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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: "A" series shimano calcutta 400 rebuild  (Read 1368 times)

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  • Salmon
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  • Location: saratoga, ca
  • Date Registered: Dec 2004
  • Posts: 687
if i did a survey of favorite reels among northern california saltwater fisherman, i think the old "A" series shimano calcutta 400 would top the list.   alot of guys have this reel, and everyone that has one loves it.  here's a link to the schematics. 


and here's the topless 400 S.

first off comes the handle nut plate screw (key #795), the handle nut plate (key # 1692), and the handle nut (key #1693).

next comes the handle assembly (key #1694) and the friction washer (key #799).  note the corrosion around the handle.  this is a common finding. 

remove the star drag (key#2002), the star drag spacer (key #1289), the two thinner drag spring washer (L)'s (key #1613), and the two thicker drag spring washer (B)'s (key #1455).

back out the two right side plate bolts (key #1698) and remove the right side plate assembly.

spread everything out.

lube the left side plate bearing (key #194) with corrosion x.

here's a slick little modification.  the plastic bushing that you see here can actually be replaced by a bearing.  the dimensions on the bearing/bushing are 5mm id x 11mm od x 3mm ht and the bocabearings.com part # is SMR 685.  there's no specific need to replace the bushing.  i think it's just slick to have that option.

remove the two right side plate screws (key #1616).

lift off the right side plate (key #2043).

here's the entire gear cluster, cleaned up and spread out.  the replacement penn h-100 drag washers are in the foreground.  the first penn drag washer (going left to right) is a penn #6-965 that has been cut from 24mm down to 19mm, the second one is a #6B-965, the the next two are full sized #6-965's. 

slap a coat of shimano or cal's drag grease on the drag washers and rebuild the stack. 

there is one small trick with this reel.  the ht-100 drag washers are thicker than the stock dartaniums.  to get this to work, you have to alter the eared washer (key #1620).  bend the ears down at a 45 degree angle so that it will catch the main gear. 

here's the completed drag stack.

paint a little grease on the inside of the right side plate cover.

lube the right side plate bearing (key #194) with corrosion x.

the right side plate should snap cleanly over the bridge assembly.  install the two right side plate screws (key #1616).

grease the frame screw holes.

note the position of the clutch plate (key #1631).  this is the "up" position and the side plate is now "in gear."

push the clutch plate "down" so that it is now "out of gear."

note the position of the clutch bar (key #1723) now in the down position.

push it up.

ok, NOW you can put the side plate back on the reel!  tighten down the right side plate bolts, using good mechanical judgement.  too little and they will back out on you.  too much and you can snap them right off. 

install the belleville's (key #1455 and 1613) and washer (key #1289) in a "()()|" orientation. 

install the star drag (key #2002) and friction washer (key #799).  add a little grease.

install the handle assembly (key #1694) and the handle nut (key #1693).  add a little more grease.

install the handle nut plate (key #1692) and handle nut plate screw (key #795), wipe off the excess grease and you're done!

now a few comments. 

regarding the drag washers, i realize that there are some that wish to use the stock dartanium drag washers.  that's fine.  if they get sticky, simply pull them out, clean them off, grease them and reinstall them.  just make sure you work on a hard surface.  the dartanium drag washers are as brittle as tortilla chips and will snap if you try to clean them on a soft towel.  if you like carbon fiber but prefer your carbon fiber dry, that's fine, too.  hopefully there will be a carbontex upgrade available someday.  so anything you want to do is fine.  it's still my preference to use grease and carbon fiber. 

you may have noted that i did not go to any special effort to clean or open up the bearings of this reel.  i simply lubed them.  i tend to do that with smaller bearings.  it's the larger bearings in the lever drag reels that cause the most trouble.  i have found that the smaller bearings in the star drag reels tend to be less problematic. 

lastly, a word about the anti-reverse roller clutch bearing (key #1207).  i keep ten of them in inventory, and they're $10 each.  i have noted that they are installed dry from the factory.  i've had a fair number of them come in rusted.  you'll know that you have a problem when the handle spins backwards.  but this is a tough one.  the rollers inside this roller bearing are plain steel, not stainless steel.  if you install them dry, they will rust.  if you load them up with grease, they slip under a heavy load.  what to do?  well, i've decided to apply a light coat of teflon drag grease to the roller clutch inner tube (key #1206) and a little extra to the inside of the bearing itself.  i also sometimes apply grease to the top of the roller bearing assembly before installing the drag star.   

the new "B" series calcuttas addressed this problem with the roller bearing by adding an ambassaduer style anti-reverse dog lever.  for these old "A" series reels, what should be most helpful is to avoid heavy loads!  a surge from sticky drag can suddenly increase (maybe double) your functional drag setting.  greased carbon fiber drags will help in this regard.  and if you hang up in the rocks, don't button down on the drags until something gives.  if you're spooled up with 30 pound spectra, it might not be the knot that gives first!  keep a 6 inch section of broomstick with a double layer of electrical tape on deck somewhere to wrap the spectra around, then pull with the stick, not the reel.  this should keep the anti-reverse roller bearing from failing prematurely.

good luck on your rebuilds and post here if you have any problems.  thanks!  alan


  • Sea Lion
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alan, when you say the B series added an ambassadeur style dog, do you mean the older ambassadeurs?

Do the new ones have anti-reverse dogs as well as the IAR that you appear to be less fond of, or just the IAR?

To this day, even after taking these things apart and following your instructions, I'm a little uncertain as to how the
Instant Anti Reverse stuff works,  I'm not even sure I know where the roller bearing is or how it only spins one way.

Thanks for these postings, I always feel like I should be paying for them when I read them!
john m. airey


  • Salmon
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yes, that's the older style ambassaduers.  as for the roller bearing, pull the schematics and take a look.  it will make perfect sense.


  • 2006 Angler of the Year
  • Manatee
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Alan - are you familiar with the  Calcutta 401TE series?


  • Salmon
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yup!  gone through a couple of them.  very smooth reels.  i personally have the 300.  the drag upgrade is very straight forward.