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Maintaining Shimano Round Baitcasting Reels


Shimano reels, when properly maintained, provide years of dependable high performance. Below are a few simple steps to keep your Shimano reels in top condition, as well as, preventative measures to avoid costly repairs.


List of tools that may be needed for service:

  • Tools: Small Flat Head Screwdriver, Small Phillips Head Screwdriver, 10MM Nut Driver or Shimano Wrench
  • Lubricants: Shimano Bantam Oil (BNT1445), Shimano Drag Grease (A-DRA 1/4)
  • Cleaners: Cotton Swabs, Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, Tooth Brush, Paper Towels or Rags
  • Schematics: All Shimano reels come with schematics, however, they can also be found here: http://fish.shimano.com/publish/content/fish/sac/us/en/customer_service/reel_schematics.html

Tools and cleaning materials recommended to service reels

Tools and cleaning materials recommended to service reels. Some Shimano reels come with Bantam Oil. These simple tools are readily available at hardware stores.


Remove spool assembly on Calcutta reels

Access the spool assembly on Shimano Calcutta and Calcutta B via thumbscrews located on the right side plate. Remove spool assembly.


clean the exterior of the reel

Using cotton swabs and/or a toothbrush with isopropyl rubbing alcohol, clean the exterior of the reel.


clean and oil levelwind

Clean levelwind system of dirt, debris, and old grease. Apply 3 drops of Shimano Bantam Oil to levelwind. On heavily used reels, Shimano Drag Grease may also be used.


inspect, clean and oil spool assembly

Inspect and clean spool assembly. Check spool shaft bearing or bushing for rust, corrosion, or damage. Apply only 1 drop of Shimano Bantam Oil to spool shaft bearing or bushing.


clean and oil VBS brake collars

Clean and oil VBS Brake Collars to maintain optimal casting performance. Inspect collars for wear and tear; replace accordingly.


clean, inspect and oil cast control cap

Remove Cast Control Cap. Inspect bearing, spring, and O-ring for wear and tear. Clean Cast Control Cap and apply 1 drop of oil.


oil spool bearing

We recommend using only 1 drop of oil on the spool bearing. Excess oil will find its way into the drag system, adversely affecting its performance.


reinstall right side of reel with thumb bar

Important note: When reinstalling Right Side onto reel, please make sure that the Thumb Bar is held in the "up" position. Otherwise, the clutch will not work.


Heavy Duty Maintenance: Recommended for reels that have had extensive saltwater exposure and/or those that have been submerged in saltwater.


Lightly rinse reels with freshwater using a spray bottle. Avoid excessive water from a high pressure source as this may push salt and/or debris inside the reel. Wipe down reel with a rag or towel after rinsing. This is also good practice after every fishing trip.


remove reel handle assembly

Begin by removing handle assembly using small screw driver. Thereafter, remove handle nut with 10mm nut driver.


remove star drag and spring washer

Remove star drag and drag spring washers. Note the order in which the washers are assembled to ensure proper reassembly.


remove right side plate screws and plate

After removal of right side plate screws, remove right side plate.


remove yoke springs

Remove yoke springs, pinion gear, yoke, and drive gear with drag washers.


clean parts with rubbing alcohol

Clean parts with isopropyl rubbing alcohol using a toothbrush and/or cotton swab.


lubricate drive gear with shimano drag grease

Use Shimano Drag Grease to lubricate drive gear. Fill the threads half way around with grease.


reinstall drag washers

Order of drag washers: Carbon (big hole), metal (keyed), carbon, metal (eared), carbon and thick metal key.


grease drag washers

Lightly grease drag washers. Too much grease will reduce the maximum amount of grease that the reel will produce.


reinstall drag washers

Reinstall drag washer one by one to make sure that they all go in place properly. Handle drag washers with care!


reinstall yoke, pinion gear, yoke springs and roller clutch inner tube

Reinstall yoke, pinion gear, yoke springs and roller clutch inner tube.


reinstall right side plate

Reinstall right side plate and right side plate screws. Make sure that the drag spring washers and spacer are in the correct order.


reinstall star drag

Reinstall star drag, friction washer, handle assembly, handle but and handle lock plate.




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