I was hoping to get some help troubleshooting this problem with my espresso machine.  It has been working wonderfully the past few months since I bought it used off of craigslist.  I immediately backflushed it with purocaf, and try to take good care of it.  I only make a few shots a day, so it's not under heavy use.  I try to backflush with water after I'm done using it each day, and every couple weeks use purocaf.  Up until now it been fine, now when I brew, it leaks water out of the backflush valve and into the drip tray, and can't keep the proper pressure to brew.

 

I have tried to search online, but can't find much.  I have a basic understanding that it's probably something with the 3 way valve, but not sure what or how to fix it.  The only thing I've tried is an "aggressive backflush", as there may be some gunk keeping it from working properly.  Now I'm not 100% sure what that is, but I just backflushed a few times with a bit more purocaf.  That has not worked (although my machine it now clean I can assure you!).  Any other ideas?  How can I actually take the valve out and inspect it?  Is that possible?  Any info would be great, thanks!!

Views: 367

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

So the problem is with one of two things.

 

Either the 3-way solenoid valve is "dirty" or plugged up to the point that it cannot close when the shot is running. This is easily remedied by just replacing the valve. I cannot find your machine schematics online, but if you find the valve, first thing to do would be to inspect it for lime buildup, or any other buildup causing the valve to not function properly. Otherwise spend maybe 60 dollars or so to replace the whole valve.

 

Again I don't know your machine schematics, but if it has an overpressure valve in addition to the three way solenoid valve, that could be the source of leakage as well. Normally these are designed in commercial machines to allow pressure to escape the brew boiler in the event of it exceeding a certain amount, usually well over the 9 bars required for brewing. With Lineas, they are set to release water into the drip tray at 12 bar. Maybe your machine has one of those? I couldn't find detailed drawings of your machine in my brief search before this post.

Sometimes backflushing isn't enough to clean solenoids if there is alot of gunk in them. Before spending any money on a new one I suggest unplugging your machine, taking the solenoid out and manually take it apart. Lots of times there can be buildup internally that can usually be cleaned/descaled and then should be fine provided the electric coil is working properly.

 

I recently ran into a similar issue with a 2-way solenoid fill valve in an Isomac home machine. No amount of descaling would work when running it through the plumbing, even actually soaking the valve body (minus the coil) in descaler overnight. Had to get it apart and clean/scrape everything in it because the passages in those valves aren't very big and the least bit of buildup can prevent proper operation. BTW, this was caused by the owner leaving the machine in storage for 2+ years without doing any sort of proper shutdown.

 

As mentioned you could also have a similar problem with your OPV. Check that as well and they can usually be descaled. If you take the OPV apart you will have to adjust your pump pressure when you button things back up.

Thanks for the advice! 

 

Now I have never attempted to dismantle an espresso machine of any sort, so is there any help out there in getting started with this endeavor?  I did take apart a grinder and give it a good cleaning once, but espresso machines seem to have many more parts.  Thanks for your help!

First thing to do is UNPLUG the machine, and take off any easy to remove side panels or possibly the front panel underneath the group head. Next locate the solenoid valve which will look something like this

http://www.espressoparts.com/cgi-bin/ep.pl?pgm=co_disp&func=dis...

 

When you locate it you will need to disconnect the electric cables first, (again !WITH THE MACHINE UNPLUGGED!) then disconnect all water lines running to and from it (also, if your machine is plumbed into a direct water line, shut off the water before doing this). To remove the valve use two wrenches, one that will brace the valve body, and the other to unscrew each bolt holding in any water lines (Careful! that thin flexible copper tubing which is probably running to/from at least two if not three of the connections can fracture VERY easily). Once that is done, then you can inspect the path in which the water flows through the valve and look for any lime buildup or anything else that may be keeping the valve from opening/closing properly. It is a small pathway, so even the tiniest buildup can cause it to not close all the way. If you clean it and reinstall it, and still have the same results, then replacing the valve may be in order.

Are you taking about one of these machines?

http://www.salvatore-espresso.com/index.html

Their customer service is impeccable.  Call or e-mail Salvatore with your questions.

OTOH, he makes quite a few machines, knowing which one you have is going to go a long way in starting to instruct you on disassembly.  If it were my Astoria, it'd be to remove the drip tray and grates, four screws on the back plate, four screws on the valve base, and this part

http://www.espressoparts.com/C_166

is what usually presents a problem.  Inside that is a spring, and a cylinder, either with a seal in front of the cylinder or built into the front of it (top? depending on orientation, I guess) that is operated by the electro-magnet built into the piece in the previously posted link.

Disassembly of this is fairly simple, and while you won't need to mess with the electrical bits, I still suggest that you unplug the machine and let it cool.  I don't recall any reason that you'd have to disconnect the machine from it's water supply if it's plumbed.  IIRC, the valve is normally open, and will only close when you pull a shot, yeah?

Just made a blog post on the topic of 3-way solenoids.  Some info there that's relevant to this discussion.

 

Hope it helps.

 

b

Thanks for link Brady - very helpful.

 

I got the valve guide out, and I assumed that I could remove the stem from the base, but it is not budging, and I don't want to put too much torque on it and break something (probably myself if anything).  So just to clarify, the brass and silver part of the valve guide do come apart, yes?  And are they usually tough to pry apart?  Thanks for the help!

yes, and yes.

Daniel Demers said:

Thanks for link Brady - very helpful.

