SERVICING – Shimano Antares DC7

SERVICING – Shimano Antares DC7

I got this as a pre-owned reel in 2006 and it was my reel for weekly saltwater lure casting for 2 years. Then I developed tennis elbow and stopped fishing for 2 years before resuming last year. When I dusted off the reel, I realize that despite having serviced the reel before putting it into storage, some parts had still corroded badly. Those were before the days of using SaltX in my rinse. I hope that now with SaltX, and proper greasing, the corrosion will be contained. Nevertheless, it is a big disappointment in Shimano’s claims that this is saltwater safe. I think that is a grossly overrated claim in my case. I also note that the Antares model for 2013 is clearly labelled for freshwater use in what seem like a step backwards for the company, unless the older Antares DC were actually not meant for saltwater to start with.

Since the previous Step by Step guide I did for FNR forum is lost when the forum closed, I decided to take photos again when I stripped this down for service. I hope this will be of help to those using this reel or the Calais model to assemble your reel when you do your own maintenance.

Do take note that I’m describing a RH Cranking model. Screws may turn the opposite direction for LH Cranking reels.

The reel disassembled

This reel has many parts that only fit one way. Screws have different sizes and lengths, Gears and flywheels have different faces and springs have different sides. So make careful notes of the orientation when you strip the reel and mark which side is up/down. Also, have the schematic ready for reference. I’ve attached a scan of the DC7 schematic for you to print out enlarged. I found the original schematic that came with the reel too small to discern the tiny details with my old eyes. I think the Calais DC sold in the US have similar parts except for an additional part – BNT2404 which is an anti reverse pawl. Come to think of it, the additional part may be a useful add on mod for Antares owners who upgrade their drag ratings.

Observe, aftermarket Carbontex discs are slightly smaller than the original drag discs. What is important is that they are of the correct thickness. I got the “Calcutta 200” set of Carbontex discs from

Disappointingly corrosion prone coatings!

Despite the enamel-clad frame, it was insufficient protection against galvanic corrosion! This reminded me of the early days of Japanese cars in Singapore. I remember the joke about Datsun cars then — when you scrape off the paint, you will find the body made from recycled biscuit tins. But those were in the old days.

Today, the Japanese car had become a world beater. Nissan had the audacity to even challenge Porsche at its Nürburgring Nordschleife home turf and then beating it! And biscuits now come in plastic boxes. So why is Shimano’s Flagship baitcaster, arguably Japan’s top fishing brand, still built from such feeble stock? It’s really a great letdown.

Marine grease is simply a better corrosion inhibiter!

On the other hand, look at this side – the painted interior was totally corrosion free as I had coated it with marine grease before use.

Even Hard chrome was no protection against corrosion despite the fact that this part got a rinse in warm fresh water followed by a wipe down after every use.

This totally exposed part was rinsed thoroughly after every use in warm fresh water and wiped dry using Q-tips. Even with such treatment, on top of a hard chrome shell, it proved insufficient against galvanic corrosion.

If grease works good, grease it!

Shimano engineers outdid themselves this time. This reel had enough complications that can rival a fine Swiss chronograph! There’s so many fine and fiddly watch-like parts, and also a host of springs to jump out, secured by strange sized screws that it will test your patience in finding a correctly sized screwdriver bit to fit. I vote this is my most disliked reel to strip for maintenance by far.

To prolong the time that I next have to crack this open to this level, I liberally painted on Quiksilver 2-4-C marine grease for corrosion protection. Instead of 2-4-C, you can use any marine grade grease for this purpose.

Teflon bush

Drop teflon Clutch Plate Shaft Support (#61) into its grease protected housing.

Corrosion hot nest #1

This side of the frame gets sprayed with seawater each time you cast. To make matters worse, a nylon pad between the frame and the thumb bar prevents proper salt flushing from happening when you wash. Grease the frame with marine grease before attaching the nylon Clutch Bar Guide (#65). Insert pegs on Clutch Bar Guide into corresponding holes in the frame.

Clutch Bar

Drop in Quick-Fire II Clutch Bar (#66) and thread Clutch Plate (#60) through

Attach Clutch Plate

Clutch Plate (#60) is threaded through the Quick-Fire II Clutch Bar (#66). Its pivot sits in Clutch Plate Shaft Support (#61) in the frame.

Securing Quick-Fire II Clutch Bar

Clutch Plate (#60) is attached to Quick-Fire II Clutch Bar (#66) by a drop of contact adhesive (DO NOT USE Super Glue) and a screw. BTW, can anyone name this design of screw head? It is neither a Philips head nor a Posidriv.

The tricky Clutch Pawl Spring.

This Clutch Pawl Spring (#59) is one of those great disappointments of the engineering design. Closely inspect this and you’ll see it has one tab slightly longer than the other. If you did not insert the longer end into the hole in the frame, you’ll be in for a great disappointment after you have assembled the reel as you cannot engage drive after casting. On the other hand, inserting the longer (correct) end in looks alarmingly incorrect as it doesn’t seat nicely. The correct way nevertheless, is to insert the longer end into the frame. The picture above is a negative demonstration!

