Wimberley FAQs and Support Topics

How can I re-condition my old Wimberley Head (WH-100 & WH-101)?

This assembly drawing provides most of the information needed to disassemble and reassemble a tripod head. It is important that all the components be installed in the order shown. This is a very simple, straightforward device with very little mechanical complexity.

Most of the problems that result in the return on the Wimberley head for repair are caused by grit contaminating the yellow plastic plain bearings. In spite of contamination, the bearings will generally work fine if they are cleaned, greased, and the head reassembled.

There are only two components that commonly need to be replaced. These are the nylon washer that goes between the upright casting and the arm in the tilt mechanism, and the nylon washer that goes below the large diameter three-holed stainless steel washer in the pan mechanism. Most of the other components can simply be cleaned and reused, even if the tripod head has seen quite a bit of use.

After disassembly, parts can be cleaned with a petroleum solvent. The mechanic can use his judgment as to whether any parts need light sanding or scraping. Most of the metal parts are stainless steel and are unlikely to be corroded. The radial roller thrust bearing is not made of stainless steel. On the other hand, even if it is slightly rusted, it will usually work quite well after it has been cleaned and greased.

We can supply the damping greases used to assemble this head. We will label them light grease and heavy grease. Use only a thin layer of grease on the locations shown. The plain (yellow) bearings should be lubricated with light grease. The 3/8-16 threads in the pan and tilt mechanisms should be lubricated with heavy grease after everything but the knob and captivating screw have been reassembled. The radial roller bearings can be lubricated with any light or medium weight general-purpose grease. Note that the 5/8” (about 16 mm) shaft is not lubricated. This keeps grease away from the nylon locking washer. (The yellow bearings are designed to be used without lubrication, but we have found that is useful to use some lubrication.) Please see the attached drawing for the areas to which grease is applied.

To a great extent, disassembly is a very simple matter. The screws that hold the knobs captive must be removed before other parts are removed. The only complicated aspect of disassembly involves loosening the jam nut in the pan mechanism. The nut is removed with a wrench. Unfortunately, it is necessary to constrain the set screw that it screws on with a 3/16” hex key, and to constrain the spool from rotating (we use a modified drill press vise for this purpose). The same constraints should be used when reassembling the pan base, and the jam nut should be tightened firmly.

The yellow plain bearings should not be removed unless there is some compelling reason to do so such as the need to replace them. The bearings can be driven out with a suitable wooden dowel. Pressing new bearings in is simple, but the hole into which the bearing is to be pressed must be free of sharp edges.
Occasionally there is a problem with the threaded insert in the bottom of the spool. Repairing this requires a machine tool (a lathe or milling machine), a larger insert, and a tap for the larger insert.

After the unit has been disassembled, cleaned, and inspected, it can be reassembled using the same techniques that were involved in the disassembly.

Please let us know if you need additional parts or American dimension tools.


Instructions for Re-conditioning:

A) Tilt End (old style)


  1. Remove knob and small parts; remove arm with shaft.
  2. Wipe clean all grease from parts (using denatured alcohol is useful).
  3. Scrape off old composite washer on arm (adhesive can be removed with lacquer thinner) being careful not to scratch the aluminum surface of the arm.


  1. Slide nylon washer onto shaft of arm.
  2. Lightly grease (using small brush): a) parts of shaft indicated on drawing, b) inside of large bearing on tilt end of upright.
  3. Slide shaft of arm through bearings of Tilt end of Upright.
  4. Slide spring washer, thrust washer, radial thrust bearing, thrust washer, & dust cover onto shaft.
  5. Screw knob onto end of shaft (older models do not have captive screws).

B) Pan End


  1. Remove knob and dome washer.
  2. To unscrew lock nut, use 9/16” wrench and 3/16 hex key in top of stud. (In older models lock nut is secured with Loctite and may be difficult to loosen)
  3. Remove Washers, etc.
  4. Clean grease from bearings, spool and bottom of thrust bearing.


  1. Apply light coat of grease to both sides of bottom thrust bearing and slide down barrel of spool bearing as in drawing.
  2. Slide bottom of upright down onto spool & thrust bearing.
  3. Wipe clean any grease from top of spool.
  4. Slide Nylon 3-hole washer, s.s. 3-hole washer, s.s. small 3-hole washer, & lock washer down onto spool stud.
  5. Screw nut onto stud and tighten using 3/16” hex key in top of stud.
  6. Slide dome washer onto spool stud.
  7. Lightly grease threads above dome washer as in drawing.
  8. Screw knob (with lock nut) onto spool stud.
  9. Wipe off any excess grease so it will not smear.

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 5:47 pm