The package for this reel came exactly 3 years ago, 22 October 2013. I remembered being disappointed by it’s cheap plasticky exterior, rough fit and finish while I was taking the unboxing photos. So the first thing that I did the following day, was to open it up for greasing before I took it out to fish. It had been my habit to service a reel even before I use it, because I had found that by protecting the reel with sufficient grease, it will be resistant to corrosion and offer many more years of service life, than if I washed it clean after every use and sent to a servicing technician every season.

This had been my BFS reel for tarpons, ladyfish, barramundi and snappers found around the inshore waters of Singapore for the past 3 years. Since I was using this reel entirely in salt water, getting a coat of Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease slapped on as a prophylactic against galvanic corrosion was important to do.

I had been telling people so much about the protective characteristics of Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease, CorrosionX and Salt-X, that I felt I had to do a long term test for myself to be sure that what I recommended actually works. I want to declare that I am not paid in any way, neither did I receive any form of product or service for recommending these lubes. I paid the full price to buy them, I’m satisfied with the results that they gave, and that’s why I’m telling the good news to you, my fellow angler.

After every outing to the mangroves, I’d strip off the line for separate washing and drying. Then, I’ll rinse the reel with fresh water, spray it down with Salt-X solution and leave it to neutralise the salt while I go take a shower. Salt-X recommend that their product be left on to dry as it will form a protective barrier. But I don’t like it that the dried layer appear as a matt haze over the paintwork of the reel. So I usually rinse off the Salt-X after I’m done with my shower. The reel is then left to drain and air dry over the weekend. On Tuesday night after work, I’ll pick it up to oil the spool bearings, the levelwind bearings, handle knobs and once every few months, I’ll unscrew the lube port to give the Main Gear some Cal’s Grease.

This had been my only reel maintenance regimen for this Revo LTZ these three years. In that time, I had also worn out two sets of Hedgehog Studio’s Kattobi spool bearings. My first pair was the Kattobi Air BFS micro bearings, these wore out pretty quickly. My next set was the Kattobi Air Ceramic bearing which lasted longer. After that, I just popped back the original ball bearings that the reel came with and had been using them as such till now. I heard that Hedgehog Studio now have a new Air HD Ceramic bearing that resist saltwater better. I’m greatly tempted, as I run the spool ball bearings without any lubrication.

Prepare yourself before you take a reel apart

Before taking the reel apart, I want to be sure that I have all the tools, lubes and schematic ready. For lubes, I use ReelX and Cal’s Grease (Gold label).They can be mixed without adverse reaction like separation or gumming. Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease is used for coating the inner walls of the reel to protect from corrosion. I do not use it as a lubricating grease, simply because this tube was a very very old leftover from servicing my outboard motor.

The tools I used to take apart this reel as well as to remove the ZZ shields on the ball bearings are Philips size 1 screwdriver; sizes 3, 4 and 6.5 flat screwdrivers. That tiny white screwdriver is a tool I use to pry the stubborn shields from ZZ-type ball bearings; a paint brush to apply grease; a 9mm socket wrench to press out the IAR roller bearing; 10mm socket wrench for the Handle Nut; a pair of needle-nosed surgical forceps for fine work and a pair of locking pliers/haemostat to handle springs. And lastly, the schematics that’s enlarged so that it’s easy to refer to when assembling the reel. I will be referring to the parts in this step-by-step guide by the key numbers listed on the schematic as well as calling them by their schematic names.

A look at the inside of the reel after 3 years of weekend use

The Quicksilver 2-4-C grease I applied three years ago to the #1 Frame had dried up somewhat, after many exposures to washing. We’ll be able to see better if the grease had done it’s work of protecting the metal after this had done a few cycles in the ultrasonic cleaner.

#50 Gear Side Plate is looking new. That’s because I hardly touch this side of the reel. “11 Ball Bearings” silkscreened to the side is a very high number of bearings for a reel. I counted and counted and counted. Then I looked in the Schematics. I could only count 7, and that includes the IAR Roller Bearing which incidentally, is not listed in the schematic. So I figured, they counted the ball bearing on the spare spool. But I still came up short.

