How-to: Reel Bearing Corroded onto Spool Shaft

Every so often you come across a seemingly innocent looking reel that appears from the outside to be in perfect condition.  A quick turn of the handle does not reveal any potential problems.  Adjusting the drag and turning the handle usually produces a stick drag which is normal for most reels that have never been serviced.  Then you engage the clutch lever or casting button and much to your dismay, it either does not engage or will not release.

This is when it gets spooky (sorry its so close to Halloween I could not pass it up).  So what is causing this problem?  Normally it is a bearing that has corroded onto the spool shaft or worse yet, a pinion gear that has corroded to the spool shaft.  Either way its going to be a challenge to get the reel apart just to perform basic service not to mention the new bearing or pinion gear.

The process goes like this.  Isolate the problem and apply Kroil to the affected parts and let sit over night.  This method works about 10% of the time but it is worth it to me.   If they do come apart its much less work and time.  Back to the other 90% of the time.  I isolate the bearing or pinion on the spool shaft and heat quickly with a small torch and immediately place in the freezer.  After a few hours the parts are frozen.  Reapply the Kroil and look for any movement between the two parts.  Heat it up again and place into freezer.  Repeat until the corrosion releases the parts.  Now this method works about 75% of the time.  Z1oXZ9oNSWmySGX3+qwcFA


15% of the time I am left with a cutting disk on the Dremel cursing the two parts and getting ready to sacrifice one of the two corroded parts.  Great care has to be shown during this process.  One little slip and the spool shaft is damaged.  You can’t go to prying  on it with a screwdriver and thrash the pinion.  You can’t go banging on the spool shaft end or it will mushroom and you will never get it off.  Bearings seem to just fall apart once you have gone through the outer race.  Sometimes they don’t, like the one in the picture.  The inner race had to be cut to get it off.

Hope you never let your gear get to this condition but if you do find your self here:  patience, heat and cold with Kroil can save the reel and all parts about 85% of the time.

Good luck and tight lines!


About steelheadkiller

Just a fisherman who loves a great reel...

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