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Old 03-31-2005, 10:02 AM
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Default the "awesome" penn baja special

here's a query that i got this morning. thought i'd post it, and the response as well.

"Hey Alan. You were very kind and answered some questions I had about my Torium 30 reel a couple weeks ago. Anyway I wanted to get your opinion if you have time on this new Penn 4/0 'baja special' Its kinda expensive but looks like a really solid reel. I would use mine mostly for light/med. duty bottom fishing much like I do with my Torium. Have you had a chance to look at any bajas yet or open one up? Comparable to the Torium in feel and gear strength/smoothness? Looks like it has a stronger drag potential too. Thanks alot "

when i first saw the penn baja special, i just rolled my eyes. ugghhh, it had black plastic side plates. and $250! oh, c'mon, i can MAKE and accurate conversion "baja" special from a 4/0 senator and i get my choice of colors. i have four of them. hmmm, well, i actually did spend about the same amount. yeah, i spent $100 for the reel, $100 for the frame and spool kit, $30 for the 4:1 gear kit, $30 for the international handle and i still had plastic side plates, too! well, they're bragging about 28#'s of drag? big deal, i can get 25#'s out of any standard 113h. i guess the engineers at penn missed that last staff meeting. wrong.

i was the one that "missed" the last staff meeting. i finally had a baja special to open up. the outside was uninspiring. the inside was totally different. someone spent alot of time on this one. i cleaned, lubed the bearings and it spun like crazy. pulled the drags, greased them and got 26#'s of drag. i reset the drags to 15#'s and it was smooth as butter. nice handle. nice balance (the reason i made up my own narrow frame 4/0's to begin with). nice freespool. fair price. the best part of the reel is the totally re-designed drive mechanism, from the gear sleeve to the pinion gear. downside? geez, it's ugly!

like the look and feel? go for it! you will not be disappointed with the performance. and yes, pull the drags and grease them.
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Old 04-03-2005, 03:21 PM
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Default RE: the "awesome" penn baja special

Alan,

Is there anything I should look out for when taking the reel apart?

Also, why do you grease the drag? I thought these things should be run dry (maybe I'm wrong).

Thanks.

Terry
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Old 04-03-2005, 09:21 PM
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Default RE: the "awesome" penn baja special

Thanks again Alan
My favorite description came from a local forum guy thats fished with one. He described it as having "the size and weight of a 4/0 and the balls of a 6/0 on steriods all with 28# of drag"
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Old 04-03-2005, 11:29 PM
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Default RE: the "awesome" penn baja special

it's a straight forward tear down and rebuild. it has double dogs and double springs. you'll know right away it you get the springs in backwards. no reason to tear the reel down unless you want to grease the drags. if you leave them dry, let us know if you have problems.

penn ht-100 drag washers stay perfectly smooth as long as they stay dry. i was once told that the "ht-100" name came from the fact that they could be run for 100 hours with no evidence of wear or cases of failure. salt water, petroleum grease or oil (wd-40) intrusion is the only reason for failure. it doesn't matter if the reel is the cheapest penn seaboy or the most expensive international. shimano's teflon grease and now penn's dura drag lube are the only two substances that will not cause the drags to seize at ambient temperature. high temps remain a point of controvery. personally, i'd grease those baja drags.
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:11 AM
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Default RE: the "awesome" penn baja special

Thanks for the information Alan.
I guess I'd better grease them, along with all the other penns that I have. I had never greased the HT-100 before since they all were dry when I opened up the other reels.

Terry
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Old 04-04-2005, 10:29 AM
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Default RE: the "awesome" penn baja special

terry, i typically change out the fiber washer under the gear for a full sized drag washer. you don't have to do that. when you remove the four center bridge screws, the bridge will cleanly fall out and the gear/drag cluster will come with it. note carefully the position of the pinion gear, yoke and eccentric jack that stay with the side plate. also note carefully the position of the two dogs and the two dog springs. to save yourself a ton of aggravation, do not remove the main gear. leave it in place. with a dental pick, carefully remove each metal drag washer and each ht-100 drag washer, one at a time, in order. leave the main gear in place. now liberally grease each drag washer and re-install them in order.

there is a post farther down about the penn senator 113h. review it carefully. many of the same instructions apply. ever tear down a 113h before?
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Old 04-04-2005, 03:34 PM
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Default RE: the "awesome" penn baja special

Alan,

I have disassembled a Penn 133H a few times. I can't say that I am very good at doing it. I have some related questions:

1. What's the drag washer size that I would need to replace the fiber washer with? (Is this to increase the drag?)
2. There always seem to be some very minor but discernable grinding at some part of the cranking cycle after I reassemble. I wonder if I am applying too little grease on the gears, etc...
3. Any tip on keeping the pinion gear, yoke, and eccentric jack in place while assemblying the bridge?
4. I am not getting very good drag on a new Wahoo special (internally very much like a 113H but with only three drag washers). Any suggestions?

I hope you have the time to answer these questions. I really appreciate it.