 

I got the valve guide out, and I assumed that I could remove the stem from the base, but it is not budging, and I don't want to put too much torque on it and break something (probably myself if anything).  So just to clarify, the brass and silver part of the valve guide do come apart, yes?  And are they usually tough to pry apart?  Thanks for the help!

Good to know!  Any thoughts on how to best tackle this guy?  I don't have much at my house, just a couple of monkey wrenches, and all of my power and might cannot get them apart.  What kinds of tools would be best suited for this job? 

Kevin Ayers said:
yes, and yes.

Daniel Demers said:

Thanks for link Brady - very helpful.

 

I got the valve guide out, and I assumed that I could remove the stem from the base, but it is not budging, and I don't want to put too much torque on it and break something (probably myself if anything).  So just to clarify, the brass and silver part of the valve guide do come apart, yes?  And are they usually tough to pry apart?  Thanks for the help!

You should be able to break it loose with a standard wrench.  The trick is getting enough grip on the brass base.  I generally break it loose while still attached to the group, or secure it in my bench vise.

 

General tips for breaking loose a fastener:


Make sure you use a decent wrench that fits the flats very well.

Rather than pulling, bump the end of the wrench handle in the desired direction.

If it is really stuck, try going the opposite direction briefly just to break it loose, then loosen it.

Most of all - BE CAREFUL.

Good luck.

Daniel Demers said:

Good to know!  Any thoughts on how to best tackle this guy?  I don't have much at my house, just a couple of monkey wrenches, and all of my power and might cannot get them apart.  What kinds of tools would be best suited for this job? 

Kevin Ayers said:
yes, and yes.

Daniel Demers said:

Thanks for link Brady - very helpful.

 

I got the valve guide out, and I assumed that I could remove the stem from the base, but it is not budging, and I don't want to put too much torque on it and break something (probably myself if anything).  So just to clarify, the brass and silver part of the valve guide do come apart, yes?  And are they usually tough to pry apart?  Thanks for the help!

I tried breaking it loose while still in the machine, and I think I was on the verge of breaking off the entire  group, so I decided it would be best to seek out a bench vise and go from there.  Tried the bumping with no luck, even tried the opposite direction. 

 

Could some WD-40 help out?  Or will that not even be able to penetrate into the seams?

Brady said:

You should be able to break it loose with a standard wrench.  The trick is getting enough grip on the brass base.  I generally break it loose while still attached to the group, or secure it in my bench vise.

 

General tips for breaking loose a fastener:


Make sure you use a decent wrench that fits the flats very well.

Rather than pulling, bump the end of the wrench handle in the desired direction.

If it is really stuck, try going the opposite direction briefly just to break it loose, then loosen it.

Most of all - BE CAREFUL.

Good luck.

Daniel Demers said:

Good to know!  Any thoughts on how to best tackle this guy?  I don't have much at my house, just a couple of monkey wrenches, and all of my power and might cannot get them apart.  What kinds of tools would be best suited for this job? 

Kevin Ayers said:
yes, and yes.

Daniel Demers said:

Thanks for link Brady - very helpful.

 

I got the valve guide out, and I assumed that I could remove the stem from the base, but it is not budging, and I don't want to put too much torque on it and break something (probably myself if anything).  So just to clarify, the brass and silver part of the valve guide do come apart, yes?  And are they usually tough to pry apart?  Thanks for the help!

Yikes!  Just realized that I forgot to mention that I only do that on machines where the group is bolted to the frame - like Aurelia, Rancilio Classe, etc.  Sorry I missed that point and glad you didn't do any damage.

 

Look at it this way... if you have a place to bolt it, a bench vise is about 30 bucks at the hardware store.  A new valve is 60 minimum.

 

One note on removing your valve - there are 2 little o-rings inside that are important.  Make sure you don't lose them!  ALSO, even after you turn off the water, there will prob still be pressure in the system, so don't be surprised to find a little water when you remove the valve.  Have a few towels handy.


Daniel Demers said:

I tried breaking it loose while still in the machine, and I think I was on the verge of breaking off the entire  group, so I decided it would be best to seek out a bench vise and go from there.  Tried the bumping with no luck, even tried the opposite direction. 

 

Could some WD-40 help out?  Or will that not even be able to penetrate into the seams?

Brady said:

You should be able to break it loose with a standard wrench.  The trick is getting enough grip on the brass base.  I generally break it loose while still attached to the group, or secure it in my bench vise.

 

General tips for breaking loose a fastener:


Make sure you use a decent wrench that fits the flats very well.

Rather than pulling, bump the end of the wrench handle in the desired direction.

If it is really stuck, try going the opposite direction briefly just to break it loose, then loosen it.

Most of all - BE CAREFUL.

Good luck.

Daniel Demers said:

Good to know!  Any thoughts on how to best tackle this guy?  I don't have much at my house, just a couple of monkey wrenches, and all of my power and might cannot get them apart.  What kinds of tools would be best suited for this job? 

Kevin Ayers said:
yes, and yes.

Daniel Demers said:

Thanks for link Brady - very helpful.

 

I got the valve guide out, and I assumed that I could remove the stem from the base, but it is not budging, and I don't want to put too much torque on it and break something (probably myself if anything).  So just to clarify, the brass and silver part of the valve guide do come apart, yes?  And are they usually tough to pry apart?  Thanks for the help!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2020   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service