SERVICING — 13 Concept A

Hi Friends,

August is the month of independence for many of our neighbouring countries, so I wish you a Happy National Day/Independence Day to all Singaporeans, Indonesians and Malaysians!

13-Fishing? Can your name be more heng (lucky) or not?
Have you heard of 13-Fishing? Well, I don’t know about you, but other than the ‘sport’ of Gambling, I think Fishing is the most superstitious sport I’ve encountered. My late daddy told me never to step over a fishing rod, but to walk around it as stepping over will jinx it. Others believe that if you do not wash your bum (take note all you toilet paper users) and then go fishing, you’re gonna catch nothing. Many believe that one should abstain from sex before a fishing trip or risk getting no bites. Even my own Sifu, the late Andrew Ling who taught me that “you create your own Luck — instead of leaving the bait there for the fish to come to, move your bait around to find the fish,” also believed that the first thing after buying a new rod or reel is to take it to jig for easily caught Tamban (Sardine), so that it is blessed with fish catching ability from its very first day out.

There’s more, what with spitting on the bait, not bringing bananas on board etc… so, whth all the superstition, what gives with a name like 13-Fishing? The two words 13 and Fishing seem so inimical to each other that never the twain should they meet, let alone be paired as a brand! Is this brand intent on calling bad luck upon it’s own products. Or is it an in-your-face challenge to superstition?

While I was searching for a versatile reel that could generate enough drag force to slow down a Black Bass’ determined sprint home, and at the same time is able to competently cast lures, names like Shimano Tranx HG, Daiwa Lexa HD, ABU Revo BigShooter WM60, Okuma Komodo 350 and Tailwalk Elan Widepower+ appeared on my list. These are reels that possess more than 20lbs of stopping power and and are low profile to boot. And in the midst of these these Goliaths, came this diminutive 13-Fishing Concept A reel, seeking to join in the ranks of the 20lbs+ club. But wait a minute…

The Shimano Tranx is a massive 500-sized reel weighing in at 20oz. ABU’s Revo BigShooter WM50, the smaller brother of the WM60 weighs in at 14oz. Daiwa’s Lexa HD300 is slightly smaller at 10.8oz. The Okuma Komodo 350 and Tailwalk Élan Widepower+ looks almost identical and tips the scales at 10.6oz and 10.8oz respectively. And, 13-Fishing’s Concept A is a featherweight 6.8oz!

Well ok, it’s a 100 sized reel while the others are 300-500 sized. But even for a 100 sized reel, it’s still light. By comparison, Daiwa Zillion SV TW and Shimano Antares weigh 6.9oz and 7.93oz respectively. They both don’t have the drag capability and the Antares can’t be used in the salt!

So “unlucky” brand name not withstanding, this reel does have the specifications and the price point of a winner! Time alone will tell if this reel is capable of consistently pulling the drag scales of a reel many times its size and stay long lasting.

I got me the 1:7.3 gear ratio, thinking it will be a good balance between speed and power, both for casting frogs or for lobbing out big swimbaits. I’m glad to note that by replacing the pinion and drive gear, I can speed up the ratios to 1:8.1 or slow it down to 1:6.6 or even 1:5.3! And the replacement parts for these swaps are inexpensive indeed. At the time of writing, it’s available for RedTackle’s customers at less than S$50 for the gear set. There’s also a trick shop offering colourful pieces to pimp up your reel if you’re so inclined.

Teamed with Dear Monster X Valitudo MV-65, spooled with 10lb Fireline Crystal, the reel and rod makes a good couple. Casting small unweighted frogs even in contrary winds was no challenge. Up the line class to 30lb Sufix 832, big swimsuits like the Jointed Craw was casted with aplomb.

The neat 6-way centrifugal braking system on this Korean made reel, slows the spool competently enough. The matt finish on what 13-Fishing calls Airfoil Carbon and the long handle, slotted to save weight look strikingly similar to those of the Elan Widepower+ and the Komodo 350 respectively.

