The Faema rebuild project

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

#1: Post by cannonfodder »

I have recently become the new owner of an old and very used Faema two group commercial espresso machine. It appears to have been sitting for a while and was very dirty, but appeared mechanically intact. So I decided to start another project and rebuild my first commercial heat exchanger.

As you can see, there was going to be a lot of scrubbing involved. I decided to do a complete frame up rebuild. Everything gets pulled, scrubbed, de-scaled, polished, repainted and reassembled.
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One quick note. Some of the photos are mediocre at best. The strobe flash on my digital camera burnt out so I have to shoot without a flash. That means low F-stop and shudder speeds. Some of the photos may be slightly blurry because of that but I did my best with what I have.

GROUPHEAD REBUILD
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First thing that gets pulled and rebuilt is the grouphead. These are a variation of the E-61 group. The groups were held on with two bolts and the two thermosyphon lines. Luckily, the thermosyphon lines unscrewed relatively easy. I believe it was a 21mm bolt head, a slight bump from my palm on the end of the wrench and off they came.
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(the black box on the group stem is an electronic solenoid to open and close the 3 way valve)

After disassembling the lower stem/valve portion of the group, it was time to pull the shower screen and gasket to see what horrors were in store for me. I have an E-61 Isomac but it is less than a year old, so this is the first time I have removed this type of screen. I tried to pry up the screen with a screwdriver to no avail. So I decided to pry up the gasket. I inserted the tip of a small slotted screwdriver in the outer edge and pried up. It is just like opening a can of paint. It came right off.
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Then I almost fainted! How on Gods green earth could someone let a machine get this bad. Both groups were in equal states of filth. It was at this point that I started to question weather or not I wanted to try rebuilding this machine. I took a deep breath and assured myself that it is just coffee residue and will clean up with a good scrub.
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So that is exactly what I did. After disassembling the groups I soaked them both in descale solution over night. The 3 way solenoid channel was caked with buildup and required additional attention. After a bit of scraping and more soaking it came clean.

I have to point out one interesting thing. Descale solution does not remove the oily residue. While the inside of the groups was clear of any hint of scale, the dispersion screen was still black with buildup. So an overnight soak in some Joe-Glo detergent. Now that did the trick. After a bit of scrubbing and scraping I was rewarded with two shinny group heads. I installed new O-rings and reassembled the groups.
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Dave Stephens

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another_jim
Team HB

#2: Post by another_jim »

This looks like the E64, E66 or no-stop group (these are roughly the same). Has a good rep.

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#3: Post by cannonfodder »

I believe you are correct. Barry is checking into some parts for me. I got the machine from him at the holiday party.

I actually have it striped to the frame and descaled. I will be adding content over the next few days. The old red frame is going to the body shop to get repainted, probably cobalt blue.

This is my first rebuild so if anyone wants to chime in with advice or corrections please do.

I am cross posting this on my blog with more photos.
Dave Stephens

HAL9000

#4: Post by HAL9000 »

another_jim wrote:This looks like the E64, E66 or no-stop group (these are roughly the same). Has a good rep.
It's not the no stop, fwiw.

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#5: Post by cannonfodder »

Faema rebuild project part two, the boiler

Now that the groups are clean, it is time to disconnect the boiler. Once again I was relatively lucky and none of the boiler lines were stuck. Everything disconnected relatively easy and without much additional pressure. The only things that needed disconnected were the heating element electrical, pressurestat, boiler level sight glass and HX input lines. The boiler itself just sat on two supports, so once disconnected it just lifts out of the frame.
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The heating element was the only part that required any effort to remove. The two element bolts needed a squirt of penetrating oil. A half hour later they released with a bump of the palm on the ratchet. The element itself was not in bad condition but I am still going to replace it. One of the ceramic element insulators had a crack in it. While it would probably work, why take the chance. Elements are only about $50.

The element markings were a bit puzzling. The element end-cap had a Faema stamp on it, but it only showed 1300W at 220v. That can't be correct. A little math (volts X amps=watts) tells me that this should be running around 2600W given the amperage rating on the machine. The element was 390mm long and matches up perfectly to another Faema element, that just happens to be rated at 2600W, what my math suggests it should use.

Now it is time to descale the boiler. I had thought about capping all of the fittings and simply fill the boiler up and let it sit for a day. Metric plumbing fittings are nearly impossible to find in Dayton so finding plugs could take weeks. So I just decided to leave it as is and submerge the entire thing in descale.
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I managed to find a drum at work that was the correct size. So I put twenty gallons of very hot water into the drum, added and dissolved my descale powder (yes, twenty gallons of water takes a LOT of descale agent) and submerged the entire works, including all of the other copper lines on the machine. If you submerge a boiler like this, you must rotate the boiler to make sure all of the air pockets are out of the lines and HX. Half way through the soak I flipped the boiler so and remaining air would shift and expose the entire works to the solution.
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Five hours later it was clean as a whistle. I was quite surprised it went that quick. So now it is time to drain the drum and rinse everything off. So I put on my jacket and elbow length chemical resistant gloves and drag the entire thing to the end of the driveway to empty it out.

