SERVICING – ABU Ambassadeur 4500C

SERVICING – ABU Ambassadeur 4500C

Here is another reel from my friend’s collection of Ambassadeurs that he passed me to service. Even though this is a relatively modern incarnation of the venerable ABU Record Ambassadeur Casting reel, it has retained most of Ambassadeur’s simple design so servicing this immediately after doing the Shimano Antares DC7 was a breeze by contrast.

I’ll start this step by step guide with a few shots of the reel before I cracked it open.

Familiar Ambassadeur Sideplate

A wise author once said, fashion comes and goes, but a good style will stand the test of time. ABU Ambassadeurs have worn this same face for decades. Yet each time I look at it, I never feel that it is out of style!

“500” in the model number tells us that this is a high speed reel, and “C” says its got ball bearings for the spool.

Retro Look

Creases on the sideplate flanges hark back to the old pioneering days of the ABU Record Ambassadeur.

No more need for oil?

The Handle nut on this newer reel has lost it’s distinctive “Oil” word stamped into the face. The finish is also rather crude compared to the older Handle nuts. The dimpled-finish handle crank looks cheap compared to the dimpled-finish spool cap. I got this feeling that these are aftermarket replacements.

New reel foot numbers.

I’m not familiar with these new reel foot numbers and what they represent. Anyone care to enlighten?

Pitting on spool flanges

Corrosion on the spool flange does not bode well. Hopefully, things are better inside.

Panoramic shot Fail. Reel parts Pass!

I took off the left sideplate to service first. The GREAT thing of an Ambassadeur is its modular nature. You can commit to only servicing one part at a time, compared to other reels where you are COMMITTED to finish the full monty once you crack the reel open. AS for my photography skills… I’m still learning to use my phone. hahaha.

Marine Grease protection

Coat the inner surfaces of this left sideplate with Quiksilver 2-4-C marine grease for corrosion resistance. The idler gear seem to have become permanently riveted down. Since the owner will be using this reel for casting, I’ll use a light oil for lubrication.

Grease the frame in similar fashion but take care to avoid getting grease on the aperture where the spool flanges rotate. Doing so will adversely retard casting distance.

Levelwind Assembly

Slide worm gear cover through levelwind guide, ensuring you match the worm cover with keyholes in the frame and the guide is sitting in a groove in the frame.

Oil worm gear. I used a dry lube called TSI-301 on it since this will be used for casting. Slide worm gear into its cover.

Snap levelwind yoke over the plastic collar of worm gear to secure.

Oil levelwind pawl with a light oil and install. Here, I also used TSI-301 dry lube.

Thread in the pawl cap and tighten, taking care not to over torque.

Fit back the left side plate and secure with 3 stainless screws. Remember to grease the threads before you thread them in and do not over torque when tightening.

Finishing up left sideplate assembly

The 4500C uses a brass cone in place of bearings. The ball bearings are sited within the spool. Oil the cone with a light oil and drop in with the hole facing down.

Oil the threads of Cast Control knob with Cal’s grease or corrosionX. Thread on the cast control knob and the left side is done!

Spool and Bearings

The Ball bearings are protected within the spool. To access them, carefully pry out retaining circlip within a clear plastic bag to prevent them flying off and spoiling your day. The centrifugal braking assembly, right ball bearing and a copper spring washer will slide out.
For the left side, carefully snap the nylon levelwind gear off to expose the left ball bearing.

Unshielded bearings can spin better

When I tried to spin the bearings, it could only give me a second or two of rotation. I used a sharp hook to dig out the C clips on each side of the ball bearing and the shields will come out after the grease has been washed away. To learn how to remove Ball Bearing Shields, click this

After cleaning the two ball bearings, I’m pleased to find out that ABU ball bearings are still so silky smooth, they’re capable of out-spinning some modern ABEC 7 bearings! Here’s how smooth it is after cleaning… I decided to record how long the bearing will spin after cleaning so I gave it a blast of air when I recorded it on video . I didn’t expect it to spin for so long that I almost ran out of things to say and yet the bearing continued to spin… I lubricated the ball bearings with TSI-301 dry lube. (Somehow, I’m unable to insert a link for you tube videos). For those who wanna view this video, type: in front of this: /-Pgj2j0Yem0

Spool reassembly
Drop in copper spring washer with the convex side facing outwards.

