Hi everyone. I'm a new member here, and also new to espresso machines.
Normally I think the appropriate thing would be for me to lurk and read, start asking questions, learn about espresso and how to make it, get help selecting a beginner machine, etc.
However, I am going to ask your forgiveness and help as I jump right in. I have already acquired an espresso machine, I need to fix it before learning how to use it, and yes I am going about this all backwards.
A few years ago, I curbpicked an Elektra 2 group machine. The neighbor who set it on the curb told me she used to work in the coffee industry, was given this machine, used it in her house, then stopped, and finally decided to get it out of her basement. I brought it home, and realized that in addition to needing work it needed 240v. Since I've no 240v in my kitchen, the machine sat in my garage collecting dust.
Well, I recently installed a 240v dishwasher and as part of that I put in a subpanel that can feed another 240v circuit to the kitchen, so...
I pulled the Elektra out for a look. It is a Maxi 2 group from 1993, also called a "Modern". It was very dirty inside, with some superficial rust on the frame, missing the portafilters. The hot water tap is missing and that hard line has been folded to plug it. The power cord has been disconnected but is present. The drain line is missing. There are a few other bodgy things. Otherwise it seems complete. I've pulled off the outer panels and started cleaning it up and listing the obvious parts I'll need.
So, I'm here asking for advice. My tentative plan is to completely disassemble this machine, restore it (treat rust, strip, descale, paint, buff, polish, replace gaskets and grotty bits), then do a test hook up in the garage (I have 240v and water there) and get it working properly, then consider whether to install it in my house or, if it proves to be too much machine for me, sell it. Does that make sense?
Or should I simply do a basic clean then do the test hook up in the garage? If there is a good chance this machine has some unrepairable problem, that might make sense. But it looks like a pretty simple machine, how likely it is to be unrepairable?
Or should I take it to a local espresso machine service company - I assume there are some in Portland? - and ask them to get it working? If repairing these machines is likely to be beyond my ability then that might make sense. However, I strongly prefer to DIY stuff like this. I work on cars and bikes, have all the tools to disassemble/reassemble this machine, an air compressor to test the boiler, a paint sprayer to repaint the side panels, etc.
Money is an object. I have $0 into this machine so far, I'd like to get it beautiful and installed in my kitchen for something in the hundreds of dollars. I'm aware that more outlay will be needed for the grinder etc.
Here are photos. I've done a bit of cleaning, but no serious disassembly so far. Basically I'm asking what would you do? Thank you so much.