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Problem with a La Pavoni Boiler Gasket
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ronburleson
Senior Member


Joined: 3 May 2012
Posts: 19
Location: Corona, Ca.
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:13am
Subject: Problem with a La Pavoni Boiler Gasket
 

I recently got a La Pavoni lever machine. I replaced all of the gaskets and seals and got ready to give her a go. To my surprise, the seal between the bottom of the boiler and the heating element failed. I got another seal and tried again. I got three pulls out of it before the seal failed again. I have looked at tutorials but have not found specific instructions for the boiler seal.  I am obviously doing something wrong. I have one more seal left and am looking for some guidance and/or pictures before I see if three is a charm.

Thanks,
Ron
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 305
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
Grinder: Compak K10, Kludge grinder,...
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 8:42am
Subject: Re: Problem with a La Pavoni Boiler Gasket
 

Don't worry, you should be able to get that system back in working order.

Not sure what La Pavoni you have, but there are a few different element bases for those so any information describing the unit will likely help get you the answers you need.

When I rebuilt my 1984 La Pavoni with the copper heating element I purchased a full set of seals from a reputable vendor.  They cut their own seals, so I had hoped they would work great for the La Pavoni, but unfortunately they didn't fit so well.  I noticed that I had to center the gasket below, while viewing through the boiler cap opening in order for the boiler walls to sit on the gasket properly.  While this would give you a seal, I didn't like it.  This vendor wasn't able to help me in procuring a better gasket - they are frequently overloaded with such requests and I just let it go.

I suspect someplace like Stefano's espressocare.com might have better seals, but you'd want to email him on that.

My solution was to order some teflon sheeting on eBay.  I purchased 1.5 or 2mm thick PTFE sheet.  Used a ruler and compass to mark the sheet to the proper size and cut with a razor; already tested with paper for proper fit under the heating element inside lip outer diameter with enough inner diameter to make sure that the boiler will seat properly everytime.  Now I have a quality, reusable gasket that has given me no trouble at all.  Fits inside the heating element gasket recess and has plenty of room for boiler base connection - cleans easy too.

Note that PTFE/Teflon has some creep to it.  Once you have it securely mounted and have used the machine for 1 week you should check the seal to make sure the gasket doesn't leak and doesn't need any snugging up.
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ronburleson
Senior Member


Joined: 3 May 2012
Posts: 19
Location: Corona, Ca.
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 9:47am
Subject: Re: Problem with a La Pavoni Boiler Gasket
 

Thank you Dano, that makes sense. I have the older model with the copper heating element and the double switch. It didn't seem like brain surgery but it sure has been frustrating. I'll keep at it.

Ron
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stefano65
Senior Member
stefano65
Joined: 30 Oct 2004
Posts: 1,403
Location: Eugene OR
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme,Elektra,
Grinder: Vario,Macap,
Vac Pot: not
Drip: not
Roaster: not
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 2:42pm
Subject: Re: Problem with a La Pavoni Boiler Gasket
 

Stefano here,
and PS thanks for referring us (reply to the post)
we personally sell both the Original "flat" gasket for copper and brass heating element and the Original O-Ring type for Stainless steel HE,

what I can tell you by experience when I do repairs
some HE could be bent or warp enough for the Gasket NOT to seat properly and leaks no matter what,

the teflon is not a bad idea however
teflon is much harder then the original gasket material and therefor doesn't have "giving" and might not solve the issue
UNLESS is thicker to star with from the original one but if so IT will not fit under the lip/groove

apart for the obvious cleaning of the "edge" of the boiler where the gasket will seat on, even using some fine sand paper if necessary,
you can see if any of the bolt point looks slightly bent down and try carefully to bend straight again, ( sometimes it will fix the issue)
also some time shorter screw so they will not bottom out before the HE gasket gets compressed might also solve the issue

 
Stefano Cremonesi
info@espressocare.com
www.espressocare.com
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 305
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
Grinder: Compak K10, Kludge grinder,...
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 2:46pm
Subject: Re: Problem with a La Pavoni Boiler Gasket
 

Awww... Don't get frustrated yet!  You have to save some of that frustration for when you learn to make crappy shots on your La Pavoni!  LOL  I know having a machine you want to play with and not having it in working order is torture, but once you get it sealed up you'll be happy.  I've been running mine with the teflon seal for nearly 6 months now, and never had an issue.
You can also cut your own gaskets from gasket stock sold at auto-part stores if you can't wait for the teflon to get delivered.

Once you get the system running leak free you'll have all kinds of fun.  Of course learning to get great shots on the La Pavoni levers can be as pleasant as pulling your hair out at times, but the rewards are definitely worth the trouble.  After a while you start to learn your method and you can make great shots on the lever without any problem.

Also note that over at H-B.com there are probably more lever heads than on CoffeeGeek, so don't forget to check there for information too if you get stuck.
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ronburleson
Senior Member


Joined: 3 May 2012
Posts: 19
Location: Corona, Ca.
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 5:36pm
Subject: Re: Problem with a La Pavoni Boiler Gasket
 

Thank you Dano. I'm working out my frustrations on a borrowed Gaggia Factory. When things are right it makes some of the best shots I have ever had

Stefano, I need to. Get in touch with you. I have the round gasket. I did not know there is a flat gasket as well. that may make things a little easier since I have the brass heating element. A strange thing. It has a European plug but the heating element is marked "110V".

Thanks again for the help.
Ron
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