and i am only applying it to drag washers. there are still guys that do not believe in greased carbon fiber drag washers and for a while they were giving me constant grief. just to pee them off, i started slopping tons of grease on the the drag washers of star drag reels, then let the excess ooze out the sides. that saves you the trouble of wiping off the excess.

for smaller avet drag reels, i slop a little less grease on both sides of the drag washer and the matching surface of the spool, install the drag washer, and then wipe off all of the excess. i don't want the stainless steel drag pressure plate to stick because of the excess grease. that would decrease freespool. for drag systems that have a drag washer glued to an aluminum pressure plate (or to the spoon in the case of the new avets), i slop a bunch of grease all over the drag washer, particularly, the edges, and then carefully wipe off all of the excess. the goal here is to prevent water intrusion. if salt water gets inbetween the carbon fiber washer and the aluminum, the aluminum will bubble and the drag washer will stick. seen that plenty of times with older penn international drag pressure plates.

when i get an old lever drag reel with a carbon fiber drag washer, i grab an old blue rag and rub the surface of the drag washer. that will remove half of the old "crap" out of the drag washer and onto the rag. it will also drive the rest into the fiber material and out of play. the important point is to "raise the grain" of the carbon fiber material so you do not have a "glazed" surface. this prevents sticking of the carbon fiber to the stainless steel pressure plate.

you don't need any kind of fancy cleaners or solvents for this process. if the surface is glazed or corroded with salt, toss it. if it's just gummed up with oil or grease, it can often be cleaned with your trusty old rag. you will know that you are successful when you reassemble the reel, set the drag on your reel, yank on it and see no stickiness or "start up." if you're still having problems, get a new washer. the purpose of the teflon drag grease is to prevent water intrusion. if i recall the story correctly, penn's ht-100 carbon fiber drag washer got it's name because the penn engineers saw no wear on their carbon fiber material after 100 hours of constant full speed pressure. most reels would never see that level of performance in 100 years.
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2008, 08:14:09 PM »

here's a link to the 3 ounce yamaha grease cartridge.....

http://www.usboatsupplies.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=USBS&Product_Code=ACC-GREAS-RE-FL&Category_Code=AYOM
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2009, 12:19:26 AM »

here's something new for you. if someone would have told me that dribbling some of this new lube through a set of bearings would increase the freespool time from 15 seconds to 360 seconds, i would have smiled politely and started backing up towards the nearest exit. i just cleaned out the bearings and levelwind assembly of an old ambassaduer, then lubed it and the spin time was equally amazing (for a levelwind). my concern remains saltwater corrosion resistance. i am going to start playing with this stuff in my own reels. i'll keep you posted.
 
not affilliated, etc.... alan
 
 
Quote

ok, now this is even more bizarre. after reassemblying the bare spool, i'm back down to 15 seconds of freespool. this is after cleaning and lubing the bearings with corrosion x, then letting it sit for several months before finally completing this post.
 

 
before shipping the reel out, i decided to give it one more try and lubed it up with this stuff. i took both bearing out, stacked one on top of the other, then added some of this stuff down through the bearings. the freespool time jumped from 15 seconds to 3 minutes. i'm going to have to take a closer look at this stuff.
 

 
 
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 07:42:47 AM »

4/15/09 - There a four different lubricants that I use in fishing reels.  A “one size fits all” approach will work in some situations, but not this one.  This continues to be a work in progress.  As of this writing, April 2009, here are the four lubes that I’ve settled on.  

Blue Grease – There are several different manufacturers that market blue greases for fishing reels.  These products are all hydrocarbon based, salt water resistant, they never harden, (important to a service center) they stay blue forever and cost only $5 to 15 per pound.  You can service a reel, open it up 10 years later and know that you’ve worked on it before.  These blue greases can be packed into non-spool bearings, applied to all screws, gears and other non-exposed metal surfaces, and provide a lifetime of corrosion resistance.  The product that I use is the $5 per pound Yamaha All Purpose Engine Grease.  Don’t use these blue greases on drag washers.

