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vinnyb

Dartanium drags: Is Shimano kidding us?

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The drag in my new Curado 301E felt sticky, so I took it down to have a look. What I found was very surprising - the drag washer (which had come in contact with water) was extremely sticky with this black goopy substance all over the surface of both the drag washer & metal washer. I cleaned it up as best I could (was in a rush to use the reel) and applied a light coat of drag grease - it's much better but not great. I do plan to replace this drag with Carbontex immediately.

 

It begs the question though - why would Shimano continue to install dartanium drags in their reels? I mean, they've got to know that these drags take a dump when they come in contact with water. If they don't, IMO they simply dropped the ball during their R&D on this.

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Ya, that's Shimano Drag Grease....Unsure what those "dartanium" washers cost for your reel, but for a Calcutta 700, up here, it's 25.00 a set. And they are sooooooo brittle, the minute you go to remove them they shatter !!!! Dawn's smoothdrag carbontex setup is a _much_ better (and less spendy) option. Dry. Or with just the slightest touch of CAL's drag grease.

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Vinnyb,

I have heard many complaints about Shimano drags like yours and actually experienced this problem in my Calcutta reels. I started looking around for a substitute or alternative washer and came across the washers custom cut by Tuna's Reel Troubles. I use them without grease and they are great! They can cut them for any Shimano or Calcutta reel. This is not a promotion but just stating where I found them.

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i second the carbontex/smooth drags... i had dartanium drags modded to fit my tda153hstla reels before smooth drag made them for my reels and they would get sticky after a while... the original tda drag was toast after a few decent size salmon that is the reason i used the dartanium drags in them... they both eventually got the carbontex drags and all was well for years of salmon steelhead fishing...

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When tuned right I think the dartanium drags are better, but certainly they need more maintenance and are fragile. They seem very sensitive to how much you grease them. Too much or too little and you have to start over.

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When tuned right I think the dartanium drags are better, but certainly they need more maintenance and are fragile. They seem very sensitive to how much you grease them. Too much or too little and you have to start over.

 

Unless you've got the time to break down your reels every few weeks during the season (which I don't), I'd much rather go with something not so tempermental & that I can rely on under all conditions. For me, carbon drags have proven to be reliable both dry & wet so that's what I prefer. I made the switch to carbontex in my Curado after my original post & the reel has performed flawlessly ever since.

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If you fish your reels hard, you will have to break them down anyways during the season. I use 3-4 calcutta 400's plugging for striped bass and they take on enough water (from spinoff during casting) that I have to break them down anyways 2-3x a year. One reel uses smooth drag ultra smoothies, and I find it has an inferior drag. I use greased carbontex (and their smooth washers) in all my Newells and Abus and although the drags are good, they are not as good as the calcuttas. The most pressure I have ever had a small reel under was a night I hooked and fought a full grow harbor seal to shore using a Calcutta TE 400. That drag was literally warm to touch, and still performed flawlessly under extreme pressure.

 

Although I agree that greased carbontex is a very good option, I am just pointing out that there is a reason Shimano uses the dartanium. When set up right their performance is hard to beat.

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I can't disagree - if you're using the baitcasters a lot, there's bound to be water intrusion from casting spinoff that will eventually detract from the proper functioning of the reel. I had these issues with my Calcuttas quite a bit - salt gets in there & over time the reel won't engage into gear. But this reinforces my point even more - that Shimano (or any other company) should realize that water will adversely affect their drags & should set them up properly from the factory to deal with this. It seems like a lot of companies ship these reels "dry" and leave it up to us to make sure they're properly set up for the salt.

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Good points being made. Agree with Numbskull, Dartanium is worthy. If your fishing 3-7days a week through a season you have to break it down and look at the drag and anti reverse bearing minimum once a month. I complete rebuild twice a year. I'm in a kayak dealing with splash.

 

A good tip for better performance is use a dremel felt tip along compound and polish the inside of the drive gear and bottom of the key washer. I grease the inside of the drive gear and bottom of the washer then wipe off the excess.

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