Lelit Bianca v3 portafilter not moving smoothly in group head after cleaning

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#1: Post by mlabib »

I have a lelit Bianca v3. Portafilter not smoothly locking in after gasket and shower screen removal and cleaning. Very rough fit as opposed to before cleaning and removal. Used to lock smoothly. Now the portafilter locks but I can feel the friction and it doesn't lock and unlock as smoothly as before. I cleaned the gasket and shower screen with cafiza. Any advice or ideas as to why this is happening? Coffee still tastes same and no leaks either but just annoying to not have a smooth movement of portafilter in the group head

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#2: Post by HB »

The Cafiza removes coffee oils, so that may explain why the gasket is less slippery after cleaning. The same goes for E61 brew levers, i.e., they sometimes squeak until coffee oils have settled back in. If it bothers you, apply a thin layer of Dow 111 lubricant and it will be buttery smooth again.
Dan Kehn

mlabib (original poster)
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#3: Post by mlabib (original poster) »

I'm hoping that's the case. I will apply food safe lubricant today to troubleshoot

mlabib (original poster)
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#4: Post by mlabib (original poster) »

It didn't work. Espresso is still good and no leaks. Portafilter is still having a rough lock in and unlocking

Ahmad H.
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#5: Post by Ahmad H. »

Change the basket in the portafilter with another brand.

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#6: Post by VirTERM »

Make sure that your gasket is installed properly; the flat/clear side (without any branding) should be pointing down towards the PF.

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#7: Post by Pressino »

It sounds like the gasket is not seated as deeply in the groove as it was before removal and cleaning, or it somehow expanded, so that the PF is simply a tighter fit. If so I wouldn't worry about it, as it should work out as the gasket compresses with continued use over time.

I don't remove and clean my PF gaskets for routine maintenance. I just clean them and the group face periodically with a brush and replace them when they seem to need that, usually after a couple of years or more. I think repeatedly removing the gasket for routine cleaning isn't necessary and can lead to premature failure of the gasket. Of course leaving the gasket in place for too long can lead to it getting hard, brittle, and difficult to remove without making a mess...but that usually happens after several years of use.

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#8: Post by Nunas »

I agree with Wojtek and Nick; it sounds like a gasket issue; quite likely installed upside down. Unlike Nick, I do drop my gasket fairly often, as I like to keep the top side of my shower screen clean. I give the gasket a light coating of food-grade lube, which makes it easier to seat properly, and probably helps to remove it the next time. If you have not already done so, I highly recommend going to a silicone gasket. They are 'squishier', which I think makes for a better seal, and they don't work-harden. They are probably a bit more prone to tearing and nicking, but I've been using the same one in my Synchronika for several years, and it's still like new.

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#9: Post by mlabib (original poster) »

I tried replacing with a silicone gasket today and it feels exactly the same. I know the gaskets are seated correctly because there are no leaks and espresso tastes exactly the same however it doesn't feel as smooth locking the portafilter. It still locks at 6 I clock position as before just definitely not as smooth

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#10: Post by RawDog »

My Cimbali Jr would do the same sometimes.
Feels like galling taking place when locking in the PF.
Double check that the 'ramps' in the group head that the PF ears ride on are perfectly clean, without any coffee grit. Apply a TINY bit of food grade lube to the UNDERSIDES of the PF ears, and lock your PF in a few times to spread the lubricant. See if that helps at all. If it does not, you might want to closely inspect the PF ears and polish as needed.
Does anybody here actually drink espresso?