The Isomac Tea had been acting up for the first time last week -- no water when i pulled the lever, only steam. It wasn't vapor lock, because it happened whenever I let the machine sit, even after a session of pulling shots, and I could still get water immediately from the hot water tap. That problem disappeared after a couple days, but this morning the pump pressure suddenly refused to go past 1.5 bars. I essentially pulled a shot on an extended preinfusion. The water quickly flowed slower and slower. Now I get nothing -- only steam and hissing -- when i attempt to pull water.
Busted vibe pump? Is that it? The machine is two years old, roughly.
The requisite caveats: I clean her religiously, have ridiculously soft water and no scale, have turned her on and off, tried bleeding the steam wand, etc. Bottom line is, it would appear that my pump no longer pushes water. Unless there's another explanation I don't know about.
p.s. if it's the pump, what are my options? vendors for pumps? pump upgrades? what kind of price tag are we talking here?
In my experience, those vibe pumps don't last long. I replaced a few of them on my machines before I went rotary. You can get the ULKA 40-something watt or 50-something watt pump, either will fit in the rubber mounts in your Isomac. It's an easy repair, ut plan on it taking a couple of hours or from start to finish.
Just a note, let the machine cool off before doing the work (spoken from experience - I can be pretty stupid sometimes)
The pumps are readily available for $40 - $100 I think.....from the usual suspects: ChrisN or TerryZ
Here's a couple for $40 - $50 http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/repairparts/vibpump (either should work)
Here's the Fluid-o-tech http://www.espressoparts.com/product/W25461
And another 40-something watt ULKA http://www.espressoparts.com/product/V_658
Usual d'oh list comes first: -- kinked or slipped off hose from tank to pump inlet -- jammed up water softener or screen in the hose -- put in a blind filter, look at the pressure and the backflow from the OPV, if these are normal, there's an obstruction from the pump head to the group. If the pressure is low, and OPV backflow large, it's slipped to a low setting. If both the pressure and backflow are low, then the pump itself is not putting out.
My Tea is about 2+ years old and I've been having the exact same problem. I've checked all the usual suspects as well and spent a lot of time speaking with the good folks at ChrisCoffee. With me it seems to come and go and only happens every 3-5 weeks. Per ChrisCoffee folks I checked the hoses and screens and the check valve and all seemed fine. I also removed the big bolt at the top of the grouphead with the machine off and cool (ok after burning myself I did this) and poured vinegar through the grouphead while working the lever up and down. All this fiddling seemed to fix things and then it happened again about a week ago (of course at the exact moment I was stressed out and needed a shot before my brain failed), but then -thank God- fixed itself about 2 hours later.
All this has lead Roger at ChrisCoffee to conclude that it is indeed the pump starting its demise. One thing I really do notice when things aren't right is that the pump is making a noticeably higher pitched sound. So my plan is to shell out the 50-60 bucks for a new vibe pump and replace the old one when it craps out for good. And if the pump's not the culprit I probably needed a new one and I'll keep up my detective work.
Good luck to both of us!
"AND THE BOSTON RED SOX HAVE WON THE WORLD SERIES! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!??"
Posted Thu Oct 5, 2006, 8:02pm Subject: Re: Isomac Tea pump pressure has disappeared
after some passing, er, diversions, i executed shulman's easy-check list (above; very wise) and concluded that indeed my tea pump is bad. no flow whatsoever, and no line blockages to be found. also, no backflow whatsoever with a blind disc. no pump pressure registering on the pump gauge whatsoever.
i went by info posted with isomac teas for sale online and ordered a 52-watt pump. when i got the old pump out, however, it said 47 watts on it.
does anyone know if going to a different wattage will cause problems? i know the 52s are supposed to be quieter. should i see any adverse effects of putting it in?
there's a par-tay at my house tomorrow night, and i, uh, need to move.
when i get done, i'll post some simple instructions on the replacement. it's not hard, but i would have liked the assurance of a handy step-by-step before i started.
Posted Fri Oct 6, 2006, 8:34am Subject: Re: Isomac Tea pump pressure has disappeared
got my answer: the 52-watters are fine -- yea, better -- in replacement of the stock isomac pumps.
HOWEVER, i'd caution that even with a list of checks (above), one may not have a pump problem. i still don't have regular water flow, and the folks at chris' coffee tell me it could be the air release valve (just after the braided line coming from the pump) or the expansion valve (where the second rubber hose returns to the tank).
i'll post results and extra cautions when i get done.
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