When I opened up the handle, I found the missing ball bearings as these were also not listed in the schematic. Well, in that case, the 11 Ball bearings really meant 10 Ball Bearings + 1 IAR Roller Bearing; or 11 Ball Bearings if you counted the one on the spare spool + 1 IAR Roller Bearing. That’s a lot of ball bearings! But one can never have enough Ball Bearings in a reel, like one can never have enough cash for spending no?

Well, although ball bearings make a reel smoother, I think too many ball bearings can make a reel more maintenance intensive, as ball bearings are not the easy way to make up for poor manufacturing tolerances. A finesse reel needs to be smooth, in order for the subtlest bump, nibble or tap to be discerned especially when the lure could be a weightless soft plastic that weigh 2grams. So while the Revo LTZ is a smooth reel, its smoothness does not approach near to that of the Shimano Calcutta Conquest, even though it’s priced within the same price bracket as the Conquest. I attribute that mainly to the placement of ball bearings. Let’s see how that works…

Having a ball bearing at each end of the spool can make it cast smoother, if the spools are well balanced. Having a ball bearing at each end of the #39 Pinion will keep it properly aligned to the #42 Main Gear. This will make cranking feel smoother and reduces on gear wear and tear. But there are none to support the #39 Pinion in this LTZ. Having a ball bearing at each end of the #30 Main Gear Shaft will keep the shaft from wobbling when cranking hard on a load. This wobble will throw the gear teeth out of alignment and cause faster wear. The LTZ only has one for this part.

However, the LTZ has 2 ball bearings to support the levelwind’s #10 Worm Shaft. It was found that having ball bearings here helped the old Ambassadeurs which had synchronised levelwinds cast better. But the LTZ’s levelwind disengages for casting, so having ball bearings here may be nice, but not crucial.

ABU logo on the #77 Palm Side Plate had already worn out. The Chrome bits have also oxidised.

Here’s what the #77 Palm Side Plate looked when it was new out of the box.

No Corrosion!

With the grease cleaned off, I’m glad to see that although some parts of the #1 Frame had its black anodise worn to bare metal, there was not a single spot of corrosion to be found.

The front part of #1 Frame. Saltwater tend to get in between these holes and corners during casting and cause the reel to start corroding from there. I’m glad to see that no signs of corrosion are present on this reel, thanks to the protection from Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease and Salt-X.

Rear cross piece of #1 Frame has 2 shallow grooves worn into them from the action of the #4 Thumb Bar. Saltwater also tend to spray here during a cast and collect at the two sides to start galvanic corrosion, typical of baitcasting reels. But no evidence of any form of corrosion is seen here!

That part of the #1 Frame where Chromed #21 Front Cover joins to, is another typical corrosion nest. But there’s no corrosion at all on this reel. These findings make me all the more confident of the two products. I think I can be more relaxed about needing to service my reels immediately after a trip from now on!

Removing ZZ type Shields

There are 2 Ball bearings with ZZ-type shields in this reel — #36 beneath the #30 Main Gear Shaft, and #52 under the #59 Brake Knob. ZZ shields are permanent shields which cannot be refitted once they are removed. For more about removing other types of Ball Bearing Shields, read THIS. Unlike replaceable shields where you hook it out from the outer race, ZZ shields are anchored to the outer race and need to be pried out from the inner race.

Using a sharp and strong hook, pry the shield from the inner race of the ball bearing. You need to carefully and patiently work at the same spot till you raise up a small chip from the shield. I enlarge that chip with the tiny white screwdriver in my tools photo above.

When the chip is large enough, grip with needle-nose pliers, and pull the shield off.

I thoroughly degreased both ball bearings and repacked them full of Cal’s grease that I’ve thinned with ReelX. For more details of how I thin the grease, read it HERE.

