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Date: 09 Dec 2006 19:25:11
From: k2
Subject: Livia 90 problems.
Hi folks,
Wondering if this sounded like a common problem with espresso systems.
My Livia 90, trusty workhorse for the better part of ~7 years has begun
having problems maintaining its seal during moderate extraction
pressure. Anything close to how it used to function and it blows its
top... results in a very messy situation. I've had to back off on the
grind and tamping and the quality of the pours is getting increasingly
worse.
Everything else on the system seems to be working fine, but I suspect
the seals for the filter basket (and/or whatever else may be involved
here) are worn and in need of service. Is this a common problem?

thanks,

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Date: 12 Dec 2006 23:44:41
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
Not necessarily annually -- just when it starts to harden!

Dave

>
> PS: I did look at the manual for this unit and nowhere does it mention
> the need to replace any of these parts on an annual basis. I guess you
> either know, or you learn the hard way.
>
>



 
Date: 10 Dec 2006 20:49:48
From: Sheldon T. Hall - DO NOT MAIL
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
On Sat, 09 Dec 2006 19:25:11 -0800, k2
<karlkras@killspamspiritone.com > wrote:

>Hi folks,
>Wondering if this sounded like a common problem with espresso systems.
>My Livia 90, trusty workhorse for the better part of ~7 years has begun
>having problems maintaining its seal during moderate extraction
>pressure. Anything close to how it used to function and it blows its
>top... results in a very messy situation. I've had to back off on the
>grind and tamping and the quality of the pours is getting increasingly
>worse.
>Everything else on the system seems to be working fine, but I suspect
>the seals for the filter basket (and/or whatever else may be involved
>here) are worn and in need of service. Is this a common problem?

I have to change the group head gasket every six months on my La
zocco, and even then getting the old one out s a PITA. If yours
has been in there for 7 years, it has probably achieved oneness with
the grouphead itself, and removing it will be a Real Chore.

Given that you've had 7 troublefree years from that machine, you might
consider having a professional overhaul. Since you can carry it to
the repairer, and he can rebuild it in the comfort of his shop, it
ought not to be very expensive.

-Shel



  
Date: 12 Dec 2006 21:49:33
From: k2
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
Sheldon T. Hall - DO NOT MAIL wrote:
> I have to change the group head gasket every six months on my La
> zocco, and even then getting the old one out s a PITA. If yours
> has been in there for 7 years, it has probably achieved oneness with
> the grouphead itself, and removing it will be a Real Chore.
>
> Given that you've had 7 troublefree years from that machine, you might
> consider having a professional overhaul. Since you can carry it to
> the repairer, and he can rebuild it in the comfort of his shop, it
> ought not to be very expensive.
>
> -Shel
>
Well, with egg on my face I think I got really lucky. I called the Livia
company in California who they too were amazed at how long I went
without replacing these items. Not a great picture... but here's what's
left of my gasket:
http://www.spiritone.com/~karlkras/P1000110.JPG
So for a measly $30 ($14 for a bloody rubber ring?) they're sending me a
new gasket and screen disk. While there was noticeable wear and tear on
the screen disk it wasn't as yet completely fused to the pump head
(please excuse my ignorance in the actual part name identification) but
it was definitely in need of replacement. Thanks again for the feedback
on this and I look forward to once again getting a pour that I can be
proud of.

PS: I did look at the manual for this unit and nowhere does it mention
the need to replace any of these parts on an annual basis. I guess you
either know, or you learn the hard way.


--
*****************************************
Please remove the killspam portion of
my return address if replying directly
*****************************************


   
Date: 14 Dec 2006 10:21:41
From: Sheldon T. Hall - DO NOT MAIL
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
On Tue, 12 Dec 2006 21:49:33 -0800, k2
<karlkras@killspamspiritone.com > wrote:

>Sheldon T. Hall - DO NOT MAIL wrote:
>> I have to change the group head gasket every six months on my La
>> zocco, and even then getting the old one out s a PITA. If yours
>> has been in there for 7 years, it has probably achieved oneness with
>> the grouphead itself, and removing it will be a Real Chore.
>>
>> Given that you've had 7 troublefree years from that machine, you might
>> consider having a professional overhaul. Since you can carry it to
>> the repairer, and he can rebuild it in the comfort of his shop, it
>> ought not to be very expensive.
>>
>> -Shel
>>
>Well, with egg on my face I think I got really lucky. I called the Livia
> company in California who they too were amazed at how long I went
>without replacing these items. Not a great picture... but here's what's
>left of my gasket:
>http://www.spiritone.com/~karlkras/P1000110.JPG

Actually, you got off lucky there. Even changing them every six or
eight months, my old group head gaskets come out in small, ossified
chunks. They don't come out easily, either. Yours came out almost in
one piece.

