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Thread: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

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    How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Ok- many have wondered how to change the seals on their Ponte Vecchio Lusso and Export espresso machines. In different countries countless methods have evolved. Some ingenious others brutally affective.* Until now none has been perfect...

    I have finally learned how to do it The Ponte Vecchio Way with a special factory tool direct from PV in Italy.

    Now I understand that saying about having the right tool for the job. Man o man- it is actually fun. I have never loved a specialty tool so much before...

    Here is a photo guide to using the PV tool. It is a simple device- made out of a modified Portafilter handle. A threaded brass rod runs through the PF and is guided by a nut that is welded into the base of the PF.

    There is a turned alloy sleeve to ensure that the seals are held tightly in place as the piston is re-inserted. There is also an alloy plate that guides the filter plate back into place when you are done. Bellisimo!

    So here we go- here is the tool and the two alloy accessories:






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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Before we start: if you are replacing seals after a period of long use, now is a good time to do a descale and clean of your machine.

    I have found descaling the machine can make the seals in pistons feel squeaky, I think it removes some (or all) of the lubricant, and it can even lead to a small drip leak from a group. As we are going to replace and lubricate the Seals anyway we should Do this Job Now....


    Where I live the water is hard so I mixed three teaspoons of citric acid powder with 3 liters of water and completely filled the boiler. I let is sit for 20 minutes and then turned the machine on. As it came up to heat I blasted water out of the steam arm (when completely filled water comes out of the steam arm) into a milk jug. I then blasted steam through the boiling citric water in the jug to thouroughly blast out and clean the steam nozzle tip. After doing this I blasted water through both groups and the hot water arm also into a metal frothing jug. I ran most of the solution in the machine out like this.

    I let the machine cool, filled with plain water and drained the boiler using a hose to syphon it out of the top water fill hole. I did this twice to completely rinse out any citric acid taste.

    (For a machine with really heavy use you may want to use a commercial descaler or repeat the citric acid flush a few times.)

    Ok -my machine is fresh and clean- just how I like it- the sight glass looks perfectly clear again. Time to switch over those seals.

    First we need to remove the shower screen.

    Do this with a flat head screw driver. On the side of the screen there is a small indentation. Brace the driver against the bayonet of the group and pry the filter off. Dont be afraid: it is clipped on and will pop off. Dont scrape around at the top edge of the plate: catch the driver on the ridge like so:


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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    The next step is to raise the piston a few millimeters to remove the tension on the pin that holds the lever mechanism together. Too simple: clamp the PF tool in place and tighten the hand screw a few turns. The central piston rod will raise up. Only a few millimeters are necessary.

    Once this is done you need to remove the little c clip on the pin that connects the lever with the piston rod. You can use two flat head drivers to do this- push the edges of the clip in opposite directions. Take care: it wants to fly off and get lost in a crack on the floor. Dont allow it to do that...

    If it does you can find a suitable clip easily at a hardware store. When you come to replacing the clip you can bend it back to shape a little first and then use needle nose pliers to push it all way back into shape once it is on the machine.

    With the clip removed and the piston raised a touch you can safely remove the pin. Take Note: you dont need to undo the other pin that holds the roller. Also note that that the roller pin is positioned on the bottom half of the lever shoulder. Remember to position the lever this way up when you put everything back together. It is easy to miss:






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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    The next step is laughably easy: simply unwind the hand screw on the PF tool to extension the spring and effortlessly remove the piston:






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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Here are the old seals: they look 100% like new: perfect. But they are not perfect. These seals are defective. They are on their way to a bin!

    Ok seal changing time. Use a blunt screw driver or similar tool (take care never to stab, or damage the seals) slide it behind the flat back edge of a seal, pry up, around the back, and pass the driver through the other side creating a gap and stretching the seal. Use your thumbs to work the seal off working around as you go starting at your gap. This should be easy- dont be afraid- use both thumbs. Remove all three- removing the seal at the top last- pull it off the side it is on- over the piston rod. When you do the middle seal pry it right out over the end of the piston. They do have some stretch. You can get a feel for the seals at this time- these ones will be discarded and it doesnt matter if they are damaged. When you install the new ones you must take extra care






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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    now for the new seals. You will want some food grade lubricant. I recommend a silicon based product like the one pictured here. One tube will last a thousand years at a guess... Dow 101 is similar and also works fine. You dont need much! just enough to coat surfaces. Two match heads per seal... no more.

    It is important to lubricate the seals on the inside edges that are in contact with the piston. You can see each seal sits in a groove where two flat faces of the piston are in contact with two faces of the seal. Each seal has a V section. The top and bottom seal Vs point upwards. The middle seals V points down (be sure to get this right- you can tell the right way by looking at the grooves in the pistons. The flat faces match the flat faces on the seals). Place a little lubricant in each groove on the brass piston. Rub some more on the faces of each seal.

