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>> prochallenger rebuild [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:11 pm

Posts: 244
Location: alantani@yahoo.com

ok, don't everybody groan at once.

at the beginning of this year, a guy posted about this new fishing reel from taiwan. i had seen a couple of his lever drag reels and had a rough idea where they were in terms of development. i sent him an e-mail and talked about the work that i do with reels. it was the usual stuff - grease carbon fiber drag washers, open bearings, grease in the screw holes and oversized handles. he was very polite, seemed genuinely interested and we left it at that. a month ago, he called back. it seems that he is now incorporating all of my suggestions into his reels. it also seems that he is not the US sales rep, he is the president of the company.

he sent two reels to me. one was a spinner that you will see later. it's is amazingly smooth. the other is a 320 gt2-sized conventional reel. it's a prototype that has teflon drag washers. yup, very sticky teflon drag washers. so i'm thinking, hey, i've got a long range trip coming up. we will be paddy hopping on the way down. this could be fun! i loaded it up to the top with 65 pound spectra and matched it up with a penn sabre 270 that an old friend of mine gave to me. then i grabbed the camera and sat down at the bench. here's the reel.....

first off came the left side plate. hmmm, stainless steel screws and side plate rings. points for that.

room for a level wind assembly. topless would be better, but i can thumb around a top crossbar.

a bronze bushing instead of a bearing. it's 3x9x4 mm. i can install a bearing later. funky cast control mechanism. it goes.

nuts! the cast control mechanism has to be removed starting with the outside screw, not the inside one. snapped that sucker right off!!!!!!!! oh well, i didn't want it anyway. the click spring goes back on and it's done.

got a bearing for the right side of the spool. the shields get discarded, it's cleaned and lubed with corrosion x, and the c-clip holding the drive shaft gets a little grease. now everything goes back together.

now for the right side plate. off comes the handle.

hmmm, skinny drive shaft. not good, but not necessarily bad either.

three screws and the right side plate comes off as a unit.

ahhhh. classic chinese design, not the strongest, but probably sturdy enough for what i have in mind. very common world wide. okuma, shakespeare and many "house brand" reels use this design. mostly stainless steel guts. also very simple to service.

ok, here goes. first, let's remove the eccentric jack.

second, remove the pinion gear, yoke and springs.

third, remove the bridge/gear assembly as a unit. note carefully the position of the anti-reverse dog and spring. this is the only place where you can get screwed up.

in particular, remember this photo. you have to get it back to this point to put the reel back together again. oh, and, um, at this point, you are committed.....

pull off all the pieces and spread everything out. ignore the two washers at the bottom of the photo. they are from the cast control mechanism, not the drag stack.

the height of all five teflon washer and all five stainless washers is 6.77mm.

we will install three thicker penn ht-100 drag washers, part #6-965, from the penn 965 international. that's right, this reel will now have the same basic drag washer configuration as a penn 965. so anything that you can land with a 965 international, you should be able to land with this reel. or so we shall see......

the height of these three #6-965 washers and three metal washers is only 5.43mm, so i will add another metal washer to make up the height difference.

the red washer under the gear will be replaced with a penn #6-7000 washer. this is temporary. i am going to have to cut a heavier washer later on. for now, it will be ok.

all the carbon fiber washers get a juicy coat of shimano drag grease. it's a star drag reel, so all the extra grease gets squeezed out of play. i'm looking for 10 pound of drag. that is a tremendous amount of pressure. the extra grease won't matter at all.

remember the bearing around the drive shaft? i'm going to pop our the plastic seals, squeeze in some yamaha engine grease, press the seals back on and throw the bearing back on top of the drag stack.

ok, now everything is in place. here are the before and after pictures.

now, this is just like a newell or a jigmaster. just push the bridge/gear assembly back into place. then grab a dental pick and slide the dog spring back on the post.

re-install the bridge plate screws.

install the springs, yoke and pinion gear. don't get the yoke turned around.

install the eccentric jack and screw.

install the right side plate. oh, and underneath that cast control cap is another 3x9x4 mm bushing that has to be replaced.

install the star. add a little grease.

now for the handle. the lenght of the arm is acceptable for what i want to do, but the grip is too small. plus, the spindle is so short that i'm going to bang my knuckles.

the arm can stay, but the grip and spindle have to go. i ground down the back of the rivet and punched out out.

ahhh, this is more like it!

and on it goes.


