Replacing steam boiler La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II

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

#1: Post by Tothemax »

Just recently, the heating elements of my Mini Vivaldi failed. I was informed the only option was to replace the entire boiler because the heating elements are welded to the boiler and the boiler itself does not have a flange on top or any way of replacing the elements only. Therefore the entire boiler needs to be replaced. I would say this is equivalent to having to replace the entire head on a car engine because the lifters need replacing. Enough ranting for now .... :)

I thought I would share some of my learnings to help another person feel comfortable with the repair. Below are the steps I followed, what I learned and some pics. It's not very difficult and all in it costs about $250 in parts, as I replaced other parts as well. Well worth it !!! as I love this Mini Vivaldi and had it for many years. I cannot really complain that much because it gave me many years of amazing coffee... And hopefully many more years to come....

Also it would have been easier If I had tried pliers to loosen the compression rings from the fittings so I could disconnect the hoses on top. Am not sure if this would have scratched the surface and caused leaking. I was struggling to disconnect them. The hoses were stuck in the fittings and ended up cutting them in half to remove the boiler. I then had to rebuild and replaced each of the 3 plastic hoses. Next time, I will try use pliers very gently on the compression rings and wiggle and pull a little and they come right out. Would have been much easier and my machine would not have been down as I waited for the replacement hoses and rings to arrive. Pls post below if you do this job and this method works for you.

Some of the tools I used include:
10 mm socket & 10 mm combination wrench for the nut which holds the boiler in place , 14 15, 16, 17 mm combination wrench for the compression fittings on the hoses, 19mm socket w/ ratchet for the vacuum breaker, brass brush to clean the fitting threads, Teflon tape, Pliers to loosen the compression fittings stuck in the elbow fittings. Having a vice to hold the boilers while working on the fittings is also useful.


Next I took lots of pictures of how this is laid out because all the fittings and instrumentation on top of the boiler all which have to be transferred to the new boiler obviously in the same location and same orientation. Document Document !! Next onto the actual work:

1- I removed the back and top of the unit to access the internals. Phillips on top and the bottom of the unit. I Spread apart the plastic on the side allows the stainless steel rear to come out. top is easy one screw.
2- I removed the black and white power connectors from the top. You may have buy new insulators as mine were brittle and all broken when I touched them
3- I removed all the hoses from elbow compression fittings -I left the fittings in place for now until boiler was removed (I ended up cutting the hoses in half because mine were stuck and I did not think to use pliers on them)
4- I removed all the sensors with wires
5- using the 10mm I removed the nut and ground holding the boiler in place. Boiler came out with some miscellaneous fittings on it
6- Next I marked the angle of the fittings on top of the new boiler.
7- I started removing all the fittings. A couple were really scaled up so I let them soak in some Dezcal and water. After a bit of soaking I cleaned all the threads of all fittings and doped them up with Teflon tape.
8- I then cut the hoses to size and rebuilt them to match the ones I cut up
9- transferred all fittings on the new boiler and replaced the vacuum breaker and also the high water limit switch with a new one are recommended by Chris Coffee. Don't forget to transfer the drain plug on the very bottom. May get a new O-ring from CC
10- Once all the fittings were back in I put the boiler loose in place and reattached the 3 plastic hoses first.
11- reinstalled the 10 mm nut and ground to hold the boiler in place
12- reinstalled all remaining connectors back on top
13- before putting the back and cover back on, I filled the tank and tested everything.. I had a couple of minor leaks on compression fittings which were just tightened and fixed.
14- Once I figured everything worked as it should and no more leaks, I reassembled the back and top covers and moved the unit back in the kitchen counter...

Looking forward to my regular morning espresso tomorrow instead of the Aeropress coffee I have been drinking for the last 10 days or so.

All the Best :D