The size of the Concept Cork Knobs also have a familiar feel to ABU’s Revo STX ver3. Come to think of it, all these reels are made in Korea. Could they have come from the same factory or used the same tooling? Food for thought!

Getting ready for the teardown

These are the tools and lubes that I used for taking apart and servicing this reel. You probably will not need the Vernier callipers as I will be publishing the dimensions of all ball bearings in this step-by-step guide, and you can substitute the Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease with regular (Gold Label) Cal’s Grease or any marine grease of your choice. For the reasons why I use Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease, I did a 4-year test HERE. You can also substitute Rem Oil with Rocket Fuel, TSI-301 or any light oil of your preference. I use Rem Oil because it has incredibly low viscosity which allows the ball bearings to spin up at very low torque, and it retains an acceptable degree of anticorrosive protection to allow my bearings to go on multi-day saltwater expeditions without having to worry about servicing them every night at basecamp, provided, I don’t give the reel a dunking in the brine.

To take the reel apart, you only need a set of Philips Head Screwdrivers of sizes 0, 1 and 2 and a 10mm wrench. Instead of screwdriver bits, you can use long shaft screwdrivers. If you want to remove the spool bearing, you will need a pair of Boca Spool Pin Pliers or Spool Pin removal tool (see photo below). To install springs when your hands are slick with grease, a pair of long nosed locking pliers or a haemostat (see photos further down) will take the frustration out of the task.

Always have the schematic with you when you strip your reel
In case you don’t have the reel schematics, here is a copy. I suggest that you enlarge it to A3 size so that you can see clearly when your hands are slick with grease, and you do not damage your original copy. This schematic is not very accurate and some parts are drawn at an odd angle, which I’ll mention later. Nevertheless, it’s still an indispensable tool in getting your reel fixed back correctly.

Do not Grease Spool Bearings
I like to work on the Spool Ball Bearings first because all my tools and hands are clean and grease free. Keep grease away from your spool bearings as it will slow them down so much you can’t get good casting distance.

Please disregard the text you see on the bottle of Rem Oil above. It’s can’t possibly be the “Same great lubricant since 1913” when it contains Teflon which was invented by DuPont in 1938, but I digress. Nevertheless, it’s a great oil if you can get your hands on it. Inexpensive, very low viscosity, (I’ve seen a chart somewhere that Rem Oil has a lower viscosity than WD-40) and yet it gives a decent amount of corrosion protection to your ball bearings.

If you are hoping to cast 2.5g ultralight lures, and are loathe to run your ball bearings dry, this is my oil of choice, but you gotta get that spool weight down too. But if you are casting weights upwards of 20g, you’d need a heavier oil like Rocket Fuel or suffer premature wear of the ball bearing.

Because the Ball Bearings on this reel have type ZZ Shields which are permanent, I have to decide whether I want to pluck them out and discard the shields or work around them. There’s a risk inherent in prying Z-type shields out. Since the Ball Bearing is so small, your hand may slip, and the sharp instrument may pierce your thumb, or worse, pierce the sensitive balls beneath the shield, permanently destroying the Ball Bearing. I’ve had both happen to me before, so I now have an Ultrasonic cleaner. Running these ball bearing for several cycles through Simple Green in the Ultrasonic Cleaner, got my balls rattling clean in the bearing and I didn’t need to risk my balls nor my finger, both of which are precious to me.

After washing the ball bearings clean, I run them through plain water in the Ultrasonic Cleaner for several cycles again to make sure I completely clean away the cleaning solution. Failing which, can destroy whatever light lube that I will apply. I dry the Ball Bearings by blow drying with a hairdryer. After which, a gentle blast of compressed air is enough to get these spinning on my surgical forceps for 30+ seconds.

I then drop in 2 drops of Rem Oil, work it into the ball bearing by spinning it, then give it a hard blast of compressed air to blow away any excess oil.

