ECM Classika II PID steam/gasket issue [SOLVED]

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.

#1: Post by Brewman »

Hi! Got my first espresso machine two weeks ago and just ran into some troubles with the steam wand.

The other day i was making myself some cappuchino and was unable to froth my milk due to bad steam pressure. Shut the machine down and let it cool off, noticed the two holes in the steam wand was blocked by something so screwed the wands tip off, and yes it turned out to be blocked by tiny green rubber pieces. Looked like green rubber gasket material. Screwed the steam wand back together and gave it another go but the pressure was still real low so no frothing but brewing espresso works just fine and the machine behaves just like normal when making espresso. I have also noticed the knob used to open/close the valve for dispensing water/steam sort of feels diffrent when turned shut now - as if some gasket has failed in there. I have also in retrospect realised i might have been a bit rough when closing this valve a few times. Would not be suprised if i messed up some seal doing this haha!

Mayby someone with some advice for what to do in such a situation? I have looked at ecmś spare part-pdf ( ... _Parts.pdf) and all the seals i can see sitting in the steam-valve portion arent green when i google for replacements - mayby the replacements have diffrent colours? Cause the only green seal i can find for the unit is the seal bwtween tank and heating element - sounds like a pain in the ass to replace hehe.

Brewman (original poster)

#2: Post by Brewman (original poster) »

Ok i have started taking the machine apart to find the fauly seal/blockage. Figured i would post some pictures incase anyone else runs into simular issues with this machine in the future.

First i removed top cover (6 screws)

Then i removed the nut holding the black steam/water valve knob in place, there is a square milled into the shaft/knob so you can just hold against with your hand on the knob when you loosen the 10mm nut holding the black knob in place - comes off easy.

Then i disconnect the nut holding the pipe in place, behind the first nut there is another one holding the entire steam wand assembly in place on the units casing, after you loosen the first loosen the second and the entire steam wand assembly comes off.

Now im off to work with this guy to take it apart, have acess to way more tools over there and most importantly - a proper vice :)

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Brewman (original poster)

#3: Post by Brewman (original poster) »

Ok so i think i found the issues!

When i took the wand assembly apart i noticed a gasket at the end of the shaft going from the black knob was worn down badly. Probably from me being way too rough when closing the knob!

Parts from that gasket broke apart and went down the wand. Turns out there is a plastic hose going through the wands metal housing. This plastic tube was majorly blocked.
There are milled/molded flats on the steam wand where you can get at it with an adjusteble wrench to take it apart, used adjusteble wrench + the 90 degree angle on the steam wand to bend with to get the threads loose so i could get at the insides of the wand. There is a hole for an allen wrench in the other end - put in allennwrench then turned the 90 degree bend again and it came loose.

So this is the whole thing when taken apart (dont forget using sum electrical tape on nuts when taking em apart so you dont scratch the chrome!):

I alsoo took apart the ball-joint to make sure there was no gasket material left in there.

When clearing out the plastic tube using some 1mm steel thread i was too rough and poked a hole in it :) So i ended up ordering a new gasket and an entire new steam wand as my supplier didnt have those plastic tubes in stock. So i guess i have a reserve wand now :) Got sort of confused when ordering the green gasket - as it said in the spare parts-pdf i found for the machine that gasket should be red, and the only ones my supplier had were red (seems like the right dimensions tho) so ordered one of these red gaskets to see if it will fit my machine.

Edit: now found another supplier that had one of these gaskets (9x6.5mm part P6000.2) but in black color so seems like there is a few colors going around

Brewman (original poster)

#4: Post by Brewman (original poster) »

Ok guys I received the spare parts yesterday! Lucky now I can hopefully enjoy cappuccino all weekend :D

Anyway I installed the new gasket in the shaft, the fit is rather snug so takes some work getting it in there.

Then i put the shaft back in and tightened the bolt holding the shaft in place rather snugly with the steam wand mounted in a vice.

