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Hi all

I have owned Classic for 13 years with no issues, I am now trying to resurrect the 2012 machine which i bought as a wedding present for my nephew and his wife in 2012. Machine has been out of action for 2 years. He thought the pump had failed.

From tests I've carried out fairly I was sure that it is the solenoid. Tried various attempts to de-calcify but didn't really improve, so have stripped machine down. Mostly fairly clean but when took solenoid apart the inlet is completely furred up. Thought I might as well do full strip down and replace all seals. However have a problem in that I cannot undo the boiler. Any suggestions?

Another issue is that shower tray mount has turned black - any tips for refurbihment?

Also advice on a good place to purchase new seals welcome

 

Thanks

Andrew

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By boiler bolts I presume you mean the ones between the boiler and brew head.?

These often corrode / seize in place, patience and good tools are required. Use good quality allen keys (correct size) OR if you have access to a 1/4 or 3 /8 drive socket set obtain the correct size allen bit to fit with socket driver, make sure you keep the  bit / allen key squarely fitted into the bolt with downward pressure.   If you allow the bet to cam out it WILL give you a lot of grief/ trouble.

The small mixed pack / block with allen and torx bits in is a good investment.

You may also need penetrating oil and possibly heat to assist dismantling.

Edited by El carajillo
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Looooong soakage with penetrants on the bolts. Use VERY good Allen bits. Shock the bolts first if possible with a kiss from a hammer and tighten before loosening.

 

I bought Gaggia bits off miro1976 on eBay and they were fine.

You should be able to clean up the holder or buy from yer man above for cheap enough.

Replacing the seals is a good idea as well.

 

 

*Actually, skip the hammer unless you know are sure you won't damage the boiler!

Edited by Blue_Cafe
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Thank you for your advice El carajillo and Blue_Cafe.

I have the allen key and torx set but didn't feel I could get enough leverage so actually have ordered a good quality T handle hex driver, which arrives tomorrow and should give more leverage. This will also be useful for the other new hobby of repairing the family bikes.

I have taken the Brew Head screws out and released the boiler so will need to hold it lightly in a vice. Would you use WD40 or vinegar to soak? It doesn't look corroded but there is a little calcified sediment around 2 of the bolts.

Thanks again

Andrew

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59 minutes ago, BBBean said:

Thank you for your advice El carajillo and Blue_Cafe.

I have the allen key and torx set but didn't feel I could get enough leverage so actually have ordered a good quality T handle hex driver, which arrives tomorrow and should give more leverage. This will also be useful for the other new hobby of repairing the family bikes.

I have taken the Brew Head screws out and released the boiler so will need to hold it lightly in a vice. Would you use WD40 or vinegar to soak? It doesn't look corroded but there is a little calcified sediment around 2 of the bolts.

Thanks again

Andrew

WD40 works as a penetrant and my impression would be much better than vinegar. 

Be very careful with stripping those bolts with the wrong tools...you don't want to be trying to torque it at an angle that might cause the head to slip. 

Here is a video on someone using the tapping/shocking technique: 

 

 

That said, that's pretty light corrosion compared to some of the ones I've seen...including a boiler from a Gaggia Evolution that sits on my desk because I stripped the bolts and now I have to try and drill it out one day.

Edited by phario
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3 hours ago, BBBean said:

Also advice on a good place to purchase new seals welcome

For the usual seals, I think a lot of people here go for whatever is cheapest on ebay. Like this one: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gaggia-Classic-O-Ring-seal-SERVICE-KIT-for-Baby-Evolution-inc-Boiler-Seal/273475036524?hash=item3fac61e56c:g:WzIAAOSwgKxbpj70

You might need a new grouphead gasket as well.

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It is worth aging the few pence extra and getting the silicone grouphead gasket whilst you are doing the job. May as well bung on a couple of grouphead bolts and a shower screen screw whilst doing it. On mine these were a bit rounded. You may be luckier, but they were only a couple of quid all in. 

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On 31/07/2020 at 19:17, phario said:

For the usual seals, I think a lot of people here go for whatever is cheapest on ebay. Like this one: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gaggia-Classic-O-Ring-seal-SERVICE-KIT-for-Baby-Evolution-inc-Boiler-Seal/273475036524?hash=item3fac61e56c:g:WzIAAOSwgKxbpj70

You might need a new grouphead gasket as well.

Thank you again Phario, only just received T handle driver and sadly the body is too thick to fit hex key square into boiler bolt head so think will try the impact method.

I have completely stripped out the machine now and noticed that the rear shelf in the body (where pump is mounted) is not attached at the rear. Have compared to my own slightly older machine and it looks as if the 3 spot welds have failed. Have you seen this before? I don't think it will matter but wondered whether to try and bond it?

Thanks Andrew

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On 31/07/2020 at 20:46, Marcros said:

It is worth aging the few pence extra and getting the silicone grouphead gasket whilst you are doing the job. May as well bung on a couple of grouphead bolts and a shower screen screw whilst doing it. On mine these were a bit rounded. You may be luckier, but they were only a couple of quid all in. 