This Ball Bearing in the above picture is the bigger one which is attached to the spool. It doesn’t have a schematic number. If you want to get a replacement Ball Bearing, the size is 11mm x 5mm x 4mm (OD x ID x thickness)

Insert bigger Ball Bearing into #12 Spool Assembly. Secure with Cross Pin. A Spool Pin Plier (Pictured in the background) or a Hedgehog Spool Pin remover will make this task a lot easier so I recommend you get one.

Do note that the Spool Pin is smaller on one end. Do take note when removing or attaching to press on the correct end.

After cleaning and oiling #10 Ball Bearing, install into #1 Palm Side Cover. The replacement size for this Ball Bearing is 10mm x 3mm x 4mm (OD x ID x thickness)

Snap in #11 Ring to secure #10 Ball Bearing in place.

Now the sensitive ball bearings are done, set them aside and get ready to get your hands dirty.

Simple Design is the Best Design
I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of this reel. There was not a lot of complicated connections, the insides were protected by a thick film of oil much like CorrosionX HD, and the parts were adequately greased to ensure long service life even if you do not open up to service the reel. Well done 13-Fishing engineers!

The drag stack was dry when I cracked open this reel, which partially accounts for the high drag numbers. However the drag was usably smooth even when dry, so you can use them dry if you like to have very high poundage drag capability.

I’d prefer instead, to wet the drag fibres with a very thin coat of Cal’s grease, to prevent juddering after a wash, especially when oily water gets onto the dry discs after washing. With grease, the absolute drag poundage will decrease, but I always prefer a smooth drag to one that is very strong but jerky. I notice that the Tailwalk Elan Widepower+ also have similar dry carbon drag pieces.

Here’s all the serviceable parts stripped.

The more observant will notice I didn’t strip apart #25 Washer, #26 Worm Pinion and #27 Retainer from #24 Worm Shaft. Since there’s nothing to service there, I didn’t bother to take them apart. Also parts #1 to #9 and #65 to #68 were not taken apart for the same reason.

#92 Handle Knob Assembly is not shown taken apart as I’m sure everyone knows how to service their handle bearings. These are about the first things to rust on a reel and I recommend that you give them a good coat of grease before you use them in saltwater. In this reel, instead of 2 Ball Bearings per Handle Knob, there is only one. #91 Washer replaces the inner Ball Bearing. I see this as a good choice by 13-Fishing engineers because it’s this Ball Bearing that gets saltwater intrusion first and is always the first to corrode. Without it, a potential failure is prevented and you don’t really notice less smoothness by its absence.

But if you really need a guide on how to service your handle and how to take apart the ball bearings to add grease, read HERE, which is similar to this Concept A’s handle, but having 4 Ball bearings instead of 2.

Has corrosion already started?

On closer inspection of the #73 Drive Gear, I observed black stains on it. I wonder what these could be?

After washing off the stains as best as I could with Simple Green, there are lesser black marks left. However, there are matt white imprints left behind where those black marks used to be. I checked with the dealer and his reply from the factory was that the black stains were only carbon deposits from the Carbon fibre drag pads.

I find this puzzling and I can rule out galvanic corrosion since I had only used the reel to test cast different lures in fresh water. But since Carbon is an excellent conductor of electricity, I’m beginning to wonder if some static electricity had etched the imprint of the carbon dust deposits into the metal, and therefore causing the characteristic matt white marks that’s showing on the metal. This thought has me even more resolved to protect the metal with a thin coat of grease.

Can’t remove any further

Inside, the #36 Frame is coated with a thick oil that looks like CorrosionX HD. This is a vast step ahead of some major brand names in terms of corrosion prevention. There is however, a plastic #37 Kicker Lever Guide plate that’s fastened by one tiny Screw which is not mentioned in the schematic. Unfortunately, all the other points on this#37 Kicker Lever Guide plate seem to be heat welded into the mounting holes in the #36 Frame.

This is not a good idea as saltwater can seep in between, and will be very difficult to rinse or dry off. The leftover salts can then slowly corrode the #36 Frame from inside out. By the time corrosion is spotted, it may already be too late.

