Sticky vacuum breaker valve

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#1: Post by larborr »

I followed the forum's advice on how to de-scale my Pasquini Livia 90 espresso machine and everything went well (thanks), did two rounds of de-scaling with critic acid (1 tsp/32oz's each round) and the machine is working great, except I think the vacuum breaker valve is clogged up a little. I'm getting a false reading at first start up (I have to open the steam valve to restart, only happens on start up). I probably moved some scale around and clogged up the valve. I need to know the best route to take. Should I do another de-scaling or should I just clean out the valve (or replace)? Also, what does the valve look like? I lost the schematic and the new one I got from Pasquini has no part names.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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#2: Post by HB »

Below are two common vacuum breakers:

It should not be difficult to spot. Soaking it in vinegar should remove any last traces of scale / dirt. Needless to say, only work on the boiler while it's cool / depressurized.
Dan Kehn

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#3: Post by cafeIKE »

The seals harden with heat, the metal pits with corrosion.
For my 2p, replace it.

VB valves are notorious for spitting at startup, so while you are at it, fit a cover so that any spray dribbles harmlessly down the tank instead of spraying about inside the machine onto the connections. A short piece of copper pipe and an endcap or a short pipe nipple with end cap work perfectly. Just make sure the piston is well clear.

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#4: Post by mhoy »

I've one that looks like the one on the left that is sticking occasionally on my Elektra T1, I replaced most of the other things, should have done this too. :oops: Wonder if a bit of lube in the top would help it or cause it to stick more often while I await another order of parts.


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#5: Post by cafeIKE »

Any lube could 'drip' into the boiler, not a great idea.

I had the same type in the machine, as well as a new replacement of the right hand type, and, being ever frugal, tried to clean the old one. No Such Luck. Now I keep a replacement of the right hand type on hand at all times.


#6: Post by CDMTech »

If you go to the valve on the right, make sure you have clearance with the body. On the old Livia 90 there is a clearance problem so you have to shave down the tip or it will not be able to fully close.


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#7: Post by jesawdy »

If clearance allows, the unit shown on the right performs much better than the one Dan shows on the left. They are ~$12 from Chris' Coffee (link), see Repair Parts #1 on their website. I think it uses a flat teflon seal (IIRC) and not just an o-ring against a tapered metal seat.
Jeff Sawdy


#8: Post by CDMTech »

The way Pasquini's has it set up is to use a Cimbali gasket p/n 401-362-000. And if you have to make clearance for it you can just grind down the needle about half way. It will not affect the operation of the valve at all.


larborr (original poster)

#9: Post by larborr (original poster) »

Thanks guys.

It's kind of strange, for the last 3 days I have not had a false reading at startup...