La Spaziale - inlet leak, vacuum leak, nut won't screw

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
MasterMark
Posts: 12
Joined: 2 years ago

#1: Post by MasterMark »

Hello all! Just taken ownership of a used La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi ii. The previous owner said he used filtered, relatively soft water, but thought I'd open it up and see what things were like. A few questions I was hoping someone might be able to assist with!

(A) Solenoid was clean, took the water probe out the steam boiler and that looked pretty clean. Took the vacuum breaker off and peering inside with a torch, couldn't see obvious signs of scale. Any reason to try a descale to clear things up, or if it ain't broke don't fix?

(B) Replacing the vacuum breaker, added teflon tape as advised on posts here and elsewhere, but despite multiple attempts, it sputters and leaks a little. I've ordered a new breaker given it was cheap - two types, pics attached. Type 1 seems to be the same as the existing. Is either better than the other, or largely the same thing? Can I seal them with a washer (copper, Teflon?) instead of tape given my lack of success?

(C) When turning the steam boiler back on, and struggling with the vacuum breaker, a drop or two of water came out of the end of the inlet tube. No more than that. There was also a bunch of white deposit you can see circled in red. Is that actually scale, or something oxidising? I scraped it off pretty easily with a thin flat-head screwdriver.

(D) The other photo is of a nut (circled in red). I undid this to try and detach the tube to the steam wand, but it was too stiff. The problem is I can't seem to rescrew the nut on! I guess I need SOMETHING there. Could I use a small hose clamp or will that do nothing?

Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated!




JRising
Team HB
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Joined: 5 years ago

#2: Post by JRising »

A) If you don't have a reason to descale, I firmly believe you shouldn't descale.

B) Where does the wet steam sputter? Around the threads of the vacuum breaker or up and through the vacuum breaker? If just the threads, then yes, you could use a copper crush washer, or re-apply the teflon tape.

C) That's possibly old calcium, possibly old magnesium from an ages old steam leak. Wiping it up and seeing if you can get that tube to seal up and stop the leak should be all it needs.

D) That fitting should be re-useable several times, I'm not sure why you are having trouble with it. Because of the dis-similar metals used, those will disintegrate over time if the water is acidic enough, but then you'd be seeing the same at all of the dis-similar metal connections on the machine.

MasterMark (original poster)
Posts: 12
Joined: 2 years ago

#3: Post by MasterMark (original poster) »

Thanks JRising, super helpful!

A) Agreed, I'll leave well alone.

B) On my various attempts, it has at times come from both the threads and also sputtering from the top. I tried the teflon tape 3 times (different quantities each time), so i'm HOPING a new vacuum valve + copper washer will help. The washers are 1.5mm thick, not too thick? And do you think one of those vacuum breaker valves is better than the other?

C) Can I ask what you'd use to seal - teflon tape? I also have some Tru Blu thread sealant?

D) Agreed, it's very odd. I was able to thread 2 other identical nuts, not sure why this one is giving issues. The tube is quite "stiff", so it's possible I can't quite get the nut to sit perfectly straight. I'll try brushing the threads tonight to see if a little clean will help seat it. Is there anything else I could use if all else fails?

Thank you so much again!

Marc

daveR1
Supporter ♡
Posts: 247
Joined: 6 years ago

#4: Post by daveR1 »

Marc, did you try making a wad gasket with the tape? my Dream's boiler wall is thin, not a lot of threads to seal things up & easy to strip if you torque things too far. I assume the Vivaldi is the same. Wad gasket worked for me. see this post
Making a Teflon Tape Wad Gasket

MasterMark (original poster)
Posts: 12
Joined: 2 years ago

#5: Post by MasterMark (original poster) »

Hi Dave, I haven't actually, no. Will give that a go, thanks for the link!

In other news I managed to thread the nut back on - ending up unscrewing the plate that holds the steam wand connection in place against the side wall. At least that's one thing done.

daveR1
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Joined: 6 years ago

#6: Post by daveR1 »

happy to help
thx to cafeIKE who made the post.
one caution - be careful not to leave remnants of tape protruding past the boiler wall that could break off & gum up things inside the boiler

MasterMark (original poster)
Posts: 12
Joined: 2 years ago

#7: Post by MasterMark (original poster) »

Alas, no joy with the wad gasket method. The sputtering seems to be coming mostly (if not exclusively) up through the vacuum breaker rather than around the threads (though hard to be 100% sure how much, if anything, is coming from around the threads.

I guess if nothing from the underside around the threads, it suggests the gasket actually DOES work, and the sputtering up through the middle of the breaker suggests a replacement might do the trick? The spare part should be arriving today, so it's worth a shot I guess.

daveR1
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#8: Post by daveR1 »

I had a similar experience, steam/water was leaking around the "piston" not around the threaded housing. I first tried soaking the breaker in Dezcal to remove any scale that would prevent the vacuum breaker piston from sealing. Didn't help so I bought a new breaker (same style part as original). That worked.

JRising
Team HB
Posts: 3597
Joined: 5 years ago

#9: Post by JRising »

Currently I am seeing a lot of issues with the "concave teflon insert" type of vacuum breakers, I'm disappointed to hear that it may be becoming common on the ones with the bare stainless steel concave valve-seat also... In my experiments of moving plungers, o-rings, then seats from one body to another, the problem always seemed to follow the teflon seat, so it's odd that the little circlip vacuum breakers are bad from the factory. It could just have some crud stuck inside.

MasterMark (original poster)
Posts: 12
Joined: 2 years ago

#10: Post by MasterMark (original poster) »

@daveR1, glad to hear the new valve helped. I think I'll actually get the one with a barbed fitting at the top so I can attach a hose to it. On the off-chance at some point there's a bit of leakage inside, at least it won't spray all over the inside.

@JRising - to be fair, the machine is around 8 years old, and I think for a good bit of time it was sitting around unused. So as you say, quite likely it's just got some crud on the inside.