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Which bearings to replace?

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So I want to replace/upgrade bearings on a few of my baitcasters (Core 50, Curado 50e, Curado 200e7).  From what I gather, replacing the spool bearings are what will improve my casting.  But which should I replace in order to get the smooth feeling back on the retrieve?  The Core and Curado 50 feel just a tad gritty, the Curado 200 more so.  Just for reference, I've already cleaned/lubed the reels which helped, but they still have some of that "getting old" slightly grind-y feel on retrieve.  Thanks in advance for all advice.

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A thorough cleaning, and proper lube will probably do more to bring back the smoothness than a bearing replacement.

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IMO it would be foolish to replace to the stock bearings on a Core. They are already as good or better than Boca 7s. Just flush them and put a light drop of oil on them. If the bearings are damaged then sure replace them with what you want.

If your retrieve is shot or getting rough it may not have to do with bearings but rather the gears. There are new gear sets for those reels that are about $15-30. 

Another thing to consider maybe handle bearings but it wont smooth out a rough retrieve.

Sounds like there may be something going on inside the reel leading to the rough retrieve. In that case it may be a good idea to have a pro go through the reel and inspect all the parts for damage or wear. 

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Did you use heavy grease on the main gear/pinion gear teeth? Or light oil?

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30 minutes ago, Bass Turd said:

Did you use heavy grease on the main gear/pinion gear teeth? Or light oil?

Grease on gears, oil on other parts needing lube.  At least that's my usual M.O.  But let's just suppose I wasn't thinking and oiled the gears.  (I cleaned them a couple months ago and haven't used the Curado 200 -- the roughest one -- since.  So it's possible...)  Wouldn't that have still lubed up the reels to some degree temporarily and have them feeling OK until the lighter (less viscous) lube dissipated?  

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Heavy grease will give a cushioning effect between the two fairly large gear teeth when they mesh. As they mesh they glide against each other just a bit. With light oil you will feel this much more than you should. This may or may not be what you are feeling. It is just one idea.

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Lubricants really just need to leave a micro layer on the parts where they mesh in order to prevent friction wear. The thickeners in grease don't lubricate anything rather are a medium to carry an oil and hold it in place. Over packing a reel with grease gives a false sense of smoothness that disappears rapidly with use. "Smooth" is another subjective term that gets bantered about with no way of being measured or qualified consistently. JF called it when he suggested deep cleaning and proper lubrication. IMO gear sets are over diagnosed as worn out. 

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3 hours ago, Delaware Valley Tackle said:

Lubricants really just need to leave a micro layer on the parts where they mesh in order to prevent friction wear. The thickeners in grease don't lubricate anything rather are a medium to carry an oil and hold it in place. Over packing a reel with grease gives a false sense of smoothness that disappears rapidly with use. "Smooth" is another subjective term that gets bantered about with no way of being measured or qualified consistently. JF called it when he suggested deep cleaning and proper lubrication. IMO gear sets are over diagnosed as worn out. 

Perhaps, but when a reel is tinkered with and there have been quite a few hands through a reel, it could be possible something wasn't put back together quite right causing premature wear. We really don't know much about the reel, the history of it, its service records, or the skill level of those that have worked on it. Reels that see a lot of resistance baits like spinnerbaits, big cranks, A-rigs etc, can wear out faster as well.

The material a gear set is made from also should be considered. I dropped a 6:8.1 gear set into an Alphas it is now one of the smoothest reels I have ever used. Also put a set of 7:0.1 gears from a Core into a Curado 50e and it is now incredibly smooth too.

 

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11 hours ago, kickerfish1 said:

The material a gear set is made from also should be considered.

It's more likely the quality of cut on the gears than the actual material itself.  The two gear sets you mentioned are from high end reels, made from top level tooling.

To elaborate on DVT's post, extra grease is usually shed off the main gear from centrifugal force, and deposited in the gear well on the crank side plate.  I see this all the time on factory lube jobs - especially from Daiwa and Shimano.  It's not a bad thing at all, just messy when you go to clean it, and it's necessary to that much on there.

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