Flea market find - vintage Arrarex Caravel

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Walter

Postby Walter » Aug 22, 2006, 4:47 pm

Sunday morning we were visting a small town in northern Italy and there was a flea-market where I stumbled across this little beauty, all neglected and dirty and such. And here she is, my brand-new vintage Arrarex Caravel:

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I gave her a little cleaning and now she looks already much better. She seems to be full functioning, but the piston-gasket appears to be weak. Does anyone of you have an idea where I might find a fitting gasket? I did not yet check how the piston can be removed, but I suppose that should not be too complicated? Also the basket is sitting very tightly in the portafilter, can it be removed?

Timo, how did you get the shower-screen off?

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timo888

Postby timo888 » Aug 22, 2006, 8:12 pm

Nice find.

Shower screen will come off by squeezing the spring with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

There's a plastic clip on the front of the machine, with Caravel written on it; pull it towards you. It comes right out. Then, push the kettle lid aside or lift it off. In the back of kettle, at its "heel" as it were, is a metal clip. Push it back away from you and the entire kettle and group assembly can be lifted up and out of the machine. It will click back into the machine like a cellphone battery :)

The o-ring fits inside a groove in the wall of the piston cylinder rather than around the piston. It is little more than a rubber band --very thin. But if you remove it, clean the machine well, and then lube the o-ring with Dow 111, it becomes surprisingly robust.

When pulling shots, lift and depress the lever a couple of times gently and slowly, to do a preinfusion and get some water in the cylinder. Then do your real pull. Run several blank shots beforehand to heat the group, especially if your thermostat is set to cut off the heating element on the cool side and the heat has not been conducted to the group.

Regards
Timo

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Walter

Postby Walter » Aug 22, 2006, 8:38 pm

Thanks timo,

I had already removed the kettle and group from the body during the cleaning, though I did not yet try to disassemble the group/piston unit

timo888 wrote:Shower screen will come off by squeezing the spring with a pair of needle-nose pliers.


Which spring? (I didn't notice one so far)

I'll try to lube the o-ring tomorrow after work and hopefully I will be able to pull the first shot(s) tomorrow evening...

Regards,
Walter

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timo888

Postby timo888 » Aug 22, 2006, 9:07 pm

Basket is removable. Try to pry it out gently by slipping the edge of something thin between the basket and the PF.

Here's the spring I referred to:

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Regards
Timo

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Walter

Postby Walter » Aug 23, 2006, 5:27 pm

Thanks again, timo...

Though, my Caravel appears to be built a little differently, compared to what I expected from your description.

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The piston has two V-shaped gaskets, very much like the Pavoni, and the showerscreen seems fixed. Also it has an adjustable thermostat. Unfortunately either thermostat or power-switch (or maybe both) doesn't function anymore, so - for the moment - I had to bypass both.

The first two shots were poor, but the third and forth were already quite promising. Crema is a tad thin and fragile, but the taste was quite particular and clear. Thanks for the hint with the slow "Fellini" pulls!

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timo888

Postby timo888 » Aug 23, 2006, 6:17 pm

How did you free the piston from the cylinder, Walter?

Is the shower-screen welded?

Regards
Timo

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Walter

Postby Walter » Aug 23, 2006, 6:57 pm

The lever can be removed by spreading the arms at the piston end and once it is off the entire piston-unit can be drawn out of the cylinder (upwards)...

The screen seems to be "punctuated" (in lack of a better term) into place...

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Click to enlarge!

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hbuchtel

Postby hbuchtel » Aug 25, 2006, 4:30 am

Funny, I just took apart my Caravel as well!

The lever mechanism is quite clever, eh?

I was able to push out the piston head from the bottom, as the showerscreen came off fairly easily.

Henry
LMWDP #53

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peacecup

Postby peacecup » Aug 25, 2006, 1:30 pm

These Caraveli really do look interesting, but how's the coffee? I'd like to see a few photos, and hear about people's experiences.

PC

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LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

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timo888

Postby timo888 » Aug 25, 2006, 4:43 pm

As the piston design seems to have varied, I can speak only of the version of the Caravel I have, which has a fairly meek o-ring and yet a fairly deep basket relative to its 43mm diameter. Gravity fed and stainless steel, with an adjustable thermostat, the Caravel offers fine temperature stability across the entire temp range, from the cool to the hot ends of the spectrum, but only middling brew pressure. This lends itself to clarity of delicate flavors and floral tones. Don't expect a buttery, chocolate mousse in the mouthfeel.

Here is my Caravel when pushed to extremes its little o-ring can hardly bear. This is Intelligentsia's Papua New Guinea, with a 20-second preinfusion. And two pulls.

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Regards
Timo