A few basics when repairing your Manfrotto…
- Safety First…
- If you don’t know, don’t try…
- Have everything you need laid out…
- As you disassemble, lay out everything in order – then reassemble in reverse order.
Safety first… Make sure you have the right tools. Almost everything on Manfrotto products is metric. You can’t repair metric with US tools. The most common Allen wrenches are the 3mm and 5mm, or the TORX #8 and #10. Socket drivers are usually 8mm or 10mm.
Some heads have springs under high tension -Wear Safety goggles. Beware of sharp edges, points and springs. Some people are allergic to the lubricants used internally, you may need to wear gloves.
If you don’t know, don’t try…A pan head is simple, and easily DIY repaired. Replacing a handle or knob can easily be done in a few minutes. Ball heads have more complex locking mechanisms internally. Plus there are features inside to keep the parts and springs organized and under tension. Without specialized tools those features will not come out. And pulling them out with pliers may seem like a good way to get them out, it will damage them, to the other parts increasing the parts needed for your repair. Video heads and some ball heads have springs to keep the tension. These are very powerful and WILL rocket out of the head if you are not careful. Plus you can damage other parts inside the head if you are assembling the head wrong. Lets not even talk about gear heads or hydrostatic heads!
Have everything laid out before you start… I lay my tools to the upper right of the work surface, disassembled parts to the left. I work in the center. A cleaning cloth made of T-shirt like material is good for cleaning dirt and accumulated dirt out of the mechanism. But don’t remove the lubricants. Everything that is lubed uses a gel lubricant that is designed to stay where it is put. Removing lubricants will allow parts to wear out faster. While general lubricants like WD40 are great for general use, NEVER use it on a tripod, monopod or head. It is too fluid and will make a mess, as well as, hold dirty and grime where you don’t want it.
As you disassemble, lay out everything in order – then reassemble in reverse order… As simple as this sounds, it is always the best way to work and never vary. Some of the parts are in a specific order to allow bearing to move smoothly, or to allow parts to slide and turn. ALWAY remove items with caution and care paying particular attention to the orientation that they came out in. Parts lists, and websites do not document the particularity of these items. It is mostly done by experience.
Lastly, while the tools are all metric, please bear in mind that not all the parts are standard. Often the parts are made just for a particular use and are not interchangeable. Some threads may appear to be M6 metric, but often the thread pitch or count is different and using standard hardware store screws will only damage the threaded internal parts. Some screws are threaded backwards so they will not come out during use. You can easily strip a head off a screw before you know why then it is major surgery to remove a stripped screw.
If you get stuck, let us know. After we stop laughing, we will help. No, seriously, we can repair any tripod head or monopod listed on our website. Those that are not listed are because the tools and techniques are not generally made available, or are only repaired by the factory.
We have,on more than one occasion, reassembled heads for customers that just didn’t make sense once they got it apart. You can find our repair info by clicking here.
Whether for tune up or for repair, send your name, address, daytime phone and email address along with your tripod to:
108 Garner Rd
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Once we have it, we will evaluate it and contact you. Please send us your daytime phone so we can reach you during business hours.
Lastly, if we are repairing your Manfrotto Product; we are recycling all broken parts and scrap articles. Almost nothing goes into the trash if we can help it.