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Reel Maintenance:

Polishing Up the TD-Sol, an exercise in tuning


Tackle type: Reel Maintenance
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Model: TD Sol
Author: ChuckE

Introduction: Although the title implies applying a little ‘elbow grease’ and wax to give the outside of the Sol a makeover, this article is actually about the inside of the reel.  By polishing a few key parts, you can improve the way the reel disengages/reengages, provide a little better spool tension adjustment, and maybe even reduce some spool noise that gets generated while casting or retrieving. Although it won’t turn a Sol into a Steez, it is a step in that direction. Many of the Sol parts are similar to those used in the other Daiwa low profile reels, and layout and construction is almost identical.  So far, I’ve done similar work on some of my Pixies, Alphas, and even a couple of brand new TD-Zs and Alphas.  So, let’s get the work bench ready to do a little super tuning beyond the typical spool bearings, Carbontex drag washers, new handle, and other upgrades!


TD Sol Baitcaster – Internal Construction, Parts and Layout Similar to Other Daiwa Low Profile Reels

Background: The Daiwa Sol is a nice reel right out of the box.  Not only is it light and a perfect size for palming, it also has that unique ‘sunset’ color that makes it so appealing.  It can be used for many different presentations and you can find an excellent review by Zander in the Review Archive. However, with use you may have noticed any or all of the following periodically occurs:

  • The reel takes a minute amount of extra time to reengage with the spool when the Handle is initially cranked.

  • There is a very subtle hesitation in disengaging the reel when depressing the Clutch Lever right before a cast.

  • That spool tension adjustment becomes a little critical at some settings, or tension adjustment just doesn’t seem as linear as it used to be

  • There is a very light and subtle vibrating noise that occurs while casting the reel (e.g. dampened buzz), or retrieving at higher speeds (like while “burning” buzz baits or spinner baits)

Now let me start off by saying that the previous issues aren’t necessarily easy to detect, and many anglers wouldn’t even notice them or be that concerned if they did, especially when using the reel on the water.  Also note that I used the word ‘issues’, since they could hardly be categorized as problems [they really are quite subtle] – maybe more like minor annoyances while using a very fine reel?

Let me also say that the cleanliness and lubrication of various reel components can also contribute to any or all of these issues.  In these cases it won’t matter if you have one of the Alphas, TD-Z’s, Steez or other similarly designed reels.  Increased friction will always result if moving parts get extremely dirty, over lubricated, corroded or are in need of lubricant.  However, I gradually began to detect some of the previously described issues on my Sol after a couple of seasons, even though I maintain it and my other reels in a very clean and lubricated condition.  

I even polished the parts described in this article in a couple brand new Alphas and TD-Zs, and immediately noticed an improvement in the way the reel disengages/reengages and spool tension adjusts.  So far, I haven’t detected any of the previous issues with these reels after a season of use, and these reels still engage/disengage very distinctly.


Fabulustre Jeweler’s Rouge and Dremel Tool


Onto the polishing: I use Fabulustre© jeweler’s rouge with a small buffing wheel mounted in my Dremel tool to lightly polish components, while DR uses wet 900 grit Wet and Dry emery paper to lightly buff them. I got my Fabulutre© from McMaster-Carr, but a whole host of similar products could also be used – just remember that you are not trying to remove base metal, but rather, are just trying to knock-down the sharp edges, any burrs, minor surface blemishes, etc. on the surface.  So stay with very light rouges or extremely fine grit cloth/papers.  Also note that changing/affecting the tolerance of an interference fitted bearing is not usually advised, since it can cause some significant problems; while the consequence of removing too much material on other reel components can also have an adverse impact on how the reel feels or performs after tuning!  For example, removing too much metal from the tip of the Spool Shaft can result in a loss of upper-end spool tension adjustment, or making an end of the Pinion Gear supported by a bearing ‘out of round’ can cause the reel to feel “jerky” while cranking the reel under load. [Special thanks to DR – for information on his polishing technique and related details.]


Using a Dremel Rotary Tool to Polish Part of a Pinion Gear – Limit Polishing to Only Those Areas Described in the Article

I suggest you proceed slowly and periodically examine components while polishing to check on progress (like with a magnifying lens).  Don’t get carried away, use slower speeds if using a rotary tool, and try to limit polishing/buffing only to the areas described in this article.  Also remember that you are probably affecting any warranty on the reel when you do this super tuning!

After the components have been polished they can be cleaned with a solvent or cleaner to remove any residue, buffing compound, etc.  I prefer to use Naptha and Acetone, just because it cleans quickly and easily, but that’s just my preference.  Simple Green can also be used, but will take a little more time and scrubbing effort, and requires a good rinse with clean water afterward.  I soak and swirl, or even ultrasonically clean all the parts except for the spool tip.  I use a rag wetted with a solvent to clean the spool tip and adjacent areas, and pay particular attention to getting the hole in the spool pin absolutely clean.  If you do use a solvent to clean components, just make sure you exercise appropriate safety precautions – solvents are flammable, toxic, can irritate the skin, requires special disposal, etc.

Give all parts except for the spool tip a light coat of your favorite reel lubricant and begin reel reassembly.  [I use Hot Sauce Grease inside my reels, and a light drop of Hot Sauce Oil on the spool tip and spool bearings, but that’s just my preference.]  If you haven’t cleaned the reel in a while, now might be a good time to clean and lubricate the rest of the reel, since you already have it disassembled.

Lightly Coating a Pinion Gear Using an Old Toothbrush and Hot Sauce Grease

Super Tuning the Sol: This article does not go into disassembling and reassembling the Sol. A previous article I prepared, titled Sol Mini-Lube and Inspection already covers much of this information, and it can be found in the Maintenance section of the Review Archive.   Since the Sol is similar to other low profile Daiwa reels, that article can provide general guidance for reel disassembly/reassembly of other Daiwa reels.  However, I don’t advise that you attempt to perform reel disassembly/reassembly or the super tuning, unless you are already familiar with doing similar work.  Also make sure you have your reel schematic handy, so you can refer to it as required, since there are differences between reel models.  You can find other tips for working on your reel in the Sticky Post located at the top of the Maintenance and SuperTuning Section of the TT Forum.

Next Section: Super Tuning cont'd









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