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Thread: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

  1. #1
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Hi

    This post is specific to the VBM Domobar Piccolo/Levetta/Vaschetta but could apply to other machines with E61 groupheads. After a few detergent backflushes, I noticed the brew lever seemed stiff which wasnt going away after the usual 3 or 4 shots . I felt there was metal-to-metal contact so I thought Id better attend to it sooner rather *than later.

    Dis-assembly was easy - you need an adjustable wrench (a small and medium sized) and an Allen key. The lower pic shows the components as they were removed from right to left.

    1. Unscrew the nut holding the brew lever on using the small adjustable wrench, then the brew lever itself
    2.Unscrew the larger hex nut (I used a bigger adjustable spanner) then the small push rod and spring.
    3. Next, remove the two Allen screws - *the first Allen key I found was from an Ikea kit (we all must have at least one of these lying around) and it surprisingly fit. Ah, a bit of Swedish-Italian collaboration there???
    4. Remove the cover and then you can withdraw the brew arm rod. *Notice the wear on the cam (upper pic)

    5. Using a toothpick *I smeared some Molykote 111 (Deb from Jetblack was kind enough to give me a small amount) on the areas indicated by the arrows in the lower pic. I used this website as a guide

    6. I then re-assembled the brew arm assembly in reverse order.

    All good now. Brew lever action is much smoother.

    Molykote 111 is made by Dow Corning and can be purchased online (google it). Im not sure if you can buy in Bunnings. More likely from an engineering or plumber supply shop.

    The guy who wrote the website I referred to suggests lubing the lever every second detergent backflush. But I thought I might post this as a bit of a warning if the brew-lever action seems stiff or you can detect metal-to-metal contact.




  2. #2
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Thanks for the post. I was planning on attending to mine these hoidays. :D

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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    hi Steve, thanks for the heads-up on the lube job

    i was talking to a guy at work the other day and from what he said good old Vaseline should be good enough to use for lubing the mechanism, he knew a chef that used Vaseline instead of food grade lube for some other purpose in the kitchen and swears by it

    Out of interest Steve what was the consistency of the Molykote ?

    Darren


  4. #4
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by Banjo link=1229912600/0#2 date=1230009212
    hi Steve, thanks for the heads-up on the lube job

    i was talking to a guy at work the other day and from what he said good old Vaseline should be good enough to use for lubing the mechanism, he knew a chef that used Vaseline instead of food grade lube for some other purpose in the kitchen and swears by it

    Out of interest Steve what was the consistency of the Molykote?
    Hi Darren

    About the same as Vaseline, I would say. I imagine at a pinch Vaso would work. The website I referred to mentions only lubing the cam and the first 1/3 of the inside the barrel which the brew lever fits. This, he suggests, lowers the chance of the MolyKote mixing with the water. Might be worth a try. Better than WD40 ;D

    Cheers
    Steve

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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Well Vaso gets used for various applications including on the lips so i think i might give it a go.

    hmmm the WD40 would give a nice slick effect I had a laugh

    how are the shots coming along ?

    Darren

  6. #6
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Yeah I thought about the lip thing after posting and figured Vaso must be non-toxic.

    Shots are going well. Machine has been great since Chris adjusted it. Getting greater consistency now but still getting used to adjusting the grind. All part of the learning.

    I have my in-laws and wifes cousins staying here at the moment so the machine is getting a fair bit of workout. The cousins live in the States and it was pleasant giving them a coffee education. When I asked them how they like their coffee, the reply was 2 sugars with cream.

    How about you?

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Aside from the possibility of toxicity (MSDS for Vaseline), the other reason for using products like Molykote 111(MSDS) is that its viscosity changes very little with temperature rise. Whereas, the viscosity of Vaseline (a petroleum based product), will decrease and become ever less viscous; to the stage where it will become very runny and may "wick" into areas where it is not very desirable and may affect the flavour of the coffee.

    Id stick with a purpose designed product like the Molykote if you want to experience any kind of longevity with the job after completion.... ::)

    Mal.

  8. #8
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1229912600/0#6 date=1230046234
    Id stick with a purpose designed product like the Molykote if you want to experience any kind of longevity with the job after completion.... ::)

    Mal.
    Thanks Mal. THe high temperature stability is a very important requirement. Thanks for the Material Safety info though. The Vaso sounds low risk but worthy of note. Potential Acute Health Effects: Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.

    This site sells 2g sachets of Molykote for $3 each. Check at the bottom of the page.

    Cheers
    Steve

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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    thanks Mal, good point on the breaking down bit

    Steve, checked the link, very inexpensive, oh and Steve i had a bit of a break from the machine, i needed it I had a laugh, been going instant lately 8-) but got some beans and first shot back wasnt too bad but still plenty of room for improvement ;)

    Darren

  10. #10
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by Banjo link=1229912600/0#8 date=1230072555
    been going instant lately...Darren
    I beg your pardon???? :o :(

    OK, lynch mob will rendezvous at Newcastle post office!

