Easy E61 grouphead gasket removal

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
popeye

#1: Post by popeye »

I have stumbled upon a technique for easily removing my grouphead gasket/shower screen on my E61 Isomac Zaffiro and i was wondering if anyone else uses it or if it is somehow damaging. I place a backflush disk in my portafilter and do the portafilter wiggle under pressure. As i do the wiggle, i create a temporary seal so the pressure (on my gauge) builds up to maybe 3-5 bars. Then i quickly apply maybe 5-10 pounds of pressure counterclockwise to break the seal and allow water to flow again. Doing this rapidly 4-5 times seems to work the gasket off (so much that it may actually drop or pop off on the last time.) The trick is allowing the portafilter to catch, but not allowing the pump to build up so much pressure that the "pop" of breaking the seal is damaging to the machine. It allows me to get the gasket and shower screen off without damaging the gasket for easy cleaning. Any comments? Am i hurting something? Anybody else doing this? (I am a relative newbie - 1 year - and did the best search i could to see if anybody else was posting on this before i posted - sorry if it's redundant)

User avatar
cpl593h

#2: Post by cpl593h »

Haha, that's the exact same thing that I do to remove the gasket on my Zaffiro. I just don't think this method is recommended very often because of the risk of burning yourself by the escaping water or being injured by a group screen and gasket exploding off of the group.

User avatar
cannonfodder
Team HB

#3: Post by cannonfodder »

Try a paint can opener. The small tip with the right angle turn at the very end. If you don't have one, go to the local hardware store/paint store and ask for one. They give them away free.
Dave Stephens

User avatar
HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

popeye wrote:I have stumbled upon a technique for easily removing my grouphead gasket/shower screen on my E61 Isomac Zaffiro and i was wondering if anyone else uses it or if it is somehow damaging.
I've never tried it, but Kristi posted the same suggestion. Loosening the portafilter of a pressurized group filled with nearly boiling water sounds inherently unwise. She also suggested straightening a paper clip and then bending a little "L" at the end. Work the small L-shaped end between the gasket and groove until it bottoms out, then turn the paperclip to hook the L behind the gasket so you can tug it out. I simply pry at it as Jeremy describes in How to clean an E61 dispersion screen.
Dan Kehn

IronBarista

#5: Post by IronBarista »

Why not do this technique right after switching on the machine. That way, it's not hot yet.
LMWDP #011

User avatar
Marshall

#6: Post by Marshall »

popeye wrote:I have stumbled upon a technique for easily removing my grouphead gasket/shower screen on my E61 Isomac Zaffiro and i was wondering if anyone else uses it or if it is somehow damaging. I place a backflush disk in my portafilter and do the portafilter wiggle under pressure. As i do the wiggle, i create a temporary seal so the pressure (on my gauge) builds up to maybe 3-5 bars. Then i quickly apply maybe 5-10 pounds of pressure counterclockwise to break the seal and allow water to flow again. Doing this rapidly 4-5 times seems to work the gasket off (so much that it may actually drop or pop off on the last time.) The trick is allowing the portafilter to catch, but not allowing the pump to build up so much pressure that the "pop" of breaking the seal is damaging to the machine. It allows me to get the gasket and shower screen off without damaging the gasket for easy cleaning. Any comments?
Yes. This falls under the ever-popular home barista category of solutions to problems that don't exist. If you are backflushing properly, there shouldn't be anything behind the screen to worry about. The only time the gasket needs to be removed is when you replace it, at which time damaging it is irrelevant.
Marshall
Los Angeles

rpirong

#7: Post by rpirong » replying to Marshall »

Yes, but it still can be a difficult manuever, so any tips on removing it when it needs to be replaced sure are appreciated!

User avatar
Marshall

#8: Post by Marshall » replying to rpirong »

The worst, baked-in, dried out old gaskets can be removed by screwing in a self-tapping screw a few turns and grasping the screwhead with a pliers. I think I picked that trick up from Randy Glass. Fortunately, I only had to use it once. A skinny screwdriver head has worked well as a wedge with "fresher" gaskets.
Marshall
Los Angeles

User avatar
Compass Coffee
Sponsor

#9: Post by Compass Coffee » replying to Marshall »

While I've used that method on a 2 year old Silvia gasket that ended up crumbling it was so shot, I just tried the above technique with my 8 month old Bric' (on ~16hr a day) Didn't completely "blow it out" but just took a wee bit of lightly prying on the side edge of the screen and dropped right out. Did it right after detergent back flushing and had been on many hours, no problem not getting scalded wise. Sweet tip IMO :!:
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

User avatar
Compass Coffee
Sponsor

#10: Post by Compass Coffee »

Marshall wrote:Yes. This falls under the ever-popular home barista category of solutions to problems that don't exist. If you are backflushing properly, there shouldn't be anything behind the screen to worry about. The only time the gasket needs to be removed is when you replace it, at which time damaging it is irrelevant.
I thought so too until today and now disagree. See this thread Cleaning Note: Front flushing an E61 dispersion screen
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com