To be fair to Penn and other reel manufacturers, many of the broken gears, bearings or other issues that result in the "Skipping" during cranking can be attributed to user error. By this I mean the problems could have started due to whomever put Spectra on the reel, doing so under load and not in line perfectly with the center line of both the line winder arm and the center of the crank arm attachment point (Generally the center of the two speed change button), which could have caused an offset load. This generally results in the crank arm bearings having an offset load which in turn, under the heavier pressures often being used by line winders, results in a less than a clean matchup of the gearing.. Often times, the operator putting line onto the reel for the first time lines up the entire winding system perfectly.. However, once the load placed on the bulk spool by clutch/drag mechanism ramps up, often time the reel foot moves on the line winder holding device causing this offset situation.. All to often, if the offset is not too bad, the operator lets it go in order to more quickly get the job done.. This rarely ends well for the reel and it's internal components..
The same issues can result when the angler offset loads the reel while fighting a fish under heavier drag.. All too often the rig twists in an anglers hands as they try to get cranks on the reel either in high or low speed..This is generally caused by off set cranking of the angler. Again, if the crank motion thru the 360 degree rotation is offset under a heavy load, for any reason, the load on the bearing is un-even thus causing the gear assemblies to not seat correctly.. This in turn could put an undue load on just 1 or 2 of the gear teeth. All this can and does result in bearing, gearing or other failures and more importantly that horrible skipping that occurs once those internal parts are messed up.
Unfortunately, I see this result all too often. Luckily the reel manufacturers do fix the issues that may or may not be of their own making while under the warranty period however, if user error continues, the problem will continue well past the expiration of the warranty. Worse yet, the issue usually occurs when the angler is hooked up to their personal best fish..
This is not to say the reels coming out of the manufacturer never are messed up rather all too often the real cause of the noted problem is user error. At the drag settings we are fighting fish with as well as the settings used to place new Spectra on the spool, the operator really needs to be on top of this alignment issue. Besides, having a smooth and non offset crank motion thru the 360 degree crank, like on a bicycle, places less strain on the angler as well as the reel while being so much more efficient.
Have a great season.