Arrarex Caravel portafilter not locking into place

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
Posts: 4
Joined: 2 years ago

#1: Post by ArchaeoCoffee »

Hi everyone, I'm new here and recently purchased my very first lever espresso machine, an arrarex caravel v3.0 on ebay.

The machine looks amazing, I've got all pieces and the heating elements are working just fine.
I've received the machine just about a week ago and been training with it, being new to pulling shots i didn't expect to do amazing as i was experimenting with technics, tamping and ground sizes but i am now coming to ask for some help.

Okay so my problem comes during the extraction process, i started trying to pull shots with finely ground coffee ( about 11g) , but it seemed as if the pressure was too strong to the point of water leaking off the portafilter before my first drop of coffee. So naturally I started to go coarser but even as i was now able to extract some coffee the pressure still seemed too much for the portafilter as i spotted that it's unscrewing itself as i pull the shots (counter clockwise so) whilst the shots themselves aren't very pleasant without any crema. :cry:

I also noted that the portafilter wasn't locking itself as far with the basket as it is without. So yeah something is wrong, i just would like to know what exactly. the basket? the gasket? something else?

Anyway, I'll leave it there and wait for your replies.

Supporter ♡
Posts: 3682
Joined: 9 years ago

#2: Post by Nunas »

This can happen with an old gasket that's hardened or a gasket that's too thin (maybe someone made one out of silicone sheet that's too thin). It can also happen if the gasket is too thick. The handle, unlike many machines, needs to rotate quite far over to the right.

Posts: 181
Joined: 3 years ago

#3: Post by NicoNYC »

Have you checked to make sure there is no buildup of coffee on the gasket? Also if possible include a photo of the basket and filter.

It's also likely you need to replace the gasket as it is probably original - meaning about 40-50 years old. Brooks Espresso in the NL or Francesco Ceccarelli in Italy both carry gasket sets (may as well replace them all).

P.S. Je vois que vous etes de Toulouse, l'annee derniere j'y etais brievement. Seulement une journee en allant vers le Lot, mais nous avons passé un temps merveilleux. Naturellement on a manger un tres bon cassoulet pour notre seul dinner en ville.
LMWDP #718

ArchaeoCoffee (original poster)
Posts: 4
Joined: 2 years ago

#4: Post by ArchaeoCoffee (original poster) »

Hi, thank you, yeah i already disassembled the machine to check the parts but didn't see anything out of the usual.
Here are the pictures you asked and more, i also noticed that part of the edge of the portafilter seemed irregular as if it was sawed?

ArchaeoCoffee (original poster)
Posts: 4
Joined: 2 years ago

#5: Post by ArchaeoCoffee (original poster) »

Posts: 315
Joined: 14 years ago

#6: Post by dmw010 »

Hard to tell from the photo, but zooming in it looks like the grouphead gasket is very worn. I think I see a deep groove probably worn by the portafilter.

Posts: 342
Joined: 3 years ago

#7: Post by Amberale »

Hi, I have the exact same model Caravel, red and white.
I destroyed a couple of piston gaskets while learning how to use mine.
You need to grind very, very course.
There are a number of different baskets, mine is 25mm high and takes 14g of coffee.
The lip on the top is only 1mm thick and my portafilter locks in place around 4 o'clock.
Perhaps your group gasket is incorrect.
I bought a gasket set from Brooks. ... gasket-set

ArchaeoCoffee (original poster)
Posts: 4
Joined: 2 years ago

#8: Post by ArchaeoCoffee (original poster) »

Hi, thank you for your advices, i'm definitely gonna order a new set of gaskets then and might even consider buying the 25mm basket option off Brooks.

I'm glad to not be the only one struggling with the ground size, please if you have any further tips i'm all hears.

User avatar
Posts: 1226
Joined: 14 years ago

#9: Post by truemagellen replying to ArchaeoCoffee »

I think the gasket and a new basket from brooks will take care of you. The basket is hard to tell by photo but could be scraping the gasket. While you wait for the new gasket and/or basket, you could pop out the current gasket and insert a paper (ideally waxed paper) shim ring you cut out on your and insert above the gasket but when you reinsert the gasket do so UPSIDEdown...that will lower & tighten the gasket and make it a tighter fit in the meantime. Also try smoothing out the top of your current basket by running on some sand paper to remove any sharp edges if there are any.

I have found with A machine in pristine condition with new seals and proper lube you can grind very fine and pull a very high pressure shot no problem although the shot will be very small ristretto. After shot is complete remove the cup and place a bowl, then pump the lever part way (below water infill) and it will pump out the excess water and then you will hear an air sucking hushing type sound that is when it is pumping air and puck should be mostly dry. It is on the old instructions from some Caravel/Ursula/Boni little manuals.

Posts: 342
Joined: 3 years ago

#10: Post by Amberale »

Jason is probably correct about the grind.
My experience is as follows.
I have a Lagom P64.
To grind for espresso using my E61 Bianca I use a setting between 6.5 and 8 (Yemeni to Brazil).
For my Strietman and Caravel I use a setting of about 13.
0 is chirping or burrs just touching.
So probably nowhere near as coarse as for pour-over(I don't know, don't do it) but nearly double the setting from espresso on a 58mm E61 machine.
When I first used the Caravel with fine grinds the machine developed plenty of pressure but it then cut sections from the gasket where the pressure pushed it into the holes in the cylinder. :(
I think that it is easier to start with a coarser grind and work your way finer until you find your sweet spot.
Oh and good fresh beans(a week from roasting).