Ha! Doug, the guy may be a weenie, but an authoritarian one when it comes to Zacconi. He was, after all, the retail source of this machine for the original buyer, and continues in that line of work. But -- I also figure his standards are awfully high, and if it's not factory original mint condition or close to it, it probably isn't quite good enough in his esteem. That, and after years of dealing with the public, he knows when to tell someone not to mess with something, if perhaps only for the sake of preventing them from coming back and complaining that something broke or otherwise won't work. Anywway, you emboldened me. I did the unthinkable; I pushed the button. Hard! And it still wouldn't move. Then I loosened that brass nut around it, which for some reason I hadn't done before. With that I was able to pull the button upward a tiny bit, maybe 1/10", and push it back down, and did this a few times, cold and at full pressure; no effect, still dripping. But it did seem to slow the drip for a time. Then when the machine was cooling down again, the inlet proceeded to breathe & wheeze rather creepily. Here's a few seconds of video with sound:https://www.dropbox.com/s/5tbk90kwr3fws...0inlet.wmv
Having looked inside through the bottom plate, the water inlet thing does seem easy enough to remove and dissemble. If it takes a long time to get new piston seals, I may well take a whack at it. In the meantime I know that I'll sooner just try to cap it and pull some shots. Right now I just want to enjoy a functional Riviera; total perfection will come later.
BTW To correct something I said earlier -- water splurts out the weep as I lower
the lever, not as it goes back up. Although when the lever is fully down, water does come mightily from the group. Meanwhile, now, the last time I got to full pressure, a thin, steady leak of water came from the weep hole even with hands off the machine completely.
Another issue I've got is the manometer. At zero pressure it's stuck at just shy of .5 bar:
I put a steam wand manometer on it and found the actually peak pressure is set at 1.75, while the bumped-up sticky meter shows 2.0. I figure somewhere in the annals of HB there's a breakdown on opening this thing and twisting it back to where it should be -- but I'll take tips if anyone doesn't mind offering.
And though these final 2 issues fall under the "perfection" I'll be seeking later, I can't help but ask...
Did I strip some finish off the brass group? See photo, look close. Like a fool the first thing I did was submerge the group in hot joe glow for a little while, and when I removed it, the soaked part looked clearly different from the rest... but better! Then I read that Joe Glow removes the finish. Is it possible that it actually just removed a layer of dust and didn't eat down far enough to strip finish? The Joe Glow part is shinier than the non-joeglow part.
And: the machine came with a dented dome. Any tips on how to knock that dent out? I'd only bother if it was safe and easy. Otherwise I'll probably let well enough alone.
Rio -- thanks for the encouraging report and especially the photo. That black base is awesome! A very handsome machine. Is the base original?