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Gaggia New Baby group head leak


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Pull is a group head cleaner Will. You need too buy some Citric Acid. Can someone with a Gaggia confirm but at the back of my mind is the fact that the boilers are Aluminium and need to be treated with care. My suggestion was that since he has it stripped, make up a solution of citric cid to 50 grams to 300 pls of hot water and soak the boiler overnight. Is that too strong and is overnight too long?

Once this is fixed, the maintenance schedule is easy and quick, just doing a 20 minute descale every 3 to 6 months

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Well, there's Puly Caff (a coffee oil remover) and Puly Calc (a descaler).  Just saying Puly doesn't narrow down which is in use. I'd assume from the context he meant the descaler.

Yes, the boiler part is Aluminium, and the brew head is chromed brass. I've used a variety of descalers and they've all been fine. Even if the oxide layer is removed from the aluminium, it will reform very quickly. Aluminium is actually very reactive, it's the aluminium oxide layer that forms in minutes that makes it so resilient.  If you have any concerns, then wash out the boiler carefully and leave it out overnight before re-assembly. The oxide layer will definitely have formed to seal the metal away from the water by that point.

When I refurbished my Baby, I did exactly as @dfk41 suggested, left the parts soaking in a strong citric acid solution for about an hour and it all came up lovely and clean.

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Super thanks!

 

Yes I might try the citric acid. It has all been apart for a few days now and I've given it a half decent going over but not with anything too abrasive yet. 

 

Then I'll try the way and dry. Leave it over night and stick all back together. 

 

Hopefully I remember to put the new O-ring in...

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2 hours ago, allikat said:

Well, there's Puly Caff (a coffee oil remover) and Puly Calc (a descaler).  Just saying Puly doesn't narrow down which is in use. I'd assume from the context he meant the descaler.

Yes, the boiler part is Aluminium, and the brew head is chromed brass. I've used a variety of descalers and they've all been fine. Even if the oxide layer is removed from the aluminium, it will reform very quickly. Aluminium is actually very reactive, it's the aluminium oxide layer that forms in minutes that makes it so resilient.  If you have any concerns, then wash out the boiler carefully and leave it out overnight before re-assembly. The oxide layer will definitely have formed to seal the metal away from the water by that point.

When I refurbished my Baby, I did exactly as @dfk41 suggested, left the parts soaking in a strong citric acid solution for about an hour and it all came up lovely and clean.

@allikatAny harm in using a Dremel or similar to remove scale?

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32 minutes ago, Uncletits said:

@allikatAny harm in using a Dremel or similar to remove scale?

I wouldn't unless you're really really careful and using a brass brush at low speed. You don't want to scrape up the interior as the scratches will just make it easier for the scale to reform. I also advise a change of brew water. Many of us use Tesco's Ashbeck or Waitrose Lockhills still water in our espresso machines for the good mineral balance and low scale.

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1 hour ago, allikat said:

I wouldn't unless you're really really careful and using a brass brush at low speed. You don't want to scrape up the interior as the scratches will just make it easier for the scale to reform. I also advise a change of brew water. Many of us use Tesco's Ashbeck or Waitrose Lockhills still water in our espresso machines for the good mineral balance and low scale.

Thanks @allikat I think I am going to have to do some reading on water.  Not sure whether to buy bottled or do a filter that sits in the fridge. That’s a whole other post though! 

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Right, I have had a bit of clean up and used 600 grit on the base of the boiler assembly. It now feels very smooth. It doesn’t look super clean but if it is smooth - is that enough?

a small concern is that the o-ring doesn’t look big enough. It doesn’t fill the gap in the group body though it does stick up further than the old one did. I assume it will squish down and this will create the seal?

Does it look big enough?

I have removed and cleaned the shower holder plate, cleaned the base of the group body and replaced the filter holder gasket. 
 

I am tempted now to screw it all back together and reassemble but thought I’d ask for any last minute sage advice?

