Penn 550SS, and 5500SS Cleaning & assembly
The Penn Spin Fisher is the most popular spinning reel worldwide, and with the latest release of the Spin Fisher 5 Penn will continue to capture the hearts of Anglers. Many people have enjoyed years of great fishing using these virtually trouble free reels. But as with any reel, the time comes for cleaning and a full overhaul to remove coagulated oils and grease, as well as impurities and corrosion from salt water and other elements.
This pictorial instruction covers the 550SS reels, both the first edition released in 1977-79, through the 550SS (Graphite) reel. The 550 is a medium range reel that because of its varied uses is popular with both fresh water and salt water anglers. Now considered vintage by many collectors, it’s popularity is still strong. But rebuilding these can be tricky if you have never worked with them.
To begin, fully disassemble the reel and bail assembly, and using a metal container, place the Metal parts of the reel in Mineral spirits. Be careful to separate the plastic, rubber, and/or fiber parts, from the rest of the reel. Soak the metal parts in mineral spirits to remove old lubricants, grime and impurities from the parts. You can use dishwashing detergent and a toothbrush to clean the non-metal components. After all the parts are cleaned, use an old cloth or paper towels to drythe parts, so the reel can be assembled.
This portion covers the earlier models of the 550SS bail and rotor assembly with the jack-plate, cover plate and spring. With later models of the 550SS the spring and cover plate were omitted and the same rotor cup with a cut out for the jack-plate was used. As the Spin Fisher progressed, and to save cost, Penn omitted the jack plate all together. Examining your rotor cup, it will be easy to see which configuration you have. However, all the Penn rotor assemblies are similar.
Begin by assembling the rotor cup. This may be the most aggravating part of restoring the 550 and 5500SS. Using the picture on the right, place a small amount of grease on the back side of the Jack-plate and install it on the side of the Rotor Cup as indicated by the illustration.
Turn the rotor cup upside down and install the small Jack Spring. Placing a small amount of grease on one end of the spring (figure 2), it can be placed on the bottom of the Jack-plate (See Figure3) and the grease will hold it in place so the cover plate can be installed (Figure 5 shows the finished jack and spring assembly).
This part is not depicted on any schematics I could locate, however it covers the spring and Jack plate from the underside of the rotor assembly. It is attached with a small philips head screw.
Insert the bail return spring into the side of the Rotor cup with the 90 degree bend on one end pushed into the small hole in the cutout towards the top portion of the jack plate. Don't worry about puttting the spring in incorrectly, it will only go in one way. Next place the other 90 degree bend of the spring into the Bail arm (#34 on schematic) and install it on the side of the Rotor Cup, with the cam on the back side of the Bail arm inserted into the groove at the top of the Bail arm mounting bracket . You may need to turn the Bail arm until it aligns the holes for installing the Bail Screw. Insert the Bail arm screw and bushing, giving it a few turns. Do not tighten all the way. Add some grease with your finger to the spring area and replace the Bail Spring cover plate.
You should be ready to attach the Bail arm now, insert the Bail stud screw and lock washer (36 & 36A) through the back of the bail arm. Then place the roller washer, line roller and roller sleeve over the Bail screw on the opposite side of the Bail arm. Screw it into the Bail wire and secure it tightly. The opposite side of the bail wire can now be attached to the rotor cup and the rotor assembly is complete.
When the Rotor cup is complete, we can start on the Reel assembly. Start by packing the pinion bearing, Place a fair amount (approx. one tablespoon) of reel grease in the palm of your hand, then drag the edges of the Pinion shaft bearing through the grease, rotating the bearing after each pass. You will need to drag the grease back to the center of your palm with the bearing to continue using it. Turn the bearing over and repeat until the bearing is well greased. Do not use oil, the bearings will wear and eventually cause pinion shaft slop and damage both the Pinion Gear and main drive gear.
Now dip the pinion gear into the grease and get a good coating over it. Slide the packed bearing over the shaft and push it down to the gear. The shaft and bearing can now be inserted into the top of the reel chassis and pushing down on the Bearing, make sure it is well seated in the pinion shaft housing; the Gear should be visible inside the gear cavity.
Find the Bearing Spacer and slide it over the shaft all the way down to the upper bearing face. this can also be installed after the retainer is in place.Slide it down until well seated on the bearing center ring.
Install the bearing cover (21) over the shaft and bearing and insert the three retainer screws. This needs to be tight to prevent the reel from slipping or allowing the rotor cup to move while in use.
The Anti-reverse eccentric can be slid inplace now. Fisrt feed the 90 degree elbow of the eccedntric spring (Figure F) into the underside of the eccentric and slide the spring keeper bushing down the saft against the spring and the underside of the eccentric (Figure G). The Eccentric can now be incerted into the eccentric shaft opening through the reel body cavity and lower eccentric liner and botom of the reel body (see Figure H). While holding the shaft in with your finger from the top, align the half circle opening of the anit-reverse lever and slide it over the end of the eccentric. Do not force it: when you screw the eccentric screw in it will pull the lever up tight agaisnt the eccentric liner.
Next slide the anti-reverse dog fingers over the anti-reverse gear then slide it down the shaft with the gear in a counterclockwise direction, the fingers of the dog should be facing in and towards he left, with the tail of the dog riding against the topf the anti-reverse eccentric. (see Figure )
The Rotor Assembly can now be attached to the reel body; Slide the rotor over the pinion shaft and place the rotor lock washer over the Pinion shaft and push it down until it is seated into the groove. Thread the rotor cup retaining nut over the end of the Pinion shaft and, while holding the rotor with your hand, using the proper wrench tighten the nut down firmly against the lock washer, The rotor should spin freely with no wobbling.
After the upper portion of the reel body is assembled it's time to work on the internal portion of the reel body cavity. Place the main drive gear bearings the same way the Pinion shaft bearing was packed earlier. On the 550SS and 650SS , push the right hand bearing into the hub from the outside of the Main gear Bearing housing, and it's corresponding cover. With the 5500 and 6500 the Bearing fits into the Housing from the inside of the reel, as well as it's corresponding cover .
Put some grease on the back-side of the Crosswind gear (opposite from the cam side) and push it over the hub on the inner right side of the body cavity (Figure ). Next grease the channel on the underside of the Crosswind block and insert it into the bottom of the reel cavity with the grove against the back of the cavity (Figure ).
The Main shaft can now be inserted from the top of the rotor Cup through the pinion shaft and down through the Crosswind shaft bushing into the Bushing cap. the grease that we dipped the pinion gear into should provide adequate lubrication for the shaft. The cutout on the lower portion of the shaft should be flush with the surface of the crosswind block so the crosswind block plate will fit flush against the shaft and Block plate. the block plate retainer crosswind screws can be put in place and tightened well to prevent backing out later on.
The main gear can now be installed so the Right end with the crosswind gear portion rides against the crosswind gear and inside the right hand main shaft bearing. Turn the rotor with your hand to ensure the gears are aligned and working smoothly. Now the left-hand housing cover and main shaft bearing can be fitted over the left side of the main gear and secured with the three housing screws. Thread on the (open) Bearing cover on the left hand side of the reel.
Depending on the reel's production date, the handle assemblies may be either a Hex handle that passes through the main gear and has a retainer screw on the right side that secures the handle in place. others may be threaded into place until secure against the reel body. The Right hand (closed) bearing cover can now be installed and the reel overhaul and rebuild is complete. Replace the spool and drag nut, you should now be ready to go fishing. Good Luck!