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 Baitcasters: bearings & keeping good free spool

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Goodoo Posted - 18/04/2012 : 13:23:45
Over the last few years I seem to be fighting a losing battle on this front, to the point where it's almost put me off using baitcasters.

I always seem to be struggling to maintain good free spool in my baitcasters, which is odd as I keep them fairly clean and maintained (though they do sometimes cop some freshwater exposure in the kayak).

So often I find myself in the situation on a trip where my bloody free-spool is slowly declining, and my casting distance also declining, until by the end of the day it's ridiculous.

Then it's time to pull the casting bearings out and clean them and lubricate them yet again!

Contributing factors may be that I have dabbled with with two consecutive sets of fancy after-market ceramic bearings for my evergreen old Chronarchs (I now pretty much wish I hadn't) and that the fancier bearing oil I was using for a while didn't last long (not that I knew this at the time) and needed regular re-applying (far, far more regularly than you would think) ... and that by failing to do so, wore/wrecked the first set of fancy bearings. But now I'm on the second set of bearings, lubricating regularly with standard Shimano Bantam oil, and STILL putting up with this ****. I'm sure baitcaster use and maintenance isn't meant to be this hard!!!

A search on internet land shows there are many, many opinions out there on how to tackle all this (e.g. cleaning with carburretor cleaner, brake cleaner, acetone, ultrasonic cleaners (which I am thinking about), etc. etc.)

So tell me, how do you clean your baitcaster's spool bearings, what lubricant do you use, and are you happy with the results?

(NB I have put this post up on, ahem, another site, as I'm keen to see what Aussie fishos are doing generally, but I'm particularly interested in asking the wise old hands on AusBass this question. Not least because I know some folk on here have persisted with throwing light lures for bass on high-tech, super-free running baitcasters.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
denman Posted - 12/11/2016 : 22:34:43
I may be a simple soul but I just lube the casting bearing after a couple of outings with the original Shimano oil. I also use it on my Alphas and Liberto Pixie and have yet to see any problems. I've never cleaned a bearing yet, I think the right oil will usually flush out anything that shouldn't be there. Lube that is used in casting comps is not ideal for normal fishing use to my thinking. There are two entirely different disciplines here. Best to keep things as simple as possible. I do have some Quantum Hot Sauce as well and that's pretty good stuff.
GRAVY Posted - 24/06/2015 : 17:10:06
Gents

First rule of thumb for any bearing is that it should never be spun in a medium that does not have lubricating properties. Bearings run dry or in a solvent are permanently damaged, worst case scenario is to use kerosene as a cleaning agent it is an abrasive.

Ok now comes a repeat of the best advice I have received in years. Buy yourself some "Inox MX5" and put an old bearing in the container and shake vigorously. Apply sparingly to your reel bearings, the result will astound you. Advisable to repeat the oiling process after every outing.
benny88 Posted - 26/03/2015 : 17:14:42
Never read this thread before. Its interesting. Ive had a similar problem before when I was getting a reduced casting distance throughout the day. It was because the brake drum was getting a small amount of water on it and it would bog down the little brake shoes on the spool. The fix was simply popping the side plate off and blowing the water off or running ya sleeve around it. The prevention was to stop thumbing the spool and let the centrifugal brake do its magic as the water was getting in there by spinning off the line on the spool and deflecting off my thumb and spraying into the side of the spool. Its a habit hard to break when you are used to a mag brake which is far less automatic.
Goodoo Posted - 24/03/2015 : 16:35:45
Blast from the past

I went back to original Shimano bearings and Shimano Bantam oil and all is fine

I dabble with a cheap ultrasonic cleaner and it seems to work dramatically well breaking old oil and crud and getting it out. Currently I use brake cleaner (in a glass jar with a lid; the U.S. cleaner is filled with water) but acetone is apparently the go.

I still give the bearings a spin in the solvent (whatever it might be) with a drill after their ultrasonic zap.

Also having dark thoughts of seriously giving a threadline outfit a go for cod instead of a baitcaster outfit ... though there's nothing like fighting a cod on a smooth baitcaster.
Goodoo Posted - 14/05/2012 : 17:37:48
Thanks for your suggestions Ron. However, I've checked these reels pretty thoroughly, so I'm in no doubt it is these damn bearings.

Apparently bantam oil is too heavy for them, so cleaning them in brake cleaner fluid and lubeing them with Oust oil *should* get them working spinning super-freely.
RonR Posted - 14/05/2012 : 14:51:19
G'day Simon,

It gets stranger & stranger and must have a simple explanation. Is there more than one reeel involved?

You should be able to get some idea of spool inertia/ friction by spinning it without line in free spool with the brake blocks disengaged or removed. If the re-oiled bearings spin freely on a test spindle (e.g. a piece of wood pushed into the innner race), they should do the same in the reel.

Could be something else of a mechanical nature, e.g. line wound too loose biting into the spooled line, interference from brake blocks, oil of grease on the brake drum, bent spool shaft or a distorted housing.

