Pflueger 551

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Paul Roberts
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Pflueger 551

Post by Paul Roberts »

I'm attempting to refurbish a Pflueger Supreme 551 spinning reel. Appears to be the same animal as the Shakespeare 2062, (although I don't have one to compare the details), and it's got the cool leaping bass in the face plate. 8)

I say 'attempting' bc it came in pretty rough, neglected, shape; A true Hall of Shame candidate. I've ordered some parts: a new ball-bearing and a 2062 spool cap. If things pan out, I'll share the adventure.

Interestingly, the (original?) bearing that came out of the reel has "Hoover" stamped on it. Apparently, that's a Hoover Vaccuum bearing. Might Hoover have been supplying bearings to Shakespeare/Pflueger? Is this even the original bearing?
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Tue Feb 16, 2021 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Midway Tommy D
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Re: Hoover Vacuum Cleaners teams up with Shakespeare?

Post by Midway Tommy D »

Yeah, same reel as the 2062. All parts will interchange.

Bearing made by Hoover Precision Products (not vacuums) Established: 1913, Headquarters: Cumming, Georgia, Products: Precision balls

I usually just remove the shield, scrape out the old grease & grunge and soak them in lacquer thinner for a couple of days, add a couple of drops of synthetic oil, then repack them with Super Lube synthetic grease & add a little synthetic oil to thin the grease. I usually reinstall the shield but it really doesn't have to be there as a lot of the old bearings didn't even come with a shield. Some people think open face spinning reel bearings don't need to be packed, only oiled, but there is no reason not pack them. There is no resistance on the cast, just the open spool. If you hook into a big fish you sure want your bearing to be well lubricated.
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

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Re: Pflueger 551

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OK... Thanks, Tom.

The reel was stiff and dry. The bearing especially. I did not find a retaining ring on this bearing so I didn't open it. Should it still be able to be opened? I soaked and flushed it several times with mineral spirits. Lots boiled out of it including much black, which I thought might be corroded steel? I then soaked it in Evapo-Rust for several days, intermittently working the now rusty-colored spoils out. Eventually it ran clean, and the bearing was freed up although audibly raspy. I lubed it and put it back in the reel... and the reel still made a loud gritty whirring sound. The bearing is a standard 99-R6 so I went ahead and ordered one.

I checked the gear teeth too, with a hand lens, and they are worn, a couple teeth chipped. Maybe it's the gears too? I expected the reel to be salvageable, but am not so sure now. Next, if needed, will be a main gear, if I can find one. Hate to scrap the reel. Remains to be seen.
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Midway Tommy D
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Re: Hoover Vacuum Cleaners teams up with Shakespeare?

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You can still remove & reinstall the shield. Some have a retaining ring. If it doesn't just poke a small hole in it with a dental pick type tool & carefully pry/pop it out. That way you can see what what its innards look like. I have never had a freshwater spinner bearing so rusted or corroded that it had to be replaced. You may be able to save it for a spare.


FYI, whenever you completely degrease and burnish old gears and remove that protective layer it takes a little while for the new lube to form its layer and the gears to remesh & quiet down.
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

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Re: Pflueger 551

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Midway Tommy D wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 7:14 pm
You can still remove & reinstall the shield. Some have a retaining ring. If it doesn't just poke a small hole in it with a dental pick type tool & carefully pry/pop it out. That way you can see what what its innards look like. I have never had a freshwater spinner bearing so rusted or corroded that it had to be replaced. You may be able to save it for a spare.


FYI, whenever you completely degrease and burnish old gears and remove that protective layer it takes a little while for the new lube to form its layer and the gears to remesh & quiet down.
Ok, thanks. I have noticed that my casting reels smooth out after a breaking in period. Maybe that will do it. It's pretty loud though. What I've heard of the Shakespeare's is that they are smooth and quiet. Hoping for that.
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Re: Pflueger 551

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OK... this Pflueger 551 is up and running. Woo Hoo! :fished

As I'd said above, it arrived in badly neglected condition: stiff, dry, and loud! (The seller had described it as: "in fantastic condition with silky smooth action". I'm not happy about that.) And the bearing was the same and, after days of soakings, until it ran clean, it then rolled fine, but had a raspy sound to it. Cosmetically the reel is scratched up in places. But, I'll call that 'character', until I decide to re-paint it. We'll see if it earns a place in my working fishing arsenal.

The "new" bearing arrived, a 99 R6 Peer bearing. It looked to be somewhat NOS by the package. And it did the trick! The reel is smooth and quiet now. Just a bit of hiss. It is just a tad stiff, possibly the NOS lube in the bearing? I did not open it and re-pack it, although it has a rubber seal, and will do so in the near future. I just wanted to know if the bearing was the issue. And it was. Will save the old Hoover bearing to at least get a look inside and see what's up with it. I'll use the reel as a fidget spinner and see how much it loosens up.

Re-aligned the bail and it closes smartly now. Roller was grooved a tiny bit and I polished that -probably won't need replacing. Spool rim is a bit chipped and I'll be polishing that.

