Gaggia America 3 Group Restoration

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chriswiddup

#1: Post by chriswiddup »

Hi all,
I'm starting out on the restoration of a 1957 Gaggia America. Someone, at some point a long time ago started out on this project but didn't finish it. What that means is that it has been dismantled and cleaned and the frame has been powder coated - but there the restoration stopped and it has sat in storage for a long time. I bought it in pieces sadly. Over time a few bits look to have been lost. So it falls to me to see what I can make of it. I'm posting a few images here to see what I can find out. Here's a shot from the front. I do seem to have most parts of the groups - although the insides vary ie one is different from the other two.

Here's a shot from above - you can see that all of the steam outlets seem to be taken from where the groups attach rather than directly to the boiler. That seems to be a bit different to other Gaggia America's that I've seen on this site - most of which appear to take steam directly from the boiler.

And here's a shot of the autofill system (I'm assuming). I haven't seen one like it on any other thread - does anyone have any advice on how it works or any pitfalls to avoid?

Another challenge I can see coming my way is the sight level glass and housing. I see that I can get replacement glass and seals through TSE - but the housing itself is a little dodgy. I'm hopeful it can still be used. Any recommendations on how to clean it and get the glass out?



Any help and advice gratefully received! I'm keenly watching a few other threads at the moment and I have some parts underway to me so I'll update this thread when I can and hopefully will get to a functional machine of sorts. My plan initially is to get the boiler working and then focus on getting one group functional. Then we'll see if I can get the other two working too.

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IamOiman
Team HB

#2: Post by IamOiman »

Hi, looks like a big project!

The gasket stack on the far left looks like the more traditional/original method of making the piston seal in the group. The middle and right group use o-rings and a sleeve to achieve the same result and I think is assosciated with Spanish designed/made machines.

The Autofill looks interesting. I've seen those but have not seen too much discussion with them, perhaps you can provide us some pics for us to look at!

The water level housing looks pretty gnarly, almost corroded. It looks like a microcimbali boiler after heavy use! You could try to descale as best you can but there is a chance the integrity of the housing is compromised and you may need to source a replacement.

The drip tray does not appear original, and I see a few knobs and handles missing. Do you have the wobbler weight as well? I think a few more pics of the little bits take off the machine will help us determine what is missing.
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
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BaristaBoy E61

#3: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Welcome to HB Chris.

Looks like a very interesting and challenging project. I look forward to observing your progress. Steam take-offs are quite interesting too, as you've pointed out.

Best of luck sourcing the parts that you'll be needing.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

cedar

#4: Post by cedar »

Great project -- would love to see more pics...

chriswiddup (original poster)

#5: Post by chriswiddup (original poster) »

IamOiman wrote:Hi, looks like a big project!

The gasket stack on the far left looks like the more traditional/original method of making the piston seal in the group. The middle and right group use o-rings and a sleeve to achieve the same result and I think is assosciated with Spanish designed/made machines.

The Autofill looks interesting. I've seen those but have not seen too much discussion with them, perhaps you can provide us some pics for us to look at!

The water level housing looks pretty gnarly, almost corroded. It looks like a microcimbali boiler after heavy use! You could try to descale as best you can but there is a chance the integrity of the housing is compromised and you may need to source a replacement.

The drip tray does not appear original, and I see a few knobs and handles missing. Do you have the wobbler weight as well? I think a few more pics of the little bits take off the machine will help us determine what is missing.
Thanks Ryan! I'll be back with more pics. I'd love your help - I've been watching your Internazionale project both here and on Insta which has been awesome. I do have the wobbler weight - yes. Cheers, Chris

cafebmw

#6: Post by cafebmw »

i've never seen an autofill on older machines, only retrofits with water probe and solenoid valve.
on your machine the valve on the very right seems to be the manual fill, correct?
your boiler looks different from the usual Gaggia boilers of that era.