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Around a year ago I bought an Abu Garcia black max baitcasting reel, and it's been used a lot, so does it need to be oiled or anything? I've never oiled it, or done anything else like that. I've heard that you need to add some reel oil to it once every 3 - 4 months or so... Is that true?

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At the end of every season its good habbit to service all reels.

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You may want to move this topic to the rod-reel-line forum.

As long as we're here, I'll attempt to answer your questions.  What you want to do, or get done now, is a cleaning an lube. It isn't all that difficult to do yourself, but the first time you do it, be sure to follow a step by step breakdown and reverse it when reassembling. There are some decent videos out there that will give you a good idea.

As for oiling the bearings every 3-4 months, unless you're putting in 20 hours or more of chucking and winding a week, it isn't really called for but can't hurt.  If, however you're the type that lays his rod down on the ground or fishes murky water, you may want to give it a quick clean and lube mid-season.  One thing you do want to keep clean and lubed is the worm gear that the line guide runs back and forth with. It's notorious for collecting dirt which will wear out the pawl and/or cause your line to stack up on one side of the spool.

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I honestly am guilty of not cleaning my reels often enough, but I definitely recommend a drop of lube on the spool bearing and side plate bearing every 6 months. Also like the previous post says, it's a good idea to remove the bearings and worm gear every year to clean and re-lube. But I usually only do this when I notice the worm gear is dirty or clogged. But before you do anything make sure you know how the reel dismantles and study the schematics also helps with this. Also , this is kind of on the topic, but those Black Max are a very nice reel at the $50 price point, but are notorious for having anti-reverse bearing failures, if you notice any back winding don't just chuck the reel,  you can easily find replacement anti reverse bearings to fix this issue. I've had this problem with every black max, silver max and pro max I've ever owned and it always happens after 2 or 3 seasons. Other than that they are usually very problem free reels when maintained properly.

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I'm horrible with reel maintenance, but what I really find makes a difference is keeping the worm/pawl happy. A quick cleaning and a drop of oil every couple of weeks or months (depending on use) works well. Lubing the spool bearings, maybe twice a year, and a complete cleaning every season or two is what I shoot for, but like I said, I'm horrible.

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Any time one of my reels isn't casting as good as I expect it to, I lay it aside and when I get home I open it up and put a tiny drop of oil in each bearing and clean and relube the brake drum.  My Chronarch directions say to do this after every trip, which I don't but do often.  It only takes a minute and makes fishing more enjoyable.

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Sounds like your reel gets heavy use or perhaps it is one of your only baitcasters. If that is the case you will need to service it more than some of us that use our reels less.

 

I would say you will probably want to do the bearings and gears at least once or twice a year depending on how the reel feels and casts to you. If you are somewhat mechanically inclined I would flush and relube the spool bearings. I would then add a little bit more grease to the gears to prevent premature wear on them.

 

For a $50 reel I would learn to service it myself. Average costs of service plus shipping both ways will run you around $30 give or take. Most places will want $15-25 per reel and then shipping to and from.

 

Just remember to keep a schematic for your reel handy and also try to lay the parts down when you start taking it apart in the order they go or take pictures. Be careful of bearing retainer clips that like to fly and other small parts along the way.

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I have quite a few Abu Max series reels, and I doubt there is anyone who uses them more often or harder than me. They are good cheap reels that stand up to my use, I have several that are 4+ years old, used 100+ days a year fun fishing, in a dozen or more tournaments, and get used for lots of stressing applications like deep cranking, frogging, punching, flipping, etc...  I have had nothing more than basic maint. done to them, and I haven't had one go belly up yet. If and when one does....in the junk drawer it goes to be used for parts, and I'll gladly pay the $40-$80 for another one. They, along with the now discontinued Daiwa Exceler's are my favorite casting reels.

 

I am firmly in the camp of..."if it ain't broke, don't fix it", so those reels never get opened up unless they have to.

 

For basic maint. this is all I do: Drop of lightweight oil on the level wind gear, drop of oil on spool bearings. I do this at the start, and somewhere around the middle of my "season". The cheap little $2 bottles of "RemOil" at Walmart are great for this.

 

When I do open them up, it's usually for lubing an anti-reverse bearing that is allowing backplay in handle, a sticky thumb bar, or if they start to sound "geary". Then I will blast all the parts with CRC quick dry electronics parts cleaner (I avoid break cleaner as it can melt plastic). Lube the gears with a light coat of generic automotive wheel bearing grease, oil the AR bearing with the same RemOil mentioned above and reassemble.

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Thanks for all the replies here. :) By they way, is it ok to dunk a reel in freshwater? I accidentally dropped my rod in a pond for a few seconds...

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3 hours ago, EGbassing said:

Thanks for all the replies here. :) By they way, is it ok to dunk a reel in freshwater? I accidentally dropped my rod in a pond for a few seconds...

Submerging a reel is one of the things that causes me to open them up and do maint. on them.

 

These low end freshwater reels are not sealed up to any elements, and I have even had to dry them out and re-lube them after being on the deck of the boat and getting caught out during a really really hard rain storm.

 

The water is going to displace and/or thin out any lube the reel has in it. Best case if you don't clean/dry it out and re-lube it is it will make weird noises and performance will rapidly decline, worst case is, it will do all that and it may lead to rust/corrosion forming in the bearings and other metal parts and/or have introduced grit and other particles to the inside of the reel which will rapidly wear things out.

 

It sounds like your reel is due for a tear down, cleaning, dry out, and lube job.

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i have an old stx that i got back in high school, so it is at least 9 years old, and untill this winter i have never serviced it. now granted, there were years where i did not fish at all, but it still worked flawlessly and was basically the only reel i used, and it had been submerged in water a few times. and even this year i didnt break down the whole reel, just cleaned worm gear and took off side plate.  the thing is a tank.

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