>So for a measly $30 ($14 for a bloody rubber ring?)

I'd gladly pay that if they would last 7 years and come out in one
piece! I'd be way ahead on both money and time.

> they're sending me a
>new gasket and screen disk. While there was noticeable wear and tear on
>the screen disk it wasn't as yet completely fused to the pump head
>(please excuse my ignorance in the actual part name identification) but
>it was definitely in need of replacement. Thanks again for the feedback
>on this and I look forward to once again getting a pour that I can be
>proud of.

I'm glad it's turning out well.

>PS: I did look at the manual for this unit and nowhere does it mention
>the need to replace any of these parts on an annual basis. I guess you
>either know, or you learn the hard way.

Well, they "might oughta" mention that, really, but the rebuild
interval on espresso machine depends on usage patterns, as well as the
design, build quality, parts quality, etc.

Just as a trivial example ... my machine stays on 24/7, but makes less
than a dozen coffees a day, on average. When we have a party, I might
pull 2 dozen, but an average weekday sees 4 or 5. Nothing wears out,
but a lot of the soft parts, like the rubber grouphead gaskets, get so
hard they won't seal well anymore. It's nothing but the heat, day
after day. If I were using the same machine in a commercial setting,
I might not have to change the grouphead gaskets any more often than I
do, but I would have to change some other things I haven't had to
change since I first built the machine 5 years ago.

-Shel



    
Date: 15 Dec 2006 04:35:44
From: bob prohaska's usenet account
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
Sheldon T. Hall - DO NOT MAIL <aquaman@tandem.artell.net > wrote:
>
>>So for a measly $30 ($14 for a bloody rubber ring?)
>
> I'd gladly pay that if they would last 7 years and come out in one
> piece! I'd be way ahead on both money and time.

My Olympia Coffex needed a new grouphead gasket after about 8 years.
Well, it needed the gasket earlier, but it took me a while the figure
that out.

The first thought was to get a Viton or silicone rubber o-ring, but they
don't have the right aspect ratio: The gasket is "long" in the axial
sense, and "narrow" in the radial sense. It is a bit like a slice out
of a long tube.

Eventually, I bought a slab of Teflon with the right thickness and cut out
the shape with a lathe. Once I had the first one, it was easy to make
two extras. The first gasket is still in service, but getting leaky,
after close to ten years. I figure the other two will outlast the machine.

It took a few tries to get the shape exactly right, so it gives the
right twist on the handle and does not fall out. I probably made half
a dozen duds before getting everything right.

From reading this thread it sounds as if somebody could start a nice
little business.

On the problem of machine life, I'll be grateful for any guidance on
the boiler problem that has cropped up on mine:

It appears that the brazed flange to which the heater flange bolts
has developed a pinhole leak. It's enough to empty the boiler in about
five days with no steam drawn. The failure seems to be in the brazed
joint, not in the gasket.

The folks at 1st-line service, the USA Olympia rep, do not seem in a
good position to help, the Olympia Express website does not list a
price for the boiler on mine or any related machine.

If anybody has seen this or knows of a good fix I'd be grateful for
correspondence.

Thanks for reading,

bob prohaska



     
Date: 18 Dec 2006 08:45:35
From: Sheldon T. Hall - DO NOT MAIL
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
On Fri, 15 Dec 2006 04:35:44 GMT, bob prohaska's usenet account
<bp@www.zefox.net > wrote:

>Sheldon T. Hall - DO NOT MAIL <aquaman@tandem.artell.net> wrote:
>>
>>>So for a measly $30 ($14 for a bloody rubber ring?)
>>
>> I'd gladly pay that if they would last 7 years and come out in one
>> piece! I'd be way ahead on both money and time.
>
>My Olympia Coffex needed a new grouphead gasket after about 8 years.
>Well, it needed the gasket earlier, but it took me a while the figure
>that out.
>
>The first thought was to get a Viton or silicone rubber o-ring, but they
>don't have the right aspect ratio: The gasket is "long" in the axial
>sense, and "narrow" in the radial sense. It is a bit like a slice out
>of a long tube.
>
>Eventually, I bought a slab of Teflon with the right thickness and cut out
>the shape with a lathe. Once I had the first one, it was easy to make
>two extras. The first gasket is still in service, but getting leaky,
>after close to ten years. I figure the other two will outlast the machine.

