Sorry. This got posted prematurely. I am still working on it.
The drag is and important part of a reel. It allows the line to slip when pulled too hard by a fish or while trying to getting a lure or hook unhung. It should be adjustable so that it will provide enough tension to play a fish in without breaking th eline when the limits of the line is exceded. This tension, although supposedly adjustable to the test strenth of the line in pounds, really just needs to be adjustable relative to MORE or LESS. It will be adjusted on the fly as needed during use. You should never expect the scale of the drag dial to be very accurate. In fact, with the Johnson reels, it can be adjusted to provide an entirely differnt range of tension above or below the range of the dial as indicated in pounds.
The drag is the feature that often needs immediate attention upon aquiring a secondhand vintage reel that has been neglected. Even those that were stored with care may need help. But since disassembly will often be required in order to access the internal parts that need attention to help get the drag working suitably again, it is a good idea to clean and lubricate the reel as you do this. Sometimes, the drag parts cannot even be properly seen until the grime is cleaned off. So, in order to accomplish a good cleaning and lubricating during disassembly, I will describe and illustrate the process here. This process takes much longer to describe in detail than it will take to actually do it. The next several posts will be dedicated to this process.
This post will be Part One of this process.
"If I asked for help, it would have been from my next older brother who was to a lessor degree--in the same boat with me and who would have offered his help with a modicum of scolding. So, although I don't specifically remember this happening, I did have a safety net if I really screwed things up."
As I mentioned in one or more of the previous entries, if there was a weak link in the design and/or manufacture of the Johnson Century Model 100 fishing reels (similarly, the Johnson Citation Model 110 is the same), it was the drag. Part of this may have been because the mechanism is not readily understood at first glance.
The drag mechanism is very simple, so simple that the subtle action can be accidentally circumvented if the reel is stripped down and cleaned as many old-timer independent type fishermen were want to do with virtually every mechanical thing that they owned. At the time that these reels came of age, it was standard fare for equipment owners to maintain, tweak, or even enhance their mechanical equipment. If there was a lacking, it was most likely in the subtle nuances of this drag design and a lack of proper instructions or a failure of the owners to read any supplied instructions. So, if the mechanism is, as I believe, too subtle to be readily understood, and is therefore circumvented or misaligned, this may indeed be what has happened to many of these old reels.
Back in the day, buying a fishing reels was a pretty serious investment. Material possessions were not nearly as bountiful at this time. Even if one could afford such luxuries, there was simply not as many choices competing for a consumers money. Not as many things existed for every whim and indulgence as are available today. We often hear people complain of how great it was back when and how awful it is today--and in some ways this may be valid--but in most ways of material blessings and comforts, at no other time and nowhere else has ever existed such a blessed way of life as even the poorest Americans have today.
But it is true that during those years when Johnson reels were being Made in America, they were fine reels, from a fine company. I am not sure how long their gurantee continued, but in the beginning, a Johnson reel was a lifelong investment. For three bucks Johnson would fix any reel you sent back in. I also recall retrofits being made available or kits to convert or update reels. This may account for why there appears to be so many versions and crossovers of these early reels, makingit hard to know what was original and what was upgraded.
Anyway, it is my experience that some of these reels are pawned off as irreparable or at least not working correctly. The problem may be perpetuated by subsequent owners for the same reasons. But if the problem is approached methodically and systematically, virtually all of these non-working drags can be put back in order within a half-hour or less, without additonal parts. Unless a reel comes to you missing drag parts, or other parts, they can almost always be repaired on the spot. If they DO come to you missing any parts, for the drag or the reel proper, there are so many of these reels available for a few dollars on the secondhand market that it is not a problem to either find them or to afford them. If you find the smooth and reliable casting and long reliable service year after year with little maintenance other than oiling then you'll be clamoring to get your hands on a few extras besides. They are that enjoyable to use.
I started life as the baby in a family of universally capable handy-persons who were inherently mechanically inclined. They seemed to be imbued from birth with an innate ability to build, repair, fix, design, or invent virtually anything they decided to. Dad, although not officially degreed as such, was an electronics engineer of the first order. He was a whiz in all such things whether mechanical, structural, electrical, or electronic. I will only expound to say that he was one of the few people alive during at the time, who could fully strip down a Teletype Machine, a hi-bred electrical-electronic-mechanical device that works by orchestrating a gazillion little parts with electronic and electrical components and impulses, and put it back together working when it was not previously--and do so with out manuals nor instructions.
So it is not a stretch to feel that I also had a tiny bit of this innate ability. Though not much. I was always the odd one out in my family of such geniuses. I was soon eclipsed in my own abilities by those who could get such things done quicker and with less instruction and fanfare. My role became the one serviced. I had only to hint that I needed something fixed tohave a bunch of my people jump on it and fix it. However, prior to my realizing this handy thing to have at my disposal, I beleive that Johnson Century reels were among the first of my assemble then reassemble projects of inclination.
I could receive no assistance at this as I was too young to be considered capable and too young to read and understand instructions and diagrams if there were any available. If there was such available, I would not have known it. So it was, that I would do such things. Remarkably, I was able to keep them working. If I asked for help, it would have been from my next older brother who was to a lessor degree--in the same boat with me and who would have offer his help with a modicum of scolding. So, although I don't specifically remember this happening, I did have a safety net if I really screwed things up.
