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Topic: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial  (Read 9824 times)

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Offline REEFMAN

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Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« on: August 07, 2016, 06:50:35 pm »


Here follows a short review of my findings regarding the Okuma Azores. Also a step by step Photographic tutorial on how to Service and Maintain the reel.

Let me say at the outset... I've never been a fan of Okuma products. This goes back a long time to the days when Okuma products were just cheap and nasty.
It seems however, that this is all changing... Okuma are upping their game it seems. First they brought out the Makaira offshore reels, which have proved themselves as very good value. Then they improved some of their spinning reels - the Salina springs to mind. So lets see...

The Okuma Azores 55S is a medium size spinning reel comparable in size to a Shimano 6000. Sporting 7 bearings and a whole lot of fancy names for it's "features".

I saw on the box:
Made in China. I always worry about that, although they say that not everything made in China is crud.

Priced at R1000. A decent solid feeling reel... very smooth.

Nice braid grip on the spool. Proper flared spool lip. Finishes pretty decent.




The handle - decent size and shape!





Remove the Drag Knob. This reel has a "Dual Force Drag" system. Meaning 3 oiled felt washers up front and 1 larger Carbon Drag washer in the rear.









The Rear Carbon Drag washer




The spool support and spindle are fixed to the spool shaft and cannot be removed. To remove the spool shaft, one needs to open up the gearbox to unscrew it.




The reel has Torx screws throughout. A good albeit irritating feature. It's much more difficult to strip the head of a Torx screw.




This is what a Torx driver looks like as opposed to an Allen key.




So, remove 4 screws in a flash, and one is in the Gearbox!!




Flippin awesome! These reels that provide direct access to the gearbox without having to remove Rotors, Anti-reverse bearings etc. are a major WIN!!  (clap)

4 SCREWS and you have access to the engine room and bearings. Easy peasy to ensure good maintenance!





The Azores has Carbon impregnated inserts on all the side plates and Anti-revrse housing. What this does is to limit the contact between different alloys, which often causes electrolysis and galvanic reaction corrosion. Nice feature!



The Gearbox and Engine room...




To remove the Drive shaft, unscrew the Oscillating slider.




Now the shaft can be removed.



Spool support is fixed to the Drive shaft




Take out the Drive gear...




Now we can remove the Rotor nut and Rotor.





Underneath the Rotor, one can see the Bail trip lever



The Anti-reverse spring








Remove the Anti-reverse Retainer plate.






Now you can remove the Pinion gear and bearings. Note the 2 Pinion gear bearings, which helps stabilize the Pinion from side play.






The Oscillating gear is secured by a screw and is housed upon one of the Carbon inserts in the RH Side plate.





The Pinion gear assembly




The Anti-reverse bearing.
A bit disappointed at the lack of quality and sturdiness of the Plastic springs. One has already deformed...!






The Anti-reverse Carbon housing.




Remove the spring holder






Remove the Oscillating gear








The Anti-reverse Carbon housing can be removed entirely. Underneath... hmmm really grubby finishes! A paper sticker used during the paint process hasn't been removed properly.






The Gearbox insert can be removed entirely




Rubber Sealed bearings throughout! Nice feature! The rubber seals can be removed with a blade and replaced.






Another grubby finish. Doesn't affect the reel, but just quality control suspect. The LH Side plate insert was chipped.




So what we have...




Some tips on re-assembly.
Follow the tut backwards and you should be fine.





Align the spring in it's holder properly.





Replace the Rotor.



Assemble the gear box as you disassembled it. Follow the pics above in reverse.




Only now can the Drive shaft be replaced.




Take special note of the alignment of the shaft and it's placement into the Slider.




Screw the shaft back in







THE DUAL DRAG SYSTEM
Under the spool... is the Rear Drag Carbon washer

Remove the retainer spring and the Metal plate in one piece.





To servce the spring retained washer, it can be unscrewed. This is not usually necessary.








Inside the Spool arm, one can see the Bail trip lever. These are really useless bits these days. The lever can be removed completely to prevent problems later on with the Bail tripping over on a cast.




The Bail arm is very interesting....!
Can be removed entirely, cleaned and replaced.
The Roller has a bearing inside, nice!







To replace the Bail arm...





And there you have it.

Now is not a good time to go fishing... said nobody... EVER!!

Offline REEFMAN

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2016, 11:21:37 am »
Conclusion:
A fantastic entry level reel, with features that are included in reels twice the price! Priced to go at R1000!
Solid construction with a big drag capability.
Great feature to be able to service the reel by removing 4 screws!! Huge plus!
Rubber sealed bearings and Carbon inserts to stop Galvanic reactions.
Besides   some minor finishing issues, I am really impressed! Couldn't find fault   in it besides the plastic springs in the Anti-reverse.
Line lay is not perfect, but will certainly work with a little playing around with spacer washers (provided in the box).
This reel is bang for buck for sure. Gonna rattle the cages of some of the bigger manufacturers!

Big thanks to Zberg for the use of his reel.

Now is not a good time to go fishing... said nobody... EVER!!

Offline FishStyx

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2016, 11:59:35 am »
Thanks for the review Reefs. I am very impressed by my Cedros 10 L/Drag reels. Beautifully made. The research that I did prior to buying them indicated to me that Okuma is still trying very hard to make a name for themselves in SA (It don't think it helped them to have picked Midas as their agent)... but prices in the US (where they are known and respected) verged on double the prices locally. I also had a Salina 11 but have since sold it because I just didn't ever get round to using it.
Forgive me Father for I have spinned... It's been three weeks since my last cob session.

