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Disassemble & Clean Garrett ATX Shaft & Cams

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Well, Garrett put out a video so the cat is out of the bag about the ATX. It is possible to disassemble and clean the coil lower rod and locking cam assembly. There was some debate about this because if you do it you could make things worse. Also, spare parts are not available at this time so if you lose or break something you are up the creek without the proverbial paddle. Be sure you watch the video carefully and never, ever force anything. Please note that all of this applies to water hunters. I can't imagine this being needed in normal above water use.

There are instructions starting at 21:30 (near the end) in the new video below:

Here are outtakes and basic instructions. First, if you look at the three cam locks closely you will see small indentations on each ring:


Each set of indentations is set at a different distance apart so you need an adjustable pin spanner. Garrett is selling one for $35.95:


I did not know about Garrett spanner at the time so I went to the REI bike parts area and purchased a Park Tool SPA-6 spanner for $17.95. The pins on it are about 2.2mm and are quite snug in the indents so the holes appear to be about 2.2mm. Also, the clearance is very close between the pins and shaft so I had to grind a bit off each inside edge of the tool to get the pins into the holes. The Garrett will no doubt work perfectly but this one is half the price and you may be able to get it locally. http://www.parktool.com/product/adjustable-spanner-spa-6


Insert the tool into the holes in the ring and apply pressure carefully. If you can't get it apart easily I do not know what to tell you but do not break it! If you mess things up it will probably not be warranty.


Pull the cam halves apart and there will be a black tab underneath set in a hole in the shaft:




With the tab removed you can now pull the rod assembly apart. Under where the tab was on the inner rod surface there will be a black plastic tensioning shim/plate set into two holes in the shaft.



OK, you have taken it apart and have all the parts in front of you:


Wash everything carefully with water. I had one cam that would not free up no matter what I did and disassembly revealed sand that I could not get out no matter what without disassembly. I used a tooth brush and got rid of every bit of grit. It appears to me excessive working of the mechanism while full of sand causes more wear than taking it apart and cleaning, but disassembly has its own risks. Basically, I would only do this is normal washing does not do the trick. Again, you are on your own if you break or lose something. Now, reassemble in reverse order. DO NOT use any lubricants or grease that will just attract and hold more sand in the future.

The uppermost cam has a ring that must be loosened and moved up the shaft to give the cam enough room to come apart. Pull it carefully apart but do not go so far as to break it. Pry apart until it comes out of retaining holes and slide up the shaft.


My advice to Garrett was to make this public but there were serious concerns about people doing more damage than good. The lack of spare parts at this time is especially disconcerting but hopefully will be addressed because these parts are going to wear and going to need replacement. Again, please note that all of this applies to water hunters. Other users need not be concerned.

Anyway, I did it myself after I got back from Hawaii. Two cams on my 8" mono rod flushed out just fine but the uppermost one just refused to get fully clean. I blasted it with a Water Pik, I tapped on it while dry, but some grit stayed inside and kept it from moving freely. It still worked, but I could tell it was not right. Disassembly and cleaning did the trick and I am sure it will for others with similar issues. But be careful!!

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Speaking of spare parts.  It would be a good idea to get a couple spare battery holders.  I don't have an ATX yet, but noticed the battery holders are same as my AT Pro.


I was changing the batteries on my Pro before heading out.  Of course I dropped the batteries and holder on the hardwood floor.  The holder broke into three different pieces.  That put an end to using the Pro for a week and a half waiting for the new holder to get here.  I do have a backup detector, so I could still hunt.  Wasn't near as much fun without the Pro though.


You have been warned. 

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Nice thing about the ATX is it comes with two sets of batteries. One set alkaline AA, and one set NiMH AA rechargeables. Both use the same four cell battery holder (two holders for each eight battery set). So the ATX basically comes with spare battery holders already.

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