La Pavoni steam tap snapped off! How to remove?

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

Postby mrfredo » Jan 09, 2019, 7:02 pm

Hey everyone, I'm new here and I hope to find some advice on how to attack my current issue. I've searched both here and googled it, but didn't really find anyone with the same problem.

So when preparing my La Pavoni Professional for replacement of some seals I went to remove the steam tap. Just like it's supposed to be done I started to screw it out, just like opening the valve, and kept going. But quite soon there was some resistance, however I managed to continue turning the knob/tap but at some point it just got stuck. I would guess it's about half way out now, but it was impossible to turn it further, or even to turn it in again. So I got a wrench to get some more force on it and got about half a turn more, but then the tap suddenly just snapped! So here I am now, stuck with this little bugger halfway out but impossible to move and without a know now :cry:

Any advice on how to remove it? Thanks in advance!!



Postby walt_in_hawaii » Jan 10, 2019, 8:47 pm

Fredrik, welcome!
First of all, you will find these machines are pretty reliable generally, but do require some maintenance. The problem you seem to be having is, you think everything on your machine is made from 1" cold rolled steel with a 100,000 lb tensile strength. But as you can see, most of the stuff is not even steel; its coated brass in many cases. Thin in some spots, and therefore will break quite easily. Brass is soft. When things tighten up, generally as a rule you should not try to force them. Find out why its binding and remedy that situation first; silicon grease goes a LONG way. Apply it, and work back and forth and get it move incrementally more over time. You are dealing with years of carbon buildup or grease buildup in some cases; don't get impatient.
In your current case, I think you should shine a line inside that tube and see what's making the threads bind. use grease in there and slobber it in. I think you will have to find a way to move the center broken arm back in, so that you can work grease into the threads, which means affixing something to it to move it. I would take it to a machine shop and temporarily brazing a T handle on it so you can move it. Once you have that, try heat on the outside of the cylinder/barrel its mounted in to help move the T handle out by going in, then out, then in, repeat many times to distribute the grease and break down the carbon in the threads. Use a hair dryer, not a torch. Remember, be delicate.

User avatar

Postby redbone » Jan 11, 2019, 10:45 am

Good link here from Francesco's site.

I had a similar issue and used a HD pipe wrench. Used a Rigid brand pipe wrench handed down from my dad circa 1960's. Firm but not too aggressive horizontal hammer taps helped loosed things.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.

LMWDP #549


Postby mrfredo » Jan 17, 2019, 7:32 pm

Thank you so much for your advice wait_in_hawaii and redbone, I highly appreciate it! Sounds like a reasonable approach, gentle and patience will probably be the key words for me :wink:
I'll let you know how it goes!