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La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
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thaliadenmark
Senior Member
thaliadenmark
Joined: 22 Mar 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Denmark
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola and...
Grinder: Braun
Posted Mon Sep 2, 2013, 10:00am
Subject: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

Hi there!
Some years back I posted about a boiler base leak on a La Pavoni Professional (2000) and how I seem to have solved that with a slightly invasive cleanup and flattening of the base and new O-ring.

Now, with the same unit, I am experiencing something truly odd: a leak which dumps about an ounce of water and then goes away  - for like a year.
Last summer I made coffee happily daily on this machine using filtered water and performing basic cleaning regularly. Then I went on vacation and lent my apartment to a friend who also used the machine regularly after much excating tutelage.
While I was away he emailed, saying "theres lots of water leaking out the base of the machine." I told him to dicontinue use and I'd look at it when I returned.

I did so, and after many tests could NOT get the machine to leak. So I assumed it was user error - maybe steam wand excess or something that had trickled down from the group head/boiler body seal (which I knew did need replacing.)

Now, after over a year of use without incident: same deal. I get home from a weekend away to a cold machine sitting in a few tablespoons of water. Open it up, dry it off, run it without the base on a dishtowel for a few days to see where the drips appear - and nothing. I'm about ready to close it back up and say "wait til it becomes a real leak," but that's not too satisfying.

So my question: has anyone a suggestion as to what could be behind such a sneaky leak? Is this something to do with changes in the weather, or what? Some secret pressure release valve getting stuck intermittently?
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hankbates
Senior Member
hankbates
Joined: 2 Feb 2012
Posts: 46
Location: Yarmouth Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Professional...
Grinder: LaPavoni Jolly
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Thu Sep 5, 2013, 6:00am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

I would try keeping the base off and letting it sit for a couple of days.  Seems like it must be seeping a slight amount, but only when cold; if used daily, it certainly will evaporate this seepage.
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Flori
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Apr 2013
Posts: 114
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Sep 7, 2013, 9:05pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

hankbates is correct. have you tried his advice. hope its much better.

flori
blogger, coffeeloversofworld.com
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 217
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, '84 La Pavoni Pro,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario, La Pavoni PGC
Posted Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:23pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

I think that your model has a pressure stat on the underside of the machine?  If so it's possible that the pressure stat pipe connection may have a leak.

I have a 1984 Pavoni Pro, and during the rebuild I had to remove the pressure stat.  When I put it back in place I used an RTV sealant for the pipe tubing, but moved it slightly after it was set.  That gave me a tiny leak under pressure that took about 1 month to find.  Removed the pipe, cleaned it all up, and resealed with no leaks since that time.  I used Loctite 515 as the sealant for this, but I think there are other options too.

For testing just put paper towels on the counter and the bottomless Pavoni on top.  Bring it up to pressure or leak, lift carefully using the lever and look for steam or water leaks, maybe moist areas on the paper towels.

If it's not the pressure stat pipe connection then I would place paper towel underneath or around the boiler base to see where the wettest area is and work from there.
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thaliadenmark
Senior Member
thaliadenmark
Joined: 22 Mar 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Denmark
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola and...
Grinder: Braun
Posted Sun Sep 15, 2013, 11:56pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

Well, I have followed all suggestions. Leaving it for a few days has given no leak. In fact, I have been away for loong weekends before, and returned to no leakage. So it seems more intermittent than so...
Strangely, after a period of normal use - about 4 cups /day (not just for me), my dish towel under the machine was indeed wet this morning! Have not been able to localise a drip source yet, but I'll have another look.

The interesting thing is, this coincided with a dramatic fall in the barometric pressure outside and a rainstorm - so maybe there is something in the weather. Which however doesn't bring us closer to whether it's the pressurestat seal or the base seal... or something else.

I will observe further and report.
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thaliadenmark
Senior Member
thaliadenmark
Joined: 22 Mar 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Denmark
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola and...
Grinder: Braun
Posted Sun Oct 6, 2013, 6:54am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

Solved - more or less.

This leak at last showed some development, and became a bona-fide everyday leak which dropped a few ounces every time the machine cooled down. A replacement of the heating element seal with some of the provided lubricant proved to be sufficient. Machine is now dry again.

