Ponte Vecchio group-to-body gasket popping off

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Feca

#1: Post by Feca »

3 weeks in, I'm fully enjoying my PV Export. Getting delicious shots and experimenting with turbo shots and other such things.

I do have one gripe that is annoying me, it's minor but just drives me nuts. I know its a known issue but no one really addressed a solution for it, that I've seen. The group-to-body ring gasket popping off and just hanging there provocatively, daring me to put it back so it can pop again with the next use. You can tell I'm taking it well.

So, is everyone really just living with this indignity?

LMWDP #724

SJM

#2: Post by SJM »

This isn't the solution you are looking for, but it might interest you to know that the original SAMAs didn't have a gasket there at all.
You can see my old red one here:


That made me curious so I did a Google image search on the PV Exports, and some have it and some don't. Even this PV Export from 1st Line doesn't have one:


My point? Well, maybe you don't really need it.

But I'm curious: what did 1st Line have to say about the issue?

LObin

#3: Post by LObin »

Group to boiler gaskets are meant to lower the heat transfer to the group in order to prevent overheating. I'd keep it.

It's an odd shaped one... It almost look like a W piston seal. Have you tried tightening the 4 nuts after putting it back in place?
Or even removing the group and reinstalling it all together with the seal properly seated.
LMWDP #592

SJM

#4: Post by SJM »

I'm not suggesting that anyone remove that gasket if it is behaving, although what its function really is, I have no idea.
It is not a group to boiler gasket; that resides elsewhere and isn't under discussion.

DAMAs and SAMAS and PV Exports have been around for a long time and this part seems very recent, recent enough that it doesn't even show up on the parts list for the PVE at 1st line....(or, let me qualify that by saying I could not find it there).

I think it's purely ornamental, and from an old (really old) purist's perspective, the machine looks better without it.

Not all changes are for the better. And some are. Maybe someone who has used the machine with and without this gasket would have a better perspective than mine.

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peacecup

#5: Post by peacecup »

That silly ring is not the group to boiler gasket, and it serves no functional purpose except to burn one's fingers re-installing it. It is a "cosmetic" addition to late models. You could cut it off with a knife, or remove the four bolts and remove it whole, so you can keep it for future use.

The boiler to group gasket is between.....the boiler and the group. That is an effective heat break, and the PV Export group stays relatively cool compared to other direct-connect home lever groups due to both the gasket and the fact that the group is long and narrow with a high surface:volume ratio and hence is an effective heat sink compared to eg, Pavoni, Cremina.
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

Feca (original poster)

#6: Post by Feca (original poster) »

SJM, LObin, Peacecup, thank you for your answers.

I have not contacted 1st line, maybe I should, just to see if they have any suggestions or hacks. I'm hesitant to unscrew those bolts if there's something else to be done. I have, indeed, burnt my fingers trying to pop it in too early.

Regarding the actual thermal effect of that thing, it has crossed my mind that it is useless given that it's 'around' the outside edge rather than 'in between' the surfaces that need thermal insulation, but I noticed it does seem to have an angled slope that causes a tiny part of it to actually insert in a small gap 'into' that connecting spot. I'm inclined to agree though that the effect, if any, is likely negligible. Aesthetically though, I do like it, given that without it you can see a sliver of the actual body-to-group gasket, which is white, and stands out too much against the black body.

I appreciate the responses, I'm not worrying about it, I'm perfectly happy thinking about what to do while I enjoy my delicious shots. I could see maybe finding an O ring that can stretch and contract around in there to stay in place? (not sure if I'd be able to fit it from the outside through the group, but I guess I could eventually convince myself to unscrew those bolts...). Another option would be to find an adhesive strong enough to keep it in place without damaging the finishing... bit of a gamble in the trial and error though, I could test it in some hidden location.
LMWDP #724

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bcrdukes

#7: Post by bcrdukes »

Hi Feca,

Congrats on your PV Export!

I purchased mine a little over a year ago and have the exact same "problem." It bothered me to no end with the gasket just hanging there and over a period of time, I stopped thinking about it and haven't touched it since. I don't know if it makes a world of a difference in terms of temperature loss or have any real scientific impact on the quality of my espresso, but I've learned to live with it. Enjoy in good health!

Regards,

Mike
LMWDP #685

realdoctor

#8: Post by realdoctor »

I second Jack's (Peacecup) description of the lack of function of that piece. I have a relatively recent Export (2-3 years) and a couple of Sama Exports, three Sama Lussos and one Sama Club. None of them has that ring. I cannot see how it would have any function. The flat, four hole teflon gasket between the group and body is the thing that provides a heat break (sort of) and a seal between the two parts.

Don't be shy about taking the group off the body and removing the useless rubber ring. Your machine is new enough so that all the studs should stay in place and the nuts come off cleanly. You should be able to reuse the group to body gasket if it is the same hard white teflon that I have seen on most machines.

I fail to understand why PV management suddenly decided that a fifty year old design needed the addition of a decorative rubber ring. Feel free to reverse their decision.

Jim

Feca (original poster)

#9: Post by Feca (original poster) »

Thanks Mike, Jim. I'm indeed leaning towards removing the rubber gasket, and yes it does have the white teflon actual gasket behind the group.

BTW, are those group nuts the ones that need to be replaced for stainless steel ones to avoid corrosion?
LMWDP #724

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peacecup

#10: Post by peacecup »

I have never heard of those nuts getting rusty, but maybe it is possible. On my machines four group-boiler bolts are studs that thread into the brass boiler and have a chrome nut that you see on the group. Usually, just the nut comes off when you remove them, and the stud stays in the boiler. But I have seen some in which the stud comes out. Never noticed any rust on those, but it seems possible.

The known rust problem is on the four boiler-bottom plate connectors that are found on the bottom of the boiler, to remove the hearing element. Those are easy to replace with stainless bolts, and a useful bit of preventative maintenance in the long-term (maybe it takes 10 years, but eventually a failure of the gasket can lead to those bolts getting rusty.

In any case, take care tightening any steel bolts, stainless or otherwise, into the brass boiler, since it is possible to strip holes threaded into the brass.
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."