Gaggia Dispersion Plate Stuck - Page 3

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

#21: Post by jimlewis1126 »

HEAT, BABY, HEAT!! This morning I secured the boiler in one of the vises on my woodworking bench, stuck a couple of soldering irons into the holes for the bolts on the plate, after about 90 minutes pried it with a claw for removing nails, and it finally broke free!

Soaking it several times in Simple Green (because that's all I had)... including over night... probably helped. I still plan to soak the brew head in Cafiza before I reassemble the machine -- I've ordered a new stainless steel plate and another group head gasket (figured I might as well). And, the group valve assembly survived the ordeal. So, once I get the whole thing back together (probably a week, because it'll take that long for the new parts to get here), I'll post the happy ending.

Many thanks to everyone for all of your wisdom... couldn't have done it without you!



#22: Post by Jeff »

Glad you got it apart!

If you work with aluminum again, I'd avoid Simple Green as it can attack aluminum. ... 14416.html is my present degreaser of choice (though it isn't clear that it is safe on aluminum either).


#23: Post by jimlewis1126 »

Jeff, thank you for that warning.... this is why I bother to post this stuff, otherwise I wouldn't waste anyone's time. Fortunately I upended the boiler/group head assembly and soaked just the inside and of the group head, so the Simple Green was only in contact with stainless steel and rubber (except for the aluminum plate, which I decided was already toast). After soaking the bottom end of the assembly in descaler -- just covering the bolts -- and effecting a bit of manual, makeshift impact-wrench action, I managed to free the bolts and open up the boiler. A bunch of scaling, as one would expect, but a lot came off after another good soak. I then called Whole Latte Love and added a new gasket and galvanized bolts to my order (at a hefty $5.90 each!) - the old bolts were in pretty rough shape, so it's worth it... provided the machine soldiers on (I'm guessing I have to keep my eye on the pump).

But you gotta love this... I noticed on the Cafiza label a "not recommended for aluminum" warning. This is a product recommended by manufacturer, AND KEY PARTS ARE MADE OF ALUMINUM! The plate I'm replacing with stainless steel, but the boiler is aluminum -- TODAY, TOMORROW AND ALWAYS! So, I'm taking my chances with the descaling because if it's overly caked with calcium, it won't matter if the boiler is aluminum or stainless steel or solid platinum -- it'll be garbage!

I'll keep every one posted... Cheers


#24: Post by jimlewis1126 »

jimlewis1126 wrote:I noticed on the Cafiza label a "not recommended for aluminum" warning.
Sorry, I meant "Dezcal" rather than "Cafiza."

Supporter ♡

#25: Post by Marcelnl »

just start using proper water (see sub forum water for details) with no hardness to prevent scaling and you'll never have to worry about descaling again!
LMWDP #483


#26: Post by jimlewis1126 »

I've been curious about water.... Never used bottled water in this machine, but I always use filtered water (with fresh filters as indicated). In 15 years, however, I can't say for sure that I never filled my reservoir directly from the tap. We have an Aquasana countertop drinking water filter (we really like it), but I can't find documentation on either the filter's components or if it effectively softens the tap water, or how it functions relative to the variable hardness of water region to region (all the data is focused more on toxicity. I noticed you're in The Netherlands which, of course, means that your tap water (which, as I recall, is quite drinkable) could be a lot different from our tap water, based on treatment. (The Europeans tend to invest considerably more in public works that the Americans, which I'm sure extends to your water treatment methodology and systems.)

I've even wondered about how much a given region/city's tap water affects the flavor? Is espresso made with New York City tap water (award-winning, piped in from the Catskill Mountains... YUM!) noticeably better than the same espresso made with Washington, DC, tap water (drawn from the Potomac River... YUCK!)? I'd love to hear someone chime in on THIS question, especially if you know of any well-controlled taste tests. No doubt those with a far more discriminating pallet than mine could tell the difference.

Fortunately, I live in Montgomery County, Maryland, just north of DC, where our drinking water is a bit better since it's collected in local reservoirs. Until I find I'm doing myself bodily harm, I'll just stick with my routine... but maybe I'll descale my machine a little more often.



#27: Post by jimlewis1126 »

IT LIVES! Nine days since my last post, but my new parts and Cafiza finally arrived on Sunday, and today's breakfast included my beloved morning fix:

Don't be fooled - my machine was in many pieces just 24 hours ago. Many, many thanks to all those who chimed in - your guidance not only solved my problem, it was a real education.