Drag Grease – There are currently three drag greases on the market, available from Shimano, Cal Sheets and Xtreme Lubricants.  These products are Teflon-based and cost from $25 to 50 per pound.  One way to separate these products is by melting temperature.  Shimano’s drag grease melts at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, Cal’s drag grease melts at 500 degrees F, and the Xtreme drag grease melts at 1000 degrees F.  Water, of course, boils at 212 degrees F at sea level.  Unless you see steam coming from you fishing reel, you are nowhere near the melting temperature for any of these products.  Under the heaviest drag settings with several hundred yard runs, there is a phenomenon called “high speed runout.”  Cal Sheets describes a decrease in drag pressure when a big fish is running long, hard and fast with lower melting temperature Teflon greases.  This would not be a concern in the vast majority of situations.  The product that I am currently using is the $25 per pound Cal’s Drag, although the Shimano and Xtreme products perform equally well in the light tackle applications that I am commonly faced with.  

Oils – For years, WD-40 had been a popular lubricant in fishing reels, but it turns to varnish over time and has generally fallen out of favor.  Many other light hydrocarbon-based oils are available and provide excellent lubricant properties without turning to varnish over time.  The product that I have used for the last ten years is Corrosion X.  The polar molecular bonding that Corrosion X, Reel X and Speed X offer will give these products excellent lubricating properties and long life.  I use these products on any parts of a reel that need a lighter lubricant that a heavy grease.  Handles, levers, level wind assemblies, bearings and bushing are the most common places in a reel that are oiled rather than greased.  Corrosion X sprayed into an old rag, after a fresh water rinse and towel dry, is also an excellent way of wiping down your reel after a day of fishing.  

Dry Teflon Lubricants – For the last 2 months, I have been using a dry Teflon lubricant from Xtreme Lubricants on spool bearings.  After cleaning out spool bearings and lubricating them with hydrocarbon based oils, freespool times of 30 to 60 seconds are typical.  Lubricating these same spool bearings with one of these dry Teflon lubricants will increase the freespool times from seconds to minutes.  Larger spools with a great deal of rotational inertia can spin for up to 5 minutes when the bearings are lubed with these newer dry Teflon lubes.  Hydrocarbon-based oils can form can actually form a hydrodynamic wedge (like a standing wave on a very small scale) in front of the balls of the bearings that will actually slow your spin rate.  The improvement in freespool time is dramatic!  Another reel tech and I had independently tried this product, saw the improvement, and decided in a microsecond that we were going to use this product in our own personal reels.  At issue is what to do for a customer.  Corrosion resistance is still a concern, but even my tried and true Corrosion x does not last forever.  So how good (or bad) is the corrosion protection from these dry Teflon lubes?  I will have a final answer for you next year.  For me personally, I know that better freespool will give me longer casting distances, and longer casting distances will catch me more fish.  

from norcal pescador on May 10, 2010:
Graphite –The mineral Graphite is a crystalline form of Carbon. Graphite lubricant (powder) is made from super-finely ground graphite pieces or chunks. Graphite powder will absorb moisture and clump, basically returning to its pre-ground form (little rocks). It is for this reason that you should never use graphite in  fishing reel bearings (or in any other precision mechanism.) I learned about graphite from a well-experienced and educated locksmith while working part-time for him.
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2010, 03:43:17 PM »


Hi Alan, I notice that the reels you've showcased so far are predominantly overhead reels but I'm sure you have a wealth of knowledge about spinning reels too... hence my 2 questions if you're open to sharing your ideas around them?? Firstly, I've had conflicting suggestions about the lubing of clutch bearings in spin reels (I guess overheads would be much the same situation)... some manufacturers suggest a film coat of grease... some say no lubrication at all... all say don't use oil as it can cause the anti reverse to fail... etc, etc, etc.  What would you recommend for clutch bearings?  Secondly, a lot of spin reels these days have ridiculously small bearings in the line roller assembly. I've been packing them with grease for protection but again, what would you recommend please?  Cheers, BigT 


accurate did a fair amount of research with anti-reverse roller bearings and found that corrosion x was the best overall product.  shimano is now using a thinner grease on their roller bearings.  it appears to be a mix of their standard teflon drag grease mixed with an unknown oil (presumably a compatible teflon oil).  it's a no win situation.  if you leave these anti-reverse roller bearings bone dry, they hold great, but the plain steel (not stainless) needles will rust immediately.  if you pack grease into the bearings or add an oil of any type, the inner tube in the roller bearing will slip at a lower range.  see what i mean?  either way, you loose. 

