Heating element to boiler thread - La Pavoni Europiccola

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erskyboy

#1: Post by erskyboy »

Hi all,
First, I'd like to say thanks for all of the helpful information in these forums about Europiccola restoration. I'm (hopefully) headed for a successful rebuild on a 1978 unit I purchased from eBay. New gaskets are in place, electrical has been redone (and is working), and everything is looking clean and shiny and happy, except...I am having a battle with creating a water tight seal between the boiler and heating element. The unit I have has the threaded connection between these two pieces (with a copper/brass 4 prong heating element), and my best guess is that the threading on the heating element has been damaged (although it looks pretty neat and clean to my naked eye). The threading on the boiler seems to be ok because the flange threads down it just fine, so I think it's just a problem with the threads on the element.

My questions are: does anyone have a suggestion for how I might repair/restore the threading on the element? Does anyone happen to know the size & pitch of those threads? I have exhausted my internet sleuthing trying to find reference to those details, but I could very easily be missing it. Also, would it make sense to just invest in some food grade thread sealant and then rent the heating element tightening/loosening tool from Stefano's and just go for cranking it as tight as possible? The brute force knucklehead in me likes that idea, but the more sensible part of me is skeptical about whether that's the right way to go.

Any help/suggestions/advice is very much appreciated!

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drgary
Team HB

#2: Post by drgary »

Sam,

Welcome to H-B!

If the element threads in tightly and you have a heating element gasket installed, the gasket should catch any tiny amount of water that should leak. Have you refreshed that gasket? That would be the first thing I would try. You shouldn't need to tighten down on the gasket with intense force to create a seal. I would also clean the threads with a brass wire brush. It's not cross-threaded, is it?
Gary
LMWDP#308

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erskyboy (original poster)

#3: Post by erskyboy (original poster) »

Thank you for the reply! I may have written the initial explanation poorly -- it is the flange (the piece connecting the boiler to the base) that threads down the boiler well. The heating element only threads for approximately 1.5 turns before coming to basically a complete stop using hand-force. I have fiddled with it quite a bit, and had a few other people try it, to make sure that I wasn't failing to seat the thread properly, so I don't think it's a cross-threading issue (but I will try it again today).

I've gone pretty deep down the detailed cleaning route using a wire brush and even doing thread by thread cleaning with a little eyeglasses screw set. That also gave me a chance to look at the threads up close and I haven't seen any really noticeable bends or damage to the threads with my naked eye.

The gasket is relatively new and was in good enough condition that I didn't initially decide to replace it during my overhaul of the machine, but I will definitely order/put a new one on if I end up going the threadlock/screw in heating element tightening tool route. I've also thought about just buying a new element (with bolts) and the adapter pieces, but I hate the idea of not using the current element since it's functional in all other respects.

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drgary
Team HB

#4: Post by drgary »

Your description suggests that is is cross-threaded. The threads are more accessible on the heating element and can be inspected to see where that occurs and may be repaired with a small, sharp-edged file or a thread file. Stefano's EspressoCare has instructions on how to measure threads. The boiler flange might be addressed similarly. You can also get a replacement flange. Stefano is one of our site sponsors and knows these machines well. You might ask him the size of the threads and what he would suggest. Here's his email:

info@espressocare.com

Added: Here is a good explanation of how to measure metric threads.

https://www.adaptall.com/info-tutorials ... hreads.php
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!