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Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > Is a leakproof...  
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fwtechwiz
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 530
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evolution
Grinder: Hario Skerton
Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 5:11am
Subject: Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
 

Hi, Merry Christmas all!  My daily espresso routine has always included a second steaming pitcher placed under the steam wand to catch the drip drip drip that always happens while brewing with my Evolution.  It seems a constant leak from the steam wand on a Gaggia SBDU is inevitable, and the myriad posts to Coffee forums about this confirms it.  I'm getting my engineer cap back on, and seeking to upgrade/engineer a leakproof valve for the steam system.  Wish me luck, I'm off to the hardware store with steam valve and wand in hand, day after Christmas!!
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CRW
Senior Member


Joined: 24 May 2012
Posts: 41
Location: PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Dec 25, 2012, 6:17am
Subject: Re: Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
 

I'm also curious about this, after reading some stuff about these valves commonly leaking. If anything, it drips and oozes steam even worse since I recently descaling it. I've been thinking about replacing the valve, but I'm also wondering if it's possible to repair. I haven't removed the valve yet to investigate further....

Oh and BTW, good luck!
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,979
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Tue Dec 25, 2012, 11:59am
Subject: Re: Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
 

I have read that it is a needle valve internally and that the needle can be turned or polished in a drill or lathe.  I found a thread below, but it does not help much.  

Click Here (www.fixya.com)

I have also heard that there is a repair noted in the Gaggia User Group forum.  I an not a member so cannot view that.  From what I have read, Gaggias will develop drips through the needle valve even after fixed, but can be redone more that once if minimal polish is done.  If the needle is polished too much, then you cannot do it again.  The problem is apparently pitting and scale in the needle valve seat and the needle itself.

I hope that you can do the fix and publish it here, before I need it.  I have had a very slight drip from day one, fortunately unchanged.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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CRW
Senior Member


Joined: 24 May 2012
Posts: 41
Location: PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:03pm
Subject: Re: Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
 

I read something similar on another forum. You should join the Gaggia group if interested, they seem to have a lot of good info there. I am not sure how easy it is to remove the needle/shaft from the valve. When I do have time I will look more into that. Replacing the valve seems fairly inexpensive if necessary. For now I guess I can live with it, it leaks worst when the machine is just turned on and water is run thru the wand. When the machine is hot it is more steam that leaks than water...
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fwtechwiz
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 530
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evolution
Grinder: Hario Skerton
Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 4:47pm
Subject: Re: Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
 

I am a member of the Gaggia group, and I've tried the modification to the steam valve.  It involves cutting 1/8" off the end of the valve body so that the needle part can be unscrewed and removed from the valve body for cleaning and polishing.  The valve seat inside the valve body can also be cleaned and descaled more thoroughly this way.  It helps for a short time, sometimes.. but not always, and the drip always returns.  I will be removing my steam valve over the weekend to inspect it and determine if the valve seat is countersunk, or if it is just a flush hole that the needle butts up against.  I'm thinking that applying a deeper countersink to the valve seat may increase the contact area and end the leak.  We'll see soon enough.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,979
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 5:42pm
Subject: Re: Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
 

How about a couple of pictures of the valve and needle disassembled when you have it out.  I do not see how you can make the seat better if it is a tapered needle.  If you remove seat material, then you may have more problem.  Hopefully you can report and photo.  Thanks.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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fwtechwiz
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 530
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evolution
Grinder: Hario Skerton
Posted Sun Dec 30, 2012, 1:01pm
Subject: Re: Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
 

Here's the steam valve, taken apart.  Mods for steam valve stem removal and SPV fix shown.  No scale to speak of, but dark deposits on the needle (probably oxidation).  Cleaned with Cafiza, buffed with very fine steel wool, reamed out the hole with a rough pipe cleaner and put it all back together.  Now I get maybe 2 or 3 drips while brewing.  Minor success.

fwtechwiz: Gaggia Steam.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,979
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sun Dec 30, 2012, 2:05pm
Subject: Re: Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
 

How did you make the cut?  Was it difficult to cut and avoid damage to the needle valve?  Some of the spots can be small/micro pits in the needle of seat.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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fwtechwiz
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 530
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evolution
Grinder: Hario Skerton
Posted Sun Dec 30, 2012, 2:17pm
Subject: Re: Is a leakproof steam valve on a Gaggia possible?
 

I used a pipe cutter, cutting just a little at a time until it broke through, then cleaned up the inside edge with a round file.  The inside edge must be smooth with no burrs or the o-ring will be damaged when screwing the needle back in.   I got a look at the valve seat with a flashlight, it looked a little mashed up at the edges, probably the pitting that you mentioned.
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