Simple and few parts for a Low-profiled Baitcaster

What impressed me most about this reel is its drag stack. While other bigger reels such as the Calcutta Conquest 200 sports a simple piece of drag fibre, this reel boasts a multi-piece woven-carbon drag system with clicker. With a dab of Cal’s Grease, it was smooth and powerful. In fact, it has greater drag poundage than some larger reels! And fishing with the deeper spool, the extra drag power is no longer an unusable number for the specifications, but a usable force to help land that whopper.

Protect with Marine Grease

Paint on Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease with a paint brush to reach into all nooks and crannies. You can use your own preferred brand of marine grease. I use Quicksilver 2-4-C simply because I have leftovers from servicing my Mercury outboard motor and they perform admirably against galvanic corrosion in my reels.

Take special care to grease the Corrosion Hotspots

Take special care to cover places that are corrosion nests. I painted on extra Cal’s Grease to the cross-piece as well as behind the #4 Thumb Bar as this part had already worn down from use.

It’s ok to be untidy with marine grease. You can always clean them off with a towel moistened with Simple Green after the reel is done. But you surely don’t want to miss out any spot. For what joy is there in having a reel that is corrosion free throughout except for one single spot?

Assemble the Thumb Bar

Snap on black plastic #2 and #3 Side Washers.

Grease the sides of chromed #4 Thumb Bar with Cal’s grease and install.

Grease here helps protect my reel from corrosion and keeping a film in between plastic parts can lower wear and tear. However, if you fish in surroundings where wind blown sand is common – like at the dunes – or, your fishing buddy has a bad habit of leaving your rod and reel on the beach where sand can get in, then grease may do more harm than good. As a consequence, the sand can get trapped by the grease making it an abrasive to wear out the reel quickly.

Insert plastic #5 Clutch Link through.

Then slide #5 Clutch Link upwards.

Screw on #6 Thumb Bar Screw. This is a wood screw and the #4 Thumb Bar is plastic — Do not over tighten. If you had not slid #5 Clutch Link upwards, you will find that you are unable to screw in #6 Thumb Bar Screw.

Levelwind Assembly

Thread #13 Line Guide Shaft through #1 Frame and #7 Line Guide with it’s narrower end facing the handle side.

Secure #13 Line Guide Shaft with E-Clip #14 Retainer.

The two #9 Ball Bearings have removable ZZS shields. Remove and repack both #9 Ball Bearings with grease. Insert one #9 Ball bearing into the thicker end of black plastic #8 Level Wind Tube.

The dimensions for these two #9 Ball Bearings are 7mm x 3.8mm x 2.5mm (OD x ID x width). I find the 3.8mm ID strange, perhaps this is a non-metric size.

Coat #10 Worm Shaft with Cal’s Grease and insert till the end with a hole goes through #9 Ball Bearing.

Slip white plastic #11 Worm Shaft Gear over the protruding end of #10 Worm Shaft.

Insert #12 Worm Shaft Pin through the small hole on the side of #10 Worm Shaft.

Thread Worm Shaft assembly through #1 Frame and #7 Line Guide.

Insert the other #9 Ball Bearing into #8 Level Wind Tube at the opposite side.

Lock in place with white plastic #15 Worm Shaft Pin Holder.

Grease #16 Washer with Cal’s Grease, install. Snap on E-Clip #17 Retainer.

Oil #18 Pawl with ReelX and install in #7 Line Guide.

Dab some Cal’s Grease on #19 Washer and paste it onto #18 Pawl. Press down with your thumb while you wiggle the white #11 Worm Shaft Gear with the other hand till the #7 Line Guide begins to synchronise.

Screw on Black plastic #20 Line Guide Nut. Take care not to cross thread or over torque as it’s made of plastic.

The next stage is gonna be frustrating to some, so go take a break, get a drink and a pee before you come back for the next stage.

Fiddly Step Coming up

Lube the #1 Frame with Cal’s Grease. Hook #29 Kick Lever Spring to the tiny hole on plastic #24 Kick Lever and the other end into a hole at the bottom of #1 Frame.

Insert the shorter end of #26 Clutch Spring into a hole in #1 Frame.

Observe, the part that stands up for #26 Clutch Spring is the longer end. If your reel is new, this end is painted pink to differentiate the ends.

