Advice on resurrecting a mothballed Rancilio Classe 8

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
2ndcrack

#1: Post by 2ndcrack » Oct 08, 2019, 9:35 am

So I'm here because the Mrs. told me to go check out a barn sale while she shopped indoors at a Round Top, Texas antiques dealer.

5 minutes in I'm fast-walking past Sputnik mid-century lighting towards something slightly less-shiny, but way more appealing.
I find myself face to face with a Rancilio Classe 8 that appears to be complete. Heck there's even a box on top with both portofilters. I enquired about the history of the machine and supposedly it was used at a student cafe in College Station. The current owner had purchased it for use at their restaurant or planned restaurant and now here it is. An offer was made given the current status and now it is home.

I've resurrected many things that have set dormant for years, from cars to tube amplifiers, and I've learned from experience that there are things that you do or avoid doing to ensure safety, functionality, etc.

I'm dealing with an unknown in terms of functionality so I'm looking for knowledge, advice, and most importantly Lessons Learned. As now I have yet to power it on. Here is what I have done:

- Snapped current state photos before cleaning
- Inspected wiring & plumbing
- Cleaned mild corrosion off of boiler fittings, plumbing, etc
- Drained boiler with a venturi pump and flushed it with boiled distilled water. Drained it again.
- General wipe-down of everything else.

I'd like to get a better idea of the internal state of the boiler so I'm planning on viewing the interior with a borescope. Aside from that my chief concerns are sediment-related clogs throughout the machine and if there are methods, solutions, or steps that can mitigate issues caused by a lengthy storage.

Thanks,
Alan

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Randy G.

#2: Post by Randy G. » Oct 08, 2019, 12:34 pm

Pull the water level sensing rod and check for scale or corrosion on that. What did the water from the first draining look like? Was there sediment or bits of scale in that? You could do a descaling as you did with the distilled water flush by filling, soaking, then pumping out. The shower screen and group head will be a decent indicator of the level of care it previously received. From there I would disconnect the heater element and run water through the group. If there is enough crud to cause clogging in the boiler it is likely in the plumbing as well and will probably lead to a disassembly for soaking anyway.
Espresso! My Espresso!
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2ndcrack

#3: Post by 2ndcrack » Oct 08, 2019, 3:15 pm

Randy G. wrote:Pull the water level sensing rod and check for scale or corrosion on that. What did the water from the first draining look like? Was there sediment or bits of scale in that?
Thank you for the suggestions. I'll pull and inspect the water level rod and shower screens. Here is a shot of the water I pumped out:

Image

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Randy G.

#4: Post by Randy G. » Oct 09, 2019, 2:18 pm

If that jar was the second flush-and-drain I would repeat it until the water came out clean/clear. More importantly is what settled at the bottom of the jar. You could pour that through a coffee filter and then put the sediment in some descaling solution. If it dissolves then it is scale and that is good. It means it will be fairly easy to clean it out of the machine with a good descaling or two depending on the amount of scale in it. You can file this link away for parts diagrams (not sure about age of your machine vs. these diagrams).
Espresso! My Espresso!
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com

2ndcrack

#5: Post by 2ndcrack » Oct 10, 2019, 7:46 am

That water was actually what was left in the boiler. The water I drained was much cleaner. I'll try soaking the deposits to see if they soften.

I removed both supplies to the right group to inspect both tubing and supply inlets on the group. The right copper line that connects to the top of the boiler had some build-up, but less than 10% of that line was constricted. The lower left line was clean.

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Randy G.

#6: Post by Randy G. » Oct 10, 2019, 1:25 pm

That sounds promising. It sounds like it could be put back into service to make sure it is working properly, then after a bit you could do a descaling. You might begin by manually filling the boiler with hot descaling solution through the same opening through which you pumped out its preexisting contents.
Espresso! My Espresso!
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com

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stuartmac

#7: Post by stuartmac » Oct 10, 2019, 2:56 pm

i have two classe 8s, i built one from a pallet of 400 parts and screws so let me know if you have any questions.

2ndcrack

#8: Post by 2ndcrack » Oct 10, 2019, 11:41 pm

Thanks for the all the good advice. I should be receiving both Cafiza and Dezcal tomorrow. I take it from the beautiful welds that the boiler Is aluminum, correct?

2ndcrack

#9: Post by 2ndcrack » Oct 11, 2019, 6:40 pm

I'm still waiting for the descaler solution to arrive, but I'm still fairly impressed at the minimal levels of buildup I have come across. It's nothing like the neglected Gaggia I used at a mall coffee franchise in the early 1990s! I've pulled just about every line and they pretty much have little to no scale. Judging from the number of "missed-screw" flathead screwdriver indentations on the group screen someone maintained this machine up to the point of it being pulled.

One thing I cannot figure out is if this rubber hose is another drain hose or if it should be connected somewhere. I found it hooked up as in the photo but laying on the floor of the frame.

Image

2ndcrack

#10: Post by 2ndcrack » Oct 11, 2019, 11:05 pm

I'm still waiting for the descaler solution to arrive, but I'm still fairly impressed at the minimal levels of buildup I have come across. It's nothing like the neglected Gaggia I used at a mall coffee franchise in the early 1990s! I've pulled just about every line and they pretty much have little to no scale. Judging from the number of "missed-screw" flathead screwdriver indentations on the group screen someone maintained this machine up to the point of it being pulled.

One thing I cannot figure out is if this rubber hose is another drain hose or if it should be connected somewhere. I found it hooked up as in the photo but laying on the floor of the frame.
The hose is the boiler drain. Doh!

I'm still trying to figure out if it is safe to use Dezcal as the boiler does appear to be aluminum. There's nothing online to indicate what Rancilio used for material.