so personally, what i use is just plain old corrosion x.  it will slip under an excessive load.  it is now critical that your drag system function properly and not seize up.  there is simply a physical limit to what these reels can do.  and the reason that reels have been pushed so hard is that they have fallen behind.  reel performance has perhaps doubled at best.  line performance (mono versus spectra) has improved 5 fold.  we need reels that have a 5 fold increase in performance as well. 
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2010, 02:11:09 PM »

i've had so many guys ask, that i finally had my friend make up a bunch of adaptors for those small grease guns.    



i also ordered a whole bunch of inflator needles and cut the tips off with my dremmel.  









an adaptor and 4-5 inflator needles will sell for $5 with local shipping included.  these needles make quick work of greasing screw holes.

i've also come to realize how vulnerable bearings are.  a bearing with a seal or a shield held in by a retaining ring can be opened up, hand packed with grease and then re-sealed or re-shielded.  if your bearing has a pressed-in metal shield. the only way to pack it with grease used to require that you remove one of the shields and press the grease in with your thumb.  when you're trying to service a half dozen lever drag reels in one afternoon, packing bearings with your thumbs gets really old.  that's where a bearing packer comes in handy.  i had tom make these as well.  he wanted to make them out of less expensive aluminum, but i said brass.  i just like the look! 



i've been using these for the last month and have been actually quite pleased with myself!  the bearing packer on the left is stepped ever sixteenth of an inch and will accomodate a 1/16ths inch ID to a 1-1/8ths inch OD.  the bearing packer on the right is stepped every millimeter from a 2mm ID to a 26mm OD.  these are designed to accomodate all of the bearings sizes commonly encountered in fishing reels.



the standard bearing packer has a ring and the metric bearing packer is plain.  both are tapped on top to 1/8th inch pipe thread and have a zerx fitting (which i do not particularly like).



the bearings really fit nicely!  i think this is much better than the flat cone that is more commonly seen.





the 1/8th inch pipe fitting is common for small grease guns available in the united states.  i prefer to bypass the zerx fitting all together and just bolt the bearing packer directly to the grease gun.  these bearing packers allow you to force grease into a bearing without removing the shield.  it is MUCH quicker.  i'm going to sell the bearing packers for $25 each.  so basically, i am selling a metric bearing packer, a standard inch bearing packer, a nozzle adaptor, and needles for $60 with US shipping.  that's the cost of 5 average shimano bearings!



now for the mea culpa.  i've been using this yamaha grease for a long time now and i purchase it from the local grady dealership.  they had the big cartridges, the small cartridges and the 1 pound cans at the beginning.  for the last few years, they've only had the large cartridges.  so i finally asked the guy, "so what's up?  why don't you carry the small 3 ounce cartridges or the 1 pound cans anymore?"  the answer surprised the hell out of me.  apparently the marine grease is only packed in 14 ounce cartridges.  the others are not marine grade.  they're still blue, but they're intended for motorcycles and snow mobiles!!!!!!  



the greases are both the same, except that the marine grease has an additive that makes it salt water resistant.  





if you want a 3 ounce cartridge of yamaha marine, you have to take an old paper cartridge of any old grease, clean it out really well and then hand pack it with the grease from the 14 ounce cartridge.  trust me, it's a real mess.  your other option is this stuff.  this is evinrude-johnson's marine grease.  it's a little thicker and alot more tackier than the yamaha product, but you have none of the mess.  







here's what they look like side by side.  either way, they will both work fine.  alan

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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2010, 01:12:37 PM »

Hi Alan,

   I am fairly new to the site, and by the way I have been recommending it to my fishing friends. It is nice to see something really valuable on the web without a major sales pitch to go with it. I want to extend my personal Thank You. After going through your reel rebuild tutorials, I decided to hunt for the grease and corrosion x product. One thing should be noted, I went to two Yamaha dealers and although both had the marine grease, it was not translucent like the described grease. It has a turquoise tint, this should be noted so people reading the thread do not continue to seek the translucent non-marine yamaha grease. Again, this is a wonderful site with plenty of information. Thanks again.

Sharkfisher aka: Brian.