    Start with the bottom seal- push one edge of the seal into the groove as it should sit- then using both thumbs push more of that edge in working your way around. The seal may want to buckle or twist but once it goes over the edge and into the groove it is easy to work it into position. It is similar to changing a tyre on a bike. To help you can soak the seal in boiling water first to soften them but they cool quickly. I found I dont need to bother. Just man-handle them into position. Approach the top seal from the top- going over the piston rod. The other two can go over the bottom edge.

    Once all three are in place twist them around a few times in their grooves. This will help to spread the lubricant around on the inside edges coating everything.






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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Time to put it back together. Start by placing the alloy guide over the piston and seals. Do this going over the top- down the piston rod. The ring has a rounded edge on one side to guide over the seals. Push it on until it is flush with the base of the piston.

    Put the spring back in place and insert the piston and spring into the group. Take care that the hole in the piston shaft is aligned as it was at the start. Lock the PF tool in place and wind the hand screw up until the piston shaft sticks up a few mm higher than the top of the group- the same position as when you removed the pin at the start:






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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    You can adjust the position of the hole in the piston rod with a screwdriver until it is straight. Now you can replace the pin, and the C clip.

    You can also put a few drops of Olive Oil onto the piston rod at the top here. It will run down the piston and stop any squeeks. Just a drop or two on the edges where the piston rod enters the group. It will find its own way down.


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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Thats It- almost done. The seals are changed and the piston is locked into position again. You can now remove the PF Tool- place the little screen replacement disk into the handle with the screen sitting on top. Lock it onto the machine again and tighten the hand screw a little. You will hear a click when the filterscreen has clicked back into position.

    You Done! 8-)

    First group took me 20 minutes- I think I had the second one done in 12 :-?

    One last thing: Testing :D

    Grind up some fresh beans and test each group...


    Perfecto!

    I am in love with this little tool!








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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    If you are reading this but have no access to the special tool the entire process can be done in pretty much the same manner using a G clamp. You use the clamp to raise and lower the piston just as the special tool is used here. However it is more tricky and you must use your hands to keep the clamp in position and guide it throughout the process. It will want to slip- and if it does the spring can jump out. There is not too much pressure though- nothing explosive.* Just go slow and keep adjusting the position of the clamp as you go. On the top of the piston there is only a little room for the clamp to cling to. You also need to leave some clearance so that you can remove the locking pin when the time comes. You will need to remove the drip tray so that the clamp handle can run through that space. Place the machine on a bench with the front edge overhanging.

    Also when you re-insert the piston you wont have the sleeve to hold the seals in tight. Therefore you will need to take care and screw the piston in slowly: stopping when the edge of the middle seal hits the piston walls. At this point you will need to use a small suitable tool to push the leading edge of the seal into the piston chamber- working all the way around- before you screw the piston all the way up. If you dont do this the edge of the second seal will likely catch on the piston wall and tear.

    It is completely do-able though. Before this tool came along I did it this way. The first time it is hateful the second-merely an annoyance...

    You also need to put the filter plate back in place by hand: use a tamper or similar object to tap/push it back into place evenly.

    here is how the G clamp set-up looks:






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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!


    Brilliant guide Jack! I cant wait to have a go with the PV tool - what a clever way to make the whole process so much simpler.

    Sniff

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    What a terrific post Jack- to demystify a tricky job and turn it into something many owners will look forward to once they borrow your PV tool...

    This one has gotta be worth a technical tinkerer award for mine. [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Nice jack, very nice. Great "how to"

    Also another little tip is to press the shower screen on by pressing in the centre of the screen. I use my thumbs and hold onto the group pushing up. The first time they can be quite stiff.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    A comprehensive and informative guide Jack, you clearly put a lot of time into documenting the process.

    That tool does look like something Id knock together in my garage rather than something a manufacturer would sell as a service tool. If I still worked in product support, there is no way Id let a tool like that leave the factory. Fine as a prototype, but not a finished item - they didnt even use a new portafilter.

    Also, why did it take so long for you to find out the correct way to change seals?
    Seems to me this is a routine service task for which I would expect the manufacturer to provide all necessary info to their service channels. It makes me wonder what other important service info they have yet to give you.

    Kudos for making the info available, but a big thumbs down to PV for their service and support.

