My Manfrotto 055XPRO/190XPRO centre column mechanism is stiff or faulty

Q - My Manfrotto 055XPRO/190XPRO centre column mechanism is stiff or faulty

A - These tripods have a horizontal centre column facility, which when operated correctly should work smoothly with minimal effort.  Many users report issues with this mechanism, so this support article should help troubleshoot some common problems.

When putting your centre column to the horizontal position, ensure that you sufficiently loosen the centre column lock knob (2 full turns) to allow the red grip jaws to move freely (shown in image 1).

To lift the centre column fully, you have to depress the button at the base of the centre column (image 2), 

and then pull the column up to reveal the red grip jaws. (Image 3)

This then allows you to drop the column into the horizontal position.  To return the column to vertical, you have to again push the button in the bottom of the column (See image 4) to allow the column to retract properly into the red jaws and rotate back to vertical.

If this procedure is not followed correctly, or if the tripod is used regularly and handled roughly, then the black metal clip holding the bottom of the red jaws together can be bent and come loose. This can mean that the whole tripod mechanism would come apart. If this happens the black metal clip can be gently squeezed back to a round shape and clipped back on.  

Details on the assembly of this mechanism can be found on the Manfrotto Spares site, which also details all of the components should the tripod be adjusted or pulled incorrectly and any of the parts are lost.

The Manfrotto Spares link below is for the MT055CXPRO3 model as an example,  but the general design of this mechanism is shared across all 190XPRO and 055XPRO models, the only difference is the slightly larger components for the 055 series but you can search for your particular model if necessary using the search bar on their site.

Parts page and diagram for 055XCPRO3