Refinishing base on La Pavoni Europiccola ca 1972

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

#1: Post by Yankee Junkman » Sep 11, 2019, 8:34 am

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Hi all, I'm new here, with a restoration question.

I've recently rescued a LP Europiccola that was stored in my parents' basement for 40+ years. My parents purchased this on a trip to Rome in the early 1970s; using dating clues I've found on this site and others, it looks like my unit was manufactured between 1971 and 1973 (serial number B6375). Removable shower head. I don't recall that it got tons of use, it was trotted out mostly as an after-dinner trick for parties etc. If it had 100 shots pulled on it before it was stored away, I'd be surprised.

I put water in and turned it on. It heats! It comes to full pressure! It doesn't leak!

I cleaned it thoroughly (or rather, as thoroughly as I could without launching a teardown and rebuild). It works great.

So, since it's working fine and (reasonably) clean, pulls shots and froths milk, I don't think I need to take it apart and rebuild it.

But: the aluminum base of the machine is corroded and I'm wondering if anyone here can recommend a way to clean/prep/refinish it (auto body shop? Powder coat shop?) assuming the boiler can stay in place but be carefully masked during the recoating. (The lever handle should also be rechromed.)

I know I know I know - the *right* way to do this would be to remove the boiler (and have the base refinished separately, far from the tank!), and do a thorough check/rebuild. But, I honestly don't think all that's necessary. It's just shabby and I don't like the idea of oxidizing aluminum in proximity to food prep space.

Have you done this, or seen it done? Any thoughts or recommendations? I'm wondering if it could be finished, as-is, with caliper paint. I'd of course remove the emblem and switch assembly first, but leave the tank in place, well taped and shielded.

And, assuming I did this for now, would it be reversible in the future if at some point I do need to undertake a rebuild?

Many thanks,
Chris in Boston, Mass.
(Any referrals to local shops for this work would be much appreciated!)
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forbeskm
Supporter ♡

#2: Post by forbeskm » Sep 11, 2019, 12:28 pm

Powder coat can clean that up, have them epoxy coat then powder coat. If you need someone who has done these before Lee at Pristine PC has done a bunch, http://pristinepc.com

Remove the boiler for powder coat. Makes it clean and no damage to the boiler. Likely needs new wiring and it is good to ground the boiler, there is a threaded hole on the brass ring, replace the cord with a 3 prong.

I recommend rebuilding the machine, its not difficult, the group has he brass sleeve but on yours it does not require removal. The group does not need to be removed on this machine.

New seals are quick and easy. Yes you can use it as is, I would not. The crud I have seen stuck in the seals from years of dust, etc i would not want to be drinking from. It takes 30 minutes to change em or inspect/clean them.

Some simichrome will help the handle. Won't perform miracles but it will look better. If you can rechome, great.

JRising

#3: Post by JRising » Sep 11, 2019, 1:21 pm

I've got to agree with Mike Forbes. If you're going to bother doing anything, take the boiler off the base, even if you're only going to spray paint it. If you don't want to spend 2 minutes removing the boiler, then don't refinish the base at all. The 5 minutes of taping newspaper to the boiler will cut into your painting time.

NicaDon

#4: Post by NicaDon » Sep 11, 2019, 4:38 pm

I bought a restored Europiccola several months ago off Craigslist and later came across its history on Home Barista. Base was stripped and powder coated. While I would have preferred the original green I'm more than happy with the the restoration as detailed here.

Jumped into levers with a 1972 Europiccola!

Yankee Junkman

#5: Post by Yankee Junkman » Sep 11, 2019, 5:03 pm

Thanks, but were the boiler and heating element etc removed prior to refinishing the base? Or was the tank taped and masked and the refinisher worked around it?

That's the dilemma I have. Everything works fine except for damaged finish on the base and the lever.

Thx again,
Chris

Yankee Junkman

#6: Post by Yankee Junkman » Sep 11, 2019, 5:09 pm

Sorry, just saw JR's agreement with MF. Is it really that simple to get the tank unit off? What kind of tools will I need?

Is there a kit-for-dummies of all the gaskets and other parts I should replace that I can order online?

Thanks, sorry again, like I said I'm a newbie. I was specifically warned by someone I spoke to who's worked on my model that it was a beast to reconnect.

Any members of this forum in eastern Massachusetts that I could pay for his/her time helping me with this project? I'm afraid of turning it from something that works fine into a box of parts from an ambitious project that lost all hope somewhere along the way...

forbeskm
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by forbeskm » Sep 12, 2019, 12:26 am

Its not diffcult, no more than any other pavoni. Tools are available for loan or rent, Stefano's has a tool. The element can be removed with a tool or sometimes with a wrench, if its in good condition, oil filter wrench shiuld work fine. The brass ring can be removed with two pins in a vise or a tool in a vise, rare occasion the oil filter wrnech works here as well. I have an aluminum rod with two dowel pins in it to tighten or loosen the ring.

Is it simple yes, I have done maybe 15. Are you handy at this sort of thing? If not maybe just rebuild the group and clean up the base with some bar keepers friend and call it a day for the moment, i still highly recommend replacing the cord with one with a ground.

Orpan Espresso, Stefanos Espresso Care, Francesco's, and others all carry rebuild kits for the la pavoni, you want the brass sleeve kits.

isleofman

#8: Post by isleofman » Sep 12, 2019, 12:21 pm

I have been referred to this company for small, one-off projects. I have not yet used them, but the referral is from a solid source.

They are in Clinton, MA

http://centralmasspowdercoating.com/

Yankee Junkman

#9: Post by Yankee Junkman » Sep 12, 2019, 12:48 pm

Thanks, Lissa!

Alslaw
Supporter ♡

#10: Post by Alslaw » Sep 12, 2019, 2:50 pm

I definitely concur with everybody else's assessment of removing the base prior to refinishing. I know you were expecting everybody to tell you that and you didn't want to hear it, but there is a reason why everybody has the same response.

Also, you need to replace the gaskets. They may appear to work, but you are likely not getting the proper seal for extraction. If they are the original gaskets that are over 50 years old and have been sitting in storage for decades, you absolutely should do a full overhaul of the machine. It won't take too much work and won't cost much money, but will be worth every penny.
LMWDP # 606