Can't get new grouphead gasket on.

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#1: Post by iginfect »

Just tried to change my gasket for the first time, got the old one off and cannot turn the portafilter in to tighten. I've been to the ESPN site for their instructions. The machine is a 3 year old Vetrano, bought used after one year and it was meticulously kept, the former owner lived 3 miles from Chris Coffee. One year ago I had some problems and brought it into Chris and they changed the gasket. Today I decided its overdue for a gasket change and the replacement is a 8.5 cm gasket I had sitting around for about 2 years, probably bought from Chris. It is still flexible. The bevel is in the up position. The old gasket is marked 9 and measures 9 cm. I removed it several times using a paint can opener, it was never seated properly. I'm unable to insert the portafilter with or without a basket and turn it to properly place the gasket/dispersion screen. It just doesn't turn. What am I doing wrong?

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#2: Post by Bob_McBob »

Place the gasket in the group head. Remove the basket from your PF, and lock it in very lightly under the gasket to just get it seated (don't apply much pressure, or you could damage the gasket with the exposed PF wall). Replace the basket and fully lock in the PF to push up the gasket.

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#3: Post by sweaner »

If I recall, what I have done is sit the dispersion screen with the gasket on it in the portafilter, and insert the portafilter into the group head, thus seating the gasket and dispersion screen.

This link may help: ... intenance/
LMWDP #248

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iginfect (original poster)

#4: Post by iginfect (original poster) »

Thanks to Sweaner and Bob but I've done this and its a no go. I replaced the old gasket and it goes back in. Wed. early a.m. I'll be passing through Albany and I'll stop at Chris and get a new gasket/screen.


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#5: Post by HB »

iginfect wrote:I'm unable to insert the portafilter with or without a basket and turn it to properly place the gasket/dispersion screen. It just doesn't turn. What am I doing wrong?
Assuming it's seated uniformly in the channel, you may have to pull up and twist the portafilter a couple times to get it started, even without the basket. Most E61 gaskets I've seen are 8.0mm or 8.5mm; don't recall what the Vetrano's gasket was. Of course you have the original, so you can compare directly. The thread Hint for easy E61 gasket/shower screen installation offers more suggestions.
Dan Kehn

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#6: Post by Bob_McBob »

Check the thickness against the old one, and make sure you're putting it in the right way up (bevel/number on top, generally).

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#7: Post by JmanEspresso »

Sometimes it's just a nuisance. The one I just replaced, I remember being a pain to get it.

It helps to have the machine elevated enough to be able to easily see under/inside the group. Maybe get a flashlight to have full view up inside.

Take the screen and gasket, and make sure the gasket is as far "up" the shower screen as it goes, AND, is level.

Holding the screen/gasket, lift it up to the grouphead, and push it up as far as it will go. Look up in the group. Most likely what is giving you trouble, is half of the gasket goes in, and the other half doesnt(like one side is seated, and the other half is hanging down). It made me think the gasket was to wide or something, but, it isnt. I used the blunt/flat end of a chopstick to "poke" the gasket into its spot. Whatever you use, make sure it won't pierce the gasket itself, because you may need to push a little hard.

I only use the portafilter once Ive gotten the gasket in by hand. The portafilter is just used to make sure it is 100% seated and snug. As was noted, be sure not to tighten the PF over too hard without a basket, its possible the "un-basketed" PF will "gouge" the gasket. Then, stick a basket in, and tighten it a couple times. For my machine(Anita), I can't use the blind filter basket, i need to use some type of regular basket. When Ive got the blind in any of my portafilters, it locks over a little less then If I have a regular basket in it.

Ive heard some people suggest a TOUCH of olive oil makes it easier. IDK how helpful or smart this is, but Ive never needed to do it.

I have my machine on when Im putting the gasket in. I feel that a warm gasket is easier to get into the groove.

It can be frustrating. IT may be necessary to take a 5 minute breather, more then once. :)

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#8: Post by another_jim »

Using it a PF is the best way.

Sometimes a little lubrication helps -- use liquid soap in the group's groove, since it washed out, rather than any sort of oil, which bakes in.
Jim Schulman

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iginfect (original poster)

#9: Post by iginfect (original poster) »

I went back for the 4th time and finally got it. Dan steered me to a short thread that suggested freezing the screen/gasket which I did but didn't accomplish much. Then I took Jman's advice, put the Vetrano on its back, got a flash light, a rubber mallet and a stainless steel chopstick. Solely by hand w/o a pf I replaced the assembly which didn't go in tight. There is a lip in the grouphead that looks like it keeps the gasket from going all the way in. There is a large "notch" on the bottom of the Vetrano for an optional drainage from the drip tray which allowed me to position the chop stick against the gasket. Manual pressure against the gasket with the chopstick didn't suffice. The mallet tapped against the top flat end of the chopstick on the rubber gasket worked after several attempts. The unseated area did move, traveling from a center at 4 o,clock to 7 o'clock before it seated. Verification with a pf with a double basket showed it was in place. The Vetrano is heating up as I'm in withdrawal after 8 hours w/o an espresso. Randy, Dan and EPNW instructions make it seem like its easy as pie, not the hassle I had. Thanks to all for the help.



#10: Post by Nik »

Glad you finally got it installed. I have had my Alex Duetto II about two months and have had the gasket and screen out twice to clean. I had the same problem the first time but resolved it by making sure the gasket was clean and dry and then rubbing a small amount of vaseline on the gasket. It slid right in the first time when I inserted the portafilter without a basket in it. I had read this tip online and it worked for me.