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zelina/gill master 50 rebuild

3132 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  fathom
i'm going to wing this one a little because i seem to have misplaced the schematics. if i find them later, and if it seems like it's needed, i will rewrite this with key #'s.

those of you that are over 50 will recall the original tv series, "battlestar galactica" with lorne green. this is a picture of one of the orginal cylon warriors.

here's the gill master sold in australia.

and here's the zelina.

when i opened up the box and saw this reel, the first thing that i thought of was a cylon. notice the chrome. personally, i think has a little too much chrome and not enough stainless.

the torx head screws are the first to come out.

you now have three pieces - the frame, spool and side plate.

note the orientation of the sprocked gear and thrust washer. careful, i've installed these backwards before.

off comes the spool cap.

this reveals the back of the drag pressure plate.

here is the working side of the same pressure plate. i do not know what kind of material this is. it's obviously not carbon fiber. some gummy material from this drag washer had also transferred over to the stainless steel drag plate.

the cross pin pushes out easily, allowing removal of the spool shaft assembly.


here is a shot of the assembled spool shaft assembly.


and in pieces.


i opened up the bearings and found just enough grease to slow down the spool but not enough to keep out the saltwater. also, i don't know what makes one bearing more expensive than another, but these bearings did not have the look or feel of money


once cleaned and lubed, they felt pretty "loose."


i greased the screw holes for the ratched plate.


and the drag pressure plate. you can see better in this photo some of the gummy drag material that has rubbed off from the drag washer onto the pressure plate.


the spool shaft goes in the right side.


and out the left.


the spring and cross pin go back on.


the drag plate goes back on. take the time now to grease the screw holes for the spool cover.


note the rubber gasket. just like shimano and okuma reels, the drag chamber of this reel is sealed off by this gasket when the reel is in gear. leave the drag lever of this reel, the shimano and the okuma, in the strike position when you hose off the reel. this will keep water out of the drag chamber.


on go the spool cover, the anti-reverse ratched gear and the bearing thrust washer.


ok, the spool is done. now for the right side plate. first let's remove and grease the screws holding the lugs.


pull the screws for the anti-reverse dogs out one at a time and grease the screw holes.

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here's the third bearing, from the left side plate.

this one gets packed with grease and thrown back into the left side plate.

even out a light coat of grease into the left side plate with an old toothbrush.

ok, last bearing! the right side plate bearing is the one that i have the most trouble with. i've had to replace more right side plate bearings than all the other lever drag bearings put together. this one has to come out. that means pulling out the main gear.

first off comes the shifter/handle nut cap.

then the shifter.

now the handle nut retaining ring.

now remember, the reason we were doing this is to remove the main gear to get to the right side plate bearing. as soon as the handle nut came out, the main gear assembly fell out and went "thunk."

i opened up this right side plate bearing and also found it half filled with grease.

the bearing goes back into the side plate, packed with grease.

lube the main gear with corrosion x or grease and install it back into the right side plate.



here's the stainless steel drive shaft sticking through.


install the cap.


the handle.


the handle nut.


install the handle nut collar and shift lever.


and finally, the handle nut cap. watch out when you torque down the screws. this cap is made of plastic, not metal.


ok, that's it for the main side plate bearing. it's alot of work for just one stupid bearing, but it's a critical step because this will be the first bearing to fail. now, on to the reel seat. it's pretty nice looking, actually, and it's all stainless steel for a change.


the screws come out one at a time for a small bead of grease, then every thing goes back together.


now for the right side plate. the quadrant has to come out to grease all of the right side plate screws.



back out the right side plate screws one at a time, add a bead of grease and run them back in.


the spool goes back into the frame. put a bead of grease in each screw hole.


and we're done.


you will note that i did not change the orientation of the bellevilles and did not grease the drag washer. all of this work was done to basically clean or grease the bearings and to grease the screw holes. the drag system was left in it's original configuration.

i dropped the reel off at the local shop and had them spool up with reel with 500 yards of straight 80# berkeley big game. i called in to the shop manager today and got the bad news. this reel on delivered 18#'s of drag at strike before losing freespool. that number should have been tripled!!!!!!!!!!

i plan to monkey with the bellevilles next week and i will get back to you with the results. but even if i can bring these numbers up, i still need to check out the smoothness of the drag washer. i am concerned that it will not perform. just looking, i think that the $30-40 shimano tiagra drag washers might fit. if the stock drag sticks at all, then i will give this reel an immediate two thumbs down.

may the gods be with you!