Insert black plastic #23 Yoke Holder into holes and groove in the #1 Frame.

Slide #5 Clutch Link upwards.

Slip white plastic #25 Lift Curve around the posts of #23 Yoke Holder. Hook the long end of #26 Clutch Spring through a tiny hole on #25 Lift Curve. At this stage, it may be easier to remove the short end of #26 Clutch Spring from the hole in #1 Frame. Thread the peg of #24 Kick Lever through the big hole of #25 Lift Curve. Seat #25 Lift Curve squarely on #23 Yoke Holder and load #26 Clutch Spring with the aid of a pair of locking pliers/haemostats so that its short end is seated back in its hole in #1 Frame.

Carefully lube #25 Lift Curve with Cal’s Grease, taking care that the springs may jump off.

Slip plastic #27 Clutch Plate over the two posts of #23 Yoke Holder.

Secure with black screw that’s not listed on the schematic. Work your #4 Thumb Bar several times to be sure it is fitted right, and touch up the spots that needs Cal’s Grease. Congratulations! The worst is over.

Drive Train Assembly

Grease aluminium #30 Main Gear Shaft with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease and paste on copper #31 Washer. 2-4-C Marine Grease doesn’t emulsify when soaked with water, allowing it to continue protecting the dissimilar metal parts which usually get galvanic corrosion.

Carefull seat yellow plastic #32 Level Wind Gear onto matching square peg on #30 Main Gear Shaft.

Grease with Cal’s Grease and paste on stainless steel #34 Main Gear Shaft Plate.

Slip on #33 Washer.

Secure with E-Clip #35 Retainer.

Pack #36 Ball Bearing with Cal’s Grease and insert into #1 Frame. This is one of the ZZ shielded Ball Bearings mentioned earlier and its dimensions are 9mm x 5mm x 3mm (OD x ID x width).

Insert the thin end of #34 Main Gear Shaft Plate under #27 Clutch Plate, to install #30 Main Gear Shaft.

Secure with two stainless steel #28 Screws.

Apply Cal’s Grease to #30 Main Gear Shaft and slide #40 Ratchet down to seat squarely around the shaped peg, with the teeth pointed towards the direction of cranking. Grease the metal part of #24 Kick Lever with Cal’s Grease and load against #40 Ratchet

Coat phenolic washer #41 Drag Washer with Cal’s Grease and install.

Coat the metal part of #38 Yoke with Cal’s Grease. Fill the area between the teeth of #39 Pinion with Cal’s Grease, taking care not to get any grease into the hole as it will adversely affect casting distance with light lures.

Install on #23 Yoke Holder

Slip each #47 Spring onto the posts of #23 Yoke Holder.

Coat #42 Main Gear with Cal’s Grease, taking care to work the grease between all the gear teeth, and install.

Grease woven carbon fibre #43 Drag Washer with Cal’s Grease and install.

Drag Clicker installation

Coat both sides of metal #102 Drag Washer and install.

Grease woven carbon fibre #43 Drag Washer with Cal’s Grease and install.

Grease both sides of copper #103 Ear Washer with Cal’s Grease and install.

Grease woven carbon fibre #43 Drag Washer with Cal’s Grease and install.

Grease the concave side of #44 Pressure Washer and install.

Touch up #1 Frame with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease and install chromed plastic #21 Front Cover. Secure with tapered philips head #22 Screw.

Secure the other side with tapered philips head #22 Screw.

Installing IAR Bearing

It is very important to ensure you install the IAR roller bearing in the correct direction. Failing which, your reel will not work. So pay attention now, boys and girls. Slot #46 IAR Sleeve into IAR Roller Bearing. If your reel is right handed, insert on the right side as shown. If your reel is left handed, insert from the left. Turn the #46 IAR Sleeve in your cranking direction. If it doesn’t turn, flip the IAR Roller Bearing around and try again. Make a mark on the side of the bearing that you could turn forwards.

