Heating element removal

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

#1: Post by Smoking_Gibroni »

Hello.

I got hold of a Fiamma Prestige cheap. The idea was to take it apart and play around with it. I can't get the heating element out of the boiler. The gasket is in a pretty bad way, picture posted, and the thing seems stuck fast. Any tips or hints as to what I can try to get it out?

I've posted a picture of it before I removed the bolts and started stripping away the gasket.

Thanks.

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ira
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#2: Post by ira »

You cant get the bolts out or you can't get the element out? If it's the bolts start soaking them with some sort of penetrating oil, Kroil is a common one. And then every day try loosening and tightening them. Tapping the wrench with a hammer with pressure on them to shock them often works better than just pressure. But be patient, as it might take a good while for the penetrating oil to do its thing.

Ira

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damonbowe

#3: Post by damonbowe »

This could take a really, really frustratingly long time to do right. Just keep soaking and spend days or weeks on getting this part off. And give it a few whacks to loosen it up, every now and then. Anything you can do to remove more scale would help.

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Randy G.

#4: Post by Randy G. »

Here is my advice. The use of Kroil or similar penetrating oil is good. I would start with a Dremel and rotary tool and cut the lock washer out from under the bolt heads (only try if you have experience with that sort of thing). Apply the penetrating oil regularly and using a small hammer or a 13mm wrench or similar, tap each head of the bolts 50 to 100 times each. Do that daily four to six times. After a few days (or a week) of that, try to SLIGHTLY tighten then SLIGHTLY loosen each one a few times. Do not force!

While this sounds tedious, it is a lot less so than trying to remove a bolt that breaks off in the boiler!
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Smoking_Gibroni

#5: Post by Smoking_Gibroni »

Thank you for the replies. I maybe wasn't clear enough, the bolts came out no problem. Getting the element out is what I'm really struggling with. I've managed to strip the gasket from where the two parts come together (boiler and element) but it is totally stuck. I presume the element doesn't screw into the boiler, looking at a picture of a replacement element online?

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Randy G.

#6: Post by Randy G. »

What have you tried so far? Maybe we could give you some more useless advice. :wink:

Elements can warp and distort making them difficult to remove. To continue the theme, an inexpensive borescope from eBay could be fed through another opening to take a look inside the boiler to help plan a solution.
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Smoking_Gibroni

#7: Post by Smoking_Gibroni »

Haha, Thanks RandyG. I've taken the safety valve and level probe out to have a look inside, and saw this...

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So I think the limescale in the boiler is so bad it's holding the element tight. I'll get some citric acid in there and see what it's like tomorrow.

Thank you for your help.

JRising

#8: Post by JRising »

It looks to me like you've got the bolts out and the flange of the element is just bonded to the flange of the boiler from years of acidic contact, mineral build-up etc. Are you taking the element out because you're throwing the element away and replacing it? If so, whacking the three corners of the element flange with a small hammer will help to break it free. It doesn't look like the element has filled with water and "bloomed out" inside the boiler or anything. If you're trying to keep the element to go back in after cleaning, be gentle. Use a screwdriver to pry between the flanges but remember that the surface where the gasket sits needs to be beautifully smooth. Don't gouge the gasket surface with the screwdriver.

ira
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#9: Post by ira »

When I had a similar problem on my Rancilio, it took days of descaling to get the element out. I ran one of the 220V elements on 117 all day to keep the solution warm and every day when I'd change out the solution, the element would come out a bit further and if I could snap off pieces of scale and get them out I did. Eventually it came all the way out. Took quite a while though.

Ira

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erics
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#10: Post by erics »

Use wood or wood composite door shims between the two flanges. Trim the shims such that they just slip in and gently knock with a rubber mallet.

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Skål,

Eric S.
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E-mail: erics at rcn dot com