Lever Piston - Alternative to Food Safe Grease

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buckersss
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#1: Post by buckersss »

Hi All

I replaced gaskets and cleaned a la pavoni. I watched a bunch of videos and read a few restoration threads.

I sparingly applied molykote 111 to:
- the inner of the piston gaskets
- on the piston between the gaskets
- on the rod
- inside of the chamber

Are there any alternatives to silicone? Has anyone used coconut oil perhaps? Any concerns with this approach other than the fact one may need to reapply coconut oil more frequently?

Thanks for any insight anyone can offer.

jpender
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#2: Post by jpender »

Food oils are subject to oxidation particularly at elevated temperatures. If food safe isn't important then rancid oil may not bother you given the small quantities involved. Even petroleum isn't a problem in low enough concentration.

What's the issue with silicone?

buckersss (original poster)
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#3: Post by buckersss (original poster) »

Rancid oils are certainly a concern. But from what I see the smoke point of many oils is not all that different from that of molykote 111, and they all seem high enough above the boiler temps. The smoke point of Avocado oil specifically makes it an interesting contender.

I'm partial to using a naturally occurring lubricant if possible, just uncertain what other implications may arise.

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yakster
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#4: Post by yakster »

Some have used olive oil, but there's reports of it washing away quicker than DOW / Molycote 111.

Just picked up a nice Riviera Espresso lever, some questions and a "hello" to everyone

There's even mention of using olive oil in a backflush after cleaning to relube without dropping the screen, but again not as effective as DOW 111.

Reasons we use a Lever machine beyond superb shots

Of course with levers lacking a three way valve there's a risk of pulling olive oil into the boiler. The example I found was in the lever section but was for an E61 group.

Good luck.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

jpender
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#5: Post by jpender »

You don't need to reach the smoke point. I doubt that would happen with any food oil in an espresso machine. With time oils go rancid at 20°C and the rate increases with temperature. Do a search on food oils and oxidation.

If you're forced to relubricate frequently because the oil is less effective and/or washes away faster then perhaps rancidity goes from a minor concern to completely ignorable. And the products of rancidity are fully natural.

I wish I could offer some anecdotes of first hand experience. I use olive oil on my guitar fretboard without issue despite being warned not to. And I worked organic coconut oil into my hair as a pre-wash after reading glowing reports. That didn't work for me at all.

buckersss (original poster)
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#6: Post by buckersss (original poster) »

yakster wrote: Of course with levers lacking a three way valve there's a risk of pulling olive oil into the boiler. The example I found was in the lever section but was for an E61 group.
Thanks Chris. I'll read through the threads. Exactly the insight I was looking for.
jpender wrote:If you're forced to relubricate frequently because the oil is less effective and/or washes away faster then perhaps rancidity goes from a minor concern to completely ignorable. And the products of rancidity are fully natural.
Thanks John. Helpful points. We are thinking along the same line. If I opt to go down this route I'd be cognizant to relube often.

Much appreciated all.