"I like to make a habit of laying the parts aside upside down and in the order that they are taken off. this is jsut good work method and will minimize getting them back on incorrectly. But be aware that the orientation of each part can make a difference in the proper function of the reel."
First unscrew the bell turning it in the conventional counter-clockwise direction you would expect. If the reel is very funky and abused and was never cleaned and appears t have been kept under or behind the back seat of a pick-up and forgotten for a few decades--as is not so uncommon to find them--or if the threads have been cross-threaded as can happen if care is not taken to get them started back on straight--then they might be hard to get undone. Don't force anything beyond a good hand tight grip. If this won't get the bell threads turning, a shot of WD-40 into the crevice between the reel frame and the bell, down through the slotted opening in the bell, or through the line exit-entry hole into the bell. Let it set for a few minutes at least to allow it to penetrate.
Be aware that WD-40 may weaken some old fishing line that may left-over fishing line if it has been in there a while. It is best to replace the line anyway, as heat and time press a relentless curl into the line, which inhibits proper casting anyway. Not to get too far out of sequence, let me suggest that any mono-filament or fluorocarbon line is okay to use in the 6 to 12 lb. category. Fishing lines are thinner for the same test line today than they were at the time the reels were manufactured--so the reels will work just fine with heavier test lines as well.
This type of age-hardened grunge is pretty typical. Some are not this bad, but most are this bad or worse. Practical fishermen are not always the best housekeepers. They use their equipment and expect it to work. I was visiting with my neighbor over the fence one day and he was tellin gme hw none of his newer reels work more than a season. The plastics or so-called composites or graphites used in modern reels are said to be stronger and longer-lasting than the metal used in these vintage reels. Maybe by some abstract quality-control test (though probably not), but I can tell you firsthand that synthetics don't do well when it comes to decades of accumulated abuse of water, oil, sand, dirt, fish-guts, tobacco juice, temperature extremes, and getting knocked around in Uncle Oldfeller's dad's toolbox-sometimes-tacklebox willed to cousin Willy.
When it emerges many years after a well-intending user stored it uncleaned and forgotten, it has been my experience that ONLY the types of corrosion-resistant metals that were rightly used by the makers of these old reels survives in a manner that can be simply cleaned and be expected to work like new. The few plastic (usually nylon) parts that were used in these reels are the only ones to expect to occasionally be cracked or broken. These can often be repaired with modern epoxy to a functinonal state, but it is the metal parts that survive almost universally.
I have not had a lot of luck with braided lines as the reels depend upon a certain amount of rigidity to re-spool correctly--bu ti haven't tried this recently. There are now so many types of lines on the market today that I will never say never. Knock yourself out if you are so inclined to experiment--but this is simply my experience so far with braided line. Note too, that several varieties of line and reel pray dressing are available t functions as does the WD-40 without any detrimental effects. personally, WD-40 has always fit the bill for me.
If the bell is still stubborn to remove--try very hot water or even a light touch with a blow torch to cause the bell to expand and dislodge the threads. I recall only having to do the latter once. Of course observe any safety and flammability rules if you try this. Remember in any case that the lightweight metal that the bell is made of is fairly soft and can be buggered up without trying. So to keep the cosmetics of the rel nice, just exercise a little patience and caution. Rarely will you have to apply anything but good hand pressure.
I like to make a habit of laying the parts aside upside down and in the order that they are taken off. this is jsut good work method and will minimize getting them back on incorrectly. But be aware that the orientation of each part can make a difference in the proper function of the reel. Next off is the keeper nut over the spool housing. It appears to be designed to use a coin. It is pretty soft so try not to bugger it up. It should come right off. place the nut in the upside-down bell. Remove then spool housing and set it down upside down in order next to the bell. If you take a moment to examine the underside of this cover you can see how an offset cam and a spring cause the line take-up pin to alternately retract and extend with each spool revolution as the crank is turned. With the line held tight as it enter the bell, by pressure from the lure or your fingers, this pin picks up the line and wraps it consistently around the underlying spool. This is how the line is reeled in.
Depending upon the age of the reel and order of manufacture, as far as I can tell, there were a few different keepers used to keep the spool in place on the shaft. It should be fairly evident as to how to take these off. /they may reassemble a cotter pin or a slotted washer or even multiple washers in combination. This is not rocket science, but DO take care to note their orientation and make sure they go back on the same way, as these can make a huge difference in the way the reel and the drag function. So lay these aside in order.
The spool is a simple, well, spool that lifts off of the shaft once unencumbered by the retaining keeps. They are prone to get stuck. A little oil or WD-40 will help them along. leveraged pressure with a flat-head screwdriver placed under the bottom lip of he spool on alternating sides will ensure proper removal. I perceive that this spool could break, although I have never broken one. Don't force beyond the easy flex-point of the spool. Lifting it upward with your fingertips may be all that is required once it is started.
A series of blow-by-blow photos follow. There are variances between some of the same models and between models. These variances are important to note, but most of the steps are the same.