La Pavoni - First day issue resolution

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YeetSkeeterson

#1: Post by YeetSkeeterson »

Hello,

Just finished up a full day with my recently acquired La Pavoni 1987. I managed to get some excellent shots towards the end with no channeling and had way too much espresso today.

I have a few issues (after clarifying a blocked steam wand) that I'd like to take care of.

One is that the boiler/main body moves a bit, left and right, relative to the base, the second is that the lever is off-center, and the third is that the lever itself is a bit hard to pull up based on the many videos I've watched.

There's an old thread on here about others who have had the first issue with a wiggly boiler. Did you resolve it with that oil tightening tool, or did you leave it as-is? Regarding the second issue, is the lever alignment being off center normal? It doesn't look like it could possibly be perfectly centered based on how the whole thing is designed. I don't think it's bent in any way. Lastly, the lever having quite a bit of resistance. Any tips on this or is it something to deal with?

Regards

jtrops

#2: Post by jtrops »

Rotating on the base would be the base/boiler flange.

Lever arm off center: my lever arm angles slightly to the right of perpendicular to the group. I don't know if this is normal, but it hasn't made any difference in the shot. This is a millennium machine that I purchased new.

Lever isn't raising easily is most likely pointing to seals that need lube. I use the Haynes silicone lube from Steffano's, but many on this forum use Dow 111.

I get the most service life out of my piston seals by lubing the bottom one every couple of weeks (takes less than 5 minutes, probably more like 3). This in turn lubes the upper seal. I rarely have to replace the upper seal, and the lower ones have been going for 2-3 years between replacements since I have been on the new lubing schedule.

YeetSkeeterson

#3: Post by YeetSkeeterson »

Thanks I have plenty of 111, I will look into lubing the bottom seal tomorrow, hopefully it helps!

Is the boiler wiggle easily fixable?

jtrops

#4: Post by jtrops »

I have never had the loose boiler issue, but it seems pretty straightforward to tighten the flange.

The way I lube the bottom seal:
1. take off the locknuts from the top of the piston rod.
2. take off the portafilter
3. use the lever to push the shower screen down making it easier to remove the portafilter gasket that holds it in place.
4. pry out the gasket. I use the needle tool that I use for WDT, but anything small should work as long as you are careful not to mar the gasket.
5. lift the lever, and you can put some Dow 111 on the inside of the cylinder. That may be enough, but if you want to get the seal a bit better...
6. pull the pin that connects the lever fork to the piston rod, and push down on the piston rod from the top until the lower seal is clear of the cylinder.
7. grease up the seal, and push it back into the cylinder.
8. put it all back together.

When I set the piston height I have the shower screen, and portafilter in place. Then I move the lever down all the way until it bottoms out. I back the bottom nut off by about an eighth of a turn, and put the lock nut on until it is snug with the adjustment nut, then I tighten the adjustment nut against the lock nut which for me gets me that eighth turn back so my piston is pretty close to the screen. It is better to have a little gap, than to have it bottom against the screen.

athoangphan
Supporter

#5: Post by athoangphan »

Are you on facebook? Join the La Pavoni Lever Owners group. There are a lot of good resources there. For the boiler flange and to tighten the flange, I use this oil filter removal tool: Wittyware Universal 3 Jaw Oil Filter Wrench Tool Socket for Removing Trucks & Heavy Duty Oil Filters Fits Diameters 2-1/8'' or 4-9/16'' Inches https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0761MQ4WL/re ... 9EbTCP5RSE

YeetSkeeterson

#6: Post by YeetSkeeterson »

Thanks for the info.

Just as an update. It only moves when the boiler is hot, which seems to be common among those with the issue.

RobAnybody

#7: Post by RobAnybody »

The boiler will expand when it's hot, so the theaded part will also get taller, allowing more wiggle room. I could be the upper and lower boiler to base gaskets are slightly worn. They would normally compensate for this. Tightening the boiler flange may work.
and the third is that the lever itself is a bit hard to pull up based on the many videos I've watched
Whem the machine is hot you will be raising the lever against about 1 bar of pressure, so some resistance is to be expected.
If the lever doesn't feel smooth when the machine is cold then lubing the seals will work.
Cheers!,
Rob
LMWDP #647

YeetSkeeterson

#8: Post by YeetSkeeterson »

I believe it has to be more than 1 bar of pressure to raise the lever! A lubricant must be applied.

I have a few more questions.

My La Pavoni has two sticker thermometer strips on the front of the group, the top goes up to 194F and the bottom goes from 194F to far beyond boiling, I don't recall. I've read that the group acts as a heat sink and the water temp will be a bit lower than the grouphead temp when utilizing them for feedback.

Now, the issue is, I don't know exactly how to read them. I used the same strips when I started brewing beer before I upgraded, but those strips had an array of values, and only two of the values would change color at once. One these strips, 4 or 5 seem to change color at once, creating an extremely wide range of values. Is that just residual heat left in the chemical that shows what the temperature is? Should I only trust the top two values?

Ah, I just remembered though :idea: I have a thermal temperature gun, perhaps I can verify the readings with that.

My last question is, when utilizing outer grouphead temperature readings, via whichever method that may be, what temperature do you think corresponds to proper espresso water temperature inside the group? 205F outer temp? Maybe a little lower, little higher?

Hopefully I can clear this issue up because the shots have been very good with Ethiopian from my local roaster, but I feel as though I may be pulling the shots a bit lower in temp than needed.

RobAnybody

#9: Post by RobAnybody »

As far as I know the temperature strips have a limited lifetime, at some point the indicators will be off an you will need to replace them. The temperature gun is a good option as well, you might need to add a black sticker on the grouphead to get an accurate measurement (especially if the group is very shiny).
the shots have been very good with Ethiopian from my local roaster, but I feel as though I may be pulling the shots a bit lower in temp than needed
If you like it there is no need to change :wink:
If you think the shots are on the bright/sour side then you can do a (or a few) half pumps before the shot. This will raise the grouphead temperature without wasting water.
Cheers!
Rob
LMWDP #647

YeetSkeeterson

#10: Post by YeetSkeeterson »

RobAnybody wrote:As far as I know the temperature strips have a limited lifetime, at some point the indicators will be off an you will need to replace them. The temperature gun is a good option as well, you might need to add a black sticker on the grouphead to get an accurate measurement (especially if the group is very shiny).


If you like it there is no need to change :wink:
If you think the shots are on the bright/sour side then you can do a (or a few) half pumps before the shot. This will raise the grouphead temperature without wasting water.
Cheers!
Rob
Thanks for the info, perhaps a few of those half pumps is all I need for a nearly perfect shot!~