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Thread: EM6910 waterfall

  1. #1
    gdc
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    EM6910 waterfall

    Hi. I'm a new member with what appears to be an old problem.

    I bought an EM6910 two and a half years ago. Three months ago it started leaking around the group head. I took it to a Sunbeam approved repairer, figuring he'd know what he was doing, and he reported that the collar was badly worn. He replaced the collar (which cost almost as much as the machine's second hand value).

    Three months later it is now leaking worse than it was before, so much so that I have to put a small dish underneath to catch the waterfall. In that time the group handle position has slowly moved from about 7 o'clock to 6 o'clock.

    My technique might not be perfect, but if it took me two years and three months to wear the first collar, how can the replacement have worn in only three months? The other odd thing is that the handle still sits quite smoothly and firmly in the collar. There's no give either vertically or horizontally when the handle is in place. Yet googling coffee snobs forum, I've seen posts that describe the Sunbeam collar as made out of soft cheese.

    Reading through the litany of EM6910 problems here makes me think the best move is to abandon the machine. If so, what would be a good replacement that has parts that actually work? In particular, a stainless steel collar.

    Otherwise, I presume when I call him that the repairer will simply claim I misused the machine. Is there any likelihood that Sunbeam will replace the collar?

    Thanks for your advice.

    Gary

  2. #2
    Member prydey's Avatar
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    when the collar was replaced, was the group seal replaced at the same time? one would assume it was, but perhaps it wasn't, and the new collar just got an extra 3 months out of an already worn group seal.

    the seal is a cheap item and can be replaced yourself very easily. just remove the shower screen and inner screen and remove the seal and replace.

    i actually cut a circle out of some plastic cutting board, slightly smaller than the seal, and used that under the old seal to pack it out a bit, so that i could still use my machine while waiting for a new seal.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Xanthine's Avatar
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    You may also find that the seal has a split or torn which is causing it to leak - take the old seal out and check it carefully. It's colour should also give you an indication of how old it is. If it's only 3 months old it should still be clean and blue.

  4. #4
    gdc
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    Shall do. Thanks for the suggestions.

  5. #5
    gdc
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    Well, it was a good try, that didn't work. The seal is clearly new, in good condition, and a lovely shade of blue. There was a lot of oil grunge behind the shower -- more than I would have expected -- but after cleaning it thoroughly and reassembling I still have a mini-waterfall.

    Any other thoughts?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Xanthine's Avatar
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    Any other thoughts?
    You could try using less coffee or carefully overtightening the group (not a good idea to do on a regular basis) in case it is is coming up against a wear ridge.

    Also, carefully inspect the collar with a torch and small mirror to see if you can see any obvious wear and if it is even on both seats. Often one side will wear more than the other or a sharp 'lip' will extend out horizontally and jamb the group handle before it has a chance to tighten on the seal.

    One other thought - is the seal groove clean and free of grounds and scale?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gdc View Post
    Well, it was a good try, that didn't work. The seal is clearly new, in good condition, and a lovely shade of blue. There was a lot of oil grunge behind the shower -- more than I would have expected -- but after cleaning it thoroughly and reassembling I still have a mini-waterfall.

    Any other thoughts?
    As you have excluded the common stuff, here is a weird one I ran into a while back.

    I regularly encounter about a dozen different 6910 / 7000's. One particular stainless portfilter always leaked on every machine I tried it on if I used standard SB baskets. All my VSTs (two complete sets) worked fine... After a lot of measurements (all the usual culprits like lug thickness and height), head scratching, yet more measurements and then more than a few tests we finally picked it. It was merely 0.5mm bigger in diameter than the others. The slightly wider ridge on the top of an SB basket did not quite locate on the top of the p/f (about 0.3mm space between the top of the p/f and the bottom of the basket) so when the 9 bar pressure of an espresso shot hit it the (very minor) flex resulted in a leak. The VSTs top is a (very slightly) different shape where it locates into the p/f so it didn't flex.

    I suggest you either try another p/f or a different brand of basket and check how well they locate in the p/f. You may be "lucky" enough to be the second person I know to run into that issue.

    TampIt
    PS: I presume you have already tried using a spacer under the collar / over the seal? If there is too much clearance that remains the most common leak I run into (why do people keep putting coffee between the p/f and the seal? It works just like grinding paste and fills the area with grunge before it destroys the seal).
    trentski likes this.

  8. #8
    gdc
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    Sorry for the slow reply. I thought I had this set to get alerts when there were new posts, but apparently I don't.

    Thanks for the ideas! The problem is pressure related, because when I use a grind that is too coarse the coffee comes out a bit too weak, but there's minimal leakage at the top. Which implies a seal problem like Xanthine says, though I did clean it, or maybe a size issue like TampIt suggests.

    Very luckily for me, Mb21 is selling an identical machine, which means I can either use that one, or else swap seal parts until I have this solved.

  9. #9
    Member prydey's Avatar
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    When you lock the handle in, how far around does it go? This will give you another indication of the condition of the seal. If it's going past straight out (90deg) then I'd say even though the seal looks new it could still be the problem.

  10. #10
    gdc
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    Handle is very slightly past 6 o'clock. Call it 5.59. Tests underway.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Xanthine's Avatar
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    Good luck with it Gary.

    It sounds as if the handle is locking in pretty much the right position.

    I'm sure you'll track down the problem with some trial and error and careful observation, and it gives a sense of self satisfaction when you do finally fix it.

    Please keep us informed with your progress.

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