Roller bearing surface of new Elektra Microcasa a Leva showing wear - normal?

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#1: Post by C6H8O3 »

I received a new MCAL today and I've pulled on shot on it. Very nice experience.
As I was cleaning up the machine afterward, I noticed that under the roller bearing in the lever, some of the enamel finish has rubbed off just from my little bit of use. Is this fairly normal for the copper/brass model? If not, does this roller bearing need to be lubricated some more? (it already has a light coating of grease on it) I noticed that it is not rolling but instead sliding across the ramp.

What to do?


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#2: Post by TomC »

Is the pin underneath the bearing lubricated? It should be, lightly.
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C6H8O3 (original poster)

#3: Post by C6H8O3 (original poster) »

I'm not sure. I don't have the tool to remove those clips. I can always go and buy one to check, though. I would assume I need to pull the entire piston assembly before I remove the pin for inspection?

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#4: Post by rpavlis »

When the roller slides but does not roll there is a serious problem! It seems strange that a new MCAL should be like this. If allowed to continue to slide instead of roll severe wear will occur in the brass. While the handle is rising during a "pull" you can check to be sure that the roller is not seized. It should turn freely when the load is off it. I have used wooden chopsticks to hold back the spring to check this too. (Be careful if you try this! You could injure yourself or the machine!) Perhaps some petroleum based lubricant might help like "sewing machine oil" to free it if seized?

It is somewhat difficult to remove the roller, there are several descriptions of this, I believe in HB threads.

The roller needs to be kept lubricated with high grade grease, but not "silicone" because it is under substantial pressure. Silicone is NOT recommended for metal to metal surfaces. It is the standard metal to polymer lubricants used on piston seals and other seals in most espresso machines.


#5: Post by OldNuc »

If the metal is polymer coated which brass will be but not chrome then the polymer will be crushed by the force applied by the roller. Roller must turn under load as well.

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#6: Post by rpavlis »

Indeed, the polymer coating under the roller will not last very long at all. The roller absolutely must turn to avoid severe wear and damage!

The image below shows the "wooden chopstick" MCAL roller test:

With the chopstick taking the load off the roller you can check to be sure that the roller turns freely. If it should fail to turn, you could put a small drop of oil on the sides of the roller and push the pin back and forth while the load is off the roller this way. You should be able to move the roller shaft back and forth, and also move the shaft back and forth with the roller held stationary. It should turn freely both on the shaft and on the pivot point.

Be careful that you have a good strong chopstick. You can also put two chopsticks in place, one on each side.

C6H8O3 (original poster)

#7: Post by C6H8O3 (original poster) »

Thank you everyone for your replies. I am a bit concerned considering the price of this machine. I would hope it would work without issues from the start. Alas, this is life.

I did the chopstick test. The pin and the roller do rotate freely, although there is a bit of grittiness I can feel as the roller rotates around the pin.

As far as it rolling as I maneuver the lever down, I would more say that the roller does not do a lot of rolling on the brass part. It rotates with the lever but it does not roll.

I suppose that a call or email is due to 1st-Line for their thoughts.


#8: Post by OldNuc »

It does not do a lot or rolling through its stroke.cut a piece of printer paper that will fit under the roller and extend past it on both sides then make a couple of test pulls and then inspect the paper. If the roller is not rolling correctly you will see it on the paper. The paper will be moved if the roller does not roll.

C6H8O3 (original poster)

#9: Post by C6H8O3 (original poster) »

Thank you - I will do this first thing tomorrow. This machine is in my office and I'm home right now. (I wanted a small machine there for my personal use)

Great advice from all of you - thank you for your time and expertise.

This will be the second time I've benefitted from your help - through the many discussions and reviews on HB, my home machine purchase was a Quick Mill Vetrano about 1 1/2 years ago. I love that machine and it makes great espresso once you get the flushing/temp thing down. It is built incredibly well, too.

My hope is that the Elektra is built to the same high quality - it seems to be.

I can say this, the one shot I had from it today was... layered and complex. This is a nice difference from the E-61. It is good to have options!

Thanks again.


#10: Post by OldNuc »

Most likely what you are seeing is the roller mashing the polymer coating to dust.