The #50 Gear Side Plate is made of plastic and wouldn’t corrode. However, the cage of the IAR Roller Bearing will. To prevent it from rusting and getting permanently stuck in #50 Gear Side Plate, you want to grease the metal cage with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease. However, you don’t want any grease to get onto the needle roller bearings as that will cause them to slip. So stuff a piece of tissue paper to cover the needle roller bearings while you grease the metal cage with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease.

Press IAR Roller Bearing into #50 Gear Side Plate making sure the side that you marked in the previous test is facing towards the handle. Clean off any grease that may have smeared onto the needle bearings and oil with ReelX

Coat a layer of Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease to protect the aluminium insert on #50 Gear Side Plate.

Closing Up

Oil thin metal #45 washer and #46 IAR Sleeve with ReelX and install.

Touch up the edges of #1 Frame with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease.

Slip #50 Gear Side Plate over, matching pegs with holes on #1 Frame and secure with the thinner #63 screw at the top and the fatter #64 screw below.

Secure inside with long #65 Screw.

Snap on #66 Lube Port and secure with woodscrew #67 Screw.

Oil #48 Pinion Shaft with ReelX and insert through the hole of #39 Pinion.

This #52 Ball Bearing is also ZZ shielded. But because it faces the #59 Brake Knob which has a hole, I didn’t remove the shield on one side to prevent water from getting into the Ball Bearing. Pack full with lightened Cal’s Grease till grease comes out from between the gap of the shield, and install.

The dimensions for #52 Ball Bearing are 10mm x 3mm x 4mm (OD x ID x width).

To read about how I lighten Cal’s Grease, see HERE

Snap on C-Clip #53 Ring to hold #52 Ball Bearing in place.

Oil clear silicone #51 O-Ring with Reel X and roll it to its groove. Match studs on the underside of black plastic #54 Click Washer to grooves in the housing of #50 Gear Side Plate.

Grease the inside of #59 Brake knob with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine grease to prevent water from leaking into the hole. Match the stud on underside of black plastic #58 Click Washer with the hole on #59 Brake knob and install. Oil copper #55 Click Spring with ReelX and drop into #59 Brake Knob. Drip a drop of ReelX on #57 Rubber Washer and install. Oil the phenolic #56 Friction Washer with ReelX and install.

Lastly lube the aluminium threads on #50 Gear Side Plate with Cal’s Grease.

Attach #59 Brake Knob.

Coat the threads of #30 Main Gear Shaft with Cal’s Grease.

Slip #69 Click Spring into #68 Click Spring Holder. Coat with Cal’s Grease and install.

Coat both sides of Belleville #70 Spring Washers and install with their concave sides facing each other. They should look like this ()

Grease the insides of #71 Star Wheel and screw on.

Grease #72 Washer, slip over #71 Star Wheel. Slip on #73 Handle. I will not describe how to grease and service the handle knobs here as I had done similar examples HERE:

Grease and thread on #74 Handle Nut. Tighten and lock in place with #75 Handle Nut Cover. Secure with #76 Screw.

Finishing Up

As the spool runs on very tight tolerances to the #1 Frame, any uncleaned grease will adversely affect casting distance. Wet a towel with Simple Green and wipe off all excess grease that had oozed out, then slip on Spool

Fix back the #77 Palm Sideplate, secure with #60 Cam Lock Screw, tension the line tensioner, spool in the line, and your reel is ready to go out and fish.

Till we next meet on the water, God Bless and happy fishing!


PS: A Summary of the Ball Bearing dimensions for this reel are:
#90 Spool Ball Bearing 11mm x 5mm x 4mm
#86 Spool Ball Bearing 10mm x 3mm x 4mm
#52 Brake Knob Ball Bearing 10mm x 3mm x 4mm
#9 Level Wind Ball Bearing (2 pieces) 7mm x 3.8mm x 2.5mm
#36 Main Gear Shaft Ball Bearing 9mm x 5mm x 3mm
Handle Knob Ball Bearing (4 Pieces) 8mm x 5mm x 2.5mm
All dimensions are measured OD x ID x Width

Text and Images © Lawrence Lee
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