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Plenty smooth enough, it should squish down a little.  As long as it peeks up above the base of the brew group it should be fine. But just watch it when you first fill it, as you can always make a mistake. I know I did with my first refurb. One bolt was a little loose and steam escaped from one corner. A tweak on the bolt responsible was enough to fix it.

Did you buy replacement boiler bolts? Probably worth popping off the brew thermostat before reassembling the boiler, it's a delicate little thing and easily damaged, refit it when you're ready to put the boiler back in the machine. The steam thermostat is just as delicate, but it's in a less vulnerable spot.

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8 hours ago, allikat said:

Plenty smooth enough, it should squish down a little.  As long as it peeks up above the base of the brew group it should be fine. But just watch it when you first fill it, as you can always make a mistake. I know I did with my first refurb. One bolt was a little loose and steam escaped from one corner. A tweak on the bolt responsible was enough to fix it.

Did you buy replacement boiler bolts? Probably worth popping off the brew thermostat before reassembling the boiler, it's a delicate little thing and easily damaged, refit it when you're ready to put the boiler back in the machine. The steam thermostat is just as delicate, but it's in a less vulnerable spot.

Yes - I got new bolts. I’ve clean the threads they’ll screw onto as well. 
 

There is no way to truly check the seal until everything is back in the machine and fired up is there?

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Well, we’re done. 
 

Put it all back together last night, plugged it in this evening, ran a tank of water through it, then a tank with Puly Calc and then another tank. I tested the steam wand in the first tank. 
 

Outcome is that the water seems come to through the shower screen much more evenly, the steam wand works fine and I can’t see any drips on the side of the group body as happened before. 
 

Now, do do I assume that I have done everything up tight enough and it’s all good in there behind the casing or should I open her up after I run another tank through tomorrow and just check that I can’t see any water? 

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Ensure it gets up to temperature so you have maximum working pressure in the boiler. This means fill it, and leave it alone for half an hour, then try to pull a shot, or backflush, either works. Look for drips or steam escaping from around the join, you'll need the lid off to do that, so be very careful of the live wiring, no fingers inside the case at this point. If you see nothing, and everything works, including the 3 way solenoid, then you're good.

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9 hours ago, allikat said:

Ensure it gets up to temperature so you have maximum working pressure in the boiler. This means fill it, and leave it alone for half an hour, then try to pull a shot, or backflush, either works. Look for drips or steam escaping from around the join, you'll need the lid off to do that, so be very careful of the live wiring, no fingers inside the case at this point. If you see nothing, and everything works, including the 3 way solenoid, then you're good.

Super. Will try that later for final confirmation. Thanks! 

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Well, I finally got round to testing the Gaggia tonight (I had an email saying the Niche would arrive tomorrow so felt I had to put work aside and get it done) and fortunately there was no steam coming out of either the boiler or my ears!

A big thank you to all who have contributed to getting this £30 machine up and running like new. @allikat @HDAV @Uncletits @Craigy_bear @dfk41 @Chriss29 @El carajillo - legends one and all.

I swear the cream looked better when I did the test. Logic tells me that the pressure will have been greater because half of it wasn’t leaking out of the side! 
 

Anyway, thanks again.

 

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On 19/01/2021 at 20:52, JesmondJester said:

Well, I finally got round to testing the Gaggia tonight (I had an email saying the Niche would arrive tomorrow so felt I had to put work aside and get it done) and fortunately there was no steam coming out of either the boiler or my ears!

A big thank you to all who have contributed to getting this £30 machine up and running like new. @allikat @HDAV @Uncletits @Craigy_bear @dfk41 @Chriss29 @El carajillo - legends one and all.

I swear the cream looked better when I did the test. Logic tells me that the pressure will have been greater because half of it wasn’t leaking out of the side! 
 

Anyway, thanks again.

 

You're welcome mate, any time 

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