Elektra Microcasa a Leva owners: How often do you replace gaskets?

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boren

#1: Post by boren »

It's been little over a year since I replaced the piston gaskets and now I need do to it again (same symptom of water spurting from the back of the group).

Could the relatively fast degradation be related to the fact that my MCaL is set to 1.2 bar and is powered on for several hours every day? The reason it is set to high pressure is that I manually change it between 0.9 bar for brewing, and 1.2 bar for steaming (by turning the machine on and off). If it was set to 0.9 or 1.0 bar I wouldn't be able to get the pressure I like for steaming.

baldheadracing
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#2: Post by baldheadracing »

I haven't used my MCaL much since I got my Pavoni - nothing wrong with the MCaL, just the fun of learning a new-to-me machine. Earlier this year I did switch back to the old MCaL spring to get lower pressure shots. Note mine is a 1985 and has significant cylinder wear and I had to hone the cylinder so my experience probably isn't totally applicable to you.

When I was using the machine daily I had to pull the piston out every month or so to lube the piston seals to keep them pliable (Haynes lube). The trigger for lubrication would be a bit of a judder at the very end of a pull. If I didn't lube, then the judder would get worse. In addition, when I used the MCaL daily I had a 5mm thick Teflon full heat break so the machine was walk-up-and-pull all day long - but this also meant that the seals would have seen lower temperatures than stock. If memory serves me, I used the machine daily for about two years. Boiler pressure has always been 1.2 bar.

So this isn't very helpful, but I replaced the gaskets Oct 2020. The previous replacement was Dec 2014, so six years - but really only a couple years of daily use. I did leave the replacement a bit late as the surface of the seals that touch the piston was not very pliable - I got lazy and didn't always remove the seals when lubing them.

My guess would be that your daily use would be the main factor, and annual replacement seems reasonable to me. I haven't tried the aftermarket silicone piston seals, but you might want to consider them? https://www.ferrari-espresso.com/produc ... t-elektra/ (I have no experience with this vendor.)
- My espresso: Swirled, not stirred. My pourover: Stirred, not swirled.

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Kaffee Bitte

#3: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

I believe most home levers are about a year of daily use and change the piston gaskets. That sure sounds about right though I have also had a few years early on where it was more like every six months. (I used it heavily at the time). Though silicon gaskets will give you longer. I am not quite sure how long as I just replaced mine in my oldest pavoni with silicon. That was about 4 months ago so no where close to needing replaced.
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
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MCal2003

#4: Post by MCal2003 »

Replaced the piston gaskets once over the past~ 20 years. Usage since '14 has been 5-7 days per week. ~45 minutes of on time per session. Routine maintenance includes pulling the piston assembly, cleaning and greasing the gaskets. I was told never to pull the lever on a cold machine. Not sure if an absolute. But I adhere to the recommendation. Did have a squirt couple weeks ago. It has not squirted since. Figured it's gasket replacement time.

Have had to replace the pressurestat multiple times. The boiler and heating element gaskets at least twice. Main power switch. A bunch of portafilter gaskets. But the piston gaskets seem to be lasting. MCal is now only used 1-2 days per week. Flair 58 has become the machine of choice.
LMWDP #151

EnnGee

#5: Post by EnnGee »

When I got my Microcasa in 2020 the owner had rebuilt it with new gaskets. I just pull the piston out when I clean the machine and relube with food safe grease when I put it back. No problems, super smooth, and the gaskets still look good as new. This is in contrast to the Pavoni which often got new seals simply because stripping it apart was such a pain I couldn't bear putting the old parts back in.

baldheadracing
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#6: Post by baldheadracing »

MCal2003 wrote:... Have had to replace the pressurestat multiple times. The boiler and heating element gaskets at least twice. Main power switch. A bunch of portafilter gaskets. But the piston gaskets seem to be lasting. MCal is now only used 1-2 days per week. Flair 58 has become the machine of choice.
This may well be just coincidence, but I haven't had to change boiler/element gaskets after I added the thermal insulator found on later models. This plastic spacer goes in between the boiler and the base; the base is now noticeably cooler to the touch. https://www.espressocare.com/products/i ... -insulator

Power switch twice, but the first time was my fault for not checking the contacts regularly. Amazingly, I'm still on what looks like the original pressurestat :!:
- My espresso: Swirled, not stirred. My pourover: Stirred, not swirled.

MCal2003

#7: Post by MCal2003 »

Mater XP110 seem to have a bit inconsistent life spans. Same pstat used on the now long gone HX/E61 machine, the PVL-2, and MCal. Over the decades of owning these machines the life cycle of the pstat has been unpredictable. Same well water with pH and TDS that have basically remained constant. Don't remember when I last replaced the pstat on the MCal. Do have couple spares. The previous one had a real short life span. Maybe that's the key. Order too many extra spares :D .

The MCal is a simple machine to maintain and repair. Minimal parts and easy access. Only pita part to replace is the spring. Even that isn't that difficult. Opposite end of the spectrum compared to the HX/E61. The Flair 58 is even easier to maintain and probably repair.

So there are silicone piston gaskets available. What about boiler and heating element gaskets? Source?
LMWDP #151