As it is, if you look at the metal around #35 Pad A, there’s a rough spot that looks like aluminium had turned into white powder from corrosion and then oiled over. Since this is a new reel, I know that can’t be corrosion, but more probably a casting scar. Even so, the thought that I’m unable to adequately protect the metal from galvanic corrosion is scary with signs like these.

An unnamed screw that fastens the welded plastic #37 Kicker Lever Guide plate is a tiny, self-tapping screw.

Black Plastic #32 Pad B and #35 Pad A also have its attachment pegs welded into their holes in the frame, making it impossible to remove without risk of breaking one of the pegs. As a consequence, I will also have no way to properly coat the metal under these two pieces with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease.

Now if you do a lot of casting in salt water, this place tends to collect salty spray from the spool and it becomes a corrosion trap. I will heartily recommend you use Salt-X in your final rinse. For those who haven’t heard about Salt-X, you can read about my experiences Here and Here and Here.

I worked Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease as best as I could into all the nooks and crannies and as far under the welded plastic #37 Kicker Lever Guide, #35 Pad A and #32 Pad B, as I could reach with a small paint brush.

Secure plastic #37 Kicker Lever Guide plate with unnamed screw. The schematic doesn’t show where it’s actually attached.

Take careful notes

#40 Spring for the #41 Kick Lever, has one tab end longer than the other. Mark the longer tab with a marker pen. That end should be inserted into the hole in plastic #37 Kicker Lever Guide plate. If you had fitted it the other way around, this spring will pop out after a few casts.

On this reel, I find that it’s better not to try fitting the springs in at this stage. Dab an extra thick dab of grease to prevents springs from flying violently away, and place them temporarily in their spots.

When fitted correctly, #40 Spring will look nice and level with #41 Kick Lever.

Remove the tab end of #39 Spring from the hole in #37 Kick Lever Guide plate. Attach short Tab end of #39 Spring into hole in #38 Clutch Cam and insert peg from #41 Kick Lever into hole in #38 Clutch Cam. Hook the short tab end of #40 Spring into a hole on the underside of #41 Kick Lever.

Fixing the Clutch

Insert #34 Thumb Bar Assembly between #35 Pad-A and #32 Pad-B

Insert #42 Clutch Link through #34 Thumb Bar Assembly to connect with #38 Clutch Cam. Secure with the two #33 Tap Screws. Observe that in this and the subsequent picture, I had gotten the screws mixed up. The Philips Head screw on the left in this picture is #43 Tap Screw, and should be used for the subsequent photo.

Here, you can see that the mould for casting this frame is not so well finished.

Secure #42 Clutch Link to #38 with #43 Tap Screw. (The correct screw is shown on the left, in the preceding photo above).

CAUTION: Risk of flying springs

CAUTION: Risk of flying springs. It’s highly recommended you perform this part of the assembly under a clear plastic bag as the spring may pop out and fly away, becoming hopelessly lost.

Flying springs can be slowed down by greasing thickly. This means that if they do pop out and fly, they may not fly too far away. They do however may still get lost if they fly away. Additionally, a greased spring is many times harder to handle than one that’s bone dry. You choose your poison as they say.

Ensure the short tag end of #40 Spring is squarely seated in #41 Kick Lever. Compress the spring and insert the longer tag end of #40 Spring into a hole in the plastic #37 Kick Lever Guide.

Next, ensure the short tag end of the bigger #39 Spring is squarely seated in #38 Clutch Cam. Insert the longer tag end of #39 Spring into a hole in plastic #37 Kick Lever Guide.

Proper Tools make a task simpler!

Handling a small spring with greasy fingers is a very difficult thing to do without proper tools. I suggest you buy yourself a pair of these surgical Haemostats. It will hold securely onto the greasy springs and stay locked around them even if you lose your hold. With this, I can load and affix clutch springs with great confidence and precision. I recommend them highly.

You can also use them when you go fishing — it’s a great tool to hold up the tiny split rings on the bibs of deep divers so that you can thread a line or clip through. They are also great for removal of hooks which are deeply embedded in the throat.

Grease and attach #44 Cam Plate.

Secure with two #45 Screws.