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    lu
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Quote Originally Posted by 3F3739313329293539315A0 link=1307713119/13#13 date=1307751910
    That tool does look like something Id knock together in my garage rather than something a manufacturer would sell as a service tool. If I still worked in product support, there is no way Id let a tool like that leave the factory. Fine as a prototype, but not a finished item - they didnt even use a new portafilter.
    * I was thinking same and that my mechanic backyard engineer friend could make much neater/better finished tool... given the PF

    Jack, well done this makes the PV more acceptable to female - just have to be able to manhandle the new seals into place.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    to be honest I couldnt care less about the* appearance of the tool... If you worked at the factory- and wouldnt let the tool leave because it was too ugly- I would be very mad at you for that! I am glad whoever was there didnt have such high standards. And in any case i think it is beautiful as is ;-)

    For me (in this case) functionality is everything.

    It is true that PV have been less than clear as to how users are supposed to do this themselves... But around the world many users have managed fine without it- figuring out alternative methods.

    The good news is that the design is now in the public domain... And for Australia at least I will be happy to lend the tool out to users when it is needed. You only need to change your seals every few years...

    I will ask PV if they can make these for sale. I have a few spare PFs coming in my next shipment and any one with access to a lathe and a bit of now-how could replicate this tool easily enough.

    To those owners that have already emailed me about the tool: I will post it out on Tuesday and answer all you emails over the weekend.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F5759515349495559513A0 link=1307713119/13#13 date=1307751910
    That tool does look like something Id knock together in my garage
    Quote Originally Posted by 564F3A0 link=1307713119/14#14 date=1307754076
    my mechanic backyard engineer friend could make much neater/better finished tool.
    The difference being that you and/or anyone else, probably wouldnt have known what to make.

    Jack, I think youve done a fantastic job of explaining the process and sorry to see the thread include anything but praise for your efforts.


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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Quote Originally Posted by 634249494E54270 link=1307713119/16#16 date=1307761877
    The difference being that you and/or anyone else, probably wouldnt have known what to make.
    True Dennis and yes Jack apologies for my rudeness* :-[ I agree 110% with Dennis* "Jack, I think youve done a fantastic job of explaining the process and sorry to see the thread include anything but praise for your efforts.".

    A major thing I was unsure about with this machine was myself replacing those darned seals. Seeing, as I followed PV thread since March this year that some of the relatively new machines needed seal replacement, bad batch it seems.

    Great to see you have got the PVL seal changer downunder, service and support is important .... I expect O/S PV lever owners may want one too :)

    cheers
    lou

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Lu: PV did have a bad batch of seals in my last shipment. This is the only reason these customers need to replace their seals already. Looking at the new seal and comparing with the bad ones the bad ones are a fraction stiffer and smaller- just a minute fraction. It seems that the PV supplier sent them seals that were made from the wrong material or overcooked or something.

    The new seals are working perfectly in my machine now and I dont think I will need to change them for at least 2 years and maybe a lot longer.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Quote Originally Posted by 3B647C6A616A666F6F6C6C646867090 link=1307713119/11#11 date=1307742005
    This one has gotta be worth a technical tinkerer award for mine.* [smiley=thumbsup.gif]
    I agree.... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Also worthy of being made a "Sticky" too - Dont want all this valuable info becoming hard to find....

    Great stuff Jack.... [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif]

    Mal.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Quote Originally Posted by 485449495E554F52555A58545D5D5E5E3B0 link=1307713119/15#15 date=1307759087
    If you worked at the factory- and wouldnt let the tool leave because it was too ugly- I would be very mad at you for that! I am glad whoever was there didnt have such high standards. And in any case i think it is beautiful as is

    For me (in this case) functionality is everything.

    It is true that PV have been less than clear as to how users are supposed to do this themselves... But around the world many users have managed fine without it
    If I worked on the product team at the factory, youd have got a tool that worked (and looked like it was made from new parts) at the same time as your initial shipment of machines, along with clear instructions on how to perform this and any other expected service tasks. I doubt Id have done as good a job of writing up the steps as you, but the info would have been supplied in a timely manner and all tools to the standard of finish that service providers in the field deserve to make using them a pleasure not a chore.

    Quote Originally Posted by 485449495E554F52555A58545D5D5E5E3B0 link=1307713119/15#15 date=1307759087
    For me (in this case) functionality is everything.
    Referring to your quote on the left, I think we probably agree that form and function should be integrated. LLoyd Wright would be my second favourite architect, after Charles Rennie Mackintosh.


    Mal - definitely needs to be a sticky, although the follow-up posts may need to go missing for clarity.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    well its a shame you dont work for Ponte Vecchio...

    having said that the tool looks better in reality than in the pics here. Having changed seals on four group heads it has a bit of grease and grime on it. I didnt bother to polish it up for the photoshoot...