Thanks for your comments Marcos, the 2 group head bolts and shower screen have cleaned up really well so I think they are OK. Was planning to get new grouphead gasket - I changed my own machine about 12 months ago. May I ask why silicon?

Andrew

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6 minutes ago, BBBean said:

I have completely stripped out the machine now and noticed that the rear shelf in the body (where pump is mounted) is not attached at the rear. Have compared to my own slightly older machine and it looks as if the 3 spot welds have failed. Have you seen this before? I don't think it will matter but wondered whether to try and bond it?

Yikes. Yes I have seen it and I remember at least one person here made a thread about it. 

Go to the Gaggia forum and search for a thread in the last 2 months where someone was delivered a machine where the spot welds failed. In that thread, I believe I posted a video to someone who fixed it by inserting extra bolts to keep the bottom in. It's not the easiest repair because of the nature of the materials. That said, I'm not sure how hard it would be re-weld it. The fixes I discussed were without welding and just putting in rivets or similar bolts. 

6 minutes ago, BBBean said:

only just received T handle driver and sadly the body is too thick to fit hex key square into boiler bolt head so think will try the impact method.

I bought a T handle as well but found that they weren't so useful for the case of stuck bolts. They're useful for reaching in to free the boiler bolts in an unstuck arrangement. But because of the design you can't torque them much. I think for the case of stuck bolts you really do want a handle where the point of torque is applied closer to the end, to avoid slippage. In the video I posted above, I think that L-shaped handle is probably the best for the job. Keep in mind that if you can't open it up with either wrench, I think that stripping the bolts is a reality. 

Edited by phario
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2 minutes ago, BBBean said:

Thanks for your comments Marcos, the 2 group head bolts and shower screen have cleaned up really well so I think they are OK. Was planning to get new grouphead gasket - I changed my own machine about 12 months ago. May I ask why silicon?

Andrew

I replaced mine when I serviced the machine. I bought the bits in advance and bought the silicone because it was advertised as never going hard like the rubber ones do and was very little more than the standard. 

I don't know how old my rubber one was. It still felt ok, so maybe it is a non issue but I thought I may as well do it whilst the machine was in pieces.  

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12 minutes ago, Marcros said:

I replaced mine when I serviced the machine. I bought the bits in advance and bought the silicone because it was advertised as never going hard like the rubber ones do and was very little more than the standard. 

I don't know how old my rubber one was. It still felt ok, so maybe it is a non issue but I thought I may as well do it whilst the machine was in pieces.  

Thanks again

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32 minutes ago, BBBean said:

 

I have completely stripped out the machine now and noticed that the rear shelf in the body (where pump is mounted) is not attached at the rear. Have compared to my own slightly older machine and it looks as if the 3 spot welds have failed. Have you seen this before? I don't think it will matter but wondered whether to try and bond it?

Thanks Andrew

JB Quick weld for metal, make sure it's positioned correctly and set overnight before any further disturbance.

This is quite a common occurrence on post 2009 machines. They haven't got the spot welding set right. Ultimately they paid lower wages and got less skilled engineering setters, with less  training in the various skills required to do a 'proper' job!

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17 minutes ago, phario said:

Yikes. Yes I have seen it and I remember at least one person here made a thread about it. 

Go to the Gaggia forum and search for a thread in the last 2 months where someone was delivered a machine where the spot welds failed. In that thread, I believe I posted a video to someone who fixed it by inserting extra bolts to keep the bottom in. It's not the easiest repair because of the nature of the materials. That said, I'm not sure how hard it would be re-weld it. The fixes I discussed were without welding and just putting in rivets or similar bolts. 

I bought a T handle as well but found that they weren't so useful for the case of stuck bolts. They're useful for reaching in to free the boiler bolts in an unstuck arrangement. But because of the design you can't torque them much. I think for the case of stuck bolts you really do want a handle where the point of torque is applied closer to the end, to avoid slippage. In the video I posted above, I think that L-shaped handle is probably the best for the job. Keep in mind that if you can't open it up with either wrench, I think that stripping the bolts is a reality. 

Thanks again - have found some threads re spot welds. These infer that this is more an issue with 2010-2015 machines, which fits exactly as this is a 2012 m/c and mine is 2008. We are a bit more fortunate re failed welds as it is the 3 spots at the rear. In truth they don't really look as if they have failed but were never welded properly. All the other weld points have some discoloration from the weld on the inside surface - these don't and are very clean. I suspect that the rear shelf has never been properly attached. I didn't notice any excessive noise when I was trying to run the machine before stripping it down. I may look at the rivet option used by a correspondent in the Gaggia forum if I need to. 

Re boiler I am tempted to reassemble machine without splitting it now that I have cleaned out solenoid. I have attached picture of boiler - looks in good condition externally but some evidence of leaking. Also given that the solenoid inlet/outlet was almost completely blocked think that I probably do need to look inside.

Boiler.jpg

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28 minutes ago, ratty said:

JB Quick weld for metal, make sure it's positioned correctly and set overnight before any further disturbance.

This is quite a common occurrence on post 2009 machines. They haven't got the spot welding set right. Ultimately they paid lower wages and got less skilled engineering setters, with less  training in the various skills required to do a 'proper' job!