Keep your job under plastic wraps and test the #34 Thumb Bar Assembly, engaging and disengaging a few times, to ensure it works well. If any spring pops off, it means that it’s installed upside down. Remove and reinstall. It’s important to test under wraps as any spring that should pop off will not fly away and get lost.

Congratulations! You have completed the most difficult part of the installation. Go brew yourself a cup of tea, take a break and we will continue with the rest of the reel.

Install the Levelwind

#23 Pipe is a black plastic tube that houses the worm shaft. Thread it through #36 Frame and #16 Level Wind Assembly.

Grease #24 Worm Shaft with Cal’s Grease and insert through #23 Pipe.

If you fish at sandy places or have a habit of leaving your reel on the floor, do not use grease for the #24 Worm Shaft as sand will get stuck to the grease. Use a dry lube such as TSI-301 instead. Do note that wear and tear will be greater when you use a light lube.

Insert White plastic #15 Bush into it’s housing.

In my schematics, there is part #14 Washer which is missing in my reel. If your reel has that part, install it before you snap on #13 Retainer.

Oil #17 Level Wind Pin with Reel X and insert into #16 Level Wind Assembly.

Press #17 Level Wind Pin with your thumb and turn the #26 Worm Pinion with another hand until the #16 Level Wind Assembly begins to track from side to side.

Insert #18 Washer and #19 Washer into #16 Level Wind Assembly and add a drop of Reel X.

Grease the aluminium threads in #20 Nut and screw on to #16 Level Wind Assembly.

Since you are screwing metal on to plastic, take greater care not to cross thread, and do not overtorque when tightening.

Grease #101 Coil Spring and insert into #28 Pillar Post.

If you often fish on sandy beaches and your habit is to leave your reel on the sand, do not use grease as sand can stick to the grease. Instead, use Corrosion X or Reel X oil. After each trip, rinsing off, you must remember to oil this part again. For others who use grease, you can more or less forget about this part until your next major servicing schedule, but never allow sand to get trapped — it will grind your reel to an early retirement.

Thread #28 Pillar Post through #36 Frame and #16 Level Wind Assembly. The hole where #101 Coil Spring is inserted, must face the Palming Side of the reel.

Touch up Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease that may have smeared off from #16 Frame.

Install the Front Support

Insert Plastic #22 Front Support into corresponding slots in #16 Frame.

Grease the threads of #21 Screw and secure the handle side of the reel. As this piece is plastic, take care not to overtorque.

On the palming side, grease the threads of #21 Screw, but attach the one that’s nearest the reel foot. Do not tighten.

This step needs some fiddling around

Insert #100 Plate between #22 Front Support and #36 Frame. Hold loosely in place with #99 Screw.

Insert #1 Palm Side Cover. You may need to wiggle #100 Plate or remove #99 Screw in order for it to snap into place, so be patient and make fine adjustments. No force is needed to complete this step.

When #1 Palm Side Cover has snapped into place, tighten #99 Screw and the two #21 Screws, taking care not to overtorque. This side is done.

Installing the Drivetrain

Grease #64 Ball Bearing and insert into #36 Frame. Because I didn’t intend to keep opening this part until my next major servicing, I filled the hole with a Cal’s grease that I diluted with Reel X to make a lighter paste. For replacement, this bearing size is 9mm x 5mm x 3mm (OD x ID x thickness).

Insert #68 Gear Metal Assembly (what a strange name to call a drive shaft), comprising parts #65 Retainer, #66 Bearing Plate, #67 Washer and #68 Gear Metal.

Grease the threads of #69 Screws and secure.

Install white plastic #70 Gear.

Be careful which side you are cranking
Do note which side you are cranking from. I’m so used to servicing right hand cranking reels that I fitted this ratchet by instinct. In reality, since this is a left hand cranking reel, I had fitted it wrongly (picture below) and I didn’t realise this until I had completed the reel and then found that there is nothing to kick the reel back into gear when I turned the handle.


For a left hand cranking reel, the #71 Ratchet should be facing this way — the teeth should be pointing towards the #41 Kick Lever.