If you have your own machine shop, a lot of things are possible!

>It appears that the brazed flange to which the heater flange bolts
>has developed a pinhole leak. It's enough to empty the boiler in about
>five days with no steam drawn. The failure seems to be in the brazed
>joint, not in the gasket.

Oy. Does this mean the boiler is corroding away from the inside?
Certainly, something has eaten away some metal and caused that leak.

Can you spot the actual leak?

If he boiler is otherwise sound, I'd expect a high-end welding shop
could fix that. Not just a guy in a garage with a buzz-box, but
someone who does real industrial/medical tuff. A boiler is a boiler,
after all.

If you can spot the hole, and it's in a place you can get to, maybe
you could drill, tap, and plug it with a suitable tapered brass plug.
Or something like that.

Maybe Barry has a trick for that sort of thing....

-Shel



      
Date: 19 Dec 2006 03:18:50
From: bob prohaska's usenet account
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
Sheldon T. Hall - DO NOT MAIL <aquaman@tandem.artell.net > wrote:
>
> If you have your own machine shop, a lot of things are possible!
>
Certainly true, but it does not take much of a machine shop. I'm
rather surprised nobody has gone into the business of making Teflon
grouphead gaskets. It takes a bit of experimenting to get the size
right, but they're easy to duplicate.

>>It appears that the brazed flange to which the heater flange bolts
>>has developed a pinhole leak. It's enough to empty the boiler in about
>
> Oy. Does this mean the boiler is corroding away from the inside?
> Certainly, something has eaten away some metal and caused that leak.

There isn't any obvious evidence of corrosion; the water was alkaline,
which isn't too aggressive normally.
> Can you spot the actual leak?
>
I can see one, there might be more. It looks as if the original brazing
job on the boiler had a small flux inclusion that eventually washed out.

> If he boiler is otherwise sound, I'd expect a high-end welding shop
> could fix that. Not just a guy in a garage with a buzz-box, but
> someone who does real industrial/medical tuff. A boiler is a boiler,
> after all.
>
I suspect the repair will come with an oxy-acetylene torch and some
good quality silver solder, necessarily on the inside after a thorough
cleaning and maybe a little die-grinder work.

> If you can spot the hole, and it's in a place you can get to, maybe
> you could drill, tap, and plug it with a suitable tapered brass plug.
> Or something like that.

If it was a hole in a solid piece of metal, you'd be right for sure.
It's a passage between two pieces of metal; I don't think a mechanical
seal will stay put, but I won't know till I take it apart and clean it.
>
> Maybe Barry has a trick for that sort of thing....

Barry? I'm listening!

bob

>
> -Shel
>


 
Date: 10 Dec 2006 20:19:03
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
On Sat, 09 Dec 2006 19:25:11 -0800, k2
<karlkras@killspamspiritone.com > wrote:

>Hi folks,
>Wondering if this sounded like a common problem with espresso systems.
>My Livia 90, trusty workhorse for the better part of ~7 years has begun
>having problems maintaining its seal during moderate extraction
>pressure. Anything close to how it used to function and it blows its
>top... results in a very messy situation. I've had to back off on the
>grind and tamping and the quality of the pours is getting increasingly
>worse.
>Everything else on the system seems to be working fine, but I suspect
>the seals for the filter basket (and/or whatever else may be involved
>here) are worn and in need of service. Is this a common problem?
>
>thanks,

http://www.espressoresource.com has all kinds of maintenance goodies
for grinders and machines.

Michael and Angelo are a riot if you drop in.


  
Date: 10 Dec 2006 13:29:09
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
"I- >Ian" <someone@nowhere.com> wrote in message
news:upqon2d0c521a3f4kdo9num5kli31vkdkl@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 09 Dec 2006 19:25:11 -0800, k2
> <karlkras@killspamspiritone.com> wrote:
>
>>Hi folks,
>>Wondering if this sounded like a common problem with espresso systems.
>>My Livia 90, trusty workhorse for the better part of ~7 years has begun
>>having problems maintaining its seal during moderate extraction
>>pressure. Anything close to how it used to function and it blows its
>>top... results in a very messy situation. I've had to back off on the
>>grind and tamping and the quality of the pours is getting increasingly
>>worse.
>>Everything else on the system seems to be working fine, but I suspect
>>the seals for the filter basket (and/or whatever else may be involved
>>here) are worn and in need of service. Is this a common problem?
>>
>>thanks,
>
> http://www.espressoresource.com has all kinds of maintenance goodies
> for grinders and machines.
>
> Michael and Angelo are a riot if you drop in.