    *

    Myself if I worked at Ponte Vecchio I would use the old Sama 49mm group design that incorporates a two part group head where the top portion of the group can be removed via simple removal of two hex nuts with a standard allen key. In this group the entire piston and spring assembly just slides right up and out. But I would go further and actually take several elements of the PV group (the ones that make it perform brilliantly and better than most small lever groups I have tested), notably the 45mm design, the low clearance filter plate, and the thermosyphon loop arrangement... and incorporate these with Sama group...

    I would look to the fine form of Saladis* Cravel and the early Robbiati Atomic portafiter handles as inspiration for the design of my portafilter... As to thermal stability of the group- I have a few ides of my own ;-)

    My Hybrid group would have the best of both world. Obviously* a high quality forged steel tungsten coated allen key of the correct size would ship with every unit. This would be found in an integral toolbox built into the machine itself (along with a set of spare seals wrapped in wax paper, a tube of lube, 2 spare shower screens and other sundry machine seals).

    It is a shame I am only an armchair CEO at the moment. I may have to make my idea a reality...

    But I dont work at PV, and I dont manufacture a dual group spring lever machine that costs less than 2 grand... a lot less. In fact no one else produces such a machine. There is nothing remotely comparable...

    Buy I do agree with you: I wish this thread didnt need to exist. In the best of all possible worlds it wouldnt and Voltaire wouldnt have written Candide (and we would all own speedsters or slayers).







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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Great guide Jack! [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    After replacing one set of seals using the G Clamp way, using that tool would be an absolute pleasure. Next time I have to change, Ill send you an email to request the use of it!

    For any other users out there, I would seriously consider getting some after market circlips for the pin, and a pair of circlip pliers to remove or install the circlip. It would certainly make life a heck of a lot easier to get it on or off.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    I was thinking the same about the pin too Ash. Took a bit of time to get it off and then it was bent out of shape.

    Do you know what size circlips you got? Where did you buy them from?

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    I do hope you mean the C clip was bent- not the pin?

    Most hardware stores seem to have a box full of different sized clips. Probably best to look for the type that is a little flattened disk rather than the type the Lusso ships with. The disk ones can be removed easily with needle nose pliers.

    Having said that I can get my C clips off in a flash. Using two small screw drivers and pushing the ends of the clips in opposite directions- once it starts to come off you can grab it with the needle nose pliers and off it comes. Then bend it back to shape before re-installing- with a final squish with the pliers when it is on.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!


    Okay, heres a novices report on the process:

    The tools and seals arrived at my place today.* I was going to leave it till the weekend to do it but as I started to tinker the first little clip that holds the lever pin in place came off in my hand, and the next thing I knew I had the first piston out!

    The tool is great, but I did have a hiccup along the way which meant that two new seals got damaged, which means as I understand it theres exactly enough seals left in the package for the remaining users.* No more spares.* Sorry... :-/ .

    So I thought I would point out a couple of screamingly obvious things (to everyone else) that sadly didnt dawn on me until mid way through the process which will drastically reduce your chance of damaging a new seal.

    1.* Take out the drip tray and its cover!* ::)*

    2.* If youve got a corner bench, put your Lusso on the corner so that one of its front feet is hanging over the edge, with the other three feet sitting around the bend of the corner.* It gives you a little extra space to feed the tool up from below.

    3.* Getting the old seals off is not too hard, just be careful to use something that wont damage the piston metal.* I used a nylon spatula thingy but if youve got a bike tyre tool that would work well too.

    4.* The order of the seals, from the top, is facing DOWN, facing UP, facing DOWN.* By that I mean the larger lip of each seal is facing in the described direction.* You can see it in Jacks photos in post #4 above (in the piccies where hes taking the old seals off).

    5.* If you put the bottom seal on first (facing down), then the middle seal is easier to work up from the bottom end past the bottom seal.* The top seal (which also faces down) is easier to put on from the top end.

    6.* Dont forget to spread a little silicon lube over the seal, including the inner part that fits around the piston.

    7.* The sleeve:* it is vital that you feed it down the piston from the top with the ROUNDED edge facing down.* The top and bottom seals, as they face down, feed easily back into the cylinder.

    The b!stard seal is the middle seal, which faces up.* That means the wider lip wants to get stuck on the lip of the cylinder as you feed it up.* The non-rounded end of the sleeve will keep the seal sufficiently compressed to feed it into the cylinder, BUT, if you notice as youre winding up the piston that the effort required to turn to bolt has increased a fair bit, STOP!

    Its possible that part of the lip of the middle seal has caught and is being bent back.* Take it out and check.

