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How to Service Tripods Yourself

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Daniel SkrobowskiHow to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 14, 2014 at 4:37:08 am
Last Edited By Daniel Skrobowski on Mar 14, 2014 at 4:37:37 am

Hi, I am in possession of three Bogen Manfrotto 3066 video camcorder tripods. They usually work well, but, lately, they have gotten rather stiff. They need to be serviced, but I'd rather not spend a ton of money sending them to the only Manfrotto-certified service center in Arizona (I'm in Michigan.).

Has anybody serviced/oiled these tripods themselves? If so, is it easy to do? Are there resources available to help me through the process.

All tips are appreciated.


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Mark SuszkoRe: How to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 14, 2014 at 1:54:05 pm

Do you mean the legs are stiff, or the pan head? Stiff legs that don't retract well are usually just dirty. A stiff pan head usually means an adjustment of the fluid inside, and maybe putting new seals in.


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Daniel SkrobowskiRe: How to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 14, 2014 at 2:31:53 pm

I'm sorry; I should have been more specific. The pan heads are getting stiff; the legs are fine.

You mentioned an adjustment of the fluids inside. Is this relatively easy to do by yourself; would it be a fairly intuitive process? What kind of fluid am I supposed to use? Are new seals something that I can order?

All advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.


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Mark SuszkoRe: How to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 14, 2014 at 4:00:09 pm

Generally, you re better-off sending the thing in to the manufacturer. Are you sure you don't just have it mis-adjusted? There are spring tension controls, locks, and then the fluid drag to consider. What make and model is this again? And did something happen to it recently, or has it just gradually gotten harder to use?


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Daniel SkrobowskiRe: How to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 14, 2014 at 6:17:44 pm

Thanks for the prompt replies.

I have three Bogen Manfrotto 3066 video camcorder tripods. The pan heads have gradually gotten more stiff over time. It has become hard to pan with the tripods, even upon adjustment of the screws and knobs.

As I mentioned, I could send them to the Manfrotto (It's actually a separate company) service center in Arizona, but I'd like to avoid paying extra for shipping from Michigan. I haven't been able to find any service centers that will service these Manfrotto tripods in Michigan.

So, I'd like to try to service them myself if someone else has had success in doing so.


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Mark SuszkoRe: How to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 17, 2014 at 1:25:54 am

You're unlikely to have the right tools and parts to fix a pan head, so I's say send them in.


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Daniel SkrobowskiRe: How to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 17, 2014 at 3:11:12 am

Thanks for the reply.

In that case, would you mind posting a link to a tool or something that would help me match a new pan head with an old manfrotto tripod, if such a matching tool exists?


Thanks.


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Mark SuszkoRe: How to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 17, 2014 at 3:17:55 am

Pan heads and tripods are often interchangeable, if the "bowl" size of the tripod base is the same as the "ball" size of the pan head. Plus, there are adaptors. We used Vinten heads on O'Connor legs for a time, they matched in size. Looked weird, worked fine.


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Bill DavisRe: How to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 20, 2014 at 6:23:43 am

Daniel,
I have a 3066 that's been in service for close to 20 years without a hitch and it's still working fine. I have to admit that these days, I only use it for teleprompter work since all my heavy cameras are long since retired, but I'm kinda surprised since these are kinda built like tanks and the mechanism for is pretty stable.

Is it the pan-drag or the tilt you're having problems with? And when you disengage the thumb switch brakes entirely - does the head move freely in both directions?

BTW, I'm in Arizona and I didn't even know their service facility was here! That's how seldom I've had to get work done on the various Manfrotto heads I've collected over the years.

Live and learn.

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Daniel SkrobowskiRe: How to Service Tripods Yourself
by on Mar 23, 2014 at 4:50:12 pm

Hi Bill, thanks for the reply.

Both the pan and tilt...are stiff and rigid, even when the switches are disengaged.

I'll probably just end up seeing if the pan heads have any trade-in value and getting some new ones.

Thanks, everyone, for all of the tips.


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