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Discussion Starter #1
Like a lot of people, apparently, I purchased an Echo Ion (in this case a 8/10 to use with a 7wt spey rod), and the drag squeaked horribly soon after I bought it new, even at stripping level settings of the drag. I did some online searches on this issue and found it was a somewhat common complaint about the Ion. Others did not have this problem. Some people found it squeaking right out of the box, and some (like me) had it start to squeak the first time the reel got dunked. There were also complaints about the usual cheap drag lock up issues when starting from a complete stop.

While its possible some people have posted on fixes for this issue, I was not able to find one, so I'm posting one here. Maybe it will help some people in the future.

Probably the more experienced of you folks knew how to fix this as a matter of course. I did not, and I assume the people complaining about it and calling it a "crappy" reel did not either. For the price it is a great reel, and I kind of expect some mods and extra diligence will be involved. The fix is pretty easy. I will get a chance to re-dunk my Ion this weekend on the American river, and will report back if the problem comes back.

Rather than re-write the explanation of the fix I will just copy the fix suggestion I sent Anna Kittoe (who for the record was friendly and helpful with suggestions) at Rajeff Sports. She sent me the attached parts diagram - unfortunately not included in the reel box for some reason which is weird since even the cheapest reels seem to usually have this included. I would argue that the lower cost the reel, the MORE important the parts diagram may be. LOL But do note, as discussed below, this diagram is missing a few important parts. Not to worry, since the thing is so simple. Here is a copy of the email. I hope it helps someone with this issue in the future as I spent about a week on this. To hook a Steelhead and have had everyone in earshot hear that squeaking drag - Oh, the humiliation averted! :-0

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High Anna,

Here is some information that, possibly, may be of use to other customers experiencing the drag squeak on the Echo Ion reels.

I've now officially taken apart the entire Ion reel to investigate. Well, I didn't take apart the handle or counter weight, but everything else in extenso. The squeak is not due to part #5 (compression o-ring), it is due to the drag washers (11,12,13, and another washer not in your parts diagram). In particular the interface between 12 and the two stainless steel washers (11 and 13). If #5 is taken out the drag knob will no longer apply pressure to 11,12,13 though the dowel pins (9), and the squeak will go away, so that might be the source of the confusion. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done the fix the issue related to part five or from the drag knob end of the reel.

The problem seems to be that the drag washer (12, probably Teflon or some similar material) squeaks against the stainless steel washers (11,13) when under pressure. That water seem to kick the squeak off indicate to me that the friction properties of the material change when a thin film of water coats part or all of 12. So the former physics professor in me reasoned that something to keep the water away from the physical surface of the washer was the ticket. Normally I would be hesitant to apply lubrication to a drag mechanism, but the reel is simple enough that I could just wipe it off again if needed, and I was desperate since nothing I tried up to then worked for me. What I did was apply a thin film of Penn Precision Reel Grease. I smeared this on with my hand thinly on part 12. This fixed the squeak completely. It also should prevent any water from coating the surface of 12, if that ends up being the source of the squeak. So hopefully more water resistant - we will see.

As a side effect this also fixes the other common problem with this reel (and a lot of inexpensive reels) that people complain of in online forums, and that is the start-up lock when drag first starts to go out. This simple fix seems to smooth out the drag nicely - or as we say in the physics biz, lowered the coefficient of static friction. However, if people have prior experience with "dry" drag washers then the maximum drag will go down a bit. But I am able to get more than enough max drag (in excess of 5 lbs) with the Penn grease applied. This should be plenty for the reel's intended purpose, and more than made up for by the smoothness. At any rate people can experiment with how much or little grease to apply to 12, to taste.