Ron
Goodoo Posted - 14/05/2012 : 12:05:41
I'm still having problems...

Last time, I swam these hybrid bearings (ceramic balls, stainless steel races) in white spirit for several hours and lubed with Shimano bantam oil.

Casting performance/distance was still laughable. Truly pathetic.

So tonight they will swim in brake cleaner fluid, get thorougly dry, then get lubed with Oust oil.

After that, if they're still not performing, I'm giving them the sack and will source some bog-standard ABEC 5 stainless stell bearings and lube them with bog standard Shimano Bantam oil.

One does ask one's self sometimes "Why does it have to be so hard?!"

cheers


Simon
RonR Posted - 07/05/2012 : 12:25:59
Mates and I typically don't toss lures < 6g on our baitcasters so, in our application with reels like Chronarchs and similar Daiwas, we get away without the specialist bearings and oils.

On the subject of cleaning bearings, after these shielded bearings have been spun with a suitable solvent (to remove any unsuitable factory lubricant) and then dried prior to oiling, there should be no need for further cleaning - unless the objective is to try to wash out metallic particles caused by wear.

Ron
Strewth Posted - 01/05/2012 : 18:34:06
quote:
Originally posted by RonR

G'day Simon,

No disrespect to you or Scott - who sounds like a bit of guru on lubricants - but this sounds more & more like a case of serious technology overkill. Multiple factors such as viscosity over a range of temperatures, film strength, shear stabilty and other characteristics to do with hydrodynamics determine the performance of lubricating oils.

I and mates with Chronarch, Calais and Abu reels (that I've serviced) get reliably-good cast distance and no significant bearing wear (over several years of use) with standard OEM bearings lubricated with low-viscosity mineral or semi-synthetic oils. A couple of mates who've fished with us using reels with 'high-tech' lubricants and 'low friction' bearings haven't been able to show any worthwhile advantage.

If your reels ran better before you 'improved' them, why not go back to standard bearings and the OEM oil?

Ron



I never said that OEM lubes or bearings are not up to speed (excuse the pun) for many applications - quite the opposite. Stock bearings perform perfectly well with a stock lube for lure weights above about 7g, provided the bearings are clean. Casting very light lures is another story altogether, as this is where high performance bearings with low viscosity lubes come into their own. Indeed, finesse baitcasters such as the Pixy, Scorpion XT1000 and Conquest 50 usually benefit from bearing upgrades and specialist lubes for throwing the really light stuff - especially for flipping and pitching.

Specialist lubes such as Rocket Fuel, Friction Zero, Smith IOS-1, Red Daiwa Oil, etc were designed for use in baitcasting reels and have physical properties that make them ideal for the job. This is not technology overkill, but they are not for everyone.
RonR Posted - 01/05/2012 : 12:30:11
Original Equipment Manufacturer
Goodoo Posted - 01/05/2012 : 12:06:47
quote:
If your reels ran better before you 'improved' them, why not go back to standard bearings and the OEM oil?


That's pretty much becoming my plan...

But what's OEM?
RonR Posted - 30/04/2012 : 18:58:42
G'day Simon,

No disrespect to you or Scott - who sounds like a bit of guru on lubricants - but this sounds more & more like a case of serious technology overkill. Multiple factors such as viscosity over a range of temperatures, film strength, shear stabilty and other characteristics to do with hydrodynamics determine the performance of lubricating oils.

I and mates with Chronarch, Calais and Abu reels (that I've serviced) get reliably-good cast distance and no significant bearing wear (over several years of use) with standard OEM bearings lubricated with low-viscosity mineral or semi-synthetic oils. A couple of mates who've fished with us using reels with 'high-tech' lubricants and 'low friction' bearings haven't been able to show any worthwhile advantage.

If your reels ran better before you 'improved' them, why not go back to standard bearings and the OEM oil?

Ron
Strewth Posted - 30/04/2012 : 13:45:07
Don't know the viscosity of Met Oil, but from my experience it is quite low. I recall reading somewhere that its viscosity is very similar to that of Daiwa Pixy oil.

The units of viscosity in the above list are centipoise (cP). Water at 20 C has a viscosity of 1.0020 cP, with 1 cP = 0.001 Pascal.sec.
Goodoo Posted - 30/04/2012 : 12:09:49
I also note that the Daiwa Pixy lube is a very low 18, and certainly blokes on here over the years have raved about the light lure casting abilities of Daiwa Pixies.

I've just bought some Oust Oil, which was recommended to me as very good, and it doesn't appear on the list. Wonder where it rates?

What is the unit of measurement for viscosity?

cheers


Simon
Strewth Posted - 25/04/2012 : 13:19:49
The Shimano lube with the blue cap is a perfectly good oil for most baitcaster applications. Rocket fuel came from long distance tournament casters, which probably gave it some credibility. Real data from an independent source allows an informed decision to be made.....

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