    ;D


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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by flynn_aus link=1229912600/0#9 date=1230073483
    OK, lynch mob will rendezvous at Newcastle post office!
    I can book a flight, but someone will have to supply me with either a pitchfork or a torch... Travel restrictions and all.

    "Pitchfork- dont leave home and join a mob without it. Accepted everywhere people drink instant coffee."

  12. #12
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy G. link=1229912600/0#10 date=1230084089
    "Pitchfork- dont leave home and join a mob without it. Accepted everywhere people drink instant coffee."
    Gee, you guys are hard core. For a first offense, I was willing to let Darren off with a tar-and-feathering. I guess the pitchfork is just a prop to help look the part, right?

  13. #13
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    OK flynn,

    A tar-and-feathering would be acceptable for a first offense.

    The pitchfork is to prick his conscience back into life. Short, sharp jabs work best.

    Greg

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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    what was wrong with the machine that needed adjusting by Chris?

  15. #15
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    The brew pressure was too high - adjusted to 9 bar at the grouphead.

    The brew temp was too low. Adjusted up to 93.

    Before this adjustment, shots were too quick even with a fine grinder adjustment and were also sour.

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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    oh come you guys, dont you think youre all being a little harsh on me, it was Nescafe Blend 43 afterall ;) 8-)

    Darren

  17. #17
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by Banjo link=1229912600/0#15 date=1230098188
    oh come you guys, dont you think youre all being a little harsh on me, it was Nescafe Blend 43 afterall *;) 8-)

    Darren
    Gasp! Have you completely lost your sense of decency Darren? You ARE a CoffeeSnob are you not? I thought it was an unwritten law that Thou shall not voluntarily drink instant coffee. At least it wasnt Caterers Blend

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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    the other thing with vaseline is it may affect the rubber and neophrene seals as it seems to absorb the petroleum based product and cause the seal to soften and expand, also can cause the seal to break down and melt into a black goopy mess :-p

    I use a food grade lube on my beer keg Orings, it seems to be petroleum based, over time the Orings expand and it becomes very hard to fit the snapon beer line and gas connectors, fitting new Orings fixes the problem,

    the high temp silicone product would be the best all round.
    db likes this.

  19. #19
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Where can I get cheap Molykote 111 or similar?
    I dont really want to spend $42 to lube my brew lever.

  20. #20
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 627E680A0 link=1229912600/18#18 date=1232081131
    Where can I get cheap Molykote 111 or similar?
    See Reply #7 above. Link provided there

  21. #21
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Owners of E-61 Group Machines - Lever Lubrication

    Gday CSrs....

    This has been a topic on and off over the last few years and it just so happens that a source for an ideal alternative has come to light, from our friends at Jaycar.... Whod a thought ;)

    Anyway, heres a link to the stuff Im referring to just in case youve got some maintenance planned for your machine in the near future.... http://tinyurl.com/bwhw6a :)

    Mal.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Owners of E-61 Group Machines - Lever Lubrication

    Yep
    We all could use some of that
    Lucky for me my closest Jaycar store is 4 km or 2 suburbs from home

    KK

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    Re: Owners of E-61 Group Machines - Lever Lubrication

    Say, how do you remove the lever to lube? Is it as simple as unscrewing the bits that can be unscrewed or are there parts that might pop out and not fit in properly if done wrongly?

  24. #24
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Owners of E-61 Group Machines - Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F7466457E546261637462627E110 link=1235049281/2#2 date=1235082311
    or are there parts that might pop out and not fit in properly if done wrongly?
    Ooh yeah!

    The shaft on a HX machine has a spring and a couple of seals on it, the latter centre the shaft and allow it to rotate. These seals should be replaced every so often eg. annual service. The fun begins when relocating the cam on the end of the shaft back into place. Its a bit fiddly. ;)


  25. #25
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Owners of E-61 Group Machines - Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F7E757572681B0 link=1235049281/3#3 date=1235084034
    The fun begins when relocating the cam on the end of the shaft back into place.Its a bit fiddly.
    Thanks for the warning. I have my new seals ready to go.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Owners of E-61 Group Machines - Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 0C302D363C3D2A3F373C580 link=1235049281/4#4 date=1235086872
    Thanks for the warning. I have my new seals ready to go.
    If you have a digital camers handy, take pics at every stage. Can be very helpful in a number of applications.

  27. #27
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Owners of E-61 Group Machines - Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 17363D3D3A20530 link=1235049281/5#5 date=1235089234
    If you have a digital camers handy, take pics at every stage.Can be very helpful in a number of applications.
    Okey dokey.