Still no explanation for the odd behaviour of the intermittent failure, but that seems to be the way with slowly developing failures. No ghost. Just a personality.

Thanks for the loctite product number. Looking for an EU source now.
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decoherent
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Jan 2014
Posts: 4
Location: London
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 4:54am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

I've got a similar problem for years. I thought it was comign form the steam wand. I replaced its seals but some wapor is always comign out of it, so I accepted this as a standard feature of the machine.
Today the leak on the worktop was more a small flood and I discovered the leak is coming from the seal of the heating element pins with the heating element plate.
As the leak is small, the wather evaporates quickly and it has rusted the inside of the base. When cold, instead, the water will eventually flow out of the base.
The heating element works fine and it will be a odd to buy the single most expensive spare of the machine. On the other side I don't want to use liquid sealeant not fit for human assumption as the boile water is clearly touching that space between the heating element pins and the plate.

Anyone has an idea about how to fix the leak without replacing the heating piece?

Thanks for your help.
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 217
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, '84 La Pavoni Pro,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario, La Pavoni PGC
Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:48am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

decoherent Said:

I've got a similar problem for years. I thought it was comign form the steam wand. I replaced its seals but some wapor is always comign out of it, so I accepted this as a standard feature of the machine.
Today the leak on the worktop was more a small flood and I discovered the leak is coming from the seal of the heating element pins with the heating element plate.
As the leak is small, the wather evaporates quickly and it has rusted the inside of the base. When cold, instead, the water will eventually flow out of the base.
The heating element works fine and it will be a odd to buy the single most expensive spare of the machine. On the other side I don't want to use liquid sealeant not fit for human assumption as the boile water is clearly touching that space between the heating element pins and the plate.
Anyone has an idea about how to fix the leak without replacing the heating piece?
Thanks for your help.

Posted January 31, 2014 link

Sounds like we have a few issues here to deal with.  
First off you will need a new gasket for the heating element of your machine.  Check out Stefano's Espresso care Click Here (espressocare.com)
If you have a model with pstat don't remove or even move that pipe if you can, as it's a pain to reseal sometimes.

Next the valve body for the steam wand sounds like it might have scale built up.  Next time you descale tip the machine on its side, open the valve to let some of the solution flow through.  Let that sit for 1 hr, possibly flowing more solution through the valve from time to time.  This can loosen up any scale that turns up on the metal to metal valve.

Lastly you need to deal with any rust on the base.  There are several documented La Pavoni rusted base care procedures listed in several threads.  Personally, I address the rust first, possibly with naval jelly.  Then I use Rustoleum (rust inhibiting paint), white, high-heat paint under the base.  That way I can spot any rust that turns up quickly and also use a marker to write maintenance notes under the base.

I would also recommend that once you have it running again check under the base 2 weeks later to make sure there are no longer any leaks.  That will keep the base safe from rust and you should be good for many more years.
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decoherent
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Jan 2014
Posts: 4
Location: London
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 3:22pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

Thanks a lot for all the excellent advises
I will certainly follow them.  Great idea about the white paint.
Will immediately look for the paint and the grease
However I don't think just changing the heating unit gasket will solve my leaking issue.  The water is not coming out from the base of the heating unit plate but from the hole on its plate where the heating reistants terminals are sticking out the plate.
There is some sort ofroundish small gasket around thw pins but this is not stopping drops to form around the resistor pins.  
Is there a way if stopping that without buying a new heating unit?

Thanks.
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decoherent
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Jan 2014
Posts: 4
Location: London
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 3:22pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni professional Ghost leak
 

Thanks a lot for all the excellent advises
I will certainly follow them.  Great idea about the white paint.
Will immediately look for the paint and the grease
However I don't think just changing the heating unit gasket will solve my leaking issue.  The water is not coming out from the base of the heating unit plate but from the hole on its plate where the heating reistants terminals are sticking out the plate.
There is some sort ofroundish small gasket around thw pins but this is not stopping drops to form around the resistor pins.  
Is there a way if stopping that without buying a new heating unit?

Thanks.
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 View Profile Link to this post
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