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when i first started doing reel seminars 5 years ago, one fourth of the reels brought in were ambassaduers. initially, they took up a third of the time. it took quite a while, but i figured out the right combination of penn ht-100 drag washers and metal washers. my problem was always a space issue. the penn washers i had were always too thick. recently, I (Non sponsor removed) came out with a line of carbontex drag washers that fit perfectly. just slap on a coat of cal or shimano drag grease, switch out the drags and witness the miracle!

many of you have these old ambassaduers. it had been a love/hate relationship.



good looks and cheap, but unreliable. well, i want all of you to pull out those old seized up ambassaduers, and get ready to fall in love all over again. this is one reel that anyone can fix at home. here's how....

first, check out the smoothdrag website at (non sponsor removed) and check out the carbontex drag washers. DO NOT get the old green or black smoothies. (Non sponsor removed) order up a set of drag washers and some of cal's drag washer grease. she is absolutely one of the nicest people in the world. and tell her alan said hi!

next, go the the ambassaduer website and find the schematic for your reel. just as an example, i'm going to pick ambassaduer -> c3 -> 5500 -> 9909.pdf. let's start....

start with the left side plate. back off one screw (key #199) ONLY. squirt a small amount of grease into the screw hole and put the screw back!!!! do not remove the side plate. remove the next two screws, one at a time, and grease them as well.



remove the handle nut cap and screw (key #'s 14868, 96274 and 15359)



remove the c-clip (key #4490)



remove the handle nut (key #15359), the handle (key # 24500), the stainless steel spring (key # 5115), the star (key # 24502) and the cast control knob (key #'s 21717, 20917, and 20090)



remove the right side plate assembly (note that this photo shows the cast control knob still in place. it must be removed first).



separate the reel as shown below.



lube the level wind assembly.



lube the left spool bearing (key #13472) by popping out the nylon sprocket gear (key #23403). don't forget to pop it back in!



lube the right spool bearing (key #13472)



replace the spool assembly (key #970823) back into the frame and insert the spool shaft (key #802630)



now, for the right side plate. remove the two right side plate bridge screws (key # 5229)



NOTE THIS IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE: older reels have a more reliable anti-reverse dog (key #20671). note that the dog has to "grab" the ratchet gear at base of the gear sleeve (key #22079), as shown in the schematic that i've chosen to work with. newer reels have a less reliable anti-reverse roller bearing, as shown in the photo below

if you have a dog, note the proper position of the dog now, and make sure it is reassembled in the same way.

remove the right side plate cover (key #24511). note that the anti-reverse roller bearing sleeve and the two cupped pressure washers (key #5131) stayed with the side plate cover.



grease the screw holes



separate the drag/gear cluster as shown. note left to right, the ....

thrust washer (key #5189)
gear sleeve (key # 22079)
fiber washer (key # 13169)
main gear (key #21200)
3 alternating drag washers (key #20907)
flat slotted metal washer (key #20906)
flat keyed metal washer (key #20905)
cupped slotted metal washer (key #20960)

also shown in the photo are four new carbon fiber drag washers and a second flat slotted metal washer. ignore the second flat slotted metal washer.



apply a generous coat of cal or shimano drag grease to the new carbontex drag washers, rebuild the gear drag/gear cluster and discard the orginal ambassaduer drag washers.


if your reel has a dog (key # 20671), put the dog back onto the ratchet gear (key # 22079), install the spacer (key #22001) and then drop the drag/gear cluster back onto the right side plate base (key #24508) .

if your reel has an anti-reverse roller bearing, replace the roller bearing sleeve as shown in the photo below.



replace the right side plate bridge screws (key # 13369) and install the cupped pressure washers in a "()" orientation as shown below.



find the small white plastic brakes on the spool (key #20211) and press them in. failure to do this and the right side plate assembly may not seat properly.



install the right side plate assembly back onto the frame. make sure that the brakes are pressed "in" and that the anti-reverse dog is also "in." the right side plate assembly should seat cleanly, flush and with a "snap." tighten down the three right side plate screws. now check to make sure that the gear sleeve (key # 22079) turns freely and that the anti-reverse mechanism functions properly.



install the cast control cap assembly.





install the star and spring.



grease and install the handle.



install the handle nut and c-clip



install the handle nut cap and retaining screw.



pat yourself on the back and have a beer. well done!
 

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Wow! Great pictorial instructions, thanks for posting it. I hope Smoothdrag is (or can soon become) an ifish sponsor so the contact information can be left in. Anyway, I have one question... did you replace the smaller size fiber washer (#13169) with one of the full size drag washers (the size of a #20907 drag washer)? No problem doing that?