For what it is worth, to grease washer 12 you have to get to it from the other side. Take off spool, unscrew 23 and remove 19 and the other parts of the spindle. At this point I have to point out that the parts diagram is totally missing an important set of parts, a "drag cover" with 3 screws, and an additional Teflon-type washer. This stuff goes between 13 and 14 with the unlisted drag washer against 13 and the cover going over it all. Anyway the next step is to remove the cover. 13 and 12 can then be pulled off, and 12 cleaned and greased. For what it is worth I also greased the unlisted teflon washer between 13 and the "drag cover" by the same logic described above - they are the same material. Possibly these drag washers were factory greased, and it simply wore off/degraded siting in the box. However there was no sign these were ever greased. Possly this was not the original intent, but it does work. When the squeaking starts (for me, and for others I read about) it is continuous and loud whenever the drag is applied.

Hope this helps somebody in the future.

 

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Cool post! My son in law Shaun bought one of the same reels from Cabela's and experienced the drag lock up on first use, resulting in the loss of a steelhead. Great explanation and good job on your problem solving with the grease to the washers. I'm sure this should be helpful to many folks who have purchased these reels. This may seem complex to some but I often find mechanical things less complicated when I actually put my hands on them and just go for it with taking something apart and putting it back togehter again and learing and understandin how things work. Very rewarding when I am able to fix stuff on my own. I just repaired my garage door opener this past weekend so I guess my mechanical tinkering pays off sometimes.

Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm wondering if the actual explanation is that the drag washers are supposed to be lightly greased at the factory, and some of them just aren't. This might explain the two camps of "never had any issues", and "had issues almost out of the box". That seems like a very simple explanation. At any rate there was ZERO grease on the ring in my new reel.

I know there are more expensive specialized high temp greases for the drag but I'm guessing that is overkill for me, and probably kind of laughable for a reel that cost less than $100.

W/respect to tinkering, in addition to the famous-and-totally-annoying "auto-eject" o-ring that pops off when you try to change spools in the field, there are a bunch of tiny pins, 4 on the drag knob side, and 1 on the "spindle assembly" side, that can fall out and possibly disappear forever in your rug or under your fridge, so use a tray or something if you take this one apart.
 

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I also understand that changing the reel from right hand wind to left hand wind or vice versa is interesting too.

Todd
Quite the opposite. Just flip the clutch bearing over and the reel is switched.

I have 10 of these reels now, 7 for guest use, and they are great values for the money if you treat them right. I fish salt and freshwater with them, so I strip them to component parts and clean them after every season (3 now) as well as doing about 5 minutes of maintainance on each reel a month - mostly involves wiping off buildup on the spindle and bearing, and a quick check of the drag components. Silicone spray is a good fix for the "ION squeak" and OMC waterproof grease will keep your clutch bearing and spindle happy. Each of the client reels has had well over a thousand salmon fought on them and other than some (ok, a LOT of) cosmetic wear, they are in awesome condition - no wobble, no breakdown, nothin. Pretty damn good for $80.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@G Smolt,

That switchover does sound simple, but it may still qualify as "interesting". :Eyecrazy: I didn't get any instructions in my box. I don't know if that is normal.

Sounds like you are the man to ask about these reels. Where exactly do you apply the waterproof grease? To me it seems there is not even a nominal protection in the reel (out of box) for water and even other types of gunk leaking directly into the drag components. Do you seal off the "main spindle" (part 19 in the parts list) with the grease? Can you further semi-protect the drag component from water inside that, by putting the waterproof grease around the clutch bearing and "drag cover" hole?

Interestingly the clutch bearing, even if it is reversible, is asymmetric. With it set in the default left hand retrieve the part that interfaces with the "drag cover" (missing in the official parts diagram) has an "notch" around the end that makes it look almost like a screw that is suppose to screw into the drag cover, but isn't and doesn't. It seems certain the hole in the cover is supposed to line up with this piece (otherwise, why that sized hole?) yet the clutch bearing does not fit - so no barrier for water to get in. It is almost as if it was originally designed to have some sort of o-ring or gasket there. Maybe I should try that.

