speedmaster III/IV

Started by alantani, December 07, 2008, 04:15:19 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

basto and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


here's a link to the schematic.


and here is a speedmaster III.

it should hold an easy 300 yards of 100 pound spectra.  

don't let the high speed 6:1 gears scare you.  once you get used to these high speed reels, you will never want to go back.

we're going to start by servicing the bearings.  for routine service, these next few steps are all that is required.  that's right.  once you change out the drag washers, the only service that should every be required for this reel is routine bearing service.  

remove the left side plate screws (key #114).

remove the left side plate assembly (key #113).

remove the left side plate bearing (key #484).  this bearing measures 4x11x4 mm.  it is my preference to remove the shields, clean out the old grease, lube it with corrosion x and reinstall the bearing open.

remove the spool (key #118).  the spool for the speedmaster III is what i would call "boxed out," or as wide as it is tall.  i've always preferred reels of this size, rather than wide spool reelsn like the speedmaster IV.

here's the right spool bearing (key #482).  it measures 6x12x4 mm and it looks like we got to it just in time.  see the corrosion?

pull the right spool bearing (key #482), remove the shields, clean out the excess grease and lube it with corrosion x.

this bearing will be reinstalled open and lubed as well.  

this reel came without a clamp.  adding one is a very simple matter.

install the spool (key #118).

install the left side plate assembly (key #113).

install the left side plate screws (key #114).

check the freespool time.  this old reel had only 20 seconds.  the bearings were perfect, so that meant that the spool shaft had to be rubbing against the pinion gear.  to improve freespool beyond this, you would have to lube and or polish the spool shaft in the inside of the pinion gear.  

now we are going to change out the drag washers.  let's start by removing the handle nut plate screw (key #128), the handle nut plate (key #2), the handle nut (key #129), and the handle assembly (key #414).

remove the handle washer (key #78) and star drag (key #79).

shake out the drag spring washer (key #91), the drive shaft bearing (key #483) and the brass star drag washer (key #80).  the bearing measures 8x16x5mm.

remove the four right side plate screw A's (key #81).

remove the two right side plate screw B's (key #109).

push the freespool lever forward and remove the right side plate assembly (key #83).

now, take a moment to pause and admire what i think is some of shimano's best work.  note the size of these hardened stainless steel gears.  they are a bit noisy as stainless steel tends to be.  it is a trade off i will admit, but imagine being pinned to the rail by an 80 pound bluefin tuna.  which gears would you trust more, hardened stainless steel or a pretty gold-colored maganese bronze alloy?  give me stainless steel any day.  

remove the drag spring washers (key #92).

the main gear (key #99) and drag stack are pretty badly gummed up and comes off as unit.

here's an exploded view of the drag stack, cleaned up a little.  the canvas drive shaft drag washer (key #100) at the top of the photo goes underneath the main gear and measures 11x25x0.7 mm.  in the foreground of this photo, from left to right, are the canvas eared drag washer (key #98) measuring 15x35x1 mm, the black drag washer (key #96) measuring 11x35x1 mm and the canvas drag washer (key #94) on the far lower right measuring 8x35x1 mm.  

smoothdrag.com does not have a drag set for this reel yet.  until they do, the best replacement set is a series of penn ht-100 drag washers.  from left to right, the part numbers for these penn washers are #6-49, #6-116, #56-440 and #56-440.  

reinstall the anti-reverse ratchet (key #101) and get the entire rest of the base plate oriented as shown.

throw a thick coat of cal's drag grease on the carbon fiber drag washers.  

let's start rebuilding the drag stack.

not that the drags do not fit perfectly.  don't worry, even with a little bit of wobble, these drag washers will work just fine.  

install the drag spring washers (key #92).  note that they are oriented "()()".  

install the bearing thrust washer (key #91).

pry the shields off the drive shaft bearing (key #483).  let's clean this bearing and pack it with grease.  if the shields were held in by a retaining ring, then they could be reinstalled.  as is, these shields will have to be discarded.  

install the drive shaft bearing (key #483).

take a careful look at the star drag washer (key #80) and note the flange.

install this washer with the flange down so that it is held against the inside race of the drive shaft bearing.

push the clutch lever (key #88) forward to the "in gear" position so that the pin of the clutch cam (key #417) is in the "up" position.

install the right side plate (key #83).  you may have to wiggle the clutch lever (key #88) a little to get the side plate to seat properly.

install the right side plate screw A's (key #81).

install the right side plate screw B's (key #109).

install the star drag (key #79) and turn it down until it clears the shoulders of the drive shaft (key #102).

install the handle washer (key #78).

now to install the handle.  we have a couple of choices.  shimano makes a handle for the tld 15 on the left that has a longer throw than the stock handle (key #414) on the right.

we're also going to install one of my custom grips.

install the new handle (key 414), the handle nut (key #129), the handle nut plate (key #2) and the handle nut plate screw (key #128).

and you're done!

as far as a review of this reel, all of the favorable comments i had about the shimano tld star 15/30 and 20/40 apply equally to the speedmaster III and IV.  these are great reels!

send me an email at alantani@yahoo.com for questions!


Hi Alan, everyone,
I picked up one of these on the cheap recently, tore it down and found that there is some corrosion on the SS gearing and one drag washers. On the main gear where the drag washers lay there is a bit of pitting, is there anything I should do apart from wire brush and fine sandpaper?



just use a toothbrush.  nothing harder than that. 
send me an email at alantani@yahoo.com for questions!


Never got a chance to see the inside of these reels, a very nice setup indeed. Solid tutorial Alan, as always!


I see this is over seven years old now and was wondering about parts for the 2,3,and 4. In particular the (key 80) star drag washer and Drag disks. Are they available through Shimano or have they stopped supporting these reels ?




They still support it as far as parts are concerned. I just bought some small stuff.


Hi Alan,
I have a question. I have several older Shimanos, including the 3GT, TLD Star 15/30 and all Speedmasters (IIFS, III, IV). I was playing around with them, and found that the gears from the TSM III fit into the 15/30 and the 3GT. So I ordered a new gear set for a Speedmaster, and now my 3GT, after putting in drags from smoothdrag is basically a TSM III. And now with that said, which do you think is a better reel, the Speedmaster III or the Torium 16?


personally, i prefer the toughness of the speedmasters and tld stars.  tougher gears and a non-corrosive graphite body.  that will get my vote anyday!!!!
send me an email at alantani@yahoo.com for questions!


Maintenance is dead easy and super quick too. Due to their robustness, they are well suited for all land-based applications, on rocks and on sand.

LBG addict!