About half way through draining the drum it happened dawn on me. It is 11pm, dark, I am standing at the end of my driveway wearing a jacket and large black chemical gloves emptying out the contents of a big red drum that is emblazon with big yellow letters 'HAZARDOUS WASTE'. If the police drive by, they may not find the humor in the situation. So I quickly empty the drum, grab the garden hose and thoroughly flush out the boiler and lines, rinse out the drum and get back into the garage.
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I now have a very clean boiler. Not a spec of scale in it. I was going to wash the exterior a bit more with some Joe-Glo but there is really no need. I plan on insulating the boiler and there is just no need to have it spotless on the exterior.
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Dave Stephens

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Balthazar_B

#6: Post by Balthazar_B »

cannonfodder wrote:About half way through draining the drum it happened dawn on me. It is 11pm, dark, I am standing at the end of my driveway wearing a jacket and large black chemical gloves emptying out the contents of a big red drum that is emblazon with big yellow letters 'HAZARDOUS WASTE'. If the police drive by, they may not find the humor in the situation. So I quickly empty the drum, grab the garden hose and thoroughly flush out the boiler and lines, rinse out the drum and get back into the garage.
:shock: Yuck! I guess that's what makes the Stillwater still (i.e., no nasty fish splashes...).
- John

LMWDP # 577

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#7: Post by cannonfodder »

Faema rebuild project part three

Steam and water wand rebuild


First you have to remove the control knobs. These had a cap that unscrewed to reveal a cotter pin through the valve shaft and a washer. Pull the pin, remove the washer and unscrew the handles.
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I have always wondered what the inside of a commercial steam/water valve looked like, now I know.

These were the most difficult part of the entire tear down. Not in complexity, even though they are one of the most complicated parts of the machine, but in getting the locking rings to let go. I put a bit of penetrating oil on the locking rings, they were not corroded, just very, very tight. I had to really put some strength behind these but they did let go. Once the lock ring is removed the valve just slides out of the mount and removes from the chassis.
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If you decide to take one of these apart, you may want to do it at a table with a towel under everything. That way if you drop a small part, say a spring or ball bearing, it does not bounce everywhere. The terry cloth dampens the bounce and parts tend to stay put when dropped (a lesson I learned the hard way while rebuilding a carburetor). I don't know about your garage, but in my garage there is a pack of gremlins that steel any small part that happens to fall on the floor. All of those little nuts, springs and pins are probably keeping the dryer sock gremlin company.

The steam valve was relatively clean, the steam wand was a nasty mess, but I am replacing it. The water tap is another story. It appears that it has been rebuilt but was full of some kind of greasy gunk. A water proof lubricant would be my guess but it looked more like plumbers putty. It took quite a bit of scrubbing to get all cleaned up.

The steam valve had a spring and ball in it. The water valve did not. I don't know if that is normal or if someone had lost them when rebuilding it (remember those garage gremlins). If anyone can answer that, please do.
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The inside of the valve consists of 7 parts, 4 of which you can see here. I did not realize that there was a brass insert and two O rings in the end that holds the valve stem until after I took the photo. So laid out in order, you would have a brass insert behind the spring (to the right of) and two small O rings after it, then the stem housing.
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A soak in descale to clean everything up and a trip to the hardware store to get some more O rings and everything was in ship shape.
Dave Stephens

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barry

#8: Post by barry »

cannonfodder wrote:The inside of the valve consists of 7 parts, 4 of which you can see here. I did not realize that there was a brass insert and two O rings in the end that holds the valve stem until after I took the photo. So laid out in order, you would have a brass insert behind the spring (to the right of) and two small O rings after it, then the stem housing.
except for that little steel ball and spring, the steam valves are identical to marzocco steam valves. it looks like the wand is kept on by a threaded cap, instead of the snap ring that marzocco uses.

konkers

#9: Post by konkers »

cannonfodder wrote:The steam valve had a spring and ball in it. The water valve did not. I don't know if that is normal or if someone had lost them when rebuilding it (remember those garage gremlins). If anyone can answer that, please do.
I'm currently rebuilding a 2 group La Pavoni. My water valve did not have the spring and ball causing me to wonder the same thing. Good to know this appears normal.

-Erik

jeru

#10: Post by jeru »

Hi there - what do you use for a descaling agent? I'm performing a similar rebuild on a La Cimbali M20 using citric acid but it takes forever to descale. Maybe my concentration is too low?

Thanks,
Craig