Terry
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Old 04-07-2005, 12:56 AM
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Default RE: the "awesome" penn baja special

Quote:
giadinh - 4/4/2005 1:34 PM

Alan,

I have disassembled a Penn 133H a few times. I can't say that I am very good at doing it. I have some related questions:

1. What's the drag washer size that I would need to replace the fiber washer with? (Is this to increase the drag?)
2. There always seem to be some very minor but discernable grinding at some part of the cranking cycle after I reassemble. I wonder if I am applying too little grease on the gears, etc...
3. Any tip on keeping the pinion gear, yoke, and eccentric jack in place while assemblying the bridge?
4. I am not getting very good drag on a new Wahoo special (internally very much like a 113H but with only three drag washers). Any suggestions?

I hope you have the time to answer these questions. I really appreciate it.

Terry
terry, the drag washer that i use under the main gear of the 113h is a #6-855. i use a step drill bit to bore out the inside diameter to fit the gear sleeve of the 113h. otherwise, it's perfectly fine to continue using the stock fiber washer under the gear. i like the idea of having a drag washer under the gear instead of the fiber washer, but it's not necessary.

regarding the grinding noise after a rebuild, my first guess would be excessive wear on the main and pinion gear. often you have to look very carefully to see the wear. there is a tricky little way to determine that the gear teeth are actually worn. rebuild the reel without the dog and dog spring. this will allow the handle to turn backwards. grab the spool firmly to provide some resistance, but don't stop the reel. you can crank the handle forwards and you hear the normal amount of "grinding" that you have come to expect from your reel. but now you can crank the handle backwards, right? so do just that and apply the same amount of resistance with your left hand. if you hear less "grinding," it means that you do indeed have wear on the "forward" edge of the gear teeth. pretty tricky, huh?

while were at it, what about the same grinding sensation in a lever drag reel? you can go through the same proceedure described above. but first, check the main bearing in the right side plate. that is actually the most common cause in lever drag reels.

when working on the side plate of any of these reels, place your left index and left middle finger over the four bridge screws so that the web of your fingers is closest to the freespool lever. now you can flip over the side plate and arrange the eccentric jack, springs, the yoke and pinion gear without the screws falling out. note that two of the bridge screws mght be threaded all the way, and two might be threaded only at the tip of the screw. the springs ride on the screws that are threaded only on the tip.

when you say "wahoo special," you're talking about the progear wahoo special, right? the orginal wahoo special was a penn 114h with an accurate narrow frame and spool kit. awesome reel. i've never opened up a progear 461 wahoo special, but i just pulled up the schematic from the progear site. the design is the same as the progear albacore special, which in turn is fashioned after the newell.

now, about those drag washers. the classic series has greased carbon fiber drag washers. they're great! the albacore special has these hard drag washers. they're junk! i believe that the progear wahoo special has those same junk drags as the albacore special. if that's the case, they need to be replaced. here's the schematic....

http://progearfishingreels.com/schematics/pg461.pdf

to tear down the reel, back out the two endcap screws (key#7) and pull off the right side plate (key#3). remove the handle (key#29) and star (key#28), but leave the freespool lever (key#11) on. now find the six bridge screws (key#20). do not remove the two closest to the center. they hold the springs, yoke and eccentric jack in place. remove the four outer bridge screws and pull the bridge plate assembly out as a unit. tear down the drag cluster, one piece at a time, keeping everything in order, down to the dog ratchet (key#15D). check the measurements of the drag washers (key#23) and the fiber washer (key#17). check the measurements against my list way back containing the dimension of the various penn washers, post here or drop me an e-mail.
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Old 04-08-2005, 03:02 PM
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Default RE: the "awesome" penn baja special

Alan,

Thanks for the help. I'm going to work on it once I get back from fishing. I'll post the results afteward.
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Old 03-02-2006, 01:17 AM
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Default Re: the "awesome" penn baja special

Old thread, but wanted to provide some info.

The Penn Baja was upgraded in March 2005. I think they added another ball bearing, a different sideplate, and a spacing sleeve. The updated versions will have a parts list that indicates a revision date of March 2005 (or later), with bearing 55B (055 012H) listed. If your reel's parts list doesn't indicate this, Penn will supposedly do the upgrades for ~$50. (Because it's considered an "upgrade", it's not covered by the warranty.)

Visually, I don't think you can tell the difference, and I don't think the box has changed. The parts list is the easiest way to verify.

I don't think there have been significant problems with the "old" version of the Baja (other than a bad batch of the actual stars for drag adjustment on a few). The newer version supposedly has better torque and cranking power for big fish and heavy drag.

There are still some new-in-box "old" versions out there, and just thought I would share the info so that anyone considering a purchase can try to get the latest edition.

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Old 08-30-2010, 03:17 PM
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That huge reel is old school. Designed back in the day to get 300 yards of 30lb test on a reel. Got to weigh 4lbs when spooled up with mono.

The Torium you mentioned is a far better choice, cheaper too.
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Old 08-30-2010, 03:49 PM
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Default 113hn

Quote:
Originally Posted by nipsip View Post
That huge reel is old school. Designed back in the day to get 300 yards of 30lb test on a reel. Got to weigh 4lbs when spooled up with mono.

The Torium you mentioned is a far better choice, cheaper too.


