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Tuning the Penn 525 GS, 525 Mag & Mag T

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#1 Black Beard

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Posted January 23 2004 - 9:43 AM

Ok, it's biggy but here goes:-
Penn's 525 range comprises three reels, the standard GS with a combined spool/spindle complete with centrifugal brakes. The 525 Mag with it's separate spool/spindle controlled by four small rare earth magnets in a sliding assemble and the 525 Mag T or ‘TournaMag'. This reels has a different endplate incorporating a single large rare earth magnet to keep things under serious control.
All three reels share a common reinforced graphite frame, powerful 6:1 gears, power handles and HT100 drag washers but inside the Mag reels are very different from the GS. The spool in the standard GS reel runs on two bearings, a 17mm diameter race in the handle end and a smaller 11mm bearing set in the opposite end plate. Removing the left hand endplate exposes the four adjustable centrifugal brake blocks.
The GS relies on centrifugal brakes and bearing oil to keep things under control. I tend to use yellow Rocket Fuel in the larger bearing and Red in the smaller one. The larger bearing especially needs some attention in the cleaning department as the factory grease tends to find its way into this large bearing. Give both a good soak in lighter petrol, leave them in for 15 minutes or so, then remove, replace the petrol with fresh and give ‘em another five minutes, remove and allow to dry on a piece of folded kitchen towel.
Once nice and clean with all the petrol evaporated dose up the bearings with the relevant oil – I use thinner oil in the larger bearing as a big dollop of thick oil tends to slow things down a little too much. When I first laid hands on the GS I was casting safely with red RF in both bearings and no blocks, while with yellow it was too fast. So apply three or four drops of Yellow oil in the large bearings and a couple of drops of Red in the smaller.
Before replacing the spool set the centrifugal brakes. The arrangement allows for either all four blocks engaged, two or none, all achieved by turning the white plastic cog under the plastic brake carrier. Go for a safe start up tune with two blocks engaged and the spool loaded with conventional 0.35mm 15lb mono to within 3mm of the lower spool slip.
The spool revolves with the spindle in the GS and is a close fit where it goes through the pinion gear. Subsequently it pays to clean away all grease, oil etc from inside the pinion gear and from the spool shaft to prevent the friction between the two creating an additional braking effect. If during the cast the handle spins round you can lightly polish the shaft where it goes through the pinion gear, but be very careful not remove too much material.
525 Mag
While looking very similar to the GS, the mag is a whole new ballpark once you open her up. The spool runs on a pair of bearings contained within the ends of the spool. These bearings run on a separate shaft which is in turn supported by a pair of bearings in the end plates. With the spool under load the shaft does turn in the outboard bearings, but during the cast shaft rotation is minimal so direct your attention to the bearings in the spool for tuning purposes.
The spool is designed so the bearings are a snug fit, trying to remove them with a hook is likely to damage the inner dust shield. Use an extractor as shown, or the shaft itself can be useful. Once removed from the spool soak the bearings in clean lighter petrol for 10 minutes or so to ensure all oil and grease is dissolved. Remove, change the petrol for new and soak again for a few minutes, this makes sure the residue of dissolved grease and oil is not left in the bearings.
Leave to dry on kitchen towel and re-lube with oil, I like to use Red Rocket fuel or an EP80 light gear oil. This, in conjunction with a line level 2 to 3mm below the inner spool lip allows for safe casting. To the inner lip the spool is around 2mm larger in diameter than a 6500 spool so with the line level with this inner lip you are running the equivalent of an overloaded tournament reel. This will require considerable braking to control so unless you really do need the extra capacity keep the level down to 2mm to 3mm below the inner spool flange.
The four rare earth magnets move in a series of equal steps - 1 to 8 - that bring the magnet holder closer – setting 8 - to the spool for increased braking or further away – setting 1 - for decreased spool braking. The braking effect is caused by the magnets working against the eddy current produced by the revolving metal spool. The theory is the faster the spool revolves the greater the eddy current produced becomes and the greater the effect of the magnets on spool rotation. This power in fact increases exponentially as the spool speed increases.
I generally run my reels from between maximum mag setting 8 down to 6 or sometimes, if conditions are good 5. More often I will cast on 8 or 7 then once the lead is well away and decelerating, slide the mag control down a couple of notches. This keeps everything under control in often difficult beach casting conditions but allows the lead to travel a little faster once the line level in well down and natural braking caused by the reduced spool diameter reduction has kicked in towards the end of the cast.
End tension on separate spool/spindle designs has little effect other than wrecking the bearings. Set the tension with the silver knob under the star drag so there is a tiny amount of lateral free play. This knob may be stiff to turn, which is caused by a rubber O ring, dribble a little thin oil under the cap to lubricate the O ring and make it easier to adjust the knob.
However, if you have problems with thick oil, an appropriate line level and full mags there is one more tweak available to you. You can double up on the two magnets in the center by ‘piggy backing' similar sized magnet on their backs. The set of pictures shows you where they go on a mag assemble I have removed it from the reel to make it easier to see. The extra mags will stay in place on the back of the plastic carrier purely by the magnetic attraction through the plastic.
525 Mag T
In place of the sliding adjustment the 525 Mag T has an external knob on the left side plate that moves a single, large rare earth magnet towards or away from the spool. Wound in fully the magnet is closest to the spool, wound fully out moves the magnet around 5mm away from the spool.
Wound fully in the magnetic effect against the revolving spool allows almost foolproof casting, while with the mag all the way out there is almost no braking and little spool control. The secret is to adjust the magnet position to suit conditions. For normal fishing with reasonable size baits and 5oz to 6oz of lead start off with the knob all the way in then back it off half a turn. If the reel is too slow try another half turn out. Alter the braking half a turn at a time until the spool is running at the right speed for you in the prevailing conditions. This is the reel I use in the USA when casting big chunks of fish and it works extremely well. As with the slidy you can back of the magnet once the lead is decelerating to add a little distance at the end of the cast. But don't take it off to quickly and remember to reset the magnet before the next cast.
Line balance
The spools on modern reels run at extremely high speeds and just like a vehicle wheel will vibrate unless the line is balanced. The gold anodized spools fitted to the Mag reels are machined from forged alloy bar, close tolerances mean the run out on spools is generally less than one thousandth of an inch. As with any high performance revolving spool reel balancing the line on the 525 spool is paramount for optimum performance. When loading a spool for the first time follow this simple procedure:
Set the knot to one side of the spool and wind the line on cotton reel fashion for three of four runs across the spool. Then concentrate on feeding it evenly across the spool and fill to the required level. Now tape it down with some plastic insulating tape run exactly twice round the spool. It must end immediately over where it starts on the spool as an overlap will put the spool out of balance.
Give the spool a good spin, knock it into free spool and listen. If it makes a noise or you can feel vibrations wind all the line off onto another reel and rewind. This time start with the knot on the right hand side and wind on a few feet to create a hump. Then take the line rapidly across to the left and make a similar hump there. Finally create the final hump in the middle then even it all out and continue to wind on evenly as normal.
Tape down the end, spin and see how it runs this time. If it's still not right try variations of humping left, right, middle or right, middle, left until you achieve vibration free running. Sometimes you will be lucky and get it right first time, or it may take a little while.
Good luck - BB

