tutorial - shimano tld 15 rebuild

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the shimano tld 15's were the first lever drag reels that i started working on. it seems like ages ago, but it was really just a few short years. in that time, i've learned a tremendous amount about lever drag reels. what were going to do is put in heavier belleville pressure washers to increase the drag range, clean out the bearings to increase freespool time and decrease the risk of corrosion, and install a greased carbon fiber drag washer. here's the schematic....


here's a brand new tld 15 spooled up with 65 pound braid.




remove the preprogram dial (key #9), the lever shaft body (key #11) and "O" ring (key #10), and drag control lever (key #12). Note that there is no spring.




remove the lever quadrant (key #191) and screws (key #19, 20 and 21).




there are 5 side plate bolts (key #24) to remove.




separate out the frame, spool and side plate.




add a little grease to the click pawl (key # 231) and click spring (key #57)>




install the rod clamp. grease the bolts first.




remove the cooling shield (key #186), drag plate assembly and drag washer (key #68).




remove the click gear (key #48), screws (key #49) and cross pin B (key # 50).




here's the main shaft (key #200) with all washers, springs and bearings in place.




and here it is disassembled.




i've cleaned out and relubed the bearings (key #42 and 170) with corrosion x. if you have an older reel with shielded bearings, take the time now to pry out the shields and throw them away.




i've reassembled the left side of the main shaft using the heavier pre-load springs (belleville's) from the shimano tld 20/30 two speed, part #TT-0040A. to accomodate the extra width of the new belleville washers, i've removed one of the thrust washers on the end, spacer A (key #47).




install the click gear (key #48) and screws (key #49).




grease the inside of the spool and new carbon fiber drag washer. you have your choice of either the penn #6-25 or the avet jx drag washer.




and remove all the excess grease.




install the bearings (key #170) and pressure release spring (key #202), the drag plate assembly and cooling shield (key #186).




install cross pin B (key #50).




slide the spool assembly back into the frame. now, this is important. if the spool does not slide back and forth easily inside the frame, pull the spool out again and rotate the main shaft (key #100) 180 degrees and slide it back in. this works!




install the pinion gear (key #198) and set the spool and frame assembly aside.




here's a shot of the right main side plate bearing. we need to pull this out and pack it with heavy grease.




remove the handle lock (key #2) and screw (key #1).




remove the handle nut (key #3) and handle (key #206).




remove the gear shaft shield (key #5) and thrust washer (key #6), and line everything up.




let the main gear (key #197) drop straight out.




pull the right main side plate bearing (key #28) and pack it with grease.






install the bearing, lube and install the main gear.




push the dog (key #26) back until the main gear drops into position.




install the gear shaft thrust washer (key #6) and gear shaft shield (key #5).




install the handle (key #206) and handle nut (key #3).




install the handle lock (key #2) and screw (key #1).




install the right side plate assembly and screws (key #24).




install the lever quadrant (key #191) and screws (key #19, 20, and 21).




install the drag control lever (key #12) in the free position.




install the lever shaft body (key #11) and add a little grease.




install the pre-program dial (key #9) and you're done!




these modifications accomplish several things. first, it eliminates the risk of drag failure from the canvas drag that comes stock in this reel and all the other single speed shimano lever drag reels. a sticky drag washer is the leading cause of structural damage to any reel. second, cleaning out the bearings will improve freespool and the castability of this reel, as well as decrease the risk of corrosion if the bearings have shields. open bearings are now found in all shimano reels for a good reason. and lastly, the increased drag range means that this reels can be loaded with 65 pound spectra and topshots of 30, 40 or 50# mono. all this in a 3/0 sized package! this reel benched out a 15 pounds of drag at strike before loss of free spool, and had a freespool time of 35 seconds at that 15 pound strike setting. not to shabby!

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Dear Mr. Alan,

Here i am is new member with poor knowledge about reel Shimano TLD wanna ask about my reel trouble,

could you please give me good solution :) .

The story start after i got strike Red Snapper till my reel  coming into ocean :( , but my lucky the safety line still bind up at boat. :).

after that i try to maintenance my reel by my shelf, it  run good with your tutorial. thanks,

but i have little problem " when the reel i set in high drag  the retrieve spool not running smooth ", but it will smooth and good when i put lees drag or no drag.


Could you or the other senior help me please, :howdy:



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you will need to replace the right side plate bearing. The pinion bearing. 


When you set the drag higher and push the lever up to strike the sideways pressure on the bearing will cause the handle to be hard to turn and not smooth.



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On 1/6/2018 at 6:57 AM, handi2 said:



you will need to replace the right side plate bearing. The pinion bearing. 


When you set the drag higher and push the lever up to strike the sideways pressure on the bearing will cause the handle to be hard to turn and not smooth.



Mr. Keith greetings from me :howdy:,


i will check it as son as possible,  Now just waiting good time ( day off ) for dismantle again my old reel.

One more time thanks for your help master. :) 




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Posted (edited) · Report post

Ahhhh... the search function.  So looking for some info on my TLD 10. dumped the Kayak on the beach landing the other day and decided it was a good time to rebuild some reels that went in the drink. Diawa lexa 300hd & the Shimano TLD 10. The Lexa froze up but I tore it down and got it back nice.  

The TLD 10 well....... this thing is a beaut inside bought it used and when i opened it, it is a beaut.  but, my issue is in the reassembly.  

I cant seem to get the drag lever to work properly. I've figured how it works mechanically more or less, the lever pulls & pushes the spool in and out of gear allowing free spool or drag actuation the further up you push the drag lever the harder it pushes against the friction discs (more or less right?) any ways, more to my issue.

Took me to many time to figure out the above, but now I cant figure out how to get the spool to "shift" back into free spool after moving the drag lever back to free spool.  What pulls the spool back out of gear?  I can push the spool to the side and "manually" shift the spool out of gear, but that's not right. what am i missing? the reel spins beautifully in free spool no drag or rub.  but one i shift out of free spool I cant get the spool to go back into free spool with out pushing on the side if the spool or drag adjustment knob.  

Thoughts or experience? 

Help.  I'm going cross eyed 


J. Ice

Edited by Pure Ice

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i live just over the hill from you, in saratoga.  swing by if this doesn't work....


ok, so two things.  one is the bearing in the pressure plate, inside the spool assembly.  when you pull out the spool, it has covers on both sides.  remove those covers and you will find a left spool bearing, a right spool bearing and a pressure plate bearing.  sometimes the pressure plate bearing binds.  clean it up and you should be fine.


the second possibility is the left side of the spool shaft getting stuck in the left side plate.  the hole for the left side of the spool shaft can gum up, or the end of the spool shaft can get rusty, or both.  they need to be cleaned up.  you actually might have to go in with a small round file and a flat file and enlarge the hole a little.  if it gets to that point, bring it here to the house and let me to it for you.  


email me at if you need more help.  alan

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Thank You Allen!

4 day canyon trip. 20 guys on the rail.

Half the guys on the rail are awkward.

Look at me. Do exactly what I'm doing.

Where did you learn how to do that?

Is he the captain of the ship?







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