I'm %100 with you on the reel. I think these can probably be self-maintained for a long long time. Your experience sounds like all the proof we need of that. I think they might even be modded in various ways, like using different drag washers. After a while all the self-maintenance, mods, dings and scratches may end up making these more precious (to those with that mindset) than any expensive "jewelry reel".

Oh, and I almost forgot - ever had any issue with the plastic spool holder cap cracking or otherwise becoming non-functional? That one seems like the weak point for an infield breakdown to me. I was wondering if I should ask them for an extra as back up. It would be nice (and also hilarious) if the threads were right so that you could use a cap from a plastic water bottle as a emergency fix. Then it might be the VW Bus of fly reels.
 

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You should have gotten the exploded-view sheet in the box - maybe your dealer took it out?

As for grease application, I take off the spool retention cap and spindle screw, then pull out the spindle. Usually the bearing stays seated in its housing within the spindle, but as long as it hasn't gotten really drenched yet it should come out with a few taps. I coat the bearing pretty liberally with waterproof OMC grease (outboard motor grease), then set it back in place...if I am taking apart and cleaning a reel, I hit it with a little WD40 to get the old grease off and reapply a new coat.

Yes, the bearing is asymmetric, but it reverses just fine and works for those strange folk who reel right handed.

I have discussed (and continue to discuss) the addition of an O-ring to seal both the drag and spool with Jamie and Tim at Rajeff - one of these days I hope to get some traction on that idea, but I ain't holding my breath. I have yet to find a production o-ring that would fit the gap between spindle and frame, but I still look every now and then.

FWIW, the worst thing you can do to one of these reels is submerge it, even for rinsing purposes. Under normal fishing conditions (even in the rainforest), the reel innards don't get all that wet - nothing a good "heated room" treatment can't dry out in a few hours. It is when they go all the way under and then get put away wet (and with the drag on) that a fella starts encountering problems. If you feel the need to rinse the line, take the spool off and rinse it that way - don't dunk the frame.
 

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I have an Echo Ion i bought off Rustybee and havent found any problems mentioned but yeah the drags not as good as some of my fly reels but no odd noises.I guess wd40 would do the trick as mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
FWIW, the worst thing you can do to one of these reels is submerge it, even for rinsing purposes..
The dunking in question was when I needed to get something out of the end of the rod while I was standing 30 ft from shore. After a few moments of three-stooges-style doomed attempts to both hold the reel above water AND grab something at the tip of the rod I just had to shrug and drop it in for few seconds. But I will take your advise to heart, and next time I will just wade back to shore. That would have taken much less time than getting the squeak out.
 

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Bamboo Warrior
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thanks for the info I have that 8/10 reel and have been dealing with the squeal, I didnt get the diagram either, seems to be trend.
 

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I sell them and quite a few of them, they all come with a parts diagram and instructions unless someone removed it from the box. You need it to find the one way clutch for switching left to right wind and for maintenance. Never heard one squeal but wouldn't mind much if a steelhead caused it!
 

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Oh, you still might. This particular squeal is much more Yoko Ono than Maria Callas.
Yes it is! I've owned the Ion 6/7 and 8/10. Both had the squeal when wet. But I keep the WD40 on me and was able to clear it up. Grease would last longer.
 

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Fishes with Wolves
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You could always fix it with one of these and have a reel for several lifetimes.

 

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I also have had the squeals with this reel a couple times. Once the drag bunged up also and Michael and Young replaced no questions. The new reel squeaked too once I got it wet. Ill try the grease, echo in an email recommended the same thing basically, mentioned sometimes they don't get greased enough from factory or something like that..

Decent reel that allowed me to afford spey at first, but I will be replacing the reel with a longer lasting reel shortly and have the ion as backup.
Echos customer service is top notch though!
 

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Just pulled my ion down, lubed it and put it back together.

No problem, I didn't even need a parts diagram. :eek:

Now I have to just wait for shad season.:(


Dan
 

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Spey Is The Way
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I've said it before and I'll say it again. I just love how and old thread can get revived.

JonT, just curious, what exactly turned your two reels into paper weights.
 
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