When it was time to replace the steam wand I ran into some issues. My supplier didn't have classika wands in stock so ordered a technika wand instead as they looked very simular. Turns out the technika IV and classika wand isn't entirely the same! There is about 0.2mm difference in the diameter of the ball in the ball joint (may not be an issue as the difference isn't that big, I reckon the ball joint may seal even if the diameter is 0.2mm smaller on the technicas wand) however the steam wand from the technika does not come apart like the classika wand does so I cannot get the wand down through the nut that is meant to hold the ball joint together!

So I put my steam wand with the plastic hose with a hole in it back together and I'll use it while I look for new hose/wand. Also noticed the technika had no such plastic hose in the wand - mayby cause my machine dispenses bouth hot water and steam through the wand unlike the technika that has one wand for each?

Anyway I put everything back together and now I'm waiting for it to heat up properly before I try it, so far the seal seems to do its job!

Brewman (original poster)

#5: Post by Brewman (original poster) »

Ok just made myself a cappuccino and it's frothing like when it was new again :D I'm happy this was an easy fix - and a tip for anyone buying a simular machine - you don't need to tighten the knob for steam very hard at all for it to seal so save yourselves some work and treat your seals carefully!

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BaristaBoy E61

#6: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Welcome to HB Dan.

Thanks for documenting your repair, I'm sure it will help others down the line.

I'm not sure if your spigots are compression fittings, perhaps they are. Regardless, I don't think this should have occurred on a new machine even if you were somewhat aggressive with your handling.

We had a steam spigot leak and actually had to grind the tube face inside the valve to reface it; I changed the face seal as well. Our spigots are non-compression so no amount of rough handling will make a difference. The face seals are held in place by spring loading. All the rotary knob does is to draw the spring back to compress the spring thus releasing its tension that applies pressure on the valve stem. No amount of rough handling will make any difference to the face seal.

I can find the thread I posted regarding that so I'll just post a pic of what the valve stem looks like to perhaps get the idea.

Glad you were successful; it builds confidence to tackle other challenges.

"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

Brewman (original poster)

#7: Post by Brewman (original poster) »

Thannks baristaboy! this seems like a great forum im glad i found it!

So i belive the valve on the classika 2 works diffrent than this spring loaded mechanism i see some other ecm machines use.

This is the shaft that the steam/water-knob sits mounted on. The brass part is free floating and will rotate independent of the rest of the shaft.

So the valve works by the threads moving the entire shaft in/out when the knob is turned and this pushes/retracts the gasket from the valve seat opening/closing the valve. The threads have a rather high pitch so you get quite a bit of axial movement from not so much turning of the knob. I was probably turning the knob like 1.5-2 turns past what is needed several times when i first got the machine before realizing it wasnt necessary, sort of panicked these first few times as i really wasnt use to having so much steaming power/pressure haha i was use to my weak delonghi steamer. So in the heat of the moment i thought like better safe than sorry and didnt want to end up burning myself hehe. When i realized you dont need to turn it so much the damage to the seal was already done and it could actually be felt in how the knob felt when turning the valve shut, didn't feel like it did at the beginning anymore.

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#8: Post by JRising »

Brewman's correct.
In the Classika the valve faces are much smaller and more susceptible to falling apart. They are compression type valves, so when the faces do start to slough off and a little bit of the crap is blocking the steam tip, it takes a while for the steam wand to release all of its pressure. What do you do when the steam tip is still hissing after closing the valve? Close it tighter, of course, and these little valve faces take a beating.

They come in Red Silicone, Black Nitrile and Green (Probably Silicone) depending on the material. I always use the Red. They seem more resilient than the Black and when ordering from ECM, I don't get Green as an option. Last week alone, I had 2 of this exact job. I replaced Black with Red.

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BaristaBoy E61

#9: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

The Izzo is clearly the superior design as with their valve design it is just not possible to over tighten with regard to valve face wear.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"