Monday, March 19, 2012

Upgrading a Daiwa Zillion PA/PLA Crazy Cranker

I got a really good deal on a Daiwa Zillion PA/PLA Crazy Cranker from eBay. I really wanted this reel since two years ago but wasn't able to afford one. Luckily, bidding was not that aggressive so the price was kept low.

Like all Daiwa Zillions, the Daiwa Zillion PA/PLA Crazy Cranker need to have the basic upgrade to super-tune it. Among these upgrades are Carbontex Drag upgrade, worm gear bearing, and a JDM swept handle so that you can put 4 ball bearings on them. The US version has riveted paddles. This means that there is no way to remove the paddles to replace the bushings. But because the replacement handle is too expensive ($100+), it will take some time before I get to purchase one. By the way, if you will use the reel in saltwater most of the time, it is actually better to have a bushing in the paddles. If you want bearings, you need to have the ones with extra protection from salt (CRBB bearing). Those bearings are not cheap. Each will cost you Php600 each. That's Php 600 x 4pcs = 2400 or $50. For the meantime, a carbontex upgrade and worm gear bearing would do.

The Daiwa Zillion PA/PLA Crazy Cranker is the most powerful Zillion because of its gears. It has a 4.9:1 gear ratio that is built for deep diving crankbaits and heavy bottom baits/lures. I decided to get the Crazy Cranker for heavy plastic swimbaits, big spoons, madai, and tenya jigs in Saltwater. Because all Zillions are equipped with corrosion resistant bearings, using them in salt is not a problem.
The Daiwa Zillion PA/PLA Crazy Cranker Gear Set. From the size of the teeth, you will know that this reel is all about power.
Due to the slow gearing, it's a bit painful to use on top water fishing such as frog fishing and WTD lures. The solution is to get a 6.3:1 gear set and pop it in when you need it --- It's like having two reels for a price of one. For this article, I will be upgrading the gears to 6.3 and the drag washers to Carbontex. The worm gear bearing that I currently have is "geary" (not smooth) so I decided to skip this for the meantime. By the way, it's 5x8x2.5 in size in case you would like to know.

I got the JDM Zillion HLA 6.3 gear set from Plat is my favorite online parts seller for Japanese reels. They have excellent customer service and they will go the extra mile to get what you need. I highly recommend this store.

Parts from Plat. Excuse the discoloration in the gears. I have been using this gear for a few weeks before I took the pictures.

I also got Carbontex Washers from Actually, this was for my TDA 4000 Spinning reel. The size was pretty close so I decided to try it for the meantime.

To get started, remove the side plates, the retainer screw, the handle nut, the handle, the drag star, the clicker assembly and the tension springs.

Then remove the three screws holding the handle-side sideplate. After doing so, pull out the big bearing near the shaft and then remove the side plate.

Next, remove the old 4.9 gear and drag assembly and the Yoke and Yoke springs. The pinion should come out together with it. Here is what I will be replacing. The felt drag washer and the powerful 4.9 gearing.

Pop in the 6.3 Gears, the carbontex washers, and then reinstall the yoke and yoke springs with the 6.3 Pinion. Once done, oil and grease the parts and then install them back on and you are done.

Now, what can I say about the Daiwa Zillion PA/PLA Crazy Cranker? Simply, amazing! It's smooth, very powerful, and it's an excellent caster. The Magforce Z brake is fantastic and I can cast against the wind without problems. The internals are top notch. The only plastic part inside is the yoke and it appears that there are no cast aluminum parts inside it, almost all are either brass or stainless steel. It's saltwater safe. So far, after a month of use, no corrosion issues.

When I am going fishing for mangrove jacks or threadfin salmon using topwater, I pop in the 6.3 gears. When I need to go bottom fishing using madai or inchiku or even big spoons, I install the 4.9 gears. No need to buy two identical reels with different gears.

I was asked earlier why I chose 6.3:1 instead of 7.3:1 gears. The 6.3:1 is a general purpose gear. Not too fast, not too slow, and most specially with enough torque. I believe that whenever you increase the gear speed, the torque of the reel goes down. I have tried the 7.1 gears from Curado and from other Daiwa reels and the torque was not for me.

Next upgrade is a Worm Gear bearing and hopefully a 4-bearing handle.


  1. hi bro, just happy to see your tutorials on changing the main gear ... I am trying to change my zillion 7.3 type r to lower speed of 4.9 ...

  2. hi brads,...
    can i have ur email add?
    i want to ask ur guides for servicing a Daiwa Zillion CC...
    full service and full disassemble as my reel start to make noise while retrieve after cast. but it doesnt make any noise when i retrieve blankly (without the main line out).
    email me