Gaggia Tipo America 1960 2 Group Lever Rebuild

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#1: Post by doctorespresso »

Well here is my story about the rebuild of a Gaggia Tipo America 2 Group that I found in a little village just outside Glasgow , Scotland. The name of the bar was BONI's and the man who opened it bought the machine new in 1960.

This machine at the time ,was the Rolls Royce of this model as it had auto level and pressure control added in the U.K at the time of purchase. Move on 52 years later and the same man at 82 years old retired because of ill health. The machine had not moved in all this time. This is how we found it, the roof on the bar was non existent and the plastic bags beside the machine were to stop rain falling on the machine. We decommissioned the machine and drove back to London with our Find.

The heads were removed so as to make it easier to transport.

Tomorrow I will show you the group stack I have been using since ,well for two it does work well and it makes servicing the unit easier in the future.

This is just the beginning ,tomorrow I will show you what we decided to do with the machine.

O.K one last picture, this machine was completely covered in nicotine from people smoking in the bar....hope this gives you a hint of what was underneath all this protection !

O.K here is a picture of the level control as we found it. All I am doing at the moment is taking the machine apart...have a look...its a magnetic level ball valve ,similar to what is installed in the La Cimbali M20's.

Check out the broken studs on the boiler where the group head attaches .

Next the back view of the machine with out the plexi glass and heat shield.

The front of the machine with the sight glass far so good.

The front panel removed, and the machine put on her back...this way you can see the gas fittings and the rust on the main frame.

Just to wet your appetite here is the picture of the rear under panel before autosol .........great stuff

And After 10 minutes......yes really

Tomorrow,we will see how much of the other chrome, autosol can bring back to life.

Next I took the front panel and gave it the same treatment...

And After...

The Subframe was needed different treatment so,

We ground off most,if not all the rust !

After we treated with heat resistant paint.

I really like to prepare everything before I start to rebuild so next was the back plexi glass.

Again after a good polish and clean. You can see the result.

I do not like to use caustic to clean the plastic or any panels as ....1. It kills plastics and bakalite . 2.. also not good for your lungs or hands. Try a product called TRUCKWASH does the same job with out a lot of the hassle.

So far all I have used is products available on the high street.

Just one last bit for tonight . Again just cleaned with above products.

Well last night managed to overheat my computer so no posts.....but today back online.

The next part we had a look at was the level glass. So this is how it started and after a good rub with some 1200 wet and dry sand paper followed by a polish. Close to perfect...we have chromed them in the past but this machine as I said is going to keep its original look. The glass seals we cut from a teflon sheet. Easy to work with and completely reusable .

And The finish.....!

Well that kind of sorted out the sight glass next lets have a look at the level system.

As you can see Made in England.....not very Italian but fitted from new.

I stripped it down completely and basically you have a magnetic ball valve.

Yes all the studs broke and yes time to drill and tap.


Next section

I am replacing the external mercury pressurestat with an internal one but thought I should show you what came with the machine originally.


That's it for today hope you enjoy the posts.

Today we took the boiler end off. One of the beautiful things about brass bolts is ,if you are careful rust and they do not break off. Not one broken bolt . Happy days.

And the other side.

I already acid dipped the boiler and removed the broken group studs. I had to drill out 7 . Slowly slowly and use a good quality drill piece . Start at 5.5 and move out slowly . Make sure you centre punch before you start . It will save you lots of agro if you get it right from the start.

Now you can see the date stamp.

Now the boiler is ready to fit back into its subframe.

Preparation,prep ,prep prep and these machines really come together more quickly than you may think.

Tomorrow we start to build the machine.

So the front plate has been painted in heat resistant paint...this is the stuff mechanics paint exhaust manifolds with...only problem it does not like grease but great paint once it hardens.

Next we placed the boiler.

And a little of the chrome.

O.k next the polished front panel

Well you can see its coming together

Finished for today.

Starting to look good from the outside.

Now lets get complicated.

Spot the inlet valve added and the internal pressurestat. Original heaters fitted and the manual fill valve that was missing has fitted with one from a Gaggia orione 1963. Unlikely that it will ever be used. If I get an original manual fill valve , I will replace it . Also on the boiler is a non return valve.. The original brass boiler end bolts are still in place.

