Used Breville Dual Boiler : no water from grouphead or steam wand

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

#1: Post by Vyni »

Hi ! :D

I'm new here, and thank you already for the lot of information I found in the forum ! (in advance: sorry for my english i'm French :lol: )

I just bought a used Dual Boiler (the brand is Riviera & Bar, it was the french distributor a few years ago, but it's the same machine as the Breville one).
There is no water coming from anything (not from the group head, either from the water alone nor from steam wand). I think there's just no water refilling in any boiler because when I turn on the machine, there's a really loud noise (like the pump is running I think) but I don't see any water going out of the tank or flowing in any tube.

The inside of the machine looks OK (no mark of big leaking or burned pieces). I checked (and cleaned) the solenoid which seem good (gasket looks perfect) and the o-rings of boilers looks OK too (I know I will have to change them anyway but I just don't think the problem is coming from here (but maybe it can?)).

Is there anything else I must check in the machine where the problem could be ?
Could it be a problem from the water tank ? Because in mine, the little plastic piece with a spring (where it connects with the machine) is a little damaged (I will add photos). This part is dripping off when I fill the water tank outside the machine so I know there's a problem, but I was assuming that once cliped in the machine it was "good" and that the machine should be able to pump water ?

Thank you so much !

Team HB

#2: Post by JRising »

Can you get your money back?
Did the seller sell it as "In working condition"?

Do you want to try to fix it? It could be as simple as forcibly priming the pump (basically force water or even air through the pump to unseat the stuck check valve in the pump's outlet) so that you can test if that's the only problem. You say it's loud... Like there's no water in it (Obnoxiously loud clacking as the plunger bottoms out with no water to restrict it)?

Have you ever had and primed an espresso machine before, or anything with a pump? If you took it to the seller, would they be willing to prime it for you?

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#3: Post by HB »

Vyni wrote:I think there's just no water refilling in any boiler because when I turn on the machine, there's a really loud noise (like the pump is running I think)...
If you post a video, we can confirm, but I agree with John: That rattling obnoxious noise is what a vibratory pump makes when there's no water flowing. From Repairing a ULKA vibratory pump:


There could be a blockage in the inlet or the pump needs to be primed. That's when the small purple-ish piston[ette] above doesn't open/close to push water past the next stage (black half moon/spring in red area). You "prime the pump" by forcing water under pressure from the left towards the right with a syringe or equivalent while the pump is running.
Dan Kehn

Vyni (original poster)

#4: Post by Vyni (original poster) »

Thank you so much for your responses !

for JRising :
No I can't have my money back, but I get it for a very low price and that's why it has problems. The previous owner don't told me much (unless something like "sold as seen" but I knew that the machine was starting and heating) and as I am not a specialist, I didn't knew what to ask/verify.
So yes it's my first coffee machine but I'm ok with trying to fix it.

Yes I think it's the noise of the dry pump as you describ.
So I took the ULKA out and tried to prime it. When I run it out of the circuit (OPV outlet (the one that goes to the boiler) unplugged) it works : I can feel the water pumped from the bottle I use, and there is water going out of the OPV.
But when I reconnect the tube on the OPV, it's not working : there is the loud noise again, I managed to get the normal noise (I presume) of the pump when I press really hard on the bottle, but then it seems like the water is not really going on the boiler... like the pump is no strong enough ?

I look at the inside of the ULKA pump and I didn't see anything weird, but as I said I'm not an expert so maybe there is a particular thing to check (or to do) that I didn't see.

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#5: Post by bill »

Can you post a photo of the machine?

I wasn't born in Texas, but got here as fast as I could!

Vyni (original poster)

#6: Post by Vyni (original poster) »

Yes of course !
Here's the machine

Inside from the front

Inside from the back

Is there anything specific it would be helpful to post a photo of ?

Vyni (original poster)

#7: Post by Vyni (original poster) »

These last days, I tried a few times each day to prime the pump by forcing water in it but nothing happened, there's no improvement.

I took a look at the reference on the back of the machine and it seems that the machine is from 2015. From what I have read on the forum, 5 years is already a good run for a ULKA pump, so I presume it's normal that my 7 years old pump can be "tired" ?
Is it a solution for me to change it (I'm ok with that) ? Or is it a good idea to just change some pieces (gaskets and the tiny plastic ball) ?


#8: Post by BaristaBob »

At seven years your pump is probably getting "tired", if not in failure mode already. I'd suggest just replacing the pump since you have it opened already to this point. Four screws to undo, a few hoses and electrical connections to disconnect, and you will be back in business. Along with replacing the pump, you might want to replace the OPV at the same time, but that's your call. These are made from plastic, so it could fail on you at any time as well.
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"

Give me the crema

#9: Post by Give me the crema »

Honestly I had the same issue. Both pumps stopped working. Usually happens when a machine is not used for a long time.