It took me a while to get the needed upgrades for my recently acquired Team Daiwa Advantage 4000A. It's not yet completely upgraded but it's almost done. 3 upgrades out of possible 5 is good enough for now.
I upgraded the Drag Washer to Smoothdrag's Carbontex. The set I ordered is Carbontex F62-7101 which cost me $9 per set excluding the shipping -- which is very minimal (around $2-3). The stock washer is some sort of oil impregnated felt fabric which is good, relatively smooth and strong. Because of the oil, it resists water from reaching the bottom of the spool. But after upgrading to Carbontex, you can feel the improvement in smoothness. Right now, I installed the washers dry and later on, I will put some Cal's drag grease to improve smoothness and water resistance.
After the drag washer, I replaced the plastic bushing in the spool shaft. High end Daiwa reels have ball bearings as stock component. TDA, Caldia, Freams, and other Real Four entry level reels all have plastic or aluminum washers instead of bearings. I got a bearing from a fellow angler. It's an SARB bearing from Shimano and fits the TDA spool bushing perfectly. The bearing in the spool really improved the smoothness of the drag. The Carbontex washer increased the drag range and the spool bearing will help in this increase in drag. The bearing is 12x8x2.5.
After the spool bearing upgrade, I also upgraded the lame knob to an all aluminum round power knob (Size M). I initially wanted the Tuna Max knob (Size S) but when we tried installing it, it would not fit. The screw was not able to reach the tip of the shaft. I visited Alex's Tackle and saw a couple of Sea Hawk knobs Size M. Matt, the owner of the store, convinced me to take the Sea Hawk knob to test fit it. It's a good thing I did. The knob has a replacement shaft and two stainless steel bearings and the price is less than half of the Tuna Max knob (no shaft or bearings included). The Sea Hawk knob was a perfect fit although I was only able to use 1 ball bearing because the TDA stock handle is designed for single bearing knobs only.
And here is what the reel looks like after the upgrade. The only noticeable difference is the cool round power knob.
In terms of appearance, it looks like a true light jigging and light popping reel because of the knob. The internals (drag washer and spool bearing) supports that look. I matched this reel with my DIY Okuma Sentara popping rod.
Next step is to upgrade the handle. I wanted a Caldia KIX custom handle so I can use an additional bearing on the knob (2 bearing knob). After that, I want to replace the bushing in the end of the main shaft. This will make the reel a double-bearing supported shaft. This will increase the smoothness even further.
The total cost of the three upgrades, around P1,800. The cost of absolutely manhandling a 2kg Mangrove Jack, priceless.
I can't wait to try it again this coming weekend. Hopefully, there are some GTs playing somewhere in Zambales. Who knows, maybe I will get lucky.