I used to live on the great lakes in Michigan catching salmon, walleye, bass and fill the cooler with perch. Moved to Florida, destroyed most of my gear, and caught some monster reds, trout, shark ..etc. Different world here.

thanks!   i'll post that.  alan
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2010, 08:53:20 AM »

i still have corrosion x as my totally reliable all purpose lubricant.  i tried reel x and speed x and did not see a big enough improvement to justify the cost.  xtreme reel + is without a doubt the fastest, slickest stuff in the world but just does not last long enough.  jim nomura brought over some TSI 301 and i've been using it for the last 3 months.  i'm am going to use this for a while and see how it goes.  so far, so good.  alan
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2010, 11:25:22 AM »

greases and oils - an update (9/14/2010)

Quote

I just want to find out which reel grease & oil do you prefer best. I usually drop off my reels to a tackle store to get it cleaned and lubricated, but it's quite too much in this economy. There's alot of brands out there and I want to see what you can help me on, anything positive or negative, feel free to say. Some brand I saw include:
 
Abu Garcia Silicote
Quantum Hot Sauce
Ardent Reel Butter
Daiwa Reel Grease & Oil
Penn Synthetic


grease is easy.  shimano drag grease still works very well at $50 per pound.  cal's drag grease is every bit as good, probably even better, and is half the price at $25 per pound.  for general purpose grease, i still prefer the $5 a pound yamaha marine all purpose grease.  the omc stuff is too tacky for my liking.  penn makes a great product, daiwa's blue grease works great, they all work great.  for coating the inside of a reel, i use a ratty old tooth brush that is mostly yamaha marine grease, but it has residue of maybe 20 other greases mixed in.  it's no big deal.  you just need a light coat of something, anything, to prevent corrosion on the inside of a reel. 

for a general purpose oil, i use corrosion x.  i have no idea what's in it.  the company won't tell, but it's cheap enough and has worked well enough over the last 10 years that i feel very comfortable recommending it even though i don't know what it's made out of.  you're looking at $17 for a big pump bottle or spray can that will last me a couple of months, but will last the average fisherman a lifetime.  compared to some other lubes, corrosion x has the viscosity of pancake syrup, but i think that it is the single best all purpose product out there.  and it's cheap!

then there are the performance lubes that cost $5-10 for a single one ounce bottle.  ok, if it's going to cost as much as a single malt scotch, i want to know what's in it before i recommend it.  products like quantum's hot sauce, metaloil, reel-x, and all the house brands from penn, daiwa, and shimano, all fall into this category.  these products are all much faster than corrosion x, they are much more expensive than corrosion x, and the formulations are all secret.   it's fine to have secrets, but until these products are all objectively (there's that word again) evaluated, it would be tough for anyone to make an objective recommendation. 

now for xtreme reel +.  i used it for over a year and stopped.  it is, without a doubt, the fastest stuff out there.  it is a teflon polymer lubricant suspended in a freon carrier.  the freon evaporates in microseconds and leaves a thin dry film of teflon.  the freespool from a reel properly cleaned and then lubed with xtreme reel + is mind blowing!  but it only lasts a few weeks.  after that point, the freespool is the same as corrosion x, meaning mediocre.  still, if you are a tournament guy or a long ranger and you service your reels before every trip, try xtreme reel + and prepare to be amazed. it will absolutely, positively, deliver the fastest longest freespool of any product on the market today. 

and finally, there is tsi 301.  jim nomura has been working with me for the last half a year.  he is an engineer and brought a level of engineering expertise that was sorely missing in this little hobby endeavor of mine.  one thing he brought in was tsi 301.  i'm guessing that the freespool from reel treated with tsi 301 is perhaps 80% that of a reel treated with xtreme reel +.  the big advantage of  tsi 301 is that it lasts much longer.  i believe that we are looking at 6 to 12 months of great freespool for tsi 301 versus 1-2 weeks for xtreme reel +.  this puts the performance on a par with the other superlubes mentioned above, but at a half to a quarter of the price of the superlubes.   i've been using it for the last 6 months now (as of 9/2010) and have been very, very, impressed.  the downside?  it's $20 plus shipping, it is only available on line, and shipping is slow as molassas. 

so right now it's yamaha marine all purpose blue grease for all the non-exposed metal surfaces, cal's drag grease for carbon fiber drag washer, corrosion x for a general purpose low speed oil (bearings, levelwinds, handles), and tsi 301 for high speed bearings and levelwinds.  for your application, you could grab any of the superlubes online or at any shop and do just fine!
 