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alan, I am nowhere near 50, but I loved battlestar galatica. Great job on the 50. I

I was fishing as a guest on a boat in the late 80's. The guy had these huge reels on board. I am taking this from memory. They looked new, but could have been restored antiques. They were huge. At least 30% larger than an International 130. They were probably a 20/0 size. A 20/0 would be between 9 to 10 inches in diameter and between 5-1/2 to 7 inches across the inside of the spool. About the size of a gallon bucket of paint.

They were very heavy. Maybe 20 pounds. They were made of cast iron and were chrome plated. I think they were made in Italy. I believe they were called a "Zane Grey Special Edition". The Capt was complaining about how he had to disassemble and clean each reel after each day. Otherwise, they would turn into a rust bucket. Have you ever seen these before? That was the only time I ever saw the monsters. He had a set of five. They were mouned on unlimited class rods with bent butts.
try to google "Zane Grey Special Edition," alutecnos and finnor. see what comes up. i'll try to check later as well.
here's a follow up. with dale's help, i finally got the right drag washer after ordering up the wrong one first. it's the drag washer from the shimano tiagra 30. yup, the reel is nearly an exact copy.

here's the stock drag washer. yeeccchhh!

i pulled off the old drag washer and found that the tiagra 30 washer was a perfect fit. i greased both sides of the new carbon fiber drag washer, as well as the contact surface of the aluminum pressure plate. i've seen only one drag failure in the tiagra line. that reel had corrosion underneath drag washer.

even the screw holes matched up!!!!!!!!!!

off came the excess grease.

say your last goodbyes!

on to the spool shaft it goes.

on goes the spool cover.

into the frame goes the spool assembly.

and on goes the left side plate.


now, the stock reel didn't deliver near enough drag pressure. it was probably 10# at strike before losing freespool. you remember the configuration of the bellevilles on the spool shaft, right?



what i ended doing was to change the belleville/thrust washer configuration of "(())||||" to an all belleville stack of "))))))))" using the same bellevilles found in the shimano tld 30 two speed. i was able to nearly double the strike drag setting to 20#'s, maybe even 24# if i sacrificed a little freespool, and +30#'s at full. i'm hoping that the drag might "settle in" a little bit and give this reel a little bit more range, but i am not going to be overly optimistic.

other than redesigning the cam underneath the right main side plate bearing, i see no other way to get anymore drag pressure out of this reel.


so there you go. i would call this reel barely adequate for straight 80# mono with maybe 24#'s of drag at strike and an optimistic 30# at full. if you install a $38 shimano drag washer and can get the manufacturer to give you a cam that ramps up more quickly, you might be able to go with the 150-200# spectra and the 100-200# topshots that are being used out here on the westcoast. if you're ok with straight 60-80# mono, then you're all set!
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try to google "Zane Grey Special Edition," alutecnos and finnor. see what comes up. i'll try to check later as well.

This is all I was able to dig up.

the rest are here:

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i saw a tv special on this guy a month or two ago. very interesting stuff. tough fishing.

You are likely thinking of of the Hardy's Zane Grey reels made in the late 1980s. They weren't antique-- on the contrary they were using some rather nice technological developments. They were made entirely of stainless steel, with the exception of the drag plate which in early versions was of cast iron, and later changed to stainless steel. They were made in 50, 80 and 130 size, but not sure of the 130 being so gigantic.

Gorgeous reels though, and very expensive. Around ten-twelve G's each at the time. If you were on a boat that had a full rack, I'd hazard a guess that you were in Hawaii, and the captain was named Bart Miller.

Alutecnos had nothing to do with it, and although Zane Grey shopped around, one of his prime suppliers of reels was Arthur Kovalovsky. Kovalovsky's reels though are so rare and so expensive as to be ruled out as likely to aquire a full set. Same goes for the early Fin-Nors.


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