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Thread: How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

  1. #1
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    How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

    We have an old Gitzo Rational (Rationelle) PL-5 head which does not lock absolutely solidly in the forward/backward (or in aeronautical terms, pitch). Putting about 30 pounds on the long end of the platform results in it gradually rotating.

    We have the exploded parts diagram of a similar model of this head. Unscrewing this handle (see red arrow on attached diagram) does not show any missing parts. This threaded handle/steel rod has a rounded end that is supposed to lock the head and this seems undamaged. Exchanging this rod to the other side of the head so that it extends forward similarly does not lock the head solidly.

    Any suggestions on how to fix this? One photographer said there is a fiber bushing that can wear out. However unscrewing the side to side tilt handle (D1270.08 in the exploded parts diagram) does not let us further disassemble the head.

    Thanks in advance.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Gitzo Rationelle, 1.jpg 
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Name:	Gitzo G1270 Rationelle pan-tilt head with flat handle similar to PMw's ANNOTATED.jpg 
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    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

    I use and love the same head

    Nobody should expect it to hold 30 lbs on the long end

    Center and balance the weight


    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoMidwest View Post
    We have an old Gitzo Rational (Rationelle) PL-5 head which does not lock absolutely solidly in the forward/backward (or in aeronautical terms, pitch). Putting about 30 pounds on the long end of the platform results in it gradually rotating.

    We have the exploded parts diagram of a similar model of this head. Unscrewing this handle (see red arrow on attached diagram) does not show any missing parts. This threaded handle/steel rod has a rounded end that is supposed to lock the head and this seems undamaged. Exchanging this rod to the other side of the head so that it extends forward similarly does not lock the head solidly.

    Any suggestions on how to fix this? One photographer said there is a fiber bushing that can wear out. However unscrewing the side to side tilt handle (D1270.08 in the exploded parts diagram) does not let us further disassemble the head.

    Thanks in advance.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Gitzo Rationelle, 1.jpg 
Views:	40 
Size:	32.3 KB 
ID:	216971Click image for larger version. 

Name:	_1150759.jpg 
Views:	34 
Size:	129.4 KB 
ID:	216972Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Gitzo G1270 Rationelle pan-tilt head with flat handle similar to PMw's ANNOTATED.jpg 
Views:	58 
Size:	68.1 KB 
ID:	216973
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  3. #3

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    Re: How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

    Even centered and balanced, 30 lb probably exceeds the design spec. I can’t recall (and can’t find it easily on web) but I thought it was rated a lot less than 30 lb.

  4. #4
    PhotoMidwest's Avatar
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    Re: How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

    Thank you for the responses. May have overstated the force (or more precisely torque) that moved the head since we were pushing down by hand but it seemed to be relatively moderate for a head rated (as I recall ) about 22 lbs.

    We do have another idea on disassembly, so may get a chance to look at the bushing. Maybe the bushing can be rotated to a "better" spot for locking.

    Stay tuned.
    PhotoMidwest: The Center for Photography at Madison.
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    Re: How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

    Cleaning and, oddly enough, greasing the head (damping grease) might fix it right up. That worked on my Bogen head when it started slipping.

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    Re: How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Cleaning and, oddly enough, greasing the head (damping grease) might fix it right up. That worked on my Bogen head when it started slipping.
    As an owner of a 1270 I would say this is the best path forward.
    Brass is a metal alloy, not a lens type - MichaelE

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  7. #7

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    Re: How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

    i had a similar problem with an old bogen head. because its a simple friction clamp system, the handle tightens and pulls the split housing together to grip the axis... greasing may make your slippage worse.
    check the threads of the handle and the nut? it may be stripped.

    lube the threads of the shaft, not the bushing. to help tighten better and compensate for years of wear on the bearing part of the handle, i put a small washer before screwing the handle in so it can tighten a bit more.

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    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

    It may be that the needs of the OP would be be better met by a different piece of gear. Perhaps one of the geared heads (Majetic comes to mind) would work for his application.

    Why blame the equipment? Get what works. Carpenters use hammers of different sizes, handle lengths and head weights.
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    Re: How refurbish old Gitzo Rational PL-5 head so forward/back tilt locks solidly?

    That handle is threaded into a steel bush. D 1270 17 of the drawing.



    That's what the one I have looks like.

    Perhaps you are looking at a stripped thread.

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