Do not follow the orientation of my #71 Ratchet in the subsequent photos if you are using a LH model, as they all show my mistake.

Lightly grease phenolic #72 Washer with Cal’s Grease and drop it above #71 Ratchet. If you like a strong drag, you can skip using grease.

Carefully get grease between all the teeth of #48 Pinion, but do not get any grease into the hole as it will cause short casting distances.

Hang #48 Pinion onto #46 Clutch and attach to the two posts on #36 Frame.

Install #47 Coil Spring onto each of the two posts on #36 Frame.

Use grease for drags with the lowest breakaway force

Lightly coat the aluminium surfaces of #73 Drive Gear with Cal’s Grease and insert carbon fibre #75 Washer-L. If you like a strong drag, you can skip using grease for all the washers.

Lightly coat both sides of keyed #76 Washer-D and install. (Note that #78 is a different washer but similarly called Washer-D in the schematic)

Insert second carbon fibre #75 Washer-L

Lightly coat both sides of eared #77 Washer-A with Cal’s Grease and install corresponding to cut out slots in #Drive Gear.

Insert third carbon fibre #75 Washer-L.

Carefully work Cal’s Grease between the teeth of #73 Drive Gear and install down #68 Gear Metal (Drive Shaft).

To protect the metal, I painted on a thin coat of Cal’s Grease over all exposed aluminium.

Lightly paint both sides of keyed #78 Washer-D with Cal’s Grease and install.

#52 G/Side Cover Assembly is made of plastic and won’t need to be protected by Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease. However, there’s an aluminium insert that can benefit from Marine Grease protection.

Fill #50 Ball Bearing with grease and install. For replacement, the size of this Ball Bearing is 8mm x 5mm x 2.5mm (OD x ID x thickness)

Secure with #49 Ring.

Installing the Antireverse One Way Clutch

Coat the outer steel case of #51 One Way Clutch with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease to prevent corrosion, but take great care to avoid having grease get in between the needle rollers inside, or the anti reverse may slip under high loads if grease has contaminated them.

Oil the needle rollers and #79 Sleeve with Corrosion X or Reel X instead and install, taking note of the side that is cranking.

Installing #51 One Way Clutch wrong way around will not allow you to crank correctly.

Before you mate #52 G/Side Cover Assembly with #36 Frame, test that your #51 One Way Clutch is installed correctly by pushing #79 Sleeve slightly outward and rotating it. For my reel which is a left hand model, the #79 Sleeve should be able to turn clockwise as shown in the picture above.

Closing up the Reel

Yay! We are almost done!

Touch up any smeared grease on #36 Frame with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease and join #52 G/Side Cover Assembly to #36 Frame. There are 3 screws of equal length, named #29 Screw. Grease the threads and fasten, but do not tighten yet.

Here, you can see the part of mould for this reel that is not neatly finished.

Grease the threads of #29 Screw and fasten but do not tighten yet.

Grease the threads of longer #30 screw and fasten, but do not tighten yet.

Grease the threads of the last #29 Screw and fasten.

Check the #52 G/Side Cover Assembly joins squarely to #36 Frame and #68 Gear Metal (Drive Shaft) rotates correctly. Make slight adjustments till all seams are perfectly aligned, then tighten all three #29 and the #30 Screws.

Caution! Tiny Parts can fly

This is #56 Click Plate, #55 Click Pin and #54 Coil Spring. These are minuscule items and that means they can fly off and get lost. Caution required when handling. Best to install inside a clear plastic bag.

But if you have already lost the item… Don’t fret. your reel can function as well without it. Maybe call it the R-Edition instead. Hahaha.

Protect the aluminium parts of #36 Frame with Marine Grease. It’s OK to get grease into #50 Ball Bearing, but never allow any grease to get into the hole of #48 Pinion as it will rob you of casting ability. Fill the tiny hole with Marine grease, then insert #54 Coil Spring.

