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Reel Maintenance 1

General Lubrication

Reel Maintenance 1 by Tim Kelly

(Spring 2002 Edition)

This is a series of articles to show how to carry out basic maintenance on all ABU round reels. The reel in the pictures is a 6501C4 with a power handle attached. All the reels are basically similar and any variations will be explained in the text.

This basic maintenance should be carried out at least annually, depending on how much you use the reel. If the reel starts screaming when you cast, youíve left it a bit too long between oilings and should do it soon to protect the bearings from unnecessary wear.



The basic tool that comes with the reel can do all thatís required for basic maintenance. You will also need some reel oil (this is red rocket fuel), some reel grease (Mitchell X3) and some liquid lighter fuel (not shown) as a degreaser.


Undo the three captive screws on the gearbox (handle) side of the reel and remove the gearbox. On the UC series of reels the axle is attached to the spool.


Remove the spool from the reel.


Pull off the plastic cog on the left and remove the bearing inside the spool. Remove the circular spring clip that holds the brake assembly (two little plastic blocks mounted on arms on a circular washer, far right of the picture), remove the brake assembly and then remove the bearing from the spool, there should be a small copper washer behind this bearing, donít lose it!


Put each bearing on something you can use to spin it on, then put a few drops of lighter fuel on the bearing. Spin the bearing until you hear it running freely. Then dry it in a piece of kitchen towel. Repeat for the other bearing.

If you have a UC reel the bearings are captive on the axle with the spool. Apply the lighter fluid to the bearings on the spool in the same way.


Once the bearings are completely dry and all the lighter fuel has evaporated apply one, or at most 2, drops of oil to the bearing and spin them to ease the oil into the bearing. Then reassemble the spool.

Donít use WD40 oil for this job as it will coat the bearings with some sort of varnish and the bearings will make nasty noises and need replacing!


Next apply some of the reel oil to the level wind worm gear, which is the criss crossed part you can see from underneath.


On C4 models there is a bearing at the end of the level wind shaft, which should be oiled as well. There is a plastic bushing on other models which can be oiled too.


Finally, put a drop of oil on the double plastic cog in this picture. Put the oil on the end of the axle that itís mounted on. This is not strictly necessary, but does no harm.


Wipe round the inside of the circular chrome piece on the gearbox to remove any oil or grease deposits.


Make sure the little plastic blocks are pushed in, as they slide in and out on the little arms theyíre mounted on.


Then reassemble the gearbox onto the rest of the reel. Donít force anything. If it wonít close up that final bit itís probably because one of the brake blocks isnít pushed in fully.

Congratulations! Your reel is good for a few thousand more casts. It wasn't too painful was it?


Reel Maintenance 2 - The reel won't work!