Clutch Pawl

the SHORT end of Clutch Pawl Spring (#59) connects to Clutch Pawl (#58).

The Clutch cam is connected to the Clutch Plate…

Clutch Pawl (#58) is connected to the Clutch Cam (#57) which is connected to the Clutch Plate (#60). Note how the Clutch Cam (#57) seats flat on the frame. Great care is to be taken to install this under a clear bag as the Clutch Pawl Spring (#59) can come flying off.

Finally got it all in. I almost felt I needed another pair of hands to get this all together! Time to take a well needed break and straighten my back!

Pinion Support Bearing

Pinion Support Bearing (#15) is treated with an anti-rust coating. However, it will be treated to a stream of salt water that leaks in through the pinion if you had been casting a lure all day long, so it’s a matter of time… I would replace this with a full ceramic bearing (Size 8 x 12 x 3.5mm) when this one wears or corrodes. Meanwhile, to extend its useful life, I removed the shields and filled the bearing with lithium teflon grease, thinned with a few drops of CorrosionX oil.

Clutch Cam Retainer

Clutch Cam Retainer (#55) is hard chromed. DO NOT drop it as the chrome WILL chip off — I’ve done the dropping so that you need not go through my learning route. See the tip of the top post. This will soon start to corrode if left unprotected.

Secure Clutch Cam Retainer (#55) with 2 screws (#54).

Check the action of your Quick-Fire II clutch that it works correctly. If it doesn’t re-engage fully, chances are that you had installed Clutch Pawl Spring (#59) incorrectly (see above for correct end)

Drive Shaft Assembly

Fit Idle Gear (#34) to Drive Shaft (#33). Take note that the two sides on Idle Gear (#34) are different. The side with extra slots and holes should face the frame.

Next, grease and fit Drive Shaft Retainer (#36)

Drive Shaft Support Bearing A

Drive Shaft Support Bearing A (#37) is a 5 x 8 x 2.5mm sized Anti-rust treated bearing. I removed the shields so as to refill the grease in this thing which will get scant attention during normal maintenance.

A copper washer (#38) go in next.

Snap on E-clip (#39) to secure the assembly.

Setting up the Drive Stack

Attach Drive Shaft assembly to the frame with 2 screws (#35).

Pitted Anti Reverse Ratchet

The Anti Reverse Ratchet (#32) is a stainless steel plate. Yet it is pitted, proving what a tiny bit of salt water that did get into the reel at every use, can cause. However, this is one case of corrosion that I’m actually happy with! Let me explain before you think I’m off my rockers.

I once assembled this plate upside-down. Notice a black round pit Circled in red in the picture above? I thought that will cause the drag to be rough and installed it facing downwards. After that, I experienced what can be similar to “hydroplaning”. After the drag was set, and once it starts to give out line, it will rapidly lose friction and slip freely. On removal, I realise the pit was placed on purpose, to break the surface tension and prevent that hydroplaning experience. Over time, more pits have formed through galvanic corrosion, and the friction had improved further.

With a light coat of Cal’s Grease, the drag is still butter smooth and powerful, so I look at the pitting here as a good thing. Since I’ll be replacing the drag with Carbontex, the pitting may now increase the overall drag rating.

Carbontex Drag fibres

Lightly grease Carbontex after market discs and drop down drive shaft (#33). Observe this after market disc is smaller than the original drag disc, but it will work as well.

Installing the Drive Train

Grease Pinion Gear (#115) with Cal’s Grease. Hang it by the neck on the Yoke (#53) and thread the posts of Clutch Cam Retainer (#55) through holes on each end of Yoke (#53). Take care not to get grease inside the Pinion Gear’s orifice or casting distance may be adversely affected.

Grease Drive Gear (#114) with Cal’s Grease and slide down the Drive Shaft (#33).

Lightly grease Carbontex after market disc and seat it within Drive Gear (#114)

Lightly grease Key Washer (#112) and seat it within Drive Gear (#114)

Worm Shaft Assembly

Oil 4 x 7 x 2.5mm Ball Bearing (#47) with CorrosionX and attach to Worm Shaft (#48).

Slip in Steel Idle Gear (#46) making sure the flat side is facing outside (compare with picture above). Secure with E-clip (#44).

Another fiddly operation 😦

This is another operation that seem to require more than 1 pair of hands to do. So take your time and keep focused. Thread Level Wind Guard (#50) and Level Wind Guide (#56) through Line Guide (#40). Grease the holes in the frame before you insert them in. Attach Worm Bushing A (#49) into right side of Frame. Observe the aperture is cut to position Level Wind Guard (#50) accurately.

Carefully slide Worm Shaft (#48) assembly through Worm Bushing A (#49) without knocking everything out of position.

