La Peppina - Flea market find and seal question

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daneleroux
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 02, 2015, 2:45 am

Postby daneleroux » Oct 02, 2015, 3:05 am

Hi everyone,

New forumite here.

Stumbled upon this La Peppina at a flea market / swap meet here in South Africa a few weeks ago. It is in pretty terrible shape, missing its grate and the normal kettle lid.

When i found it, i had no idea what it was, other than it was an espresso machine of some sort. So, being the coffee lover i am, i bought it, not even knowing how it works etc. I paid 35 South African Rands for it, which is roughly $2.50. Yes, $2.50.

Granted, it is very grubby. Nothing a bit of elbow grease and descaler wont fix tho.

So i did some research, and ended up on this site. I must say, its been very informative. So armed with operating instructions found here, i tested the machine. It heated up in no time, and attempting to pull a shot just didnt work. No water was reaching the portafilter. Water was also pouring out the bottom, where the hinge / mechanism is for the lever / piston.

So, the other night i stripped the machine to check seals etc. I found that the piston seal was flat against the piston.

So, my actual question is this - Are these seals of a generic nature? If i take the o-rings and seals to a shop that specialises in seals, will i be able to get what i need to rebuild the La Peppina to working state?

I know there is a seal kit from another site, and its relatively cheap ($20), but postage to South Africa is the real killer.

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Here are some pics of my, hopefully soon to be resurrected, La Pappina.

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bongani
Posts: 52
Joined: Jan 14, 2014, 3:16 pm

Postby bongani » Oct 02, 2015, 3:25 am

Welcome to the forum, here's to hoping you'll never regret opening this Pandora's Box.

There's a handful of espresso machine retailers that have top notch workshops that will/may assist with spare parts and advice. The folks at http://www.tazzadoro.co.za have been more than helpful with all my 'antiquated' coffee paraphernalia. They are based in Jo'burg and have a good relationship with some out of town service providers.

I hope you get your machine sorted quick quick so you can update us on how the coffee compares.

great coffee at home
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daneleroux
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 02, 2015, 2:45 am

Postby daneleroux » Oct 02, 2015, 3:31 am

Hi there!

Thanks so much for the info. I have emailed them. Hopefully they can help.

daneleroux
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 02, 2015, 2:45 am

Postby daneleroux » Oct 02, 2015, 3:38 am

Also, if anyone can maybe give me advise on the following:

Before stripping the machine, the lever wasnt as far back as it is now. Is there any reason for this?

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Bluecold
Posts: 1417
Joined: Jul 10, 2008, 11:31 am

Postby Bluecold » Oct 02, 2015, 4:07 am

Yes, the group body puts a pre-tension on the spring. Should be a few centimeters.
The seals should be easy to replicate in shape, but you might need to experiment with the hardness of the rubber for the flapper valves. Have you succesfully taken off the group bell? The soft brass screws require a delicate touch and a well-fitting screwdriver.
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

daneleroux
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 02, 2015, 2:45 am

Postby daneleroux » Oct 02, 2015, 4:16 am

Bluecold wrote:Yes, the group body puts a pre-tension on the spring. Should be a few centimeters.
The seals should be easy to replicate in shape, but you might need to experiment with the hardness of the rubber for the flapper valves. Have you succesfully taken off the group bell? The soft brass screws require a delicate touch and a well-fitting screwdriver.


Hi, so must the handle be pulled forward when placing the kettle / group back into the base?

Yeah i have managed to get those screws out without incident. Apologies for seeming ignorant, but can you perhaps specify which seals are which? Im not sure what the flapper valve seal is etc.

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Bluecold
Posts: 1417
Joined: Jul 10, 2008, 11:31 am

Postby Bluecold » Oct 02, 2015, 4:23 am

Yup, you need to pull the lever a bit toward you or the group won't seat.
Image
The flapper valves are what controls the flow of water into the group. They are circular rubber discs, 1134 and 1130 in the diagram.
You pull down the lever, the piston goes down and due to the negative pressure, 1134 gets sucked towards the top of the group body, closing the holes behind it. 1130 is sucked away from the group body, and water flows from the kettle in the cylinder. When the lever is released, the piston goes up and the positive pressure in the cylinder closes the 1130 valve and opens the 1134 valve.

It's very easy to understand if you look at the valves.
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

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daneleroux
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 02, 2015, 2:45 am

Postby daneleroux » Oct 02, 2015, 8:23 am

Thanks for the info! I will strip the machine again this weekend, but this time fully, so i can clean it properly, and go hunt for seals, and reassemble it properly.

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Bluecold
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Joined: Jul 10, 2008, 11:31 am

Postby Bluecold » Oct 02, 2015, 8:59 am

I don't think a full teardown is necessary. You can probably leave the element and spring-piston-lever-base part together.
The element is a bitch to remove as you need a special pipe wrench. If it doesn't leak, I see no reason to remove it.
The spring requires a rather large clamp (B&D workmate works well), and is also annoying to do. If it works, it works.

Only reason on top of my head to remove the spring would be if the rear of the base near the bottom of the clamping slit has stress concentration fractures. If it has those, you need to drill a relief hole at the end of the crack to stop it from spreading. Which requires the removal of the spring.
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."