With a pair of needle nose forceps, grip the bullet nose of #55 Click Pin, dab it into a sticky grease e.g. Cal’s Grease and insert the needle end into the hole of #54 Coil Spring. The grease will help hold this all together.

On #56 Click Plate, there’s a serrated side and a side with 2 holes. Gently, place the serrated side facing inwards. Do not press the higher side which is closest to the #68 Gear Metal (Drive shaft) to level the #56 Click Plate yet.

Hold #57 Retainer with one hand and firmly, press in the higher side of #56 Click Plate with a finger. Insert the #57 Retainer and ensure all 4-5 points have caught on securely to a groove in the hole before releasing the finger on #56 Click Plate.

Drop a drop of ReelX oil into #63 Tension Knob, the #53 O-Ring and threads on #52 G/Side Cover Assembly, then screw down. You might need to work this in and out a few turns in order for the #59 Control Plate to couple with #56 Click Plate before you can feel the click-click-click of #55 Click Pin working.

On my reel, there are two pieces of these thrust washers, that are not shown in the schematic. If you find that you are not getting the stated drag rating on your reel at full lockdown and you have not greased or tampered with your drag in any way, get some of these and add them here as your star drag may have been too low to give you full lock.

Lebih Kurang (More or Less)

For those who like More! More! More! and want a more powerful drag, playing with the orientation of these Belleville #81 Spring Washers will do the trick without having take apart the whole reel.

The original configuration is to arrange them with their concave sides facing each other like this ( ). You’ll have power and a wide range of progressive drag settings in this configuration.

To get the greatest drag friction possible at max lockdown, even at the expense of progressive drag range, spoon the washers like this ( (. You will need to get another flat thrust washer to prop up the stack in order for your #85 Star Drag Assembly to work properly. So it looks like this ( ( |.

Caveat: Do this at your own peril as it may void your warranty and damage parts. However, it may be the only solution for you to get max drag ratings that’s higher than what the stock drags can offer.

Always remember to grease the Belleville #81 Spring Washers.

Lubricate the threads of #68 Gear Metal (Drive Shaft) and #82 Drag nut with Cal’s Grease and install.

Drop in the #85 Star Drag Assembly and #90 Handle Arm Assembly and tighten the drag fully, then remove #90 Handle Arm and #85 Star Drag in preparation for the next step.

Caution! Fiddly operation with tiny springs!

In the following steps, you’ll wish you have extra arms like an octopus. By preparing in advance, you will succeed with no trouble. For novices, you need two pieces of strong rubber bands, and some device like a bean bag or Blu Tack putty to hold your reel upright while you work.

Insert #84 Coil Spring and give it a coat of Cal’s Grease.

Coat the threads inside #85 Star Drag Assembly with Cal’s Grease and fill the tiny hole with Cal’s too. Install.

Free your hands with Rubber Bands

Bind the #85 Star Drag Assembly with rubber bands on the opposite side of the small hole as shown, and prop the reel upright with a beanbag or some plasticine putty arranged to form a doughnut. This will free your hand to do the other stuff. On Hindsight, I should leave the installation of #1 Palm Side Cover till the very last so the reel can sit stably on it’s Palming Side.

Dab #86 Coil Spring in Cal’s Grease and insert into the tiny hole. Grease will help hold the tiny bits in place for you to do your assembly and protect against corrosion when it’s exposed to salt spray.

With a pair of needle nosed forceps, hold on to the bullet nose of #87 Click Pin. Dip it in Cal’s Grease then insert the needle end of #87 Click Pin into the hole of #86 Coil Spring.

Keep your reel upright, not like mine. I had to turn mine sideways in order to catch the light to show the pin clearly in my photos.

Install the rough side of #88 Click Plate facing downwards.

Lightly grease #89 Washer with Cal’s Grease and install.

Lightly grease the keyhole of #90 Handle Arm Assembly and the threads of #97 Nut with Cal’s Grease. Install #90 Handle Arm Assembly and start threading in #97 Nut.

When you are sure that #97 Nut is threaded correctly, press #90 Handle Arm Assembly firmly downwards with one hand while pulling away the rubber bands with the other.