#2 Big Dave

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Posted January 23 2004 - 10:02 AM

Great post Neil Big Dave

#3 Black Beard

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Posted January 23 2004 - 10:07 AM

You mean you've had time to read it! LOL BB

#4 PFF

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Posted January 23 2004 - 11:28 AM

Thanks Neil-very informative
I tried your recomendations on a Slosh 20 and a 6500Mag Elite and the increase in distance was very notable.
Thanks again


Canal Rat

#5 DMala

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Posted January 23 2004 - 3:24 PM

BlackBeard, how would you describe the degree of tuning of the 525 MAG out of the box? (say, excluding the spool tension adjustment) Mine had moderate use for one season, still seems running pretty smooth to me, and I am not planning to have it factory serviced until the end of the 2004 season. For a quasi-beginner like me, do you think that servicing the reel myself would be substantially better that having Penn take care of it?


#6 Tomasas

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Posted January 23 2004 - 3:25 PM

Great post BB!
now could somebody past how to tune the abu's??? (7000-7001 series)...

"Because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns and the ones we don't know we don't know." Donald Rumsfeld

#7 Big Dave

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Posted January 23 2004 - 5:00 PM

Neil I printed it out and brought it back to bed with me to read Cheers Mate

#8 Steve H.C.

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Posted January 23 2004 - 6:06 PM

Thanks alot. Now I have to go get a MagT.

#9 Black Beard

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Posted January 23 2004 - 6:39 PM

Hi DMala - twice a year or when it's not running right I remove the spool and clean the shaft, relube the two spool bearings and reassemble, job done. The gears are huge and have plenty of water resistant grease. I only ever strip a reel down after a bath in the surf, wind blown sand etc.
But...I do rinse my reels under a light water flow then remove surplus water with a towel and leave in a warm cupboard overnight to dry. Next day I run the line off thro' a paper towel until I get to dry line then run it back on the reel.
However, if it's your pride and joy a trip to the factory once a year will not go amiss if it get a lot of use and abuse on the beach. BB

#10 Black Beard

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Posted January 23 2004 - 6:40 PM

I will see what I can fo for the 7000 and 6500 series over the weekend - BB

#11 AI4WD

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Posted January 23 2004 - 6:45 PM

Thanks for stopping by and for the great post. It will definately help me in my new purchase! Also, thanks fro the advice on the Venom..
Hooks up,

#12 LAZLOFlap

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Posted December 04 2005 - 7:00 AM

HI Anyone know how i can get the photos BB talks about?

#13 Seachaser

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Posted December 15 2005 - 2:47 PM

Thanks Blackbeard. Great meeting you down in Florida over Thanksgiving holidays. Wish we could have spent more time together. Thanks for the post.

#14 Russ L

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Posted December 17 2005 - 8:46 PM

You mentioned an extractor for removal of the bearings. Can you provide a diagram or picture of it? Thanks, Russ L.

#15 StormCaster

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Posted January 16 2008 - 11:18 PM

Great thread for balancing the spool.

Early to bed, early to rise, fish all day, make up lies. - unknown