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Here are Alan Tani's thoughts on reel lubricants reproduced with his kind permission

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.

Alan Tani

More from Alan on lubricants

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

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Quoted from one of Alan's reel services...

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.

post-6175-1264727615_thumb.jpg

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.

post-6175-1264727627_thumb.jpg

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and a more recent summary

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.

Alan Tani

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Hi to all the Fishraider people,

I have 3 Penn reels that have been great to me for many trips. I want to have them serviced but cannot find anyone local. I live at Mortdale in the Hurstville district. Is there anyone good in this district?

Thanks

Joe

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Hi to all the Fishraider people,

I have 3 Penn reels that have been great to me for many trips. I want to have them serviced but cannot find anyone local. I live at Mortdale in the Hurstville district. Is there anyone good in this district?

Thanks

Joe

which ones?

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  • 7 years later...
19 hours ago, Psycho fisho said:

Can you use the Yamaha all purpose grease on your drag washers? Where in the reel do you guys use oil?

thanks

Oil in bearings and on the spool shaft, grease on gears and all other moving parts, in general. A light smear of grease on everything is good protection against corrosion. Some guys like to grease bearings but it will stiffen the winding of the reel considerably. Its OK for the large stuff but for estuary type reels I'd stick with oil. 

Yamaha grease will most likely do the job but I imagine its quite a lot thicker than a regular reel grease. Personally, I like Innox products and use MX6 grease and MX5 oil in the injector bottle on all my reels.

If your drag washers already have grease on them, use a proper drag washer grease like Cals or Daiwa.

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15 hours ago, Green Hornet said:

Oil in bearings and on the spool shaft, grease on gears and all other moving parts, in general. A light smear of grease on everything is good protection against corrosion. Some guys like to grease bearings but it will stiffen the winding of the reel considerably. Its OK for the large stuff but for estuary type reels I'd stick with oil. 

Yamaha grease will most likely do the job but I imagine its quite a lot thicker than a regular reel grease. Personally, I like Innox products and use MX6 grease and MX5 oil in the injector bottle on all my reels.

If your drag washers already have grease on them, use a proper drag washer grease like Cals or Daiwa.

Thanks for your help 

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