  28. #28
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Owners of E-61 Group Machines - Lever Lubrication

    Heres a couple of links to an exploded parts diagram, a parts list reference and a How-To which may be of some assistance.... :)

    http://biobug.org/coffee/giotto/diags/e61.jpg

    http://biobug.org/coffee/giotto/diag...parts-list.pdf

    http://coffeetime.wikidot.com/e61-group-servicing

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    For anyone wanting to service their dry lever , the task is simple enough ........ BUT please use the correct tools.

    10mm ring spanner to remove lever nut
    22mm ring spanner to remove spring and bush retaining nut
    5mm allen key to remove lever support case bolt.

    None of these nuts or bolts were all that tight on my Piccolo when I took it apart , so on re-assembly all were done up no more than firm pressure.

    Like others I also used a bit of 240 grit wet & dry to lightly buff the cam surface before applying grease. Operation of lever after this minor service was silky smooth.

    So all is good

    Greg

  30. #30
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 2C2B30372C2B20440 link=1229912600/20#20 date=1236810513
    Like others I also useda bit of 240 grit wet & dry to lightly buff the cam surface
    Having serviced a number of machine levers, Ive never found the need to use an abrasive on the cam surface. If I did, Id probably start by trying an 800 grit and work down from there if need be. Its probably no big deal though, as I dont think a micron either way would matter.


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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Well if the chrome has been removed you need to dress the surface , and we not dealing with paint where 800 g might be appropiate.

    The idea for a light dressing is to stop more of the chrome from peeling back. It is just a shame the chrome isnt of better quality.
    As you can see from the pics provided by flynn , and mine looked the same, the chromes gone,and a light dressing could only improve the action.

    cheers

  32. #32
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 31362D2A31363D590 link=1229912598/22#22 date=1236826363
    It is just a shame the chrome isnt of better quality.
    It might not be so much that the Chrome quality is suspect, possibly more to do with the underlying material not being resistant enough to prevent slight surface distortion as the switch operating mechanism runs over the surface. Do you know if the Cam is made of brass too or some other material?

    Mal.

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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 705D595558340 link=1229912598/31#31 date=1236846169
    Do you know if the Cam is made of brass too or some other material?
    Id be guessing , but Id say so , I didnt put a magnet on it , and its obviously soft and prone to scoring.

    A big chunk of S/s would be nice.

    Greg

  34. #34
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 57504B4C57505B3F0 link=1229912598/32#32 date=1236918922
    Do you know if the Cam is made of brass too or some other material?


    Id be guessing , but Id say so , I didnt put a magnet on it , and its obviously soft and prone to scoring.
    Definitely brass under the chrome. This is almost visible in the picture I added to the OP.

  35. #35
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 686F7473686F64000 link=1229912598/32#32 date=1236918922
    A big chunk *of S/s would be nice.
    Have any mates who work in a machine shop? ;D

    Mal.

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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Sure .... but in this case its not a Ducati 1098R ,4 valve desmo, 190bhp Superbike, .... I might just enjoy the coffee.

    greg


  37. #37
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    I found 2 great diagrams of an E61 Group

    Hope it helps

    KK




  38. #38
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: E-61 Group Machines - Brew Lever Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by 56727B7B78784256726E70721D0 link=1229912598/36#36 date=1280667560
    I found 2 great diagrams of an E61 Group

    Hope it helps

    KK
    Good diagrams KK, best Ive seen. :)

  39. #39
    baj
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    ECM Giotto's Lever Roughness

    This morning, & for the past couple of days, I have noticed a significant stickiness/roughness in the action of my 10 y o Giotto's lever every time that I make a shot. A small knocking noise could be heard at the point that this roughness is felt.

    I decided to get it serviced & have just made what I expected to be my last shot before taking it out for repair.

    However, this time the action of the lever was as smooth as it normally used to be.

    I am sure that it is not the pressure switch that is activated by the lever which is the cause as the roughness occurs just before the lever makes contact with the switch.

    Can anyone offer some advice as to what the problem has been & is anything likely to be damaged if I continue to use it as is?

  40. #40
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Sounds like the lubrication on the cam?
    Typically gets reduced over time and particularly when you do a chemical backflush, but can get smoother again as you season the group (but sounds like you need to renew the lube).

  41. #41
    baj
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    Hi Barry
    Thanks for your quick response.
    I presume that the cam that you mention is the one that actually depresses the switch on the case.
    If so, can I lubricate it with silicon spray?
    Regards
    Barry no 2

  42. #42
    TC
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    Hi Barry,

    See Flynn's initial post in this thread for the how-to.

    You should use a food grade lube for this job.

  43. #43
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Barry_Daniel View Post
    I presume that the cam that you mention is the one that actually depresses the switch on the case.
    No, it very unlikely to be that switch cam,.
    Normally its the internal valve operating cam .. ( Orange part in the diagrams above),.. that is the problem.
    As advised above , see the earlier posts for the fix.

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