La Pavoni Europiccola 1994 Restoration

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#1: Post by Blernsball »

Hi all,

Picked up this nice solid brass and copper europiccola. 2 switch model from 1994 (according to the element date).

Advertised as having a "few" issues. You know how that goes...

A blown thermofuse and a broken water pipe were what I thought I was getting into.

But a quick inspection and follow up resistance test showed a blown element. Arg.

Are there any benefits to getting it repaired? I know there is some place in Hungary that does them. Or is it better and cheaper to just buy a new one?

And what of that cylinder of metal around the element coils? Is that anything of note?

Thanks !


#2: Post by LObin »


The metal cylinder around the HE is just a heat sink. They're useless.

I've also heard that Gabòr from Naked Portafilter in Hungary offers a HE repair service but it's likely people with the old style, screw on HE that go this route.

I would simply change your heating element to a new SS one. They're not that expensive and it's pretty much just a swap. You'd also need a new thermofuse, a new gasket and 3 shorter screws.

Congrats on your purchase!

LMWDP #592


#3: Post by RobAnybody »

+1 on that,
the only drawback of the Stainless steel elements is that it makes more noise during operation compared to the original copper ones.
LMWDP #647


#4: Post by scrane »

Buy a new one and a resettable thermal breaker.

Blernsball (original poster)

#5: Post by Blernsball (original poster) »

Thanks for the advice. A new element it is.

I figure now is a good time to descale the boiler, so I brushed all the loose scale off. Then bolted the old element back on.
I also wanted to descale and clean the first section of the group to aid in removing the broken water pipe, so I plugged the holes in the group with tape and bolted that on too. Filled the boiler with citric acid solution (2 tbsp. per liter of boiling water) to the top and let it sit for a couple hours. Came out really clean. Looks like the copper boiler is tinned inside?

After cleaning the group, I was able to extract the end of the water pipe using a screw extractor. My advice for anyone with a similar issue would be to either buy a set of extractors, or bring the old tube to the store and get a single one that fits. Keeping in mind that the clearance you have for extractor depth is not a lot (the water pipe threads end with the pin hole to the piston chamber). A shallow, blunt bit is better. In my case my extractor bit was longer then ideal. I was able to start it by angling the bit so that it would catch while turning. Take it slow and turn it a little at a time (counter-clockwise). The soft brass of the tube gives plenty of purchase. Once you have the depth you need it should spin out easily.

Removed the old gross rubber cover from the switch. Have to test the switch, but I hope it is still usable as it has a very satisfying action.

The lever pins are really worn down. Add replacements to the list...

And then fully stripped the machine down.

I'll clean it up with soap and water first. But then to clean out the steam wand and such... citric acid? Some other cleaner?

I'll probably strip the clearcoat from the body. There are a lot of rough spots. Any recos from people who have done it?

And finally, how well do the plastic parts take to being buffed up with plastic polish? Worth it?

Blernsball (original poster)

#6: Post by Blernsball (original poster) »

Everything cleaned up now, and I've got most of the replacement parts.

The brass parts were first cleaned with a soak in citric acid (don't do this if you aren't going to strip the clearcoat, the citric acid will wreck the clearcoat).

The clearcoat was then removed with a chemical stripper (I used circa 1850 super d-solver). Everything was thoroughly washed after.

The base and boiler needed the most cleanup. Maroon scotchbright all over, and 600-800-1000-2000 grit wet sanding where needed.

Then everything was buffed on a buffing wheel (brown tripoli, then white rouge)

The handles and knobs were cleaned up as well.

600-800-1000 grit wet sanding, then buffed with brown tripoli, then white rouge.

The only parts I'm missing are replacement group bolts. I'd like to use the threaded rod and acorn nut modification as described in other threads, but finding M6 threaded brass parts is surprisingly difficult. Also need an M4 nut to attach the thermofuse to the boiler. If anyone has a good source let me know!


#7: Post by bwren »

Beautiful finishing job!

I have seen a couple of machines with busted group bolts (mostly due to rust) and have all mine changed out to SS. Brass is quite a bit softer, and I'd be a bit hesitant to use it in this area with a lot of side load.

You can get the factory gold-plated bolts here: ... ZkQAvD_BwE

You can also get the brass nut fuse here: ... -2216.aspx

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#8: Post by TigerStripes »

That is a stunning job polishing everything up. It is going to look better than new! Are you going to apply a new clear coat to protect the finish?

Have you considered turning the machine into a single switch pressurestat control? In my opinion, you might as well since you are already replacing the heating element. Unless of course, you enjoy the two switch operation, which some do.
LMWDP #715

Blernsball (original poster)

#9: Post by Blernsball (original poster) replying to TigerStripes »

No clear coat for now. I like the look of aged brass and copper, so gonna go with that and see.

I thought briefly about changing it to single switch pressure stat, but it would have meant even more extra parts to buy.

Blernsball (original poster)

#10: Post by Blernsball (original poster) »

bwren wrote:Beautiful finishing job!

I have seen a couple of machines with busted group bolts (mostly due to rust) and have all mine changed out to SS. Brass is quite a bit softer, and I'd be a bit hesitant to use it in this area with a lot of side load.
Maybe stainless studs and brass acorn nuts would be the way to go?

The standard pavoni bolts seem way too short for me. The ones that came with the machine are only 12mm long. Plus the boiler flange bolt holes are chamfered to start. So the actual thread engagement is only a couple of turns. Measuring the a depth gauge seems to indicate I could use 18-19mm bolts. I like the idea of studs and acorn nuts to protect threads on the boiler.

I actually ordered the thermo fuse from espresso shop. But I didn't realize the new element would have a threaded stud on it, as the old element has a threaded hole and a machine screw holds the fuse on. So I didn't buy the nut. Arg.

Trying to source this locally for now.