Friday, November 25, 2016

Shimano Antares DC7

A few years ago, I repaired a first generation Shimano Antares low profile reel. It was an excellent reel. The build quality was outstanding. I can't really find a problem with the reel except that it was a bit heavy and the finish was slick when wet. Then a few weeks ago, I got request to repair another Antares. This time the reel is the Antares DC7. According to the owner, it was relatively new and was only used a couple of times in freshwater.
At first glance, there's no doubt that this is an expensive reel. The build quality is outstanding. Even the box and the accessories that came with it look and feel premium.
The owner contacted me because the reel was not smooth to the crank as if something is stuck inside the gear or handle. They didn't want to open it because they were not familiar with the sequence in disassembling and re-assembling this kind of reel.
When I held it and cranked it, my initial suspicion was that someone opened it but reassembled it incorrectly.
To disassemble it, I removed the handle nut retainer screw, the retainer, and then the nut itself. Once the handle is out, loosen the star drag until it is unscrewed. Take care to hold it once it comes out of the shaft because the sprong  underneath will make it pop out and if the drag star drops into a hard surface, it might crack or get deformed.
Before you can remove the side plate covering the gears, you need to remove the spool. To do that, slide the lever underneath the reel to 'Open' position and then slide the side plate to expose the brakes. Remove the three black screws holding the DC brake and pull it out completely. Take care not to damage the coils. Once the DC brake assembly is out, pull out the spool and after that, you can remove the screws inside the frame that holds the handle-side side cover.

The internals were clean and looked new and never been serviced. I relubed them using Yamaha marine grease with a little Corrosion X. The bearings looked OK but underneath the main gear, there was a hint of corrosion.
I removed the main gear and pinion. I also removed the Anti-reverse bearing (aka roller clutch bearing) and that's when I noticed that it was rusted heavily. The roller clutch tube was stuck inside the bearing and would not budge. After a few cycles in my ultrasonic cleaner and a lot of Corrosion X, I managed to get it out. A few cycles in the cleaner and the bearing became usable ---but not as smooth as before. The permanent solution is to replace the bearing. I reassembled it and sent it back to the owner. He will send it back to me once he has the new part.

My impression of the reel? It is an awesome solidly built reel. It is still a bit heavy and slick when wet but the DC brake is a cool upgrade. The sound it makes during cast is so worth the cash if you have them extra. But, for the price point, the bearings shouldn't corrode that easily.
From my past experiences with the Shimano reels, the first to get rusted is almost always the AR bearing. It could be a design flaw where the frame lets water in or simply because they are using cheap bearings. Probably this explains why their reel's AR bearings are removable. Other reel's like Daiwa's are stamped or pressed into the frame and it is difficult to remove them. Probably because it is unlikely that you will need to. I rarely see rusted AR bearings from premium Daiwa reels.