How to evaluate condition of used Mazzer grinder

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
EricL

Postby EricL » Dec 18, 2008, 12:08 am

Found a line on a used Mazzer Super Jolly. What should one look at in a reportedly slightly used condition?

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Randy G.

Postby Randy G. » Dec 18, 2008, 12:31 am

Check overall condition for dents, dings, or other signs of rough handling or gravity-induced distortions. Next verify that it is indeed "lightly used." Look for wear around the vanes in the doser and light scratching in the dosing lever area as well as on the lever itself. Same can be said about the power switch and the surrounding paint. Look at the hopper- it should look a little used, but not discolored. Smell the inside of the hopper to heck for artificial flavoring aromas (uchhh). Pull the top burr carrier, and while doing so check for thread play in the carrier. When removed look at the burrs and see if there is any indication that they have been abused or have ground a paper clip, rock, etc. Grab and wiggle the lower burr (with the grinder unplugged, just in case), although running it should reveal any runout problems. Of course, listen to it run, and since you have a Silvia, bring it with and some beans as well and make some espresso if it is possible.
Espresso! My Espresso!
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com

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another_jim
Team HB

Postby another_jim » Dec 18, 2008, 1:38 am

It's an excellent question, and Randy's given a good answer. I would add that there's no real way of testing burr wear other than a cursory visual inspection. So if I were buying a used grinder, I'd budget in a new set of burrs.

Finally, a critical variable is burr alignment. That is, if the grinder is damaged, the upper and lower burr carriers may no longer be parallel. This can be tested by drawing a magic marker circle around the outer edge of one burr, then tightening them up so the burrs touch,. The ink will transfer in a full circle if the burrs align. If you only get a part of the circle, they are out of alignment. This can be a fault in the carriers and axle, so it requires more repair than just swapping burrs, and it is a red flag.

Obviously, if the seller allows the test, he is entitled to a higher price if the grinder passes, since you no longer bear that risk. My feel is that offering an extra $25 or so for the grinder if it passes this test may be money well spent.
Jim Schulman

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JohnB.
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Postby JohnB. » Dec 18, 2008, 12:02 pm

One other thing you want to consider is the "actual" age of the SJ vs asking price. If it has the newer case with the power cord exiting underneath it would be 2004 or newer. If it is the older style the only way to tell is to check the serial number on the data plate although they did list the build date on there also for awhile in the mid 90's.

I mention this because I recently was interested in a "slightly used" SJ for $300 that came up on Craig's List. The photo wasn't great but you could tell it was the older body style. I emailed the seller for some history & was told that it sold new in 2004, was used briefly in a cafe that folded & he had picked it up after a couple years storage. Since I have an SJ that sold new in 2008 with a serial number in the 633000 range & I had seen mid 90's SJs in the 200,000 range I asked for the info on the data plate. Turned out this one was #29,XXX so the age was much closer to 1984 then 2004. I passed.

A couple days ago I drove down to the salvage outfit in southern CT. that bought up all the old $$bucks grinders in the northeast when SB went auto. You see their auctions on Ebay about twice a week with the SJs currently bringing $300+ & needing tlc. If you show up in person you get to take your pick for $150/SJ or $200/Major. They had 75 left the day I was there & all of them still have the coffee in them from the day they left SB.
LMWDP 267

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ddr

Postby ddr » Dec 18, 2008, 12:47 pm

JohnB. wrote:They had 75 left the day I was there & all of them still have the coffee in them from the day they left SB.


Is there a surcharge for the coffee?
Dan
LMWDP #242

rindfest

Postby rindfest » Dec 18, 2008, 1:11 pm

Hey John,

I thought with the [older?] SJ, the first 2 numbers of the serial # gave the year? for example, mine is 98***** [a total of 7 figures] which seems consistent with the grinder being a 1998

if that serial # "X29,XXX" was 029XXX, then it may well have been a 2002 model?

this is worse than bevel drive Ducati serial #'s....

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GC7

Postby GC7 » Dec 18, 2008, 1:15 pm

JohnB. wrote:One other thing you want to consider is the "actual" age of the SJ vs asking price. If it has the newer case with the power cord exiting underneath it would be 2004 or newer. If it is the older style the only way to tell is to check the serial number on the data plate although they did list the build date on there also for awhile in the mid 90's.

I mention this because I recently was interested in a "slightly used" SJ for $300 that came up on Craig's List. The photo wasn't great but you could tell it was the older body style. I emailed the seller for some history & was told that it sold new in 2004, was used briefly in a cafe that folded & he had picked it up after a couple years storage. Since I have an SJ that sold new in 2008 with a serial number in the 633000 range & I had seen mid 90's SJs in the 200,000 range I asked for the info on the data plate. Turned out this one was #29,XXX so the age was much closer to 1984 then 2004. I passed.

A couple days ago I drove down to the salvage outfit in southern CT. that bought up all the old $$bucks grinders in the northeast when SB went auto. You see their auctions on Ebay about twice a week with the SJs currently bringing $300+ & needing tlc. If you show up in person you get to take your pick for $150/SJ or $200/Major. They had 75 left the day I was there & all of them still have the coffee in them from the day they left SB.


Where might that salvage outlet be located in southern CT? 8)

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JohnB.
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Postby JohnB. » Dec 18, 2008, 1:45 pm

rindfest wrote:Hey John,

I thought with the [older?] SJ, the first 2 numbers of the serial # gave the year? for example, mine is 98***** [a total of 7 figures] which seems consistent with the grinder being a 1998

if that serial # "X29,XXX" was 029XXX, then it may well have been a 2002 model?

this is worse than bevel drive Ducati serial #'s....


I've owned a number of bevel drive Ducs; at least the SJs had better build quality! I just rechecked the email & the Craig's List SJ # was 0023979, so much for my memory. When I was digging through the pile of grinders I did see some that had a two digit prefix like yours but most had a 100,00/200,00/ect type number or lower. Some as I said before even showed a build date separately from the serial number. In that sense they are very much like the old Ducatis in that the Italians did whatever they felt like on any given day. They also had some very early SJs with no "on light" & very low serial numbers. Anybody know when they started building SJs?
LMWDP 267

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JohnB.
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Postby JohnB. » Dec 18, 2008, 2:07 pm

GC7 wrote:Where might that salvage outlet be located in southern CT?)


They are in Ansonia, CT., just northwest of New Haven off Rt.8. Roberto said he didn't mind me giving out their contact info: Send him an email at: rvelez"at"ctmetal.com

Be advised that they originally had around 300 grinders a couple years ago & have been selling off the best ones first. Whats left will need paint, burrs, hopper, lids, probably a power cord & one hell of a good cleaning. I'm happy with the one I got as the bearings are good, no dents, all fasteners are like new & even the burrs look/feel serviceable. Just a heads up, if you need to change the upper bearing you will need a hydraulic press to pop out the rotor assy. Currently mine is stripped to a bare case w/field winding & upper bearing while I prep it for paint.
LMWDP 267

rindfest

Postby rindfest » Dec 18, 2008, 2:50 pm

heres my serial # etc

no "on" light, no timer-- just on/off switch, power cable out the side

Image