MattShear

Tuning Van Staal reels for smoother operation

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Here is a tip that I have used that can make a Van Staal much smoother. If you have the service kit and are comfortable taking the reel apart, try using fine grit lapping compound on the gear teeth. I have a set of VS reels including the 100,150,200,250 and 300 reels. I consider these reels to be the finest on the market, but the gears are made of a very hard stainless steel that yield the strongest gears ( as opposed to aluminum, bronze, exc.), yet rougher feel then other high end reels. By using lapping compound, you are smoothing out the gear teeth as main turns the pinion. My method is as follows.



1. Strip the reel down as per VS instructions. Wipe out all grease and then use brake parts cleaner to strip all lube from the 2 gears and housing. Leave all old seals in place.



2. Apply a very small amount of lapping compound to the main gear teeth. I like to use a medium grit valve seat type compound that engine builders use to seat valves. I repeat, use a small amount as you don't want a mess or to get the compound into bearings. Just a small bead on the main gear teeth will do the trick.



3. Reassemble the reel as normal. (make sure the side plate goes on correctly or you just damaged your reel) Crank the handle for a half hour. You will notice the reel will be a little rough at first and then get smoother. The longer you spin the handle, the more polished the gear teeth will be and the grit in the compound will also break down.



4. Disassemble the reel and wipe off the gear teeth. Again use brake parts cleaner to remove any old grease or lapping compound. Change out old seals, re-grease the gear box and you are done. Again be careful not to get contaminants into the bearings.


I have years on my VS reels and this method makes the reel much smoother and quieter. I just aquired a older 2nd hand VS 200 cheap. The previous owner never broke the reel in and did not like the fact that it was not stella smooth. I lapped the gears like I have done before and this reel is quiet, smooth and just feels great. Big improvement!

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on the step 4... its a MUST to change the old seal?

 

 

I just have my reel serviced 3 months ago and the seals are new

 

 

 

 

have any other VS owner used this method?

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I would change the seals, but you may be ok to only change the side plate o ring.


I also started replacing the factory grease with 75-90 weight Amsoil marine gear oil.I recently acquired a Zeebaas 27 and changed from grease to gear oil as per recommendations for this site. This is a big improvement in smoothness and offers superior protection for tight tolerance stainless steel gear sets.


I have read that some anglers complain that they hate the smell of leaking gear oil, but the VS and ZB are SEALED and a leaky reel simply requires a new seal wherever that may be. These reels are not hard to troubleshoot and repair.


I changed all of my VS reels to the gear oil and I think it makes a difference in cranking resistance and gear, seal and bearing life. I throw big plugs hard for hours at a time and I feel that these changes make a big difference for me.


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The proper way to do this is to fully disassemble the reel, including the pinion from the sleeve guide. You will also need to have a new sleeve guide bushing. You reassemble the reel minus the seals, traverse guide and spool shaft and use an old usable main bearing. The lapping compound will get in both the bushing and main bearing which is a hybrid ceramic and ruin them. After you have lapped the gears in fully clean every part thoroughly and reassemble (replacing sleeve guide bushing).

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You reassemble the reel minus the seals, traverse guide and spool shaft and use an old usable main bearing.

 

I was actually wondering if someone has ever taken the seal out and fish the reel without them, I know this goes against the nature of the reel but since I dont plan to swim with the reel a seal-less van staal but smoother might be a decent trade-off.

 

sorry if this just sound silly and dumb, but I just got the reel from a friend and really like it but the stiffness on the handle still have to grow on me, right now I wish it was bit smoother , but heck!! on few months I will have my left hand muscles bigger than the right hand using this reel. :D

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I never had an issue with lapping compound getting into the bearings or wearing out the bushings. The compound I use is sticky and does not come off the gears and create a mess inside the reel. I also feel that you can flush out the bushing and bearing very well when you pull the main shaft and change the quad seal. My VS reels have hundreds of miles of hard cranking and operate much smoother then they did originally.

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I also can say the SGT Striper does have a valid point and I agree with him in theory.  In my experience  VS reels (which I have owned several since the late 90's) are a little rough and stiff. I have had good luck making these reels smoother using my method when I started this thread. I have had no bearing, antireverse, gear or seal issues doing this to 5 different VS reels that have been used hard for many years. I will NOT do this to my new ZB 27 as it is much smoother out of the box.


I am convinced that both VS and ZB reels benefit greatly from using a high quality marine gear oil instead of grease. The gear oil coats everything and has much lower viscosity which leads to a smoother cranking reel.


I use Amsoil marine 75-90 weight synthetic gear oil. This oil can take 10% water contamination and coats every moving part of the reel. I use this in my outdrive in my hot rod speed boat and those gears take a lot more abuse then a reel will ever take. Give it a try.


Matt S.

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if I just change the grease for the marine oil, can i expect to feel the reel bit more smoother or almost none?

 

 

what if instead of the marine oil I use corrosion X oil that is know for protect the metal from saltwater like no other

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....You will also need to have a new sleeve guide bushing. You reassemble the reel minus the seals, traverse guide and spool shaft and use an old usable main bearing.

 

I got bit lost here.

 

so, where I can find a new sleeve guide bushing and "old usable main bearing".

is this in theory or some guys have already made those chances ?

 

 

 

sorry no much familiar with those VS parts

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I am convinced that both VS and ZB reels benefit greatly from using a high quality marine gear oil instead of grease. The gear oil coats everything and has much lower viscosity which leads to a smoother cranking reel.

 

 

 

I use Amsoil marine 75-90 weight synthetic gear oil. This oil can take 10% water contamination and coats every moving part of the reel. I use this in my outdrive in my hot rod speed boat and those gears take a lot more abuse then a reel will ever take. Give it a try.

 

 

 

Matt S.

 
I have 6 VS and I just serviced 4 also used the amsoil except I added light  lithium greese and mixed the the two til they no longer seprated. I like the the way they turn smooth but not  spin so easily that the line pum spins freely and can catch the line prematurly and cause the cast to stop sudenly. if you do the straight oil method it is highly advisiable to change all your seals with new ones. on the other hand i have 2 that are just litium grease with clp braeke free mixed in this way the reels don't spin so fast and are a little stiffer retrieve for when you want to go with with a slower presentation such as slow surface wake or swimming needles down low an slow. what ever your prefrence just remember all those seals wear out after a season or two and should all be replace, if you use the oil only then at least once a year. 
Edited by on d fly

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Matt, bumping up an old thread. Just had my vsx main gear replaced and it is as stiff and rough as it gets. Would love to smooth it out. Got a photo of the lapping compound you use?

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43 mins ago, handi2 said:

Did they replace the pinion gear also? If not there’s your problem.

Pinion was apparently undamaged. Did the old locked side cover routine not paying attention one day.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Its always best to change both at the same time because they wear together. If the reel was new it might not matter. Its common practice to change both. When you don't change both the reel will be gritty and noisy no matter what type of reel. If a shop didn't change both that’s a boo on them.

Edited by handi2

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