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Full Version: Open heart surgery of a Shimano Cardiff 301
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A month ago, I took my Shimano Cardiff 301 on a trip to California. It was subjected to some saltwater fishing assignments. Everything was great for a while. I rinsed down the reel after use. It was only on the very last use that I noticed a little stiffness in the reel. When I got home, it got to the point where I couldn't really turn the handle. Something is wrong.

I should really have opened the reel up sooner, but work has been busy and there were other things that occupied my time. Today was the first time I had a couple of hours to examine the reel.

As with every overhaul I've ever done on my reels, these are the usual equipment.

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Most important is a set of reel schematics. This is your best friend if you forgot where a piece should go. Shimano provided a little handy wrench key that would help with all the screws and the hex nut on the handle. This is all you really need, but I do prefer a bigger Phillips screwdriver for some of the screws. I also like to use Quantum Hot Sauce, both the oil for bearings and grease for gears.

I've never operated on a baitcaster before (never really needed to...since this was the first time I took my Cardiff to saltwater mission). With a little courage, charge!

The easiest start is to unscrew the three large silver screw knobs. When all three are unscrewed, you can just pull out the left (this is a left hand reel) side plate of the reel. The handle and all the internal gears should still be attached to the side plate and it will start intact for now.

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Once removed, you'll see the spoke of the spool, the centrifugal adjustment tabs, the gear that controls the levelwind and the little tab that holds the spool release button.

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On the spoke of the spool, you'll notice a bearing. It is nice and clean so no cleaning is required. Just oil this bearing and you're good. The gear controlling the levelwind requires a little cleaning to remove old grease, so clean that out and then add some new grease again. The tab for the spool release button requires a little touch of grease.

Once you are done, you can close the side plate again. This will make it easier for the next few steps.

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Unscrew the screw on the handle and remove the hex tab, then remove the hex nut securing the handle in place.

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Under the handle there is a little spring washer to prevent the star drag from contacting the handle.

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Remove the little spring washer and the star. When I flipped over the star, I can already see some problem...old grease with some salt residue. Uh-oh!

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Luckily, that salt cleaned out easy. Underneath that star is two drag adjustment spring washers. The washer face each other like this (). It is important to remember how they face each other and put them back in the right way.

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Removing the spring washers, I see a major problem. RUST!!! That's not good at all...

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At this point, I unscrew the three silver knob screws first. That way I can remove the side plate with gear box in one piece. Next, I unscrew the other two screws on the side plate that holds the gear box together.

Here's the gear box with the side plate removed. We'll go backt to this later.

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First the bad news. Here's the rust seen from the other side of the side plate. Also note the bit of rust on the bearing on the spool tension knob.

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It took a bit of time to clean out the rust. A cotton swab really helps in tight areas.

The rusty part was a anti-reverse bearing. This is why the handle ceased and I couldn't turn it. The bearing just wouldn't move. It took a while to remove the sleeve inside the anti-reverse bearing. Lots of rust to clean out.

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Also some rust trickled down to the bearings. It is pretty difficult to clean out...luckily I've dealt with this before.

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Opening up a reel and seeing the inside for yourself really teaches you how to judge a reel. This reel is definitely not designed for saltwater since it has no sealed bearings. You would definitely expect a sealed bearing here since this is the entry point for water into the gearing.

Since this anti-reverse bearing is not directly supporting the spool, it does not affect the free spool ability of the reel. Thus, I packed it with grease so that future water intrusion and rusting like this could be prevented.

Okay...going back to the gear box.

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You see a large drive gear on the shaft. Underneath within this gear, and surprisingly just underneath this gear is a set of drag washers. I removed the bottom washer and it was clean, so I just wiped off the old grease and reapply a LIGHT coat of grease. You do not want too much grease here!

I removed the large metal silver washer that you see in the picture, and below that is a large drag washer.

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This is why you need to clean you reel once in a while. All that black grease is due to residue from your drag washer. As a fish pull on the drag, friction will start to wear out the washer. Even if it is greased, the heat will slowly degrade this washer, and bits of residue will build up. This black gummy mess is often what cause a sticky drag. It is time to clean it up!

I removed the drag washer carefully. It is pretty delicate and it felt like I could tear it if not being careful.

Again, cleaned out the old grease on the gear and the drag washer, then reapply a THIN layer of grease to the gear, the drag washer and the metal washer...and reassemble.

Notice how you can barely tell there was even a layer of grease on the metal washer. You don't want to pack this full of grease...just a light layer.

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This is how I usually apply a light layer of grease...just a tiny dab on the index finger and rub that between the finger and the thumb, then just rub the pieces you wish to apply grease.

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Next, we go to the clutch gear and the clutch dog. They are pretty clean except for a little bit of rust on the dog. It is surprising how far moisture can penetrate into a reel. Also note the two little springs that push against the spool to provide spool tension. Don't lose these!!!

**I took this picture after I had already added a dab of grease on one of the gear. That red grease is fresh grease.

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I cleaned both out and added a light layer of grease.

Now, with the clutch gear, the clutch dog and the springs removed, you can clean and grease the gear that drives the spool. You can see how there is some white grease build up just under that brass gear. Clean it up and reapply new grease. The other plastic gear drives the levelwind gear, clean that out too and give it some fresh grease.

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This is as far as you need to take it. From here on, it is just putting everything back together. I stopped taking pictures here since I was in a hurry to put the reel back together (new episode of Doctor Who was calling). However, once I put the reel back together, I found out I had put the anti-reverse bearing backward and I had to take it apart again and correct that. Don't ever flip the anti-reverse bearing...or else you'll wonder why the handle is not turning LOL.

Anyways, I hope this is a semi-helpful tutorial for cleaning a baitcaster like the Shimano Cardiff. If I had more experience with this reel, I would take better step-by-step pictures. I was figuring things out most of the time so by the time I realize I need to take a picture, I had taken some parts out already. Undecided

Shimano reels are great, but they are not bullet proof. Use them appropriately and it will accomplish what it was meant for. But if you use a freshwater reel in saltwater, there may be problems that could arise...even with frequent rinsing after use. That's why sometimes I stress reel quality so much and the need to get proper saltwater gear for saltwater use.
Fantastic post Ken, I definitely learned a whole bunch by reading this!

Chatting today, you mentioned using WD-40 to lift and remove the rust. Otherwise, that would be my first question Tongue.

Also, I was expecting an explanation of how you cut your finger... but it was only some red grease LOL.
Nice Post! I have the orignal Cardfiff 101 and it has served me well over years...once I figured out how to used a baitcaster that is.
Thanks for the tutorial.
excellent. thanks for sharing!
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