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bronc

Gaggia TS restoration

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As some of you know, I recently won a Gaggia TS on eBay and got it shipped to Bulgaria. The couriers managed to do some damage and although it was nothing too major, I decided to do a full strip down to treat a few internal rust spots, replace the seals and descale. First I thought I'd wait until my CFA exam passes but today I got fed up with my consecutive 6-7 hour study day and decided to start playing with the Gaggia. Right now I've managed to disassemble everything. I've labeled the connectors, made photos, and started collecting all the bits and pieces that need cleaning. I'll share some photos later but now I need help with removing the boiler element. It appears that due to scale and the seal being 10 years old, it won't come off.

 

This is how the boiler on the side of the element looks (not my photos):

11765_cam00463.jpg

 

11765_cam00462.jpg

 

The round piece with the connectors is the base of the element and it is bolted to the triangular piece which is part of the actual boiler. I've removed all bolts but it won't come off. I tried using a flat tip screwdriver to separate the element from the boiler but that tip can't get in the space between the two. Any ideas?

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Pics aren't showing, no tips on the problem but do like to watch a restoration project on here.


What's the point...it'll only change soon!

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Ah, that's probably because the photos are from home-barista and you need to have an account. I'll remove them as I managed to solve this by running a knife between the element and the boiler. What I found inside is quite shocking, though. It appears that although the heat exchanger was descaled frequently (no scale in the pipes) nobody took care of the boiler. I managed to collect almost 2 handfuls of brown scale. I need to clean up and I'll upload the photos so you can see what I'm talking about..

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Here are the few photos I made today: http://imgur.com/a/U7G8c

 

So far I'm struggling with a few things. The first one is removing the shower screen.. I hope that soaking the group head in Puly Caff for a few hours and/or citric acid will help loosen it but so far I've had zero success with unscrewing the bolt that holds it together. You can see all the gunk that came out from the grouphead and that's from just 15 minutes in Puly Caff.

The second issue is that I'm not sure how to proceed with the boiler/element. I've taken most of the scale out but I want to descale it completely. Would you recommend sealing all the holes in the boiler and filing it up with a citric acid solution? What about the element? I remember reading somewhere that you have to be really careful not to wet the base because if water gets inside it can ruin it.

My last problem is that I broke the resettable thermostat while fiddling with the wires. It turned out that it costs about 30gbp.. I would've been more careful if I knew! Oh well, I guess I'll be replacing it.

 

Oh, and by the way, any tips for dealing with the surface rust?

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Not a lot of people are taking interest in my project but I thought I'd let you know on my progress.

 

I filed the boiler with a strong citric acid solution and let it sit for 5-6 hours which cleaned up about 95% of the scale. I'm considering soaking the whole thing in a bucket full of the solution to make sure that all the nooks and crannies are completely clean. I used a tall glass to descale the element which worked very well as the water didn't get to the terminals.

 

IMG_20150524_133338104.jpg

 

The other major part that needed cleaning is the group head; the shower plate/screen to be more precise. After a whole day of soaking in puly caff, the bolt still didn't budge so I decided to rip apart the mesh of the screen. What I found underneath was disgusting. A layer of dried/caked coffee residue. Yuck!! I removed the screen with my trusty pliers but I still can't unscrew the bolt.. Unfortunately I can't reach the allen bolts that attach the screen plate to the grouphead so I have no options but to soak it more..

 

IMG_20150524_203056195.jpg

 

IMG_20150524_203306713.jpg

 

IMG_20150524_204335751.jpg

 

IMG_20150524_203627394.jpg

Edited by bronc

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I am interested Bronc. You have a labour of love there mate. If you soak that screw long enough it will give. Try heating it up next time before you try and remove it. I used to have a tool, no idea what it was called but you put the bit into the screw had then hit it with a hammer.....used to work most things!

Did you have any idea what you were taking on before you bought it? I have one as well, but I am lucky that I know the boiler was taken off, however there was no scale anyway as it has had next to no use and comes from a soft water area!

