Rob's 1st gen La Pavoni Europiccola restoration

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RobAnybody

#1: Post by RobAnybody »

Hi all,
Glad to be back here after a bit of lurking!
so on subject;
A few weeks ago I found a 1st gen la Pavoni on Dutch ebay with serial number B5689, so version 1.6 from '70-73 which features the removable shower screen. Since the heating element and portafilter were missing the seller was so kind to part with it for a very small price. The base is in almost pristine condition, with some scale buildup inside the boiler. The only drawback was that it was on the other side if the county but my sister-in-law who lives in that region was so kind to pick it up for me.

(I still have to pick it up from her place, so this is the only picture I have of her for now)
So while i was thinking about whether i should contact Gabor in Romania for an new screw in heating element or buy a new 3 bolt heating element and order a fine thread 3 hole boiler ring from Gabor in Hungary, I found a stripped down '78 Pavoni with screw in heating element on dutch ebay. According to the seller the heating element was still functional, and he was also willing to part with it for a very small price. The donor machine arrived today, the metal base is heavily corroded (but suprisingly not at the drip tray)

apparently this is one of the rare screw-in elements which feature a thermofuse.


only one of the ceramic insulators is cracked, the others appear solid. I am a bit worried though about the sealant which appears to have leaked from below 3 of the 4 contacts. I don't mind having to put in some extra effort in re building the contact points, I probably have some ceramic insulators lying around at work (the advantage of working with electron microscopes) but I have to find something similar to Glyptal 1201 as it is not readily available here.
Is there anything else that can be used as a seal? (i don't know if for instance loctite 510 would bind to the ceramic insulator)
I still have to check the element for shorts and the proper resistance, but the coils appear to be fine (no obvious marks or lines). My first point of action after that will be removing the heating element from the base. I read here that a oil-filter wrench often does the trick, is there an advantage to using either the band-type or the 3 prong type?
Any tips and suggestions are of course welcome! (if anyone is interested in a '78 boiler with some pit marks let me know, I fear the baseplate can't be salvaged)
I'll keep you updated of any progress
Cheers!
Rob
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drgary
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#2: Post by drgary »

Rob, is the thread pitch the same as the version 1.6? I would guess an electrician's supply or heating element vendor would know the replacement for glyptal.
Gary
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RobAnybody (original poster)

#3: Post by RobAnybody (original poster) »

Hi Gary,
is the thread pitch the same as the version 1.6?
That's a good point, Im my enthousiasm I hadn't thought about that particular issue. According to Francesco's website my donor machine is version 2.1,
which would be before the boiler thread was made coarser but it is definitely something worth checking before trying to mount it. Thanks!
Cheers,
Rob
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guijan12

#4: Post by guijan12 »

Nice find Rob!
And a nice restauration project too.

Depending on where you live in NL there may be excellent espresso LP mechanics close by, like redspresso (Rotterdam).
Regards,

Guido

RobAnybody (original poster)

#5: Post by RobAnybody (original poster) »

Depending on where you live in NL there may be excellent espresso LP mechanics close by, like redspresso (Rotterdam)
Thanks! i'll keep that in mind!

Last week I checked the heating element for any ground faults, luckily it came up clean. The resistance of both the 200 and 800 watt element were stable and within the expected range.
I also contacted Francesco regarding the boiler thread pitch and a possible alternative for glyptal and got the response this moring,
The boiler thread pitch is the same until 1996 (which is around the introduction of the plastic boiler ring), so no worries about that :D
And as an alternative for glyptal he recommended automotive grade Red silicone sealant, which I've found in the form of 'Super Help High-temp Red silicone gasket maker" which seems to fit all the requirements including temperature stability until 315 degrees Celsius.

I've been trying to remove the heating element, but so far the blunt-chisel and hammer method only resulted in creating a few marks on the side of the element. I'll see if I can get my hands on a decent oil-filter wrench to see if it will do the job.
cheers,
Rob
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drgary
Team HB

#6: Post by drgary »

Heating the edges of the element plate and tapping on the edges of the element can start to break the grip of the fossilized gasket underneath.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

RobAnybody (original poster)

#7: Post by RobAnybody (original poster) » replying to drgary »

After a few stopovers at various in-laws she finally arrived last Monday!
Picture time it is:




As I had expected based on the loose portafilter gasket in the pictures from the seller she also lacks a showerscreen but that isn't much of an issue
the sub-base is also in dire need of replacement.

there is a bit of corrosion in the drip tray and around the rim where the base used to be but not that bad :D


I found the 3d-print file for the 1st-gen posted here:3D Print of Drip Tray for 1st Gen La Pavoni, a better fit definitely getting that one!(thanks Sergey!)

the underside is almost spotless


and of course scale (lots of it)



the only thing that slightly worries me is this:

you can see a small line of scale where the sight-glass mount is attached to the boiler.
As far as I know these mounts are brazed in these first gen machines so if this is due to leaking I'm in trouble..

so the next step is gently taking her apart and replacing all the seals and sourcing the missing bits
(actually making a spreadsheet with what to order where)
For dealing with the drip-tray corrosion, would sanding and priming be enough or is it better to smooth out the surface with a filler?
I'd like to preserve the original paint as much as possible since it is in quite good condition.

Not much progress on removing the heating element from the donor machine(mostly due to lack of time) but i'll definitely give this a try!

I also found a 3d-print model for the heating element removal tool on thingyverse https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3877450, has anyone tried that one?
I'm looking into the printing costs and whether it is worth it compared to the price of an oil-filter wrench
thanks for all the tips so far!
I'll keep you posted on further progress
Cheers,
Rob
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RobAnybody (original poster)

#8: Post by RobAnybody (original poster) »

The work is progressing slowly, but hey there is at least progress!
I've requested a few quotes for 3d printing the heating element removal tool, still waiting for the responses.
In the mean time, using a snugly fitting bolt attached to a piece of wood and the gentle application of brute force I managed to loosen the boiler ring enough to unscrew it by hand.
The switch* also came off with minimal effort, so I can start working on cleaning and painting the base.

The lower gasket appears to be fused to the brass boiler ring, which leaves me to wonder wheter I should try to get it off or leave it and just replace the upper boiler to base gasket. Any suggestions are welcome!
Cheers!

Rob

* I must say like this old switch! Just the feel of it switching and the resounding 'click' really make me happy!
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drgary
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#9: Post by drgary »

The original hammertone base paint looks like it's in very good shape. I would hesitate before a complete repaint unless that doesn't matter to you, and you want a different color.
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

RobAnybody (original poster)

#10: Post by RobAnybody (original poster) »

drgary wrote:The original hammertone base paint looks like it's in very good shape. I would hesitate before a complete repaint
I had exactly the same sentiment :D
my plan is to deal with the corroded spots inside the drip tray and leave the rest as it is. The only other (currently) visible damage to the paint is where the rubber base used to be, but those spots are without corrosion so no need for direct action.
What would you recommend for cleaning the base?
I was thinking of using a mild detergent to get the dust/grime off and maybe apply a clear-coat to the whole base after painting the drip tray.
(allthough that would mean I have to remove the logo shield and those pins tend to be brittle)
cheers!

Rob
LMWDP #647