i leave for san diego early tomorrow morning. i'm stopping off at calstar in gardena to see about getting a rod fixed, then off to noah's in san diego if i have time. i'm staying at the vagabond, getting drunk at the captain's quarter's during happy hour, having dinner at the mexican place down the street, and boarding the spirit of adventure on thursday morning. on the way down, i'll topshot the 65 pound spectra with 30 pound fluoro and set the drags to 10 pounds. we'll be paddy hopping all that first day on the way to guadalupe. we shall see how this reel holds up. i'll take lots of pictures! wish me luck!

eddie's brother, grady white 258

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:29 pm

Posts: 2495

Nice rebuild. You make it look so easy. Good luck on your trip...and with the reel!
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:22 am

Posts: 655

Thanks for the review Alan! That reel looks a little too Okuma for me (sorry Okuma fans, but once bitten, twice shy).
Good luck on the trip, and I'm sure you have a backup reel in your bag.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:07 am

Posts: 970

stripesidechaser wrote:
Thanks for the review Alan! That reel looks a little too Okuma for me (sorry Okuma fans, but once bitten, twice shy).
Good luck on the trip, and I'm sure you have a backup reel in your bag.

I agree. I frickin lost the MMD because of my Okuma. Even though it's been fixed, I'm really hesitant to use it.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 9:58 pm

Posts: 244
Location: alantani@yahoo.com

most of you have read the spirit of adventure report already. i think the prochallenger 30 did remarkably well. i rigged it with 65 pound spectra, a 30# topshot of berkeley big game, set the drag to 10#'s at the top of the spool and put it through it's paces. it casted fine. not great, but well enough to kill 5 tuna on the first day and four on the second day.

then it exploded!

what happened was that the anti-reverse dog had slipped, resulting in a huge bird's nest and a lost fish. and that was the end of that. it actually worked find afterwards, but i didn't have time to go through it to make sure. the reel was retired for the remainder of the trip and it was opened up when i got home.

here's the inside of the right side plate.

here's a shot of the dog and dog spring. no evidence of damage here. note that the main gear looks fine. although not pictured, the pinion gear was also fine.

here is a shot of the ht-100 drag washer that i put underneath the main gear. remember my comment that this drag washer would be temporary? the drag washer that i pulled out from under the main gear is on the far left. a example of a new drag washer is shown in the center. the replacement drag washer is on the right.

so why the new washer, and what happened to the old one? compare a penn jigmaster drag washer #6-309 to a 4/0 penn senator 113h drag washer #6-113h. the jigmaster washer has only a single layer of carbon fiber. it get's mashed down pretty badly. the 4/0 drag washer #6-113h has triple layer of carbon fiber, fiberglass and carbon fiber. this is a thicker washer and will hold up under the main gear. the drilled out #6-7000 ht-100 drag washer that you see in the above photo (left) also has a 3-layer construction and makes for a permanent replacement. if you don't have access to a penn ht-100 drag washer #6-7000, just use the red teflon washer that came with the reel originally.

and here's what cost me a fish. it's the light dog spring that you see on the right. these light dog springs are preferred because they don't make as much racket. heavier springs, like the replacement spring that i'll be using on the left, make the dog noisy enough to wake the dead.

here's the new heavy duty dog spring installed. yeah, i know it looks a little cheesy. i had to add a washer to keep the spring in place. and yes, it's noisy. at least it should have less risk of slipping against a heavy load.

and we're done. ready for service.

here's my scorecard for this reel. starting at 10 possible points ....

stock teflon drags .... -4 points
small handle grip .... -1 point
weak dog spring .... -1 points
no grease in drive shaft bearing .... -1 point
2 bushings instead of 2 more bearings .... -1 point

so starting with 10 possible points and subtracting 9, i would rate this stock reel as a 1 out of 10. i would give a similarly built okuma the same rating. then i changed out the drag washers and the handle grip, cleaned out one bearing and greased another. fishing this reel with straight 30 pound mono and 3-5 pounds of drag for our local salmon, i would give this modified reel an 8 out of 10.

but that's not how the reel was rigged. it got 65 pound spectra and a 30 pound topshot, the drags were set to 10 pounds and i went after small 20-30 pound yellowfin tuna, with three bonus tuna in the 60-70 pound range. and then the dog slipped. a problem similar to the one found in the shimano trinidad 30.

so overall, i think the reel did very well. if the reel can at least be fitted with greased carbon fiber drag washers, i think it would make a great reel for straight 30# mono and 3-5 pounds of drag. it gets a provisional thumbs up!

eddie's brother, grady white 258

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:25 pm

Posts: 655

Thanks for the great follow-up Alan. Of course, most of us aren't reel experts like you, and would like to think the reel would be a 9 out of 10, straight out of the box! I'm pretty sure you won't be seeing anything named Okuma or Prochallenger in my arsenal.
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