Attach Worm Bushing B (#79) to the left side frame. Note that slots in this Bushing keeps Level Wind Guard (#50) positioned, so rotate till the Level Wind Guard (#50) sits in nicely. Grease to prevent corrosion.

Attach Copper Washer (#80) and secure with E-clip (#44).

There are 2 washers (#42) for the Line Guide Pawl (#41). Dab a drop of CorrosionX oil and insert into Line Guide (#40).

Attach Pawl Cap (#43) with the help of a long slim slot screwdriver. Do not over torque.

You deserve another break by now.

Preparing the Right Side Plate

Cover inside of Right Side Plate (#111) with a protective layer of marine grease.

Fasten Roller Clutch Bearing with 2 screws (not illustrated in schematic) making sure the rollers are not greased. Rollers should be lubricated with CorrosionX oil. Using grease to lubricate it may cause the clutch to slip.

Slip Yoke Springs (#52) on the posts of Clutch Cam Retainer (#55). Coat Roller Clutch Inner Tube with CorrosionX oil and slide the castellated end downwards to mate with keyholes in Key Washer (#112).

Slip Side Plate Spring (#94) into its orifice in Right Side Plate (#111)

Why can’t Shimano standardize their screws?

The stainless screws have 3 lengths. The shortest (#77) secures the Levelwind area in front. The medium (#78) secures the Thumb Rest area at the top and the longest (#64) secures the bottom rear quadrant at the reel foot. Mix them up and your Side Plate won’t get secured. Grease the threads before you screw down the screws and take care not to over torque.

The Hardest part is over

Grease and attach Level Wind Protector (#70) and secure with 2 short screws (#71)

If I had the change to spare, I’d replace this with a moulded carbon fibre thumb bar just for its corrosion resistance

Grease the Thumb Rest (#74) to slow down further corrosion.

Also grease the frame where the Thumb Rest (#74) sits on.

Again, there are different sized screws to attach this Thumb Rest. There are 2 fatter screws (#75) and 1 smaller screw (#95). Attach 1 fat screw to the right side frame and the other to the front mounting lug on the left side frame. The smaller screw secures the rear quadrant. Why oh why can’t Shimano engineers use just 1 standard screw size for each panel?

Running the ball bearing open

I remove the shields of all my ball bearings, except those that are too small for me to pry out – the 4 x 7 x 2.5mm Ball Bearing (#47) is one example that is too small. I find that by removing the shields, I can clean the bearings better, giving me benefits of longer casts and better corrosion protection. My spool bearings are 3 x 10 x 4mm ceramic hybrids and are run dry (no lubrication). Make sure there is no grease in the bearing as that will rob you of casting distance. Secure with Circlip (#23).

Wet the copper shim with a drop of light oil and screw on Cast Control Cap (#16)

Drive Shaft Support Bearing B (#15) is the same (8 x 12 x 3.5mm) Anti rust treated bearing as the Pinion Support Bearing (#15). I removed the shields and filled them with a lithium teflon grease.

Slip on the thin, copper Bearing Washer (#14)

Next in are the Star Drag Springs (#13) – a pair of opposing Belleville washers placed to face each other like ( ).

The Star Drag Spacer (#12) is Teflon coated on one side and a copper on the other. The Teflon side faces up.

Grease threads of Drive Shaft (#33) with Cal’s Grease and screw down Star Drag Nut (#11). Tighten the nut by hand, as tight as you can cinch it down.

Before you put in the Star Drag Spring, temporarily fit on the star drag to ensure the Star Drag Nut (#11) and Drive Shaft (#33) aligns with its key slot. Remove and place in Star Drag Spring (#10)

Align the keyways and slip on Star Drag (#9)

Attach Handle Assembly (#4) and secure with Handle Nut (#3). Tighten with socket wrench tool (#101)

Ensure Handle Nut (#3) is aligned with the slots of the plastic Handle Nut Plate (#2). Otherwise it will be very difficult to remove Handle Nut Plate (#2) without damaging it. Secure with Screw (#1)

Finishing Up

Put 3 x 10 x 4mm sized Spool Bearing (#24) into the Digital Control Assembly (#85)

Secure with aluminum Oil Cap (#88)

Ensure that there are no excess grease on the frame opposite where the spool flanges spin. It is a very tight tolerance and any grease will adversely rob you of casting distance.

Insert Spool Assembly (#81) after coating the spindles on both ends with a very light oil. Do not get oil on the Optical sensor as it may affect proper operation of the Digital control.

Secure Digital Control Assembly (#85) with 3 black anodized screws (#86)

Completed at last.

Spool line in under firm constant tension making sure it is below the bottom bevel on Spool flanges. Congratulations, you have serviced your Antares DC7 reel!

Now go out and make it whineeeeee miserably as payback for the agony it put you through in servicing this reel.

Tight Lines!


Text and Images © Lawrence Lee
All Rights Reserved
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