The 113HN weighs 28 ounces empty, and holds about 3 ounces of mono [braid is lighter].
Total weight will be about 1 pound, 15 ounces with mono, an ounce or two less with braid.
The 113HN is the most 'bulletproof" reel out there these days, a true "desert island reel".
It is unfortunately true that many people don't believe that a reel that ugly can be that good.
Forget the [not] shiny outside, its what's inside that counts.
Also made in USA.




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Last edited by Tunanorth; 08-30-2010 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:49 PM
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Wow, good job resurecting a 4 year old post.
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nipsip View Post
That huge reel is old school. Designed back in the day to get 300 yards of 30lb test on a reel. Got to weigh 4lbs when spooled up with mono.

The Torium you mentioned is a far better choice, cheaper too.
So your saying that it can hold more line by weight than the weight of the reel alone
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:05 AM
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I look at these Penn 4/0s with the Bakelite sideplates, especially my two Baja Specials, as excellent design. If you have a sense of how things are made in metal and other materials, the design and workmanship is exceptional. Superb tool and die, CNC machining, first class plating and finishing. If yo have a sense for the hourly rate to operate a modern factory with these capabilities in the US today, getting a BAJA Special for $250 is a deal. Okumas are made in Taiwan, which isn't such a bad country, in that they get to actually vote and have better health care for all than Americans, and the Okuma line of reels made in cooperation with Tiburon Engineering cost about the same (roughly calculated as per pound of rotary machinery) as Penn's American-made stuff.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falconer View Post
I look at these Penn 4/0s with the Bakelite sideplates, especially my two Baja Specials, as excellent design. If you have a sense of how things are made in metal and other materials, the design and workmanship is exceptional. Superb tool and die, CNC machining, first class plating and finishing. If yo have a sense for the hourly rate to operate a modern factory with these capabilities in the US today, getting a BAJA Special for $250 is a deal. Okumas are made in Taiwan, which isn't such a bad country, in that they get to actually vote and have better health care for all than Americans, and the Okuma line of reels made in cooperation with Tiburon Engineering cost about the same (roughly calculated as per pound of rotary machinery) as Penn's American-made stuff.
Your little penn 4/0 and baja specials are not american made.

The baja specials have been discontinued and reintroduced since that original post

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Old 04-14-2011, 12:56 PM
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Default 113hn

Quote:
Originally Posted by d-a View Post
Your little penn 4/0 and baja specials are not american made.

The baja specials have been discontinued and reintroduced since that original post

d-a

The Penn 113HN Baja Special is absolutely "Made in USA".
It was indeed discontinued from January of 2008 to April of 2009.
It is on page 12 of the 2011 Penn catalogue, with a full page all to itself.
In fact, it was returned to the lineup specifically due to the almost unending stream of San Diego long-range boat owners, Captains, deckhands, and landing employees who visited the Penn booth at the Fred Hall Show in Del Mar and requested its return during that March of 2009.
They absolutely love this reel.
The 2009-present version has a "metal" drag star, and is assembled with the gear box oriented "forward" [easy to move back if preferred].
113HN's made in 2004 had 5 ball-bearings, everything from 2005 to the present has 6 ball-bearings.
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tunanorth View Post
The Penn 113HN Baja Special is absolutely "Made in USA".
It was indeed discontinued from January of 2008 to April of 2009.
It is on page 12 of the 2011 Penn catalogue, with a full page all to itself.
In fact, it was returned to the lineup specifically due to the almost unending stream of San Diego long-range boat owners, Captains, deckhands, and landing employees who visited the Penn booth at the Fred Hall Show in Del Mar and requested its return during that March of 2009.
They absolutely love this reel.
The 2009-present version has a "metal" drag star, and is assembled with the gear box oriented "forward" [easy to move back if preferred].
113HN's made in 2004 had 5 ball-bearings, everything from 2005 to the present has 6 ball-bearings.
I know your affiliated with Penn, But I said the 4/0 and the Baja special are not made in America. The baja might be assembled in the US but i seriously doubt that it doesn't have any of the Chinese made internals that fill the senator series.

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Old 04-14-2011, 05:51 PM
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Default 113hn

Quote:
Originally Posted by d-a View Post
I know your affiliated with Penn, But I said the 4/0 and the Baja special are not made in America. The baja might be assembled in the US but i seriously doubt that it doesn't have any of the Chinese made internals that fill the senator series.

d-a

Penn is not parsing words [as I know some other products do] with "Made in USA" on the models that are labeled as such.
All of the parts that are "fishing reel parts" are indeed made in the USA. Things that are "standardized machine parts" such as ball-bearings, screws and such that could be used in anything from can openers to lawnmowers may indeed be from Germany, Japan, China, or other countries.
The 113HN does not share parts interchangeability with any of the other numbers in the Senator series, although the [purposely] plain design does LOOK like a "regular" 4/0 Senator.





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Old 04-30-2013, 02:37 PM
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Back to the top with this puppy!

Has anyone purchased one in the last year or so? I've had some problems with mine engaging the handle/drive after coming out of free spool. Rick's Reel Service discovered it may be missing some parts so it is going back to Penn.
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