I got this reel from another angler-Shimano-fan. He had this reel stored for god knows how long. The reel doesn't have a handle, a clicker assembly, the main gear is stripped, the oscillating gear and idler gear are torn to bits and pieces, the bearings are rusted, and there were missing springs and etc. The spool doesn't have a VBS (Variable Brake System) assembly. The thumb rest (face plate) is also cracked and torn. Basically, a junker that's ready to be thrown out. I think he gave it to me as a challenge to see if I can give it a new life.
|Curado 101D Schematic|
The problem with a 10-year-old-under-$200-reel from Shimano is that parts are really hard to come by. This is specially true for American-market reels. If you check US-based reel parts supplier's sites, you will normally see "Discontinued" labels on important reel parts. To find replacements, you have to really dig deeper and go through different articles, blog posts, and online forum discussions to know what parts can be used as alternatives.
For the handle assembly, I posted an ad in an FB fishing buy-and-sell page. Luckily, Edmar Chua, one of the nicest anglers around sent me one for free complete with the awesome Septon paddles and bearings. Some of the parts like all the springs, idler and oscillating gear, clicker assembly, I ordered from Plat.com. They are parts for the Shimano Scorpion 1001. If you look at the Curado 101D, it is basically the same reel as a Scorpion 1001. The only difference is the color and the internals. The latter has better parts which explains why it is more expensive. If I recall it correctly, Scorpions sells for over $200 when they first came out.
The old Curado 101D has aluminum main gears, which explains why it stripped. I have read a lot of posts about the reel's gears stripping after a few years. I also found out that you can replace the gear with a brass gear from Chronarch. The Chronarch part # is BNT1514. It is no longer available from any part seller but you can get this from eBay. I then added a new set of Carbontex drag washers which was originally from a Curado E. It was a bit big so I had to trim it using a Dremel. After that, I splashed it with some Cal's drag grease and it was ready to go.
I have some old bearings from stock Shimano reels -- the Japan versions, and to be honest, they are way better than the Malaysian versions. They are smooth and spin like crazy. When buying reels, I always prefer Japanese-made reels. You can be assured that the internals are of high quality. I have nothing against reels made from other countries. I just believe that I get the best bang for the buck if I get the components that are going to last.
One of the main challenges that I encountered with this reel is the VBS assembly. It is not available for sale by itself--- you have to buy the entire Spool with brakes if ever you find one. That makes the reel so expensive. It's like buying a great condition Scorpion 1001. After much digging, I found Avail's microcast spools and they have this 4-pin brake assembly for Scorpions. When I asked the seller, they say it does not fit the old Curado D or Scorpion 1001 spools. It's only for the newer reels like Curado E and Scorpion XT and it will only fit Microcast spools. Their advise is to buy the spool and the brake assembly. Unfortunately, the spool is more expensive than a brand new reel so buying one is out of the question.
Not believing what they said, I did some more research and found Chinese knock-offs from Aliexpress. I saw a post from Tackletour which mentioned it. It's called Ray's Studio DIY Brakes or something like that.
Not really a fan of Chinese online shops because it is always a hit-or-miss when I buy stuff from them. But because the brake assembly will cost me around P300 only, I decided to give it a try. To my surprise, it fits perfectly. The stock brake blocks from another Shimano reel that I got from another angler was a perfect fit.
After installing everything, I tested the reel and I am convinced that it could be one of the best casting reels I have tried so far. Almost at par with my custom color TDZ. I think the DIY brake assembly for Microcast spools works perfectly with a stock spool. The spools spins really fast and the DIY brake assembly creates a very subtle braking during cast. You just need to have a trained thumb to slow the spool. The brass gear and the Japanese bearings made the reel very smooth and very powerful. Perfect for heavy cover fishing. I paired it with my Scorpion EV casting rod which I also customized. I intend to have this combo as loaner rod and reel when needed. Total cost to revive the reel, around P800.