Still keeping your hand pressing firmly on #90 Handle Arm Assembly, tighten #97 Nut as much as you can by hand. Finish off by tightening with a 10mm wrench, taking care to finish with with the point or the flat of the nut pointing at the hole on #90 Handle Arm Assembly.

Test your #85 Star Drag to check that the Clicker mechanism is working correctly.

Lightly grease the inside of #96 Retainer and the threads of #98 Screw with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease to prevent seizing and protect against galvanic corrosion and install.

Use grease for drags with the lowest breakaway force
Wet a rag with Simple Green Cleaner and wipe the outsides of the reel to get rid of all excess grease and restore the handsome matt finish of this reel. Install the spool, wind in some line and and your reel is done!

Remember to give the handle knob ball bearings a coat of marine grease.

Hope this helps you protect your reel to give good service for a long long time.

PS: Some people have written to ask me how often should they service their reel. Before I had fully tested out long term, the effectiveness of Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease and Salt-X when used in combination to prevent corrosion, I used to say: after every trip to saltwater. But after a 4-year long experiment with these two products (HERE), I now dare say: Do a major servicing like what is described above, once every year unless you had dunked your reel in saltwater.

After every trip, strip away all the line, and rinse with fresh water, then spray with diluted Salt-X. After everything have dried in one or two days’ time, remove the Spool Ball Bearings, thoroughly de-oil them and apply a new dose of lubricant. Then drop a drop of ReelX or CorrosionX to each #93 handle knob Ball Bearing, #24 Levelwind Mechanism, #50 Pinion Ball Bearing, #63 Tension Knob and #1 Palm Side Cover Shaft. This should be sufficient to keep your reel working well for a long, long time.

Do drop a comment below if you have any queries or even just to say hi in the comment box below.

Thanks for reading and good fishing always!


© Copyright Lawrence Lee
All Rights Reserved.

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4 responses to “SERVICING — 13 Concept A

  1. Hi Lawrence, I’ve been studying your reel service guides you link to on the Fishing Territory forum. They’re so detailed and useful. I have bought a second hand 13 Concept A reel and the thumb bar will not depress when the reel is assembled. If I disassemble it, the pinion is frozen to the bearing on the outside case (it will spin but won’t come out). Without the pinion attached, the thumb bar will depress well and the rest of the mechanism is fine. Do you have any tips on how to remove this pinion? Cheers and keep up the good work with the stripdowns!

    • Hi Jack, thanks for the kind words. It’s people like you who motivate me to go through the trouble of taking photos of the assembly while my hands are slick with grease.

      Your description tells me that the inner ring of the ball bearing may be rusty, or a piece of brass burr from the Pinion may be jamming it to the ball bearing. You may need to put in an order for the parts if you don’t succeed in removing it.

      If you have an ultrasonic cleaner and some vinegar, please look at this tutorial where I was faced with a similar problem of yours:

      But if you don’t, no worries, you can make do with a small spanner which is just large enough to fit the stem of the Pinion. You also need a hammer and a drift.

      Find a stable edge and step on handle of spanner, with its wrench overhanging the edge. Hang Pinion by the ball bearing on spanner. With hammer and drift, carefully tap all around the nose of the Pinion that can be seen on the inner ring of ball bearing. You should be able to drift them apart with patience. A bit of penetrating oil such as WD-40 may assist in freeing the union.

      If ball bearing is rusty, replace it. The size is 8mm x 5mm x 2.5mm (OD x ID x thickness). If the Pinion burr had caught, sand the part carefully with some fine emery cloth, then test for free movement.

      Hope that helps,

  2. Hi Lawrence, I have a Concept C which is left handed the handle arm nut is tight, do you know if these are left or right handed thread. Kind regards Colin.

    • I’m sorry, I’ve not worked on a Concept C, so I don’t know exactly which threading orientation it has. But if it’s of any help, the Concept A left handed handle nut threads normally. That means you turn clockwise to tighten and counter clockwise to remove.

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