Has anyone done the bearing upgrade on the 5000fj? I ordered a set of bearings and when I tried putting them in, found they were a lot larger than those I took out. Subsequently I was unable to force them in - is this normal? or did I receive the wrong size?
Where did you order the bearings from? Upgrading the bearings is not something that you will see any gains in performance. Spinning reels are not like casting reels when it comes to bearings.
Couple of ebay vendors sell upgraded ceramic bearings specific to certain models - and I've heard otherwise from guys who've done theirs. Why wouldn't upgrading them result in a smoother reel more capable under pressure?
Ceramic bearings last a lot longer with almost no maintenance, the upgrade kit also usually replaces some bushings with bearings, the reel will feel smoother but it won't be any stronger per say. In bait casters you could see a vast improvement in casting distance, they are also louder if that means anything to you.
You may need to readjust the shims when changing bushing to bearings. This will change the position of the gears which may change the feel of the reel.
Here is my take. Bushings do not wear out quickly and do not corrode. There is less maintenance with the bushings than a bearing. Ceramic bearings are not maintenance free, some still use stainless races which will corrode. Ceramic bearings are usually louder than a stainless or our S-ARB bearing.