I posted this on another forum, but copied and pasted it here, as I think it's pertinent here, as well. If I'm wrong, so be it.
So, I started collecting Pflueger Medalists last year, because I simply love the damned things. They are simple, and they simply work. In my mind, that makes them elegant from a working guy's view.
Sure, I have other reels (Ross, Orvis Battenkill, even a few Martins, etc.,), but day in, day out, I turn to my trusty Medalist reels for fishing. I'd love to have a Hardy, but I'd be terrified to use it. I use my fishing gear like I do my truck; hard. I don't want to think about it too much. When I want to go, it better be ready, or I'll replace it, simple as that. That's why I like Ford Explorers, too. Dime a dozen, but a cheap, reliable rig that does what I want, when I want it to. Pretty? Well I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I wouldn't trade my Explorer or my Medalists for anything, unless the deal allowed me to buy a bunch more of both.
The problem with buying old reels, or old trucks, is that they are generally in need of some upkeep, which can be a pain in the ass, but well worth it, in my opinion, as a little work can save you a ton of money.
So, I'm writing this to show you how to clean and lube an old Medalist and make it purrrrrrrr like new. Maybe better than new.
First, I want to thank Bulldog for his tutorials on the subject, as I wouldn't be collecting Medalists without learning how to properly clean and lube them. He knows far more about them than I ever will, but I simply want to give a detailed, and photo heavy tutorial on how I just 'saved' another reel.
To be perfectly honest, I have never bought a Medalist, as such. I buy a bunch of stuff that other people 'think' are valuable and they think I'm doing them a favor by taking the reels off their hands, when the reels are actually what I want to begin with. The reel I restore in this step by step is an example. Craigslist ad for fly tying stuff, with some reels thrown in. A basic Regal vise, some hackle and tying supplies (with about 60 tied flies), as well as a Ross Titanium reel. Oh, and some old medalist reels, too. $120.00. I watched that ad for 2 weeks. Finally justified it by telling myself I'd turn the Regal for $100.00, and keep everything else for $20.00. Nope. Keeping it all!
This is why I have so much crap. I never part with anything!
So, onto the tutorial. This is going to be long-winded and picture heavy, so be warned. Bulldog explains this in broad strokes, but I'm going to show all of the little, yet important things I've learned along the way. I hope it helps someone to 'save' another Medalist
So, here's one of 2 1494's I just bought. I picked the worst of the 2, simply to demonstrate how incredible the changes of a little time, money, and effort can make.
Not a collectible reel, by any stretch. Still, very serviceable.
I'm guessing pretty much 50 years of abuse, with a good does of corrosion added for spice.
As I broke it down, unaltered.
What I used to do the job. I forgot to include a tooth brush and q-tips. White vinegar, Boeshield, Quantum hot sauce grease and oil.
So let's break it down...
Did I mention that I'm also converting this reel to left hand wind? That's important to note, as when I reassemble the reel, it will look different than it appears here.
Basically 50 years of crud and hair....
Drag plate removed...
Drag plate orientation, as removed from a stock, right hand wind reel. 4 detents. If you want to keep the reel right-hand wind, you will reassemble it this way. This is important, so pay attention
This is the other side of the drag plate. 8 Detents. You will reassemble the reel with this FACING you, only if you want to convert to LEFT HAND WIND. Otherwise, you want the 4 detents facing you. Again, this is important.
Soak. 1 part White Vinegar to 4 parts warm water. Scrub everything with a tooth brush, then let it sit. Then rinse with clean water. Vinegar is an acid. Leaving it on the reel is no bueno. Rinse it and let it dry thoroughly.
Dried parts with a light coating of Boeshield. Much better.
Okay. All parts clean and dry, right? Now it's time to lube and reassemble the reel....
Light coating of reel lube, NOT grease.
This is probably the most important step, because if you get it wrong, the reel will not have any drag, nor will it click, either when stripping line, or winding it. That little cap is slanted on top, not from wear, but by design. This image is for LEFT HAND WIND. If you want the reel to be right hand wind, it will face the OPPOSITE DIRECTION. So to put it simply, for LEFT HAND RETRIEVE, it will orient like this: /. For right hand, it will look like this: \. The drag plate must also orient properly to this pin, so that the detents and the pin match up like this: //, or this (for right hand) \\. Make sense?
Drag plate reassembled for LEFT HAND WIND, but not lubed yet. At this point, STOP. Spin the drag plate and make sure it clicks. If it doesn't, either the pin or drag plate are not oriented properly. Fix it now, before you make more work for yourself.
See the little pin on the spool? That rides in the drag plate's detents (regardless of the drag plates orientation-left or right). It needs a little lube, but not grease. Lubing this alone will change your reel, trust me.
And finally, the finished product. Yes, it's still missing some finish on the back, where the corrosion was, but the corrosion itself is gone, and will not damage the reel any more. Left untreated, it would have spread. Neil Young put it best....Rust Never Sleeps.
So. Making this tutorial, with taking photos and uploading them (yes, I actually used the free version of photobucket!) and editing this post repeatedly, took about 4 hours. Real time working on a reel, not including soak time, is about an hour.
Bulldog recommends using hollow ground screw drivers, and I agree with him. They are better and won't ding up your screw heads. Me? I'm lucky if I can find a screwdriver. The tools I used are strictly Harbor Freight stuff. It works, and I'm not spending a bunch to repair a reel that has a $30-50.00 value.
I got the Quantum Hot Sauce and Grease (Zebco products, ironically) grouped together as one deal on ebay, which saved me a bit as opposed to buying them separately. Got the Boeshield there, too. Don't skimp on this stuff. $30.00 and I'm set for life. Well worth it.
I figure I'm into this reel for about $5.00, and it's good for another 50 years.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have about 7 more reels to rehab..... :pipe