Thanks ratty. I've got some standard which I think would work, but may follow your recommendation. Definitely worth doing this whilst machine is an empty shell.?

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Just now, BBBean said:

Thanks ratty. I've got some standard which I think would work, but may follow your recommendation. Definitely worth doing this whilst machine is an empty shell.?

"standard epoxy"

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21 minutes ago, BBBean said:

"standard epoxy"

Yes, while it's an empty shell!

I would just buy the latest metal JB metal weld. Well under £10 so not a major cost. I think about £6-£7 inc postage.

Group head and boiler connection looks like they have had a bit of a leak, but they should clean up ok, and reseal with a new seal put in place. Don't forget new bolts all round, and use a decent seize lubrication on them and the female threads.

I've never had a boiler leak at whatever age it was and however bad it looked reconnecting it to the group head , as long as you do a half decent clean up job, without having to go too silly on it.

What I mean is if you don't have the time or energy, just clean the loose scale from it without being over fussy!  Hardcore scale in the boiler, will stay where it is, and not usually cause an imminent problem!

Some people will disagree, but it's what I've found.

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On 05/08/2020 at 16:48, phario said:

Yikes. Yes I have seen it and I remember at least one person here made a thread about it. 

Go to the Gaggia forum and search for a thread in the last 2 months where someone was delivered a machine where the spot welds failed. In that thread, I believe I posted a video to someone who fixed it by inserting extra bolts to keep the bottom in. It's not the easiest repair because of the nature of the materials. That said, I'm not sure how hard it would be re-weld it. The fixes I discussed were without welding and just putting in rivets or similar bolts. 

I bought a T handle as well but found that they weren't so useful for the case of stuck bolts. They're useful for reaching in to free the boiler bolts in an unstuck arrangement. But because of the design you can't torque them much. I think for the case of stuck bolts you really do want a handle where the point of torque is applied closer to the end, to avoid slippage. In the video I posted above, I think that L-shaped handle is probably the best for the job. Keep in mind that if you can't open it up with either wrench, I think that stripping the bolts is a reality. 

Success!!!!
Left overnight with boiler to group head bolts shrouded in WD40 soaked cotton wool balls. Also managed to borrow a much longer allen key and each one cracked off first time. Some of bolts badly corroded so will be buying new. Do you reassemble using lithium grease on the threads? LOTS of limescale in boiler.

 

 

6A4AA68E-F65E-4183-A7D1-CD4ECB13B2D7.jpeg

DD539108-E544-4F58-8AC9-88359C12B700.jpeg

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21 minutes ago, BBBean said:

Some of bolts badly corroded so will be buying new. Do you reassemble using lithium grease on the threads? LOTS of limescale in boiler.

Well done, just be careful with the thermostat and and heating elements they can be a little fragile and they don't like getting wet. 

That's quite good condition tbh, not too bad lime-scale compared with many, and if you are buying new bolts - get the stainless steel variety and a little grease, if you have it, will make the next person a lot happier.  Also worthwhile checking the threads are clean by screwing the bolts in and out before attaching the boiler.

As you have the boiler apart just run through the channels and clear any bits of scale - toothpick or pipe-cleaner works for me.   The solenoid has a tiny hole, as you probably have noticed - and that is the most likely place little bits of scale go to annoy you.    👍

Edited by Agentb
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Thank you to all who have given advice, it has been very helpful. At present awaiting delivery of new fasteners and seals. Have now read many other threads which are equally useful.

@ratty reports of refurbishment also inspiring and am now considering improvements to own Classic machine. Is there a good source for the Rancilia Steam Wand? Also was going to use a cycle lithium grease for reassemble but see that you recommend a food grade grease. Is there a good source for a small quantity?

Thanks again

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Rancillio Sylvia steam wand

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rancilio-Silvia-V1-V2-Steam-Wand-Gaggia-Classic-Steam-Tube-Conversion-Kit/271383061059?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

I use Molykote 111 for o rings and seals but not for threaded bolts.

For stainless and other metal threads I use Rocol Foodlube multipaste.

Afraid it's just a trawl around the sellers, and buy the cheapest/smallest options

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  • 2 weeks later...

After a 2 week break returned to refurb project. Have now sourced all recommended materials, new bolts etc and ready to proceed with project. Bonded the non existent welds on the rear shelf with JB Weld as recommended , which appears to be well set. Interested to see @ratty alternative using 3mm screws in a different thread and will use this method if the bond fails. Hoping to reassemble over the weekend. Have a question re solenoid valve - do you lubricate the cylinder with Molykote 111?

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21 minutes ago, BBBean said:

After a 2 week break returned to refurb project. Have now sourced all recommended materials, new bolts etc and ready to proceed with project. Bonded the non existent welds on the rear shelf with JB Weld as recommended , which appears to be well set. Interested to see @ratty alternative using 3mm screws in a different thread and will use this method if the bond fails. Hoping to reassemble over the weekend. Have a question re solenoid valve - do you lubricate the cylinder with Molykote 111?

I've not heard of the necessity of lubricating the solenoid valve.

What type of rear shelf tabs did you have? The long one that extends over the entire rear or the shorter tabs?

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