Cleaning a Quest M3s?

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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#1: Post by tgappmayer »

Relatively new here, so I apologize if this has been asked/answered before.

I'm curious what protocol people follow when doing a teardown clean of their Quest M3s. I regularly clean the machine from areas I can reach without disassembly, and, not being very mechanically inclined, I'm worried about taking a hex driver/screwdriver to the machine. Am I going to get in over my head if I just start taking it apart? What are the recommended best practices here?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

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#2: Post by Peppersass »

Check out This thread.

First, I recommend getting a good set of metric hex bits and standard screwdriver bits, like Wiha (best) or Wera (good) and a decent driver (I use a Wera ratcheting driver, which you can find on Amazon.)

I do a pretty-complete teardown, including removing the front faceplate, the drum, chute, exhaust tube, and the top/rear plates in the rear compartment down to the top of the electronics compartment. It's pretty clear which parts need to be removed -- they'll be coated with gunk.

My understanding is that unless the drum has burned oil inside, you don't want clean it, except maybe to dislodge any bits of burned chaff that may have stuck to the inside surfaces. Usually the inside of my drum is pretty clean, with only a light glazing of light-colored oil if any. I remove the drum so I can see if there's any buildup in the drum compartment, and if there is I clean it off with a paper towel soaked in Jo-Glo or other espresso detergent and then a towel soaked with water to remove any soap.

As Tom's post says, the tricky part is removing the screws between the drum housing and the rear compartment. The trick of turning those screws around so the heads can be accessed from inside the rear compartment didn't work for all the screws on my M3 because the holes were drilled too large in the rear panel to act as threads (i.e., the screws are secured to the smaller holes in the plates that are inside the rear compartment.) I ended up reversing the screws and using small nuts to secure them. This requires using a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove and reinstall the nuts, which is tricky to say the least. Probably a better long-term solution would be to increase the hole sizes to tightly thread one screw size larger.

The areas that tend to get the most buildup are the fan blades, cooling/chaff compartment, the fan compartment, the horizontal exhaust tube, the chute, the drop door, back of the front faceplate and trier. These items can be soaked in a solution of water and Jo-Glo or other espresso detergent. The gunk with disappear very quickly and the parts will look like new. If you have temperature probes installed, clean any gunk off them, too.

I think the most important part to clean is the fan blade drum. Fan efficiency drops as more and more gunk builds up on the blades. The fan can get out of balance, too, which could damage the bearings and make the fan noisy. Assuming the M3s is the same as my 2014 M3, you should be able to remove the fan blade drum by first removing the black metal retaining ring on top of the box in which the fan is mounted, then use a right-angle hex key to remove the hex retaining screw and lift the blades out. That's impossible on my M3 because the screw is welded to the blades by gunk from many roasts prior to my owning the roaster and the screw head has been stripped as well. So I have to disassemble the fan compartment so I can take the fan out (I installed spade lugs on the fan leads so I can disconnect them easily.) I turn the fan over so the drum points down and carefully immerse the entire assembly in a solution of water and Jo-Glo, being careful not to get liquid above the base of the blades or anywhere near the motor. Then I soak in plain water to remove the soap. When i first got the machine the black metal fan housing had a lot of buildup, so I fed folded paper towel between the blades and housing to scrub it off. This also removed most of the black paint, but I don't believe that's an issue.

Cleaning the fan is such a pain that I emailed Molly to see if I can buy a replacement fan (she hasn't answered yet.)

Hope this helps. Plenty of other Quest owners here who may chime in with their favorite way to clean it.

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#3: Post by tgappmayer »

Ahh this is super helpful. I've got the driver and bits on order. Really appreciate the intel here - as someone who is not at all mechanically inclined, I probably have the wrong roaster.

I actually have noticed a slight drop in fan efficacy because all I've done to clean it has been blowing compressed air thru it. Really appreciate this!! I'll do a tear-down this week (what else am I going to be doing??) and report back.