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2010, 11:26:23 AM »

Quote


Grease

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alan,
I have read through your thread on greases and oils. I am west coast rep for a product called Inox. Inox was developed in Australia as a anti-corrosion, anti-moisture protective penetrating lubricant for the corrosive elements of the salt mines over 23 years ago.
We have both greases and oils along with a battery conditioner that will reverse the sulphation process which is what kills the battery.
Our products contain no Acid, Silicon, Kerosene or Dieselene. Inox will not dry out, become gooey or sticky or wash off with water. Inox contains no petro-chemicals which makes them non-hyrdoscopic. Petroleum based product draw moisture to them as the base evaporates. Our product base is a mix of high grade machine oils. We add to them to modifiy our product for different applications. Sometimes adding high grade Teflon or lanolin for add lubrication or protection.
Our products are non-toxic. Five off our best selling products are food grade with a Kosher certification. Some off our customers included include NASA, Kennedy Space Center, Fedex, Harley Davidson and Avet.
Our products are available in some tackle shops with more to come. Anglers Choice, Last Chance and Point Loma Tackle. We currently have non-paid write ups in Offshore Angler and Marlin Magazine.
I would like to send you some samples and some information about the different uses of our products. Please visit our websites for other information about Inox Products.

johnjordan@inoxlube.com
(951) 551-0851 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (951) 551-0851      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
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GO CLEAN! GO GREEN! GO INOX!
http://www.inoxlube.com


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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2010, 11:57:05 AM »

Quote from: Grain of Salt
Alan-
Thank you for the informative post. I always gain good information from your posts and appreciate your efforts.
Regarding Corrison-X...when it first came out, I think in the early 90's I sent for the MSDS and was surprised to find the main ingredients to be mineral oil and zinc, very simple...I am sure there is more to it but that made up over 95% of it at that time...

Thanks for always inspiring me to tear apart my toys.

Jim Brown
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2010, 01:03:08 AM »


http://www.norcalkayakanglers.com/index.php/topic,26443.0.html

I wanted to throw in on quick comment here.

I work in an oil refinery lab, we don't make lubes of any kind any more but long ago we did make a complete variety of lubes including marine lubes and greases including something called "blue grease".  I had the pleasure of working with some old lube oil research people.

The point is, there are additives in marine lubes that absolutely do work to protect against salt water corrosion.  They don't put these additives in non-marine lubes.

We used to do tests where we would immerse fresh polished carbon steel in marine lube oil, then add synthetic sea water then after some constant mixing, heat, and aging time, check the condition of the steel probe.  The protection offered by marine lubes was phenomenal.  The probes would generally come out looking as good as when they went in. We did a similar test once with automotive motor oil, the probe looked like a turd after the test. 

So in short, always used a lube designed for the use, don't short cut or get in a hurry and use non-marine lubes in marine apps.
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2010, 09:58:34 PM »

Quote



Hi Alan, Speaking of grease, I found out from viewing your attachment about how the 3oz Yamaha grease is not the same as the 14oz size. I went to a local Yamaha marine service center and purchased a 14oz size cartridge of the marine grease. When I got home, I got to thinking that I don't really want to wield around a big grease gun for small screw holes and crevices. So, the next day I exchanged the 14oz size for the 3 pack of smaller cartridges. After I got home, I viewed your email attachment and learned about how the smaller cartridge of grease is not the same as the marine grease in the larger size. The next day I exchanged the 3 pack for the original 14oz cartridge. I did purchase a similar grease gun from Home Depot. I have to fill it from the 14oz cartridge. It'll be messy but I'll deal with it. The gun I purchased is like the one you have the bearing packer attached to. In order to avoid a long tube extension, I plan on getting a right angle brass fitting to feed the grease from the top of the gun.

I would like to order the entire package for $60.00.

Thank you,
Bill



 Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2010, 12:44:27 AM »

Well, I finally got to rebuild 2 identical reels.  Both reels were Penn's 209 level winding reels.  The rebuild was as  http://alantani.com/index.php?topic=659.0

The only difference was the spool shaft, left side and right side spool bushings, left and right side line guide bushings, and the line guide assembly was lubed with TSI321 on one reel and the other with CorrosionX.

The result was freespool lasted almost twice as long on the reel lubed with TSI321 as with CorrosionX.  Although these reels will not be great casters, presumeably, give all things equal, the reel lubed with TSI will have a slight distance advantage over the CorrosionX.
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11lb 8oz & 9lb 1 oz


« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2011, 11:30:01 AM »

Alan, how do you feel about Ca's grease on gears? Thx, Jim
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