Cleaning my Gitzo 1325 Tripod

When the legs of your tripod resist your attempts to expand or collapse them and the leg locks are no longer smooth, it is time for a clean...

From time to time, I realise that my tripod is crying out for some TLC (tender loving care). I can tell when it reaches this point as the tripod starts to protest with horrible grinding sounds as I try and tighten/loosen the legs. I’m not surprised, as I stick the poor thing into soft sand; stand it in salty sea water; drop it in soggy, muddy fields and basically abuse it as the workhorse it is.  But what a workhorse!  This tripod is a tough beast, it has been going for years and is still looks like new – except when the leg-locks get really dirty as they are this week.

So, it is time for that TLC and give my Gitzo 1325 a really good clean.

It is an easy job to do, but I thought I would detail how I go about cleaning the 1325 in case anyone is wondering. You can get the tripod cleaned as a service from Gitzo/Manfrotto, but the current price for this is about £40, plus postage and VAT – so it is a more economical and quicker route to do this yourself (and not sure I would like being without my tripod for 2 to 3 weeks!).

Firstly, I undo each of the leg sections by loosening the leg-locks and then continuing to unscrew the locks until the section comes apart. Once apart I carefully remove the two split plastic rings and the fibre bushing and put those to one side. When each leg section has been separated I wash the legs and leg-locks in hot water with plenty of washing-up liquid to remove all the gunk and dirt. Once washed, I leave them soaking in a fresh bowl of hot water with washing-up liquid for about 30 minutes.

Whilst the legs and locks are soaking, I will rinse the plastic rings and bushing in more hot water with washing-up liquid and then rinse in clean water. Once cleaned, these are set aside on a sheet of newspaper to dry.

After the legs and locks have been soaking for 30 minutes, I rinse in cold water and let them dry. It isn’t necessary to let them dry before the next stage, but I find it is a good time to take a break from the cleaning.

For the next stage, you will need some methylated spirits, some old rags and a hard toothbrush.

What I do is soak a rag with meths and wipe down the tripod legs. Next with a well soaked rag I tightly wrap the rag around the threads on a leg section and then twist the leg hard so it pulls out of the rag. This should help get any remaining grease and gunk out of the screw threads. Once I have done this for each section, I clean the threads within the leg-locks by soaking a rag and stuffing it into the lock and twisting hard.

I will then screw a leg-lock onto a matching leg section and check that the threads are running clean and smoothly.  If not, then I will soak the toothbrush in meths and give the leg section and leg-lock threads a very hard scrubbing; chances are there is still some grease and dirt in the threads.  I will then repeat screwing the leg section and lock together, if it now runs free I move on to the next section; if not I will repeat the toothbrush scrubbing until it runs smooth.

Again, I then leave the cleaning and take a break, allowing time for the meths to evaporate and dry.

The last stage of the cleaning is to grease the leg threads and reassemble the tripod. Talking to the Gitzo/Manfrotto service department, they use Castrol graphite grease, but this is very hard to obtain locally nowadays (they mentioned they have had their tub for years; you don’t use much per tripod). As I couldn’t get the graphite grease, I use Castrol LM grease which is a good all purpose grease that isn’t too thick. I did check with the service department that this was good to use and they confirmed it was perfect for the job.

One thing to note: when you reassemble it is very important not to get any grease on the fibre bushing.

When reassembling, I use a cotton-wool bud to wipe a very thin layer of grease over the leg section threads; it is important not to use too much grease as this will then just trap more dirt and bits and make a real mess (as I found out a few cleans ago). I then put the leg-lock on a matched leg section, followed by the fibre bushing, then the two plastic rings and carefully screw the leg-lock up. Once each of the top sections have been done, I repeat this for each of the bottom leg sections.

End result is a Gitzo 1325 Tripod that works as new

There will come a time when the fibre bushing will have worn and will need replacing. These six little rings are fairly expensive to replace (about £30) but can be obtained from the Gitzo/Manfrotto Service Department.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hi, Thanks for sharing this info. It would be helpful if you also include few photos of cleaning process. Video will be ideal. I recently bought same tripod (used) and wanted to clean it. Sometimes I find it very difficult to extend legs as the locks just don’t open.

    1. Sorry for the delay, I totally missed your comment.

      Locked legs is a hard one to sort. I have had this once and it need two people to provide enough force to get the legs out. However once out, the cleaning process is really easy; just take the legs apart, clean as described and put back together in reverse order.

      Phil

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