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Thread: A Little TLC

  1. #1
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    Default A Little TLC

    I brought one of these of eBay, cheaply, although not as cheap as some on here have managed.

    Expobar-TLC-1.jpg

    Dirt, grease and coco....yuk....

    Expobar-TLC-1a.jpg

    Yes I know looks a tad off colour, was sat right next to the cooker so was a bit greasy from that, two large dogs lived in the kitchen so they kindly added a bit of dust, also he’d been using it for steaming coco and hot chocolate for the kids yummy, it was everywhere including caked onto the wand. So first haggled the bloke down a bit as you do in such dealings and then got another £50 off cause he couldn’t be arsed to spend half an hour polishing it up a bit, that brought about a small gleam of satisfaction.

    Why is this a case of TLC? Well it would be an insult to @jimbojohn55 to call it a pimp, there is no way this is up to his standards, far far from it. Then there’s @joey24dirt and his all out guns blazing mods, again this isn't going to compete. As for @Missy just rolling her sleeves up and going for it, no holds barred, a complete strip down and rebuild letting nothing stand in the way, wow what admiration. I applaud you all.

    I now realize I should have taken more photo’s as I went along but I think I have enough to explain the process I took. Heres the first with the panels removed, wasn’t expecting to find so many grounds inside they were everywhere (?), and the places they can get into wow, and as can be seen work has already started.

    Expobar-TLC-2.jpg

    This second picture the top of the boilers after they'd been cleaned up, grounds removed and a very weak citric acid applied to remove some of the grot.

    Expobar-TLC-3.jpg

    To be continued...





    It doesn't matter how you get there it's only the end result that matters

  2. #2
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    Default A Little TLC (part two)

    Next the removal of the group head gasket, this is where I realized I should have knocked at least another £50 of the price, what a bleep. Eventually using an awl, followed by opening up the hole far enough to accept a blunt screw, some tugs with pliers, a couple of cuts as things slipped when they shouldn't of have, a far bit of time, a lot of cursing and muttering various expletives, a few small pieces eventually started to drop out, then more and eventually the thing loosened enough to drop out.

    Expobar-TLC-4.jpg

    Expobar-TLC-5.jpg

    Expobar-TLC-6.jpg

    When? was that screen last cleaned, a day or two back I’m sure, the portafilters matched it in looks, a good soak in Puly for a couple of hours sorted them all out.

    A couple of pics of the grouphead, first just after removal of that bleeping gasket, and the second after a bit of a cleanup. Looking better but still more to do, a couple of back flushes later on will help clean this up further.

    Expobar-TLC-7.jpg

    Expobar-TLC-8.jpg



    It doesn't matter how you get there it's only the end result that matters

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    Default A Little TLC (part 3)

    Obviously scale has crossed my mind, several times by this stage, first lets check for evidence

    Expobar-TLC-9.jpg

    as suspected!!

    After a good soak in citric acid as well as the steam wand and hot water arm the mushroom itself is looking much cleaner despite missing some of its chrome.

    Expobar-TLC-10.jpg

    Expobar-TLC-11.jpg

    view inside where there mushroom resides, after a citric clean.

    Next the boilers, the bit I’d not been looking forward to, had heard they are bloody difficult, if only they were fitted with easy to get at drain valves, they aren’t, no drains whatsoever, oh well. After some forum research I came across a guide by @RossP in the Expobar Forum entitled ‘Quick Descaling’ basically involves opening up an entry via the top of the boilers and pumping/pouring the citric acid or water in or out, I did both of the boilers this way, and combined this with a simple heat up of the machine and draining the steam boiler via the hot water tap. Worked well apart from not taking into account how hot the little one-way rubber eBay pump would get, bit of a doh moment...

    Expobar-TLC-12.jpg

    just added some tubing so as to reach to the bottom of the boilers. As there was a lot of scale first time around indicated by the colour of the drained water as well as being caught by the filter in the hot water tap and as an extra precaution I repeated the whole process once more. At the same time I also ran citric acid through the group head with a blanking basket fitted to give that a soaking.


    It doesn't matter how you get there it's only the end result that matters

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    Default A Little TLC (part 4)

    Now onto the grouphead itself, this was completely stripped down, cleaned where needed, all springs checked, they were found to be in good order, to my surprise. As a matter of course I replaced all the other parts with new, I’m in there right so might as well do a ‘proper job’ as we say down this way! So from the E61 Group head Service Kit from Bella Batista all gaskets, o rings, washers, and the gauze filter were renewed following a certain DavecUK's excellently written guide, which is included with the service kit.

    Expobar-TLC-13.jpg

    Expobar-TLC-14.jpg

    Expobar-TLC-15.jpg

    To put you at rest Dave that water filter shown in the top two images now resides far away from the machine, and the tubing has been trimmed as suggested...

    Reassembled the grouphead, replaced that ‘slightly’ worn out old gasket with a nice new Cafelat silicone one and nervously fired the old girl up. With much relief she gurgled and spluttered a bit but nothing more serious, no leaks or floods anywhere just a steady rise in pressure and temp. Hurray and much rejoicing.

    With her up to temp for a while I followed the guide written by DavecUK to setup the pid and boiler pressure as outlined in the Bella Batista handbook for the Brewtus IV which they kindly sent a copy of along with the spares. Then cleaned, polished and replaced the panels.

    Next came several back flushes with Purly, leaving it in longer than normal to clean up inside the group head before flushing with clean water. After she had cooled overnight the lever was removed to grease the cam and pins with molykote 111. She was then moved into her final resting place, levelled up, given a final polish, tank was filled with an ashbeck + strettons hill mix (3 to 1) as recommended by MWJB, so hopefully it'll be along time before another descale will be needed, will pop the mushroom out every so often just to see how things are. Re fired her up, more gurgling noises, it's as she comes up to temp and just before the vacuum breaker valve closes of at the top of the steam boiler, spookily worrying the first couple of times you hear it, especially with the top removed, although it becomes a satisfying sound once you’re used to it. Only one thing left to do and that's to make a few shots to celebrate, and to look back at a small achievement, the rescuing of this poor mocha clad beastie from its tortuous previous existence.

    Expobar-TLC-16.jpg


    Thanks in no particular order whatsoever to, jim, joey, missy, rossp and others for the inspiration provided, dave for his technical writings without which this would have been a far more complicated challenge, mark for the advice on water, bella barista for advice, parts and the guide, and to all the rest of the forum far to many to mention from whom I have gathered so many bits of information during my time here. If you've made it this far, well done you and I hope you have enjoyed the experience as much as I have.

    Cheers

    The End
    It doesn't matter how you get there it's only the end result that matters

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    Default

    Maybe someone could merge the topics - unless there is a reason for it being in 4 parts?

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    ^^^
    Believe there's a limit of 5 images per post, at least there used to be, although I may be wrong, hence the splits. If it could all be merged by a higher authority Id happily go along with that.
    It doesn't matter how you get there it's only the end result that matters

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    Quote Originally Posted by MinesAbeer View Post
    ^^^
    Believe there's a limit of 5 images per post, at least there used to be, although I may be wrong, hence the splits. If it could all be merged by a higher authority Id happily go along with that.
    Instead of creating 4 threads you could have just done 4 posts in the same thread.

    Well done on giving the machine a new lease of life after it's previous owners neglect.
    Last edited by ashcroc; 27-07-18 at 09:46. Reason: Dodgy spelling

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    Thanks for the information, it'll come in very useful

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