The back view of the Gaggia, showing the level unit and pressure unit in place.

Next I have added group units

And the front view....

Hope you like this....all is original as you saw from the start.

Next I powder coated the side panels and painted the internal struts in heat paint.

Checked to make sure the plexi glass fitted perfectly.

Fitted the heat shield

And then moved the back panel and front panel together.

Just so as you can see what the group heads looked like before I started,moved a little bit ahead of myself. Here goes any way.

Both units completely busted up, springs are the usual, bearing the same but gears and pistons good.

Completely stripped , asbestos seals removed and now to start to build the two engines on our machine.

Well you can see all the rust in both heads.

Tomorrow the group stack. Everybody has there own way of doing it...but two decades of doing it this way and so far machines producing 2000 coffee's in a weekend ( Bar Italia , Frith Street London U.K ) 4 head lever Orione.

So the next stage, this will give you an idea what you have to start with.

And what it is replaced with, the black seals are "v" rings made from viton rubber and they need the brass or teflon inserts to spread them....I have them made for me on a lathe.

And what they look like side by side

And lastly how they look surrounding the piston head.

Just so as you can see what we finished up with.

Added the original steam tubes.

Not quite finished yet but close . I still need to rewire the machine .

Next the wiring and after that the first shot.....

Now I am going to finish the machine ,don't worry about that .....but I need a bit of help with one of my other projects. Now at the moment I am rebuilding a Gaggia Spagne 2 group lever , Brugnetti Aurora 3 group lever , another Gaggia America 2 group lever and a Gaggia Orione 1967 3 group lever. The machine I need help on is the Gaggia Spagne ....all I have is the body ,so if anybody has pictures or schematics of the inside please let me have a look.

Here are some pictures of what I have :

Also the link to facebook for the rebuild. ... ec5e165a0a

That's it for now, all help greatly appreciated.

As you can see we have two interesting machines for rebuild . I will start to post on there own rebuilds , i do need help on both machines as bits are missing do not be shy ,if you have parts for these machines let me know. ... e6fa2322c6

Just to show how capable we are ,enjoy this album ..its something I did last year ... ... 110bb53e5a

Well what a difference 3 months makes. Gaggia America sitting in a damp basement to being shown at the Caffe Culture 2012 at London Olympia.

Everybody loved it and its brothers and sisters.

Something else I am working on.....

Gaggia Orione 1963 2 group Lever.

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Clint Orchuk

#2: Post by Clint Orchuk »

Beautiful. My favorite machine. Congratulations.

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doctorespresso (original poster)

#3: Post by doctorespresso (original poster) »

This machine will keep all its original chrome. For once I decided it should keep some of its history...I would like the old man to see his machine as he remembered it with some of its scratches and dents. This is a complete rebuild. I have been doing this for 25 years so, after hiding for all those years my partner pushed me to show what I do here goes.


#4: Post by Warrior372 »

Wow. Amazing find! It will be fun to follow you through the rebuild.

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Team HB

#5: Post by TomC »

This will be an awesome thread to watch. Can't wait to see what it reveals inside!
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#6: Post by claypriley »

I am just drooling...... what a find!! That machine is going to sing! Keep up the thread, I can't wait to see and learn.... thanks for sharing it with all us...
LMWDP #347

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#7: Post by Paul_Pratt »

Great find Russ. I am really envious of your road trip, there is nothing like picking up a machine in person from the owner. I looked at your photo album, seems like you have boat loads of the Gaggia's. Be careful, you will become our resident Gaggia expert.

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doctorespresso (original poster)

#8: Post by doctorespresso (original poster) »

Thanks for looking at the link ....I loved what you did with your Gaggia and as you know if do this for money forget has to be a passion....If you need help or advice let me know..

Best Regards


Doctor Espresso

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#9: Post by KnowGood »

Paul_Pratt wrote:seems like you have boat loads of the Gaggia's.
and what is the Dr.'s preferred method of group rebuild?
LMWDP #251


#10: Post by DJF »

Congratulations on a rare find - and with the original shroud and gauge no less! A friend has a three group, parts of which are in my shed. He'll find your thread invaluable I'm sure.
"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I don't think so."