La Pavoni Europiccola (1976) refurb questions

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

#1: Post by seandh »

Hi all,

I recently came into possession of a 1976 La Pavoni Europiccola, I remember my mother using it when I was a child, it's been sitting in a pantry for the past 35 years or so. I now have it and am in process of refurbishing it. I've read through these forums for tips and tricks, but have some specific questions so thought I'd post my refurb here and ask questions as I go that I had trouble finding answers to. Some of these may be basic but I'd rather ask than make mistakes!

Currently I've broken down most of the unit, though the heating element is sitting with penetrating oil on the threads and I'm in process of getting a big wrench to help remove it (I will have some significant questions on sticking with the current boiler vs updating to something more modern, the wiring, etc. - will get to this later in the process). Gasket kit is en route from OE. Currently following the OE 2-part video on YouTube for breakdown guidance.

First question is maybe pretty straightforward ... what do I use to clean different parts, particularly for the group? I've read that citric acid good for descaling but dangerous on chrome. Joe Glo good for removing coffee residue and safe for chrome, but not sure if it'll clean more grimy stuff off. So, to start - what should I use to clean the parts of the group? (Photos below)

(And as you will see in first photo, my dad also sent me a 1985 Cremina which, as far as I can tell, maybe has never been used ... also will be replacing gaskets etc in that one, for another thread).

Thanks in advance!

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jwCrema
Supporter ❤

#2: Post by jwCrema »

As far as the Cremina goes, don't feel compelled to replace gaskets simply because they are old. I owned a 1985 Cremina (coincidence!) that was unused until 2015. I bought a gasket kit, but found everything in good condition and never installed it. I have a 1981 MCAL, also unused until December 2019 that has its original gaskets. My Club was built in 1978, unused until 2018 and same story.

I like vinegar/water 50/50, but there are lots of options and views. If you use a powder type cleaner I would add water and let it dissolve thoroughly before using it.

RobAnybody

#3: Post by RobAnybody »

it (I will have some significant questions on sticking with the current boiler vs updating to something more modern, the wiring, etc.
If the heating element still functions I wouldn't replace it, more modern doesn't necessarily mean better. It is relatively easy to add a thermofuse for safety purposes, especiall if you use the non resettable wire version like this one (image from Francesco's website) Image
If you add some insulation you can mount it underneath the bar connecting 2 of the heating element pins like this (thermofuse is in the red sleeve):Image
-Edit-
Just realized that the bar is in the 1978 model., you can add a clip to one if the pins to hold the thermofuse to the bottom plate.

For the cleaning questions, I prefer 0.5 to 1.5% citric acid over 50% vinegar for descaling. Mostly because it is easier to get rid of the taste. Soaking the piston in citric acid solution will get rid of the scale, you can polish it a bit afterwards. The grouphead looks nice already, there I would only use something like Joe glow or something similar.
Enjoy the referb!
Cheers,
Rob
LMWDP #647

jwCrema
Supporter ❤

#4: Post by jwCrema »

RobAnybody wrote:
For the cleaning questions, I prefer 0.5 to 1.5% citric acid over 50% vinegar for descaling. Mostly because it is easier to get rid of the taste. Soaking the piston in citric acid solution will get rid of the scale, you can polish it a bit afterwards. The grouphead looks nice already, there I would only use something like Joe glow or something similar.
I haven't had a taste issue occur, and I was paranoid that I would, which led me to do a lot of rinsing.

Here is a great post about the LPE on this topic. La Pavoni Europiccola, New User, How to Proceed

seandh

#5: Post by seandh »

jwCrema wrote:As far as the Cremina goes, don't feel compelled to replace gaskets simply because they are old. I owned a 1985 Cremina (coincidence!) that was unused until 2015. I bought a gasket kit, but found everything in good condition and never installed it. I have a 1981 MCAL, also unused until December 2019 that has its original gaskets. My Club was built in 1978, unused until 2018 and same story.
jwCrema - thank you! I went ahead and fired up the Cremina and it works perfectly, no new gaskets needed, thank you for that! As for the cleaning I just used Joe Glow and it worked well (plus some citric acid just for the piston) ... would have turned to vinegar as next step but I don't think I need it. Appreciate the guidance! -Sean

seandh

#6: Post by seandh »

RobAnybody wrote:For the cleaning questions, I prefer 0.5 to 1.5% citric acid over 50% vinegar for descaling. Mostly because it is easier to get rid of the taste. Soaking the piston in citric acid solution will get rid of the scale, you can polish it a bit afterwards. The grouphead looks nice already, there I would only use something like Joe glow or something similar.
Rob - thanks for all this! I'll get to the wiring at a little bit later date and provide an update (any maybe more questions ... but the heating element does still work!). As for the cleaner ... went with Joe Glow for basically everything and it worked like a charm, and just soaked the bottom part of the piston in citric acid which also worked great. Things looking good. Appreciate the guidance! -Sean

seandh

#7: Post by seandh »

A couple things remain in the disassembly. Currently can't get the steam valve mechanism handle apart to replace that gasket ... I removed the pin but it won't come apart (that crack in the plastic was already there btw) - any ideas? Is it supposed to just pull straight out of the handle?

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RobAnybody

#8: Post by RobAnybody »

seandh wrote:Is it supposed to just pull straight out of the handle?
Yes, normally it should but this happens more often. You can apply some penetrating oil in the hole of the locking pin and at the base of the knop and let it soak for a bit. If it is still stuck, re mount the valve assembly in the machine, place a small spanner over the valve axle and against the knob and give it a few gentle taps with a hammer.
Cheers,
Rob
LMWDP #647

seandh

#9: Post by seandh »

RobAnybody wrote:Yes, normally it should but this happens more often. You can apply some penetrating oil in the hole of the locking pin and at the base of the knop and let it soak for a bit. If it is still stuck, re mount the valve assembly in the machine, place a small spanner over the valve axle and against the knob and give it a few gentle taps with a hammer.
Rob - thank you! This worked like a charm (might have taken a little more than a "few" "gentle" taps but it worked!). -Sean

User avatar
drgary
Team HB

#10: Post by drgary »

Those are two great machines. I wouldn't change from stock specs on the La Pavoni. It's a classic. I know you've already done it, but when people have difficulty removing the steam tap handle, you can cut off the old gasket, cut through a new one and fasten at the cut with a touch of superglue.

The base is plain steel, so you'll want to make sure it isn't rusted and may want to add a rust-proof coating underneath.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!