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I have a love of labour as well haha ;) At least when it comes to fiddling with espresso machines. That's part of the reason why I wanted to buy a machine that needs some work.

 

Back on topic - your suggestion worked! I soaked it in puly caff after I had removed the shower screen and with the help of some boiling water the screw finally gave in. Thanks! The allen bolts on the shower plate need some soaking as they won't come off. I need to buy new allen keys because the ones I have are made of some pretty soft alloy and they get deformed easily.

 

I bought the machine on eBay in a used but working condition. The seller had clearly stated that the machine was not tested as he didn't know how to operate it (yeah, really..). I adjusted my bid accordingly so I managed to get it for about 280 quid which I think is a pretty good price. After all it's mostly scale and dirt.. I hope! So far my biggest expense is the thermostat but that's on me..

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Hi Bronc.

Looking good.

I won a TD in need of some TLC.

(Actually won 2in need of repair.... Might get round to fixing the other one someday!)

 

I cleaned the boiler in standard descaler....... Came up lovely...

 

Then decided to have the panels repainted.......... Taking a LOT longer than estimated cos they know I am very fussy! Didn't help I decided to have my grinder done at the same time......

 

Keep up the good work and keep us posted......

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I am interested Bronc. You have a labour of love there mate. If you soak that screw long enough it will give. Try heating it up next time before you try and remove it. I used to have a tool, no idea what it was called but you put the bit into the screw had then hit it with a hammer.....used to work most things!

Did you have any idea what you were taking on before you bought it? I have one as well, but I am lucky that I know the boiler was taken off, however there was no scale anyway as it has had next to no use and comes from a soft water area!

 

 

The tool you are thinking of is an "IMPACT DRIVER" they will accept sockets or screwdriver bits, very effective for seized /stuck fittings:good:

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Top post Bronc, its been a great read for me so far!

I agree that heat will help with removing your bolts. Also a second soak after some of the scum is removed allows better penetration. The baked on coffee dirt becomes almost impermeable to water due to the oily residues. I have no concerns about using WD40 to get penetration into bolt threads, then a good soak in pully caff to remove the WD40 followed by a good wash just in case there is any left.

Keep us posted, Im interested!

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I'm interested as will be doing my own restoration soon but don't have much to add at this point...

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Top post Bronc, its been a great read for me so far!

I agree that heat will help with removing your bolts. Also a second soak after some of the scum is removed allows better penetration. The baked on coffee dirt becomes almost impermeable to water due to the oily residues. I have no concerns about using WD40 to get penetration into bolt threads, then a good soak in pully caff to remove the WD40 followed by a good wash just in case there is any left.

Keep us posted, Im interested!

 

I'm not sure I'd use WD-40 as it is a water displacement spray to aid penetration, but it might help to lubricate the threads.

 

I'll be watching this thread closely, the pipework looks really fresh inside your machine, i'm pretty jealous, my renovation was much crustier.

 

Have you tried eevad for parts? They seem to be much cheaper than other espresso parts stores.


Wega Mini Nova (refurbed) - Fiorenzato F5 - Made By Knock Heft 585 tamper - 17g La Marzocco Precision Basket

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Bloomin heck! I thought I was brave stripping down my Gaggia Classic, but it's like pulling apart something made of Lego in comparison.

 

I have to admit though, never having attempted anything like it before it's been very satisfying so far and I'll be as excited as a dog with two willies if (when...be positive!) I get it back together and it actually works.

 

Good luck and keep us posted with plenty more photos.


Gaggia Classic w/silvia wand and PID, Brasilia RR55OD, Motta 58mm tamper, Motta Stainless Steel knock box, Motta Stainless Steel 350 & 500ml Milk Frothing Jugs, Brewista scales, Tiamo tamping station, Notneutral cups & mugs. Technovorm Mochamaster, Clever Dripper, Aeropress....Lots of determination.

