Pro (and Black) Max's were manufactured in 1992 and 1993. Since I cast one the first time, I was convinced they were ahead of their time. At $159 and $99, they were also priced ahead of their time, which probably contributed to their demise. Note that the new Silver and Black Max's are completely different (much cheaper) reels.
If you own a Pro or Black Max, you might try a few of my tune-up tricks to get the most of it.
With a few exceptions, Pro Max and Black Max's are the same reel. The most obvious difference is the color. The functional difference is the number of bearings (Pro=8, Black=3). The reels are labeled 8 ball bearings and 3 ball bearings. In fact, one is an anti reverse needle bearing, and two are plastic bushings in the handle grips (Pro only).
The 5 bearings that are excluded from the Black Max are the grip bushings (none in the Black Max), worm drive bearings (bushings in the Black Max), and the bearing in the brake plate (bushing in the Black Max) which supports the pinion gear.
I get a chuckle that grip bushings are referred to as bearings in the Pro Max, but drive bushings in the Black Max are not. I guess there needed to be some justification for the extra $60 price tag.
Both reels came standard with 5.3:1 gear ratios.
If you have a P/B Max, it is 18 or 19 years old. Abu also made a BM version which is a little newer, but not much, and it is basically the same reel. As far as I can tell, most of the round, solid aluminum framed reels (EXCEPT MORRUM) are similar (S5600C, TC36, BM1600, etc.).
Morrum is a completely different animal.
Unless you clean them regularly, it will be dirty inside. Depending on the condition, I use warm soapy water or solvent to clean reels on which I work. My favorite solvent is an off the shelf item called 'Goof Off'. It is designed to remove fresh paint that drips somewhere it does not belong. I find it in the paint department of any store that has one. I have had no issues with it at all, but I avoid using it on the rubber handle grips. I typically only use Goof Off when a reel has dried grease.
Fresh lubricant makes a huge difference in how long (hours) and how far you can cast. This picture includes the tools I use to perform reel surgery. I also use an old toothbrush to clean difficult to reach places (on the reel also).
If reel maintenance is a normal activity, you can skip some of this. If not, you might want to lay the components lined up in the order they are removed, until you are comfortable with a reel scattered in many pieces.
1. Remove the handle nut cap screw, cap, and handle nut.
2. Remove the E clip at the top of the crank spindle.
3. Remove the handle, washer, and drag adjustment knob. A brass washer should be located between the adjustment knob and anti-reverse bushing. If the reel is not too dirty, the anti reverse bushing can be removed, but this is normally not the case.
4. Loosen and 'back out' the knurled knobs that hold the drive train to the frame. The entire drive can be removed from the frame. Be careful not to drop the spool. One tiny dent is difficult to fix.
5. Remove the spool shaft from the drive train. It is held in place by a clip that is located under the casting adjustment cover. Even removing the cover does not free the spindle. It must be pulled out from the spool side. It feels like you are damaging something when you do it, but you aren't, so give it a tug.
6. Remove the two screws that hold the side cover to the brake plate. At this point, there is not much holding the reel together. Unlike many other reels, no springs or other components will go flying when you remove the side cover.
7. Remove the anti-reverse bushing and drag compression washer.
8. Remove the crankshaft with associated clutch assembly. Be careful not to lose the brass washer located between the brake plate and the bottom of the crankshaft. Pull the drive gear/clutch off the drive shaft.
9. Remove the spring assembly that holds down the pinion yoke (position holder) and pinion/pinion yoke assembly.
10. If you are going 'all the way', remove the clutch and link arms. At this point at least two different versions of clutch spring exist. One version includes a spring in the position holder (later model). Earlier versions include a small extension spring which connects the link arm to a post on the brake plate. Neither is difficult to navigate unless you lose it.
11. Switching back to the frame, it is time to remove the line guide system. Remove the line pawl nut (holds the pawl in the line guide) and the pawl.
12. Remove the small screw that holds the worm drive in the frame. At this point, you should be able to remove the entire line guide carriage. As you do, the line guide will fall out. Be sure to do this where it will not fall far, or hold it as you remove the carriage.
13. If you plan to remove the port (left) side cover, now is the time. It is not necessary, but I always do at least the first time to clean and inspect. Two screws hold the cover to the frame.
14. Remove the E clip holding the worm drive in the carriage. You should be able to remove the worm/carriage cover/worm gear/worm right side worm bearing assembly from the carriage. Pull the gear off the end of the worm, and the cover and bearing can be removed. Push the left side bearing out of the worm cover.
15. Remove the spool bearings. The port side bearing is held in with a plastic retainer that snaps in. The starboard (drive) side bearing is held in by the clutch washer which is held by a thin wire circlip. There is a spring spacer behind the drive side bearing.
With the exception of the push button components, your reel is disassembled. You should be able to follow steps 15 to 1 to reassemble.
1. I use reel grease in the gears and contact points. Only a small amount should be used. Per the picture, I apply a small amount directly to the brake plate along the path the clutch and link arms slide. I also apply a very small amount on the angled portion of the clutch arm to ensure smooth disengagement. Grease is applied directly to gear teeth, and to the yoke where the pinion gear rides. Grease is applied in the line guide where the pawl travels, and to the worm itself.
2. I use oil to lubricate bearings
Pro and Black Max
1. I like to be able to retrieve a bait quickly. Abu Garcia makes 6.3:1 gears that are direct replacement for the original 5.3:1 set. Part numbers are 22221 and 22222. Be sure to replace both gears or you will not get a good fit between the drive and pinion gears. The pitch is the same as the original gears, but the tooth count and gear diameters are not.
2. I have never been fond of the original handles. I replace them with Gator Grip handles, model GG-1. This is a matter of personal choice, but I like the shorter length handle. Many other handles can be adapted to Abu reels. It is also possible, however unlikely, to use the original handle.
3. I replace the brake weights. The original weights are usually white (occasionally black). I always replace them with blue brake blocks (Abu pn 20209). It really reduces overruns, and improves casting distance.
Black Max Only
4. I replace the bushings that support the line guide worm. Size 3x7x3 bearings are a direct replacement for these bushings. This upgrade is difficult to judge until you have been casting for 8 or 10 hours. It makes the handle a little easier to turn, especially if the reel has not be serviced in awhile. The worm bushings are exposed to more grit and moisture than are other drive components. Bearings make life a little easier.
5. I replace the bushing in the brake plate with a bearing (8x12x3.5).
THIS IS NOT FOR THE MEEK!
As many times as I have done it, I still violate the occasional bearing. I have never damaged a brake plate beyond use, but the possibility certainly exists. Unfortunately, it does make a difference in how easy it is to crank the reel if you plan to fish for hours and hours. This is not recommended unless you have a spare bearing, and you have a small press, like an arbor press, that will allow you to keep the bearing straight as you install it. The original bushing is easy to remove.
Many thanks to Mike Millender
I have been fortunate enough to recently acquire some thousands of genuine vintage parts for Record and ABU reels.
At present they are in a big box but when I have them catalogued, if you are a serious collector, please e-mail Wayne if needing a particular part number and I will check if it is available. I thank Rikk G from Sweden for his assistance in acquiring these difficult to acquire parts.