I don't think they have Livia group gaskets but I could be wrong.

ken




 
Date: 09 Dec 2006 22:10:54
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
"k2" <karlkras@killspamspiritone.com > wrote in message
news:elfumn0phc@enews1.newsguy.com...
> Hi folks,
> Wondering if this sounded like a common problem with espresso systems.
> My Livia 90, trusty workhorse for the better part of ~7 years has begun
> having problems maintaining its seal during moderate extraction pressure.
> Anything close to how it used to function and it blows its top... results
> in a very messy situation. I've had to back off on the grind and tamping
> and the quality of the pours is getting increasingly worse.
> Everything else on the system seems to be working fine, but I suspect the
> seals for the filter basket (and/or whatever else may be involved here)
> are worn and in need of service. Is this a common problem?
>
> thanks,
>
> --
> *****************************************
> Please remove the killspam portion of
> my return address if replying directly
> *****************************************

You have got to be kidding. Are you talking about the group gasket, the
seal in the grouphead which mates with the portafilter?

These should be replaced at least annually and sometimes every few months
depending on the machine, the gasket, and the usage pattern.

Call Pasquini in Los Angeles (google the name for the number) and they will
sell you replacement gaskets. Ask them about buying the other parts you
should be replacing frequently, such as group screens and about other points
of regular maintenance and care. Perhaps they have a manual or brochure
they can put in the box.

ken




  
Date: 09 Dec 2006 22:31:35
From: k2
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
Ken Fox wrote:

>
> You have got to be kidding. Are you talking about the group gasket, the
> seal in the grouphead which mates with the portafilter?
>
> These should be replaced at least annually and sometimes every few months
> depending on the machine, the gasket, and the usage pattern.
>
> Call Pasquini in Los Angeles (google the name for the number) and they will
> sell you replacement gaskets. Ask them about buying the other parts you
> should be replacing frequently, such as group screens and about other points
> of regular maintenance and care. Perhaps they have a manual or brochure
> they can put in the box.
>
> ken
>
>
Really? None of their product information mentions this sort of annual
maintenance at all. Cleaning it regularly (back flushing, etc) is about
all they mention... but thanks for the information. I have written
Pasquini to clarify this and provide me a new copy of the manual since
the original is sitting somewhere in a storage unit and inaccessible at
the moment.

--
*****************************************
Please remove the killspam portion of
my return address if replying directly
*****************************************


   
Date: 10 Dec 2006 00:10:46
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
k2 <karlkras@killspamspiritone.com > wrote:


>>
>Really? None of their product information mentions this sort of annual
>maintenance at all. Cleaning it regularly (back flushing, etc) is about
>all they mention... but thanks for the information. I have written
>Pasquini to clarify this and provide me a new copy of the manual since
>the original is sitting somewhere in a storage unit and inaccessible at
>the moment.

Not shocking at all. I hear that Rancilio does not even recommend
backflushing.. ;-)

Two years from a grouphead gasket is a long time. Also get a grouphead
brush to keep that area up in there clean.

Have you been cleaning the boiler scale?


Randy "backflushing tomorrow I think" G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com




   
Date: 10 Dec 2006 00:52:23
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Livia 90 problems.
"k2" <karlkras@killspamspiritone.com > wrote in message
news:elg9k60bm6@enews3.newsguy.com...
> > Really? None of their product information mentions this sort of annual
> maintenance at all. Cleaning it regularly (back flushing, etc) is about
> all they mention... but thanks for the information. I have written
> Pasquini to clarify this and provide me a new copy of the manual since the
> original is sitting somewhere in a storage unit and inaccessible at the
> moment.
>
> --
> *****************************************
> Please remove the killspam portion of
> my return address if replying directly
> *****************************************

I have friends who destroyed a Gensaco rebadged Bezzera, the model which is
the same internally as the Livia (Pasquini will not acknowledge this fact
but it is true). They did zero maintenance on the thing for 6 years until
it was on its last legs and then asked me to help them "fix it." One of
their complaints was that the PF had to be cranked down with incredible
force to make a seal on the (6 year old) group gasket! Several hours later
it became apparent that it was not worth fixing, and they ultimately ended
up buying another machine, and have become attentive to maintenance issues.

Machine manuals are seldom any good, and you may find that even the new one
for your machine isn't worth much. Hopefully it touches on at least a few
issues.

ken