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I had the same problem and found the solution after much looking online. Use rubbing alcohol to clean the ball! This works even with the ball in place as long as you rotate the head around to reach all surfaces of the ball. Note that many suggestions to tighten the Allen screw at the base of grip clamp or to roll the wheel to its tightest position do not work because they affect the amount of effort you need to squeeze the clamp, and not specifically the amount of friction between the ball itself and the head. Over time the ball loses it's grip but rubbing alcohol removes finger oils, dust, airborne pollution, etc. After wiping with rubbing alcohol, my ten year old head is now as tight as the day I bought it! Hope this works for you.
The normal tightness adjustment is black and on both sides of the handle. There is a plus and minus sign above it on the left side of the grip to show how to get more and less tightness.
There is a SECOND adjustment that I just found on the back side of the handle (opposite side from the gray grip on the front). This one requires a very small allen wrench to tighten (clockwise). I assume that this one was designed as the rough adjustment and the upper one is supposed to be for fine tuning during a photo shoot or normal use.
Either way, I'm glad I don't have to replace my tripod head. She's been halfway across the world with me!
I just had this same problem and came across your post. In frustration I held the grip and then let it go very quickly where the grip 'snapped' back.
Now it works. Go figure. I will mention a very small piece of plastic fell out of it, but it does not appear to hinder the functionality.