Posted Fri May 20, 2011, 11:33am Subject: Re: The La Marzocco GS/3 Owners' Thread
Sorry for all the questions. I know most of you have had your machines for a while but in my first week of ownership I'm having some teething issues. Please bear with me!
Current question: my portafilter has popped off mid-shot more than a few times. I'm putting 20 grams in a VST 18g basket and giving it a pretty good cinching. It's happened with the LM double basket too. Brew pressure is 9 bars. I never had this problem before with my E61 machine. Though the machine is only 5 days old I've pulled at least 100 shots so I figure the gasket is well seated. Is this common with the GS/3? Vince at VST said the portafilter or machine itself could be defective, but that strikes me as somewhat unlikely. Any thoughts?
This is not at all normal. I previously had a GS/3 Automatic for 3 years and never had this happen, and now have a GS/3 Mechanical Paddle. It sounds as though you had better contact the dealer you purchased the machine from immediately. It could a faulty group head gasket from new and would be worth changing it out for a new one just to prove whether it is this or not as they are not that expensive. Good luck with finding a solution.
chasrimpo Senior Member Joined: 7 Jan 2004 Posts: 36 Location: Dayton, MD Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: LM GS3 Grinder: Mazzer Kony E, Vario Vac Pot: Bodum Santos Drip: Chemex Roaster: Hottop B/P
Posted Fri May 20, 2011, 11:45am Subject: Re: The La Marzocco GS/3 Owners' Thread
I had the same issue when I purchased mine. I could hardly get the PF handle to the 8 o'clock position which is barely getting a bite on the group flange. The problem is that LM makes PF gaskets in a variety of thicknesses so as the machine wears you can move up to thicker gaskets. Unfortunately, some times they ship gaskets with new machines that are too thick.
I purchased some of the 6/8mm conical gaskets from Espresso Parts and now I can get the handle easier to the 6 o'cock position.
billc Senior Member Joined: 15 Jan 2009 Posts: 135 Location: Seattle, Washington Expertise: Professional
Espresso: CC1 - GS - GS3 - GB5 Grinder: Baratza - Mazzer-Marzocco Drip: My own Creation
Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 12:35pm Subject: Re: The La Marzocco GS/3 Owners' Thread
Danh, I would check to see how much coffee is on the basket. The "most often" cause of this issue is that too much coffee is on the portafilter and the coffee contacts the diffuser screen and won't allow the portafilter to engage completely. Best thing to do is insert the blind basket in the portafilter and insert this into the machine. Then activate the machine and see if the same thing happens.
LM makes 2 thicknesses of PF gaskets. I personally have never seen nor heard of anyone receiving a machine with the incorrect thickness of gasket form the factory. At the factory the thicker gaskets are nowhere near the production area and are only in the parts area. The thicker gaskets were made to compensate for the normal wear of the portafilter and the bayonet ring.
Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 12:57pm Subject: Re: The La Marzocco GS/3 Owners' Thread
I'm using exactly 18 grams in the 18-gram VST basket so I concluded over-dosing wasn't the problem. I also had the idea of testing with the blank basket and the same thing happened. The handle started to twist and if I weren't there to rescue it, it would have popped off again.
In any event, through much trial and error I came up with a new technique that has resolved the problem. I tighten the handle once and then I release my hand-pressure, and then after a short pause I tighten again. I was surprised how much farther the handle would twist with this one-two approach, and now the handle stays in place. I've never heard of having to do this, but it seems to work so who cares.
shadowfax Senior Member Joined: 20 Jan 2005 Posts: 779 Location: Houston, TX Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Marzocco Shot Brewer Grinder: Compak K10
Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 6:16pm Subject: Re: The La Marzocco GS/3 Owners' Thread
My first guess would have been that maybe you've gotten an over-lubricated gasket. The surface of the group gasket is supposed to be lubricated (IIRC with Dow Corning 111) on the back side and the inside edges, but not on the portafilter-facing side. The portafilter depends on some friction from the gasket surface to hold it in place when it pressurizes.
You might check to see that it's not lubricated on the surface, and if it is, you may want to do a detergent backflush with a "portafilter wriggle," i.e. where you hold the portafilter half locked in place and as it pressurizes, loosen it just enough to relieve pressure and get the detergent water splashed all around all over the gasket. with some of the oils dissolved, this may give the gasket more tack an prevent the slipping you're seeing.
Just a shot in the semi-dark. I actually DO lubricate (very, very slightly) the "face" of my portafilter gaskets regularly, because I detergent backflush just about every day. I've never had the issue you describe on my GS3. I have, however, suffered from it with my Elektra Sixties T1, which pops right off if you lubricate the face of the group gasket.
YMMV, but there's at least something else to try.
Also, I recommend buying a couple of the 6/8 mm conical gaskets for your GS3. You will need a spare in 6 months or so in any case, so it's sensible to have one on hand... it's also handy to test if your current one is causing problems, whether it's leaks during a shot or slipping or whatever...
boyscout Senior Member Joined: 29 Dec 2009 Posts: 405 Location: Toronto Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 11:40am Subject: Re: The La Marzocco GS/3 Owners' Thread
Hopefully only this thread has died, and not the interest of GS/3 owners.
After several years of wonderful service, my GS/3 has a leaky steam valve. It burbles and drips into the tray all day long.
It's hard to believe that it's worn out, since the machine has steamed only 3-5 drinks per day during its life, but it cannot have sucked up anything - not in my process - and no amount of moving the lever around alleviates the problem. So I guess it *is* worn out.
Espressoparts offers whole valves for $135. They offer repair kits for only ~$25 for the valves of other LM machines, but not for the GS/3.
Just wondering, has anyone else been through this? Are the valves repairable with easily-available parts, or replaceable with re-builds, or should I just suck it up and buy a new valve?
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 12:04pm Subject: Re: The La Marzocco GS/3 Owners' Thread
Very common problem for any machine, not just the GS/3. The valve is made of brass and has a few O-rings and flat rubber washers, so $25 seems high, but it's a LM. Here is a good link you may want to read.
GS/3 Steam Valve Rebuild Kit, LM's part number is "B.1.004K" and the list price (as of February 2012) is $29.82.
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