russel wrote:Gary has been work'n hard studying the temp of his MCaL group and now exploring the use of the OEM spring in the vintage lever/piston assembly. I feel a little irresponsible not contributing when I'm in the position to do so.... I'm hoping that someone with a little bit more time would have more to add, so I'm adding a complete MCaL lever/piston assembly to this package. This MCaL now comes with two levers and three springs. There are two original MCaL springs, one with a little bit more oomph than the other, and a new MCaL spring that provides a smooth and strong pressure. You can swap out the lever with the old spring for the lever with the new spring as you see fit in a mater of minutes.
Updated Price: '96 MCaL Copper/Brass w/ vintage spring, Wooden Base, extra lever assembly w/ modern spring, extra vintage spring - $1000 + shipping
Yeah, irresponsible -- so many projects, so little time.
This is actually a better deal than it was before. It allows you to swap spring pressure for different styles of shots. Someone who hasn't had one of these may not know how easy it is to swap out the piston assembly. You undo two hex screws at the top of the group, pump the lever a couple of times and it eases out. To ease it back in just make sure you snug the leading gasket into the cylinder.
About my studying the MCAL here's the short of it. The new spring works great on this vintage of machine. It may compress a bit over time.
Think of pump machines where the pump gets weaker. It's like that but simpler. If that happens a replacement spring is less than $20 but you'll need to install it with a clamp that catches the top edges of the lever cap, not just the leading edge. My temperature findings were that temperature really is controlled by boiler pressure,
so if you've got your PSTAT set where you want it you're good to go. This also allows you to leave the machine looking pretty without an add-on thermometer mounted wherever you can kludge it on. Just track pressure on the manometer (aka steam gauge). I've got a Teflon gasket installed between the group and boiler, which may make it more temperature stable or not. I'll bet temperature stability has more to do with properly adjusting the PSTAT, which is easily accessible under the base. I've removed the metal plate underneath my base so I take off the rubber mat to get at the PSTAT and then slip it back on. Otherwise I can pull shot after shot in close proximity by rinsing the portafilter under the tap or just take my time prepping the next shot and it's fine. If you want to alternate between very different coffees in one session, just toggle power off and on.
These are well made machines. They consistently pull delicious shots and are strong steamers. And they are so very pretty, especially the brass and copper ones.