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Wow, that blew up overnight. It appears I was wrong about not a lot of people being interested :) Thank you for all the recommendations. I need to buy more citric acid and I'll dump all of the pipes and the boiler in a bucket to make sure everything is scale free.

 

@Tom - I discovered eevad from your post on the Wega restoration. They seem to stock a lot of parts but I also found a local supplier that does them even cheaper. They don't have all the parts on hand but can get almost anything from their supplier.

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You have a much greater following than you thought bronc. I would think thee are many members who follow your posts quite avidly and who are quite envious of what you are doing.

There will also be members who do not have the time , space ,facilities, tools or confidence to tackle a similar project but have much satisfaction following your ups, downs and achievements. They are willing you on and awaiting your next post like the next episode in a serial/film etc.

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A lot of people will look on and not comment bronc, it is frustrating sometims when people do not comment, but take that as people are not looking or willing you on, everyone loves to see a machine brought back to all its glory, keep up the good work and keep the photos coming


AKA Toffee chips

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For the rust on the frame, i'd file then sand off the rust before protecting with some hammerite, or get the frame powdercoated.


Wega Mini Nova (refurbed) - Fiorenzato F5 - Made By Knock Heft 585 tamper - 17g La Marzocco Precision Basket

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While I've certainly never tried and am no expert on espresso machine DIY repairs, I would not use an impact driver on any part of such a machine. I think you solved that issue with soaking and elbow grease anyway. And as someone else mentioned I wouldn't use WD40 either as it is quite toxic on the scale of food prep. Nice work btw.


Fracino Ariete (Classico nowadays), Niche Zero, VST 15g; for work an Aeropress, but still seeking a hand grinder for it...

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Just a quick question.........Where the chuff can I buy Citric Acid?

 

I tried the chemist the DIY store but to no avail. I know the stuff you clean your kettle or iron with is formic acid but that doesn't come in big bottles, is that just as good?


Gaggia Classic w/silvia wand and PID, Brasilia RR55OD, Motta 58mm tamper, Motta Stainless Steel knock box, Motta Stainless Steel 350 & 500ml Milk Frothing Jugs, Brewista scales, Tiamo tamping station, Notneutral cups & mugs. Technovorm Mochamaster, Clever Dripper, Aeropress....Lots of determination.

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Just a quick question.........Where the chuff can I buy Citric Acid?

 

I tried the chemist the DIY store but to no avail. I know the stuff you clean your kettle or iron with is formic acid but that doesn't come in big bottles, is that just as good?

 

You can get food quality citric as a powder online, i ordered mine from amazon, got next day delivery and 1kg was the perfect amount to descale my Wega.

 

I've never looked into formic acid but I know some folks have used 'Phos' phosphoric acid to remove really stubborn scale.


Wega Mini Nova (refurbed) - Fiorenzato F5 - Made By Knock Heft 585 tamper - 17g La Marzocco Precision Basket

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I buy mine from the local supermarket.

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You can get it from home wine making stores or online e.g. Amazon. I just bought a kilo for a fiver.


Rocket Giotto Evoluzione v2, Eureka Zenith 65E, Niche grinder, Pharos grinder with VoodooDaddy mods, Eureka MDL, Torr Goldfinger, Smart Tamp. Various coffee stuff.

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Love seeing you work on your TS, after all my hard work figuring out all the problems and fixing and restoring mine.

 

Lately however mine has been dripping from the hot water spout at a constant rate. It slows down if you turn on hot water for a few seconds and turn it off. However the drip is still constant.


Gaggia TS, Mazzer SJ, Rave coffee, flat tamper purple Royal 58.34

 

Please feel free to join up with the new Gaggia TS facebook group, where you may share your setup and talk about your experiences on how you came across your Gaggia TS.

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It's probably one of the gaskets/seals inside the tap. I still haven't got to that part as I need to buy a new wrench for the taps.

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