La Peppina - The Washers

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
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Peppi

#1: Post by Peppi »

Hi, I've been reading on this great site for a long time and now that I've bought a La Peppina I had to register to use the expertise of this great Forum.
So I bought a La Peppina from the Italian eBay after rading about it on here.
I followed the instructions on the rebuild guide on Orphan Espresso (thanks for that great tutorial) and even took out the boiler which needed a good cleaning. After the first round of cleaning everything worked but dirt of some sort was coming out with the water. So I took out the boiler and cleaned the inside. Now everything is nice and clean but apparently the large washer isn't working anymore. I do everything as usual (if you can say that after such a short time) but I see the water going back into the kettle when I let the handle go. So apparently the washer isn't sealing anymore, right? Now I was wondering, is my washer harder or softer than it should be? I have no comparison so I can't tell if the rubber hardend or softend. I bought I pice that might work as a replacement but the rubber is softer so I wonder if that is good or bad? Is there anyway I can prolong the usage of the original washer somehow untill I order a replacement kit from Orphan? Am I even right about the problem?
I would very much appreciate some insite from you guys. Thanks and greetings from germany.

Peppi

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Bluecold

#2: Post by Bluecold »

The large washer mostly isn't the pain in the ass the small one can be. Try to loosen/tighten the screw holding it in place or turning over the washer. Could be a piece of dirt too.
The small one on mine is trowing a hissy fit lately. Stupid little bugger.
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

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coffee.me

#3: Post by coffee.me »

Yeah, if water is going back to the kettle, it's something to do with the large washer: dirt, misalignment, or too stiff(maybe?).

Clean it, clean the surface it seals, use some Dow 111 if possible, align it dead center, then tighten the screw(not too much, not too little). When I maintain mine, I usually also align the "bumps" on the washer with the holes under the kettle so it seals.

If you're ordering the washer set from OE, it's good practice to try and make things work with the old washers first and only replace the things you must -- so you'll have a spare for the others.

Congrats, and hope you find her as pleasant as I, and many, did :D .

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orphanespresso

#4: Post by orphanespresso »

There is a very good possibility that the old large washer has become too hard and will not seal anymore. Your softer replacement material may work, although we found that when the rubber is too soft it can deform when it sucks or is pushed up into the holes. Softer rubber is often not as heat stable and will get too soft and sometimes deform. There are many variables involed in the material for these washers and some people have used soft flexible washers and stiffeners in the form of a scond plastic or teflon washer. there are many approaches. there is no harm in doing experiments, as long as you have mastered the removal of the group from the base, which can be frustrating.

Bluecold, it may be time to adjust your little rubber.....have you tried the active adjustment method by removing the group bell and installing the screws to stopper the water flow and adjusting the washer with cold water in the kettle and pumping the handle. One actually can adjust that little guy to make the water squirt out evenly on all sides by getting the washer absolutely flat....but then as a La Peppina expert you likely also know that it may have a little debris in there and you just have to burp it out. Perhaps you could replace it with a ball valve?

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Bluecold

#5: Post by Bluecold »

I've just dealt with it. It pumps just great now. Bit of loose scale. Funny you should mention the ball valve, as i was thinking about one. I found the La Peppina Termomatica diagram and it looks like a ball valve would be kinda retrofittable.
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

CoffeeOwl

#6: Post by CoffeeOwl »

Peppi wrote:Hi, I've been reading on this great site for a long time and now that I've bought a La Peppina...
You too?! :D Mine is just about to hit the travel from Torino to Lodz. And it's refurbished and clean and working (I don't particularly enjoy doing things of this kind on my own).
Cheers!
'a a ha sha sa ma!


LMWDP #199

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yakster
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#7: Post by yakster »

Great to hear all the renewed interest in the La Peppina platform. I'm sure enjoying mine, even though my rebuild was almost a fiasco... when you read Doug's warnings in his rebuild guide (http://www.orphanespresso.com) about not trying to remove the dispersion screen screws without taking the group piece off the base, listen to them. I ended up stripping the original group screws and had to drill one out and re-tap it to get the replacement screws back in... it was ugly.

When I removed the old o-rings and washers, they didn't really look in all that bad a shape... I could have probably just descaled the machine to get it back up to the initial performance, but once I'd change them I think I noticed an improvement. Tightening the washers to the right amount is the real trick. I didn't want to over-tighten the washer that sits above the cylinder and when I put her back together and started testing I had to take it apart only to find that the screw had come loose so I tightened it further.

I was happy to see after putting things back together the last time and taking the dispersion block off to observe the spray pattern of the group washer that I had five or six evenly distributed streams of water coming out.

Let us know, Bluecold, if you try a ball valve instead of washers on it. Can you share the Thermomatica diagram as a link?
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

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Bluecold

#8: Post by Bluecold »

Oh yes ofcourse.

Looks like it would require plugging the two holes and giving a nice edge to the small washer thread for the ball to seal. There is already a dimple in the group bell to seat the spring. Wouldn't be too much effort. On the other hand, my seals work pretty well now.
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

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Peppi (original poster)

#9: Post by Peppi (original poster) »

Rebuilding this old beauty really is a test of my patience. I new I would have to take it apart and clean it and all but after staying calm when it took me days to loosen the screws of the heating element it's getting tough to take it apart again for this damn washer :) This machine has allready tough me a thing or two.
Here it is by the way:
I'm gonna let you know if my idea for a new washer worked and I guess I'll try to soften up the old one too.

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Peppi (original poster)

#10: Post by Peppi (original poster) »

I had it apart again twice and I'm successfully using the old washer. The new one didn't work but I'm not sure it's the washers fault. I've put some grease on the small and large washer to soften it, whiped it off again and all of a sudden it worked again. Now I can finally focus on dialing my coffee in and experimenting with different methods. One thing I've noticed right away is that I only get one ounze out of my 14g. Is that the same for you guys? I can't see how I would pull a full double since I make many small movements untill the first drops apear.
I've taken a few test videos and I'll post one as soon as I get a good one.