1. The Knobby Conversion is probably one of the most widely used tournament brake conversions available. In this article we will be fitting a Knobby Kit to a flat sided ABU but we sell kits for a variety of models in the Tuning and Conversions section of our shop. One benefit of a Knobby Kit is that you can retain the ratchet if you have one, which is another reason why some people opt for this particular conversion. We suggest that you read the complete article before attempting this conversion.
2. The first job is to line up the spacer on the side plate and decide where you want to position the kit. The position above is the most popular for casters but you can put it pretty much anywhere you want, particularly if you need to avoid a ratchet mechanism (see the last picture in the set). The Housing Spacer should sit so it overlaps the graduated chrome ring by about 0.75mm to allow enough room between the reels tension cap and the Knob of the kit and this is easy to achieve as all you have to do is make sure that the edge of the 8mm hole for the Housing Bush to go through is right against the graduated ring.
3. Mark the intended position of the kit and then drill out the hole. Start off with a 1mm drill bit to drill a guide hole and then open out the hole to 5mm. Rather than try to drill an 8mm hole it is then easier to open out the hole to full size with a small round file 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 (remember the hole has to edge against the graduated chrome ring) you can correct it with this method.
4. Your side plate should now look like this. Before you fit the Housing Bush and Spacer you will need to file a small notch out of the base of the Spacer to give it clearance over the graduated chrome ring, where it overlaps. File it down a bit at a time until you have a flush fit and then clean all the filings off the side plate and loosely fit the Housing Bush and Spacer to make sure everything fits properly.
5. Once you are happy with the fit of the Bush and Spacer you can fit it properly. Tighten it up with two pairs of pliers, protecting the bush with a rag or a piece of rubber to ensure you dont 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 threads will fix it for good. If you are intending to use Araldite however you are probably better advised to complete the fitting of the kit first to ensure that everything works okay.
6. The side plate should now look like this on the inside. Ensure that the housing threads are clean and then apply some light grease or reel oil to the internal thread of the Housing Bush in preparation for fitting the Magnet Shaft and Tension Spring.
7. Screw the Magnet Shaft and Tension Spring into the housing from the inside of the side plate. At this point it should be screwed down so there is only about 5mm clearance between the magnet and the side plate and you then fit the side plate back onto the reel. 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 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 ABU should spin for about 10 - 15 seconds without blocks), adjust the position of the mag if required and then remove the side plate from the reel.
8. Hold the inside of the Magnet Shaft to make sure you dont move its position and then screw on the Knob as far down as it will go on the top of the Shaft. Tighten the Grub Screw with a 1.5mm Allen Key to hold the Knob into position and then refit the side plate and test the reel by giving it a quick spin. If you have accidentally moved the Magnet Shaft without realising it or you decide you want to adjust the Knobby Mag at a later date it is simply a matter of repeating the tuning procedure again until you have it set right. Thats it, job done!
9. A couple of my reels with Knobby Mags fitted. On the left the Black CT has the kit fitted in the traditional position preferred by most casters, where it can be adjusted easily during the cast. The Blue CT Elite on the right has the Knobby Mag fitted so that the ratchet can be retained. In this case I could have fitted it on the lower right of the side plate but chose the position shown although this spot does mean it would be in the way if I wanted to palm the reel on the retrieve. If you have any questions about any aspect of this conversion or the parts used please email us via our Contact Us page.