Next to go in is the lubricated ball bearing.

And then the Centrifugal brake assembly secured by a Circlip.

Drop second ball bearing into the left side. These spool bearings are lubricated with a revolutionary “dry” lubrication called TSI-301 that enhances casting distance and reduces breakaway torque, so you can cast lighter lures than before.

Carefully align the sprockets on nylon levelwind gear with those on spool and snap in place. Your spool servicing is done.

The right side dismantled

The Ambassadeur design is still as uncomplicated as before, despite the addition of a multi-piece carbon drag.

Smoother, more powerful drag

With the addition of 2 steel washers, this Ambassadeur will have 3 times more drag power than its earlier ancestors.

Neat freespool mechanism is riveted in place.

With a Delrin yoke, copper springs and everything riveted in place, there seem to be little left to be done here.

Assembly of right side plate

Start with grease protecting the components. I also greased the pinion with Cal’s Universal Drag and Reel Grease.

Slide copper spring washer down drive shaft spindle with the convex side facing down.

Grease drive shaft and anti reverse ratchet. Slide down drive shaft spindle.

Drop in small carbon matrix disc, lightly grease with Cal’s grease.

Drop in main drive gear.

Lightly grease both sides of a large carbon matrix disc and drop into main drive gear.

Lightly grease keyed washer with Cal’s grease and drop in main drive gear.

Lightly grease both sides of 2nd large carbon matrix disc and drop into main drive gear.

Lightly grease both sides of eared washer and drop into main drive gear.

Lightly grease both sides of 3rd large carbon matrix disc and drop into main drive gear.

Drop in thick keyed washer with the convex side facing up.

Grease main drive gear with Cal’s Grease, taking care to work the grease in between all the teeth.

The roller clutch inner tube has a keyed end and a round end.

Oil roller clutch inner tube lightly with CorrosionX oil and drop down drive shaft with keyed end facing down. This is not the normal way I mount the roller clutch inner tube (usually the keyed end faces up). But this reel has the keyed end facing down when I opened it, and I notice the round end has a chamfered edge, so I’ll just reassemble it the way I took it out.

Coat the inner surfaces of right sideplate cover with Quiksilver 2-4-C marine grease for corrosion resistance. Take care to avoid getting grease into the roller bearings as grease may cause the clutch to slip.

Attach cover to right side plate and secure with greased screws.

These two belleville washers make up the drag spring. I’ll install them opposed like ( ) for a greater drag range.

Grease and thread in star drag and spring washer

Grease and place in handle assembly

Secure drive shaft to spindle with E-clip

Cinch down star drag firmly, then secure with handle nut, locking plate and screw.

This reel’s spool spins on a floating spindle. Oil both ends of the spindle with CorrosionX, taking care not to get the oil or grease beyond the bronze bush. Introduce spindle into pinion and click in place with the spool tension cap.

This spool tension cap can be adjusted to centre the spool.

Spray some WD-40 down the handle knob shafts till dirty oil comes out the other ends. Spin knobs to hasten cleaning. Continue to do this till only clean oil emerges. Clean off the WD-40 with a blast of compressed air and oil knobs with 2 drops of CorrosionX per spindle.

The reel is now ready for line to be loaded. Hopefully the owner knows how to control the additional speed of this reel’s super smooth bearings.

Hope it help you service your reel too. Do drop a comment below to say hi!

Good fishing always,


Text and Images © Lawrence Lee
All Rights Reserved
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