Offline Zberg

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2016, 12:58:56 pm »
No worries Reefs!
Thanks for a comprehensive Tut!  (clap)




Offline fishatic

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2016, 10:18:50 pm »
The new Okuma Metaloid is effectively an Azores with forged stainless pinion and main gears.
Might not reel as quietly, but should be as tough as nails.


Offline Vladimir

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2016, 07:25:40 am »
We all hope that Okuma can level out the market ~ nothing wrong with this product as the feedback goes
Remember that guy that gave up? Neither does anyone else!

Offline REEFMAN

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2016, 08:10:06 am »
The new Okuma Metaloid is effectively an Azores with forged stainless pinion and main gears.
Might not reel as quietly, but should be as tough as nails.

From what I've seen, it retails at $199 - that's triple the price of the Azores??

Now is not a good time to go fishing... said nobody... EVER!!

Offline Vandit

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2016, 08:55:17 am »
Awesome review and maintenance tut, as always!


Great seeing a decent offering come in at that price point.  Didn't know what to expect - some popular fishing tackle stores in Gauteng are holding off from stocking these due to "quality considerations".  I can see how this stigma perpetuated from a history of offering beginner ranges in SA for so long - by that I basically mean being able to buy a product in SPAR...

Offline fishatic

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2016, 09:39:14 am »
From what I've seen, it retails at $199 - that's triple the price of the Azores??
Erm, more but not triple.
Local prices are very seldom in line with US prices, but tackledirect has Metaloid on pre-order at $190, vs $120 for the Azores.
Forging stainless steel is an expensive process.
Interesting to compare the local price of around R1000 with the US online price of $120 for the Azores. We pay less.....

Offline FishStyx

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2016, 11:01:16 am »
We pay less.....


On Okuma, it's definitely the case.
Forgive me Father for I have spinned... It's been three weeks since my last cob session.

Offline JeandlH

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 04:42:18 pm »
Has anyone used this reel extensively yet? Any major issues yet?

Offline Zberg

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2017, 10:36:42 pm »
I now have two z55's, very happy so far.
Only use them for my 11ft spinning outfits, still running as smooth as new but being GP based they dont get constant use/abuse so I cant speak to the longevity of the reel.
It casts a line well, will swallow plenty of braid and have a pretty quick retrieve so the arms dont fall off as soon when throwing plugs and spoons for long periods, zero wind knots thus far at all.
That said... I havent managed to box anything bigger than around 3 to 4lbs in size yet on either so havent even come close to stretching them properly.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 10:38:33 pm by Zberg »

Offline REEFMAN

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2017, 07:11:43 am »
There have been a few reports of Azores reels failing, but that's been on using the reel for a purpose they weren't intended...

Alan Hawk rates them... http://www.alanhawk.com/reviews/lists.html

Think the most important thing is that they are relatively cheap reels, so don't use them beyond their capabilities. All in all, they're good value reels in the budget range.

Now is not a good time to go fishing... said nobody... EVER!!

Offline Vandit

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2017, 08:20:05 am »
There have been a few reports of Azores reels failing, but that's been on using the reel for a purpose they weren't intended...


Can you elaborate Reefman?


Interesting seeing this, I recall some spin fisherman were early adopters but stopped using the reels cold turkey after a few months.  Never seen any explanation, just seen them go back to using their regular gear. Wondering why... 

Offline REEFMAN

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2017, 09:56:57 am »
I can't remember where I saw the discussion?  swr From what I remember I think it was an overseas forum and the issues were seized reels from stripped gears and an anti-reverse bearing failure.  :dunno:

Now is not a good time to go fishing... said nobody... EVER!!

Offline JeandlH

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2017, 10:08:53 am »
I can't remember where I saw the discussion?  swr From what I remember I think it was an overseas forum and the issues were seized reels from stripped gears and an anti-reverse bearing failure.  :dunno:
But that is bound to happen with any reel if you fish it beyond it's limits. On YouTube their is a lot of videos where you see guys winching a massive fish with a reel that is way too small for what they use it for.


Offline REEFMAN

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2017, 10:17:05 am »
100%
That's why I said:

Think the most important thing is that they are relatively cheap reels,   so don't use them beyond their capabilities. All in all, they're good   value reels in the budget range.

Now is not a good time to go fishing... said nobody... EVER!!

Offline JeandlH

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2017, 10:27:57 am »
Reefman I know this is a bit off topic, but if you had to choose between the new Daiwa BG  5500/6500 and the Penn SpinFisher 6500, which one would you buy. Want to use it for bait fishing in the surf for edibles. Thinking about upping my budget and getting a descent setup, rather than buying cheap and having to replace frequently.

Offline Zberg

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2017, 10:30:22 am »
Absolutely correct Tony.


Its a good budget offering at a pretty low price point.
If you need serious equipment or "want"/"need" a benchmark reel, then this is not the buy to make.
Then you need to pony up some extra bucks for the class benchmark products.


Realistically the price competitors to this are Penn fierce II or Shimano Sedona type of reels.

Offline REEFMAN

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Re: Okuma Azores - Z-55S - Review and Maintenance Tutorial
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2017, 10:49:20 am »
Reefman I know this is a bit off topic, but if you had to choose between the new Daiwa BG  5500/6500 and the Penn SpinFisher 6500, which one would you buy. Want to use it for bait fishing in the surf for edibles. Thinking about upping my budget and getting a descent setup, rather than buying cheap and having to replace frequently.

I'd go with the BG. Just on the basis of Alan Hawk's astoundingly good review of the reel... and the fact that many SA anglers are now using this reel with great success.

Now is not a good time to go fishing... said nobody... EVER!!