1. In this article we will be fitting a Knobby Kit to a Penn 525GS. The kit we will be using is designed to replace the standard Magnet brakes on the 525 Slidey, a popular upgrade for the tournament field, but it also makes an extremely good job of upgrading the centrifugally braked GS models to magnet braking. The kit can be found in the Tuning and Conversions and is relatively easy to fit but it does involve the loss of the clicker/ratchet. We suggest that you read the complete article before attempting this conversion.
2. The first job is to remove the left side plate. If your new to these reels or its the first time you ever actually stripped one be sure to remove the small fixing screw at the top of the side plate under the chrome ring; I've seen more than one of these reels damaged by an owner who had attempted to lever off a "stuck" side plate, unaware that there was this small fixing still to take out. With the side plate off the next job is to remove the ratchet components which will become redundant.
3. Remove the complete ratchet assembly from the side plate and also lever the centrifugal brake drum out of its seating. These parts are on the left of the picture and will no longer be required. The bearing and the shim are also removed while we fit the kit as this will prevent them from picking up any plastic filings but these will be going back in.
4. The next area requiring attention is the left end of the spool. We need to lose the nylon ratchet cog and the brake pins from the spool spindle as they will foul the magnet shaft of the knobby kit. Carefully remove the split ring which locates in the spindle end and then simply slide them off the spindle.
5. Once you have removed the clutter from the spindle end it is very important to replace the small stainless split ring back onto the spindle. Once the reel is re-assembled this ring bears against the inner bearing face on that end of the spool preventing the bearing riding up the spindle and coming out of its locating hole in the side plate - if this were to happen mid-cast the results would be disastrous for your reel.
6. We're now at the point where we can actually start fitting the kit itself. The housing will locate through the ratchet switch hole in the side plate. Penn have conveniently moulded a circle right on the spot where it needs to go and so all we really need to do is enlarge the hole to 8mm so it's big enough to pass the housing bush through.
7. Although you can drill the hole out I don't bother as the plastic is very easy to work on and it only takes a minute or two to enlarge the hole to the required 8mm using a suitable sized round file.
8. You can see from the picture that the hole will be a couple of mm smaller than the moulded pattern in the side plate. Once you have a good fit be sure to clean any burrs from the hole as this will make sure the housing sits nice and square, and then clean off any dust and shavings from the filing process. Though you are unlikely to have any problems it never hurts to quickly assemble the housing on the side plate to make sure you are happy with the seating before you fix it more permanently.
9. 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 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 Housing Bush will make things more permanent but take care not to get any glue on the centre thread where the Magnet Shaft goes.
10. Refit the bearing and shim back into their respective locations in the side plate and then 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. You are now ready to carry out the finishing touches to the conversion.
11. Refit the side plate back onto the reel and then (making sure your reel is set up for casting and the spool is properly centred) wind the Magnet Shaft down until you feel the magnet contact the side of the spool. Wind the Magnet Shaft back half or three quarters of a turn to set the right amount of clearance between spool and magnet and give the reel a quick spin to check that everything works smoothly and as it should. Assuming all is well remove the side plate from the reel.
12. With the side plate off the reel 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 thread till it contacts the top of the Housing Spacer. 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. If you find you've inadvertently moved the Magnet Shaft and the magnet contacts the spool remove the Knob and repeat the process until you get it right, otherwise it's job done!
13. The finished Job. The kit winds off anti-clockwise approximately 0.8mm per turn of the knob and adds fully adjustable magnet brakes to these popular reels. If you have any questions about any aspect of this conversion or the parts used please email us via our Contact Us page.