1. In this article we will be fitting a Knobby Kit to a dome sided ABU but we sell kits for a variety of models in the Tuning and Conversions section of our shop. Kits are not so widely available for the domed versions of the Ambassadeur and are a little bit more fiddly to fit than those for flat sided models but they work just as well and allow you to retain the ratchet if your reel has one. This particular kit is available in our store and should take you no more than 45 minutes to fit, considerably less if you are fairly able with this kind of job. It will fit both Ultracast and fixed spindle versions of the dome sided Ambassadeurs. We suggest that you read the complete article before attempting this conversion.
2. Although it retains the same fundamental workings of
all Knobby mags our kit has an additional spacer which fixes
against the inside surface of the reel's side plate. Both
the inner and outer spacer are milled to match the dome of the
side plate and it this that allows for a secure fixing.
The parts of the kit are as follows:
1. Magnet Shaft
2. Tension Spring
3. Housing Bush
4. Inner Spacer
5. Outer Spacer
6. Adjuster Knob
3. The first step is to take the left side plate off your reel. For field use most casters will want to fit the kit to the top right of the side plate which is the most convenient position for adjusting the brakes during the cast. In this case the level wind and the ratchet will have to go but you can fit it to the lower right of the side plate and retain both if you wish. In this case my old fixed spindle 6000 has already lost the level wind and had the frame converted but I want to retain the ratchet so I will be fitting the kit on the lower right of the side plate.
4. Once you've made the decision about where to fit your kit mark the position for the centre of the hole by measuring 5.5mm from the chrome edge of the centre boss and then sit the outer spacer over the mark to make sure you are happy with your chosen position. If you are not sure then hold the spacer on the side plate with a blob of Blue Tac and reassemble the reel to make sure the position will not interfere with how you like to hold the reel to cast and retrieve. Once your happy you are ready to drill.
5. If you are confident with a drill then simply start off with a smaller drill bit to drill a guide hole (2 or 3mm) and then open out the hole to full size with an 8mm drill bit. Personally I prefer to use a more gentle method. Rather than try to drill with an 8mm drill bit (which are prone to snagging in the thin material of the side plate) I prefer to drill an initial 2 to 3mm guide hole and then open it out to 5 or 6mm.
6. I then use a small round file to open out the hole to full size as it allows you to get a tighter hole for the Housing Bush which will make for a sturdier job. Also if your guide hole was a little out you can correct it with this method trying the inner bush in the side plate for a correct position and fit as you go - it's slower but I find there's less chance of a mistake and you get a better job as a result.
7. Once you have the hole sorted loose-fit the Bush and the two angled spacers; the smaller Inner Spacer slips over the thread of the Bush as in the picture above and both inner and outer spacers should be fitted with their angled ends against the side plate. Getting everything lined up properly at this stage is probably the fiddliest part of the job but take your time to get everything right and ensure that the shaft will pass through the housing square and not at an angle. Don't worry too much if there are any minor gaps below between the Outer Spacer and the side plate as these will be taken up when the kit is fitted tightly.
8. Once you are happy with the fit of the Bush and Spacers you can fit it properly. Tighten it up with two pair of pliers, protecting the Outer Spacer with a rag or a piece of rubber to ensure that you don't scratch it. A dab of lock and seal will prevent the assembly coming loose but if you want a more permanent sealed fit, some Araldite on the thread of the Bush will fix it for good. If you are intending to use Araldite you are probably better advised to complete a dry fitting of the kit first to give you the opportunity to test the reel and ensure that everything works okay as a glued housing will have to be drilled out if you've made a serious mistake.
9. Screw the Magnet Shaft and Tension Spring into the housing from the inside of the side plate. Screw the shaft well down so there is only about 5-8mm clearance between the magnet and the side plate and then refit the side plate back onto the reel ready to set the adjustment of the shaft. You can just hold the side plate in place but you'll most likely find it easier to screw it on properly, particularly if you have retained the ratchet and it does help to prevent you dropping anything.
10. Making sure your reel is set up for casting and the spool is properly centred, from the outside of the reel wind the Magnet Shaft down until you feel the magnet contact the side of the spool, then simply wind it back half or three quarters of a turn. Give the reel a quick spin to check you have the braking right (the spool on an Ultracast model should spin for about 10 - 15 seconds without blocks if correctly oiled), adjust the position of the shaft if required and then remove the side plate from the reel. With the side plate off again hold the inside of the Magnet Shaft to make sure you don't move its position and then gently screw on the Knob as far down as it will go on the top of the Shaft, making sure you don't move the shaft. Tighten the Grub Screw on the Knob with a 1.5mm Allen Key to hold it in position and then refit the side plate and test the reel. Job Done!
11. The finished Job. The kit winds off anti-clockwise 1mm per turn of the knob and when spun up the reel spool will spin for approximately 10 - 15 seconds with the brake full on and anything up to 2 minutes at full off with a correctly tuned casting reel (with ratchet and level wind removed). If you have any questions about any aspect of this conversion or the parts used please email us via our Contact Us page.