Thanks again!
 

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Yes, that was a tough one to edit. Very nice, informational post!

Please... when you link non sponsors know that it will be removed. I have gone through all your posts and removed lots of links. I realize you are trying to be helpful, but I have to respect the deals that I have made with those that pay for our banter on ifish.

Please read the AUP on ifish for more information.

Thank you,

Jen
 

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AWESOME POST!!!.....I love my Ambassadeurs, I know they may not be the "ferrari" of the reel world, but IMO, they are the longest-lived steelhead reel in my gear bag. I have used mine hundreds of times (thousands of casts) and they just keep on going.

DFD
 

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Hi Alan...

Can you advise how to tell which schematic goes with a particular reel?

I have Ambassadeurs that range in age from one month, to twenty years old. In the past I've tried to match the serial number on the reel foot to a schematic, but I've never been able to see a clear relationship (but then, I'm not the brightest bulb either).

Thanks !!
 

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WOW...what a neat post! You put alot of time into this one!

I did the supersmoothie update 2 years ago on 4 reels, and I was far from pleased with the results. Like alot of people, I love my 6500c's for the price and smoothness, but the drags suck after a season! Are the carbon fiber washers new? I might have to try a drag replacement "one more time"!
 

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I did a quick Google on the term "carbontex drag washers" (use the quote marks too) and easily came up with the edited out manufacturer's name and contact info.

I've got 2 of the 6501's C3's that I use for my steelhead plug rods. These are great reels, and I am hoping the addition of the washers will make them even better.

Thanks for the awesome post and pics...that's the kind of detail we *mechanical wonders* need to keep from screwing things up...

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, that was a tough one to edit. Very nice, informational post! Please... when you link non sponsors know that it will be removed. I have gone through all your posts and removed lots of links. I realize you are trying to be helpful, but I have to respect the deals that I have made with those that pay for our banter on ifish. Please read the AUP on ifish for more information. Thank you,
Jen
jen, sorry, i didn't know that. i don't post here often and just "clicked" rather than "read" when i signed on. i will be sure to leave them out. thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi Alan... Can you advise how to tell which schematic goes with a particular reel? I have Ambassadeurs that range in age from one month, to twenty years old. In the past I've tried to match the serial number on the reel foot to a schematic, but I've never been able to see a clear relationship (but then, I'm not the brightest bulb either). Thanks !!
sorry, i'm with you on this one. it's important to have the reel in hand when you call ambassaduer for parts. if you are sitting at a computer when you call, they can tell you which schematic matches up. there have been so many small changes to their reels, i don't see how anyone can keep things straight. alan
 

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Re: carbontex upgrade for the 5 and 6 series abass

I don't know if this is a universal tip on Abu's or not but when I'm done fishing I back the drag all the way off = now granted I don't have tons of fish on these reels yet but the drag has been very smooth.

I'll have to look into the new carbon fiber washers - thanks
 

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Re: carbontex upgrade for the 5 and 6 series abass

I'm with StickFish. I've been using Ambassadeurs since 1970 ( :bigshock:) and have never had a problem with the drag. The key with these products is to back off the drags after every use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: carbontex upgrade for the 5 and 6 series abass

well, greased carbon fiber is a little different. you can leave the drag washers cranked down or back them off. either way, they will last forever. if you keep them clamped down, you can keep water out for sure.

both cal sheets and shimano have a pure teflon grease. they both cost $5 an ounce and have melting temps of about 650 degrees farenheit. coarse woven carbon fiber is used by all penn reels (the ht-100), shimano (two speeds only), all accurates, progear (classic series only), ambassaduer (the record only), all tiburons, large okumas (two speeds only?) and daiwa (two speeds only). of these reels, only the shimano two speeds enjoy a zero failure rate, because the drags are greased.

it's important at this point to make sure we're not talking apples and oranges. my definition of drag failure is different from most people. so here's how i determine if a drag is functioning properly. put the reel on the rod and run the line through the guides. pick your desired drag setting, typically 25-33% of your line weight, sometimes less. find a lead weight that matches. tie the line to the weight. reel down. crank down on the drag. lift until the butt of the rod is at a 45 degree angle. now adjust the drag until the weight drops 1 foot every 5 seconds. if the drag on your reel is smooth enough to do that, then i say it works just fine. if it's herky jerky at all, then, by my standards, it fails.

all reels that cross my bench get greased carbon fiber drags and have to pass that test before they are returned to their owners. and i've never had someone return a reel to me because the drags "failed."
 
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