The spool drag nut was missing its end cap. I ordered a 2062 drag nut but it only threads part way. Appears to be stripped. Not going to return it, maybe I'll pick up another 2062 someday and see if it really is stripped, or if this 551 is different somehow. I could also pry off the 2062 cap and glue it onto the 551. However, I'm not sure I can do that without scarring it up.



Keeping track of the AR gear orientation. Old stiff grease, not too much, just dry. Original??


Closing her up to test spin.


Oh yes, I CA glued the decorative faceplate down as it was lifted at one corner.


More to be done, but it is fishable now.
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Midway Tommy D
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Re: Pflueger 551

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The spool has been repainted. They were originally gloss black. The original drag knob end has white P on it but a 2062 will interchange. All the parts are exactly the same, just a different color & different badge. Shakespeare bought Pflueger in '66. Both reels were made in the Fayetteville, Arkansas plant.
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

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Re: Pflueger 551

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Ah! Looking at the images and ad's for the 551, yes, I see the black spools. I actually like the gold paint. Whoever did it, did a decent job and it appears to have been pretty durable. I took it for an anodized finish. Flipping the spool over I see the misting from the assumed spray can. Again, I actually like the gold spool. I think Pflueger should have done that!

I've not seen a single image of the end cap, so I didn't realize it should have a 'P' on it. I'm not going to miss it, as this is not in collector's condition. But, I'll keep my eyes open though.
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Re: Pflueger 551

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Since the reel is now quiet but a little stiff, I pulled the "new" bearing back out of the reel, popped the rubber seals (both with an integral shim washer) and saw that the bearing is indeed NOS. The grease was just solid pieces. I scrubbed and picked it all out then scrubbed it with a toothbrush with the help of mineral spirits, then washed in Dawn, rinsed with water, and dried with a blow dryer.


I first just oiled them to see what that would do, and the reel was much less stiff, but a bit noisier than I'd like -a growling sound. So I popped the seals again and added grease as Tom had suggested (along with the oil I'd already applied). I didn't pack them full, but got some grease between each ball. This left the reel a little stiffer, but quiet again. :fished
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Sat Mar 06, 2021 1:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pflueger 551

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Something I have found quite interesting after cleaning & repacking spinning reel bearings is when first put back together & tested they almost always feel a little stiff, but a dozen or so fast turns in reverse seem to loosen things up a bit. I've never quite figured out why the reverse action makes so much difference unless it helps place the pinion worm gear in a more optimal position and then meshes better with the main gear, otherwise it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. My standard procedure now is a half dozen or so turns forward and then a dozen or two fast turn in reverse. Actually, though, I could care less if the rotor continues to spin freely when I let go of the handle on a spinning reel. It really serves no purpose other than to impress someone that doesn't understand open face spinning reel concepts. I do want them to be ultra smoooooth and easy to turn, though.
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

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Re: Pflueger 551

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Well, I've found that reels make excellent fidget spinners, are just fun to play with. Glad there is a really good functional reason for doing it. :)

This reel only spins about 2 revolutions now following a fast crank. It might still be too stiff for cold weather fishing. I'll try a thinner grease next, just to see. I see you like Super Lube.
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Re: Pflueger 551

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Finally! I found a lubricant that quieted the new old replacement ball-bearing for this 551.

I read one recommendation, a rave review for "Turbo Oil" for ball-bearings. It's an oil but rather viscous, and it was perfect for the ball-bearings on my Quick 331 and 441 (N's). Those DAM bearings are impressive; Cleaned and dried they would spin for a good 15sec! There are ball-bearings and then there are ball-bearings!

The real test would be the Pflueger 551. Peer ball-bearing I bought to replace the original gravelly-sounding 551 ball-bearing would not spin more than 4sec. Obviously, these were just... "ball-bearings". And they produced some noise in the reel with just light oil (Ardent Reel Butter; The Ardent oil is the thinnest lubricating oil I have, outside of penetrating oils, but it does appear to be tenacious). The "greases" I tried were too stiff. I even put the reel outside in the cold, and it stiffened even more. But the Turbo Oil worked very well. This old 551 is now smoothed and quieted down nicely; entirely fishable. It gives 4+turns per spin of the handle (half what the Quick's get). Not critical as in DD casting reels, but offers some quantification.

Finally! That reel was a project.
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Ron Mc
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Re: Pflueger 551

Post by Ron Mc »

Nice reel - there was a time it was on my want list, but decided I needed to focus on something, so never bought one, and sold most of my other spinning reels (mostly prewar).

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Re: Pflueger 551

Post by Paul Roberts »

Hi, Ron. Yeah, I hear you. They are all quite wonderful. I'm looking for reels to fish with, and I use casting, spinning, and fly gear. While I make use of my modern gear, I'm liking the older stuff, provided I can put it to use. The casting reels are going to be most limiting, compared to modern reels. But I'm going to give some a shot. Not seeing a reason to upgrade much of my spinning reels, and am going to flirt with "down-grading" some. 8) I do like those worm-gear reels and when I discovered that there are a number of them out there I hadn't heard of -like the Shakespeare's- I thought I'd find one. The Pflueger version with its jumping bass had me jump! This one was pretty worn, and it went cheap. But with the quality components I figured it was worth a go. I have $35-40 into it. But, I learned a bit. And again, I'm planning on using that cool old reel.
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