    Unfortunately on the first group I had the sleeve around the wrong way, so the non-rounded edge was facing down and didnt compress the middle seal, and it caught.* I foolishly kept winding up the piston and then was confused when I couldnt twist the piston to line up the pin hole.* I then undid the tool and realised to my horror that the piston had jammed in the cylinder.*

    A couple of gentle whacks got it out, but what had caused it to jam was the middle seals lip bending back and down.* The seal was damaged in the process.

    Second time around, with the sleeve on the right way, and the piston went in fine.* There was little noticeable increase in the effort to turn the bolt and compress the spring even as it got to its right position, so, I say again, if you notice a marked increase in effort to wind the bolt up, STOP!!!.

    The second group was much more straightforward, and I had no trouble in getting the piston back into the cylinder.

    8.* The final frustrating part was getting the tiny circle clip back onto the end of the lever pin.

    9.* Also getting the shower screens back on was fine, although with both there was no distinct click as they secured, so be careful that you dont over-tighten the tool as youre putting them on.

    10.* If youre finding it really easy to wind the piston back into the cylinder, check you havent forgotten to put the spring back on top of the piston before putting it back into the cylinder... (ahem).* :P

    I didnt test the Lusso tonight, but will give it a go in the morning.

    Thanks Jack for the tool and guide, it turned a nightmare task (with a G-clamp) into an easy(ish) one.

    Sniff

    PS.* The inside of my shower screens were filthy, together with the bottom of each piston.* * :P* I will taking them off on a monthly basis from now on.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Great Post James- thanks for the detailed fine points.

    It is indeed stupid to re-insert the piston without the spring- yet I do it nearly every time as well... :-?

    I should have made it more clear in my description: the little alloy sleeve has a stepped end and a tapered end. The tapered end is a guide to slide over the seals and as you noted it should go over the piston rod from the top so that the stepped part is at the top of the sleeve and mates with the piston cylinder wall when locked into place with the tool.

    Once it is pushed on all the way to the end until it is flush with the base of the piston you can insert the assembly into the group (with the spring!) and then clamp the portafilter tool into place. This way you dont need as much room under the group.




  28. #28
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Thanks Jack

    The first test came this morning and there has been a fantastic improvement - no signs of slippage with either group, very smooth action up and down. [smiley=thumbup.gif]

    In particular my right group had always squirted a bit of water out the top back of the group (through a tiny hole designed just for that purpose) when you pulled the lever down. This morning - not a bit came out.

    The coffee was (of course) just sublime... ;D

    Thanks again Jack for the tool and guide - I should add (after a nights sleep and a fabulous morning latte :)) that on reflection I agree with your assessment - the tool is a godsend and made the job very easy.

    Cheers

    James/Sniff

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    So how far along is the pv tool? Will it arrive with no seals for lucky last here in qld???

    Glad it all worked out sniff. I forgot the spring too and also got it all the way in only to find the pin hole out by 90degrees so I had to start again. Still you learn as you go eh.

    Anyone else used inox mx6?

    Jack have you also got the group gasket, steam/hw prints etc in stock?

    Sniff you OE funnel is great. Dosing lower and getting great results.

  30. #30
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Quote Originally Posted by 183537313C3D39540 link=1307713119/28#28 date=1308978392
    So how far along is the pv tool? Will it arrive with no seals for lucky last here in qld???
    I think I was 2nd in the list - its already on its way to the next person (in Victoria), then another person and then you last Lacehim. There should be just enough seals left to replace all required, but maybe Jack could post you a set just to be sure (although given you just replaced your set you might not need to worry).

    Quote Originally Posted by 183537313C3D39540 link=1307713119/28#28 date=1308978392
    Sniff you OE funnel is great. Dosing lower and getting great results.
    They are great arent they? I catch pretty much all the grinds with mine and then hold the funnel on so I can give the grinds a good thwacking before tamping. ;)

  31. #31
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    I need to replace one set of seals and the spare is for ash because I borrowed a set from him. I hope I get seals Ive been waiting patiently for months to do them.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    dont worry- if there are any more seals damaged I will get more to you -express if needs be. I can also send them direct to Ash. So as long as you get three good ones you should be good to go. but hopefully all six will arrive and me accounting for two spares total will prove to be (characteristically) prescient ;)

  33. #33
    Rho
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Tool and seals now on way to KA in QLD.

    A bit of a fiddle the first time, but would get easier very quickly. Having the right tool for the job... Very glad I didnt have to use the G clamp.

    Managed to damage one seal, so theres only one spare left.

    Agree about the OE funnel. Much less waste and mess, and easier consistent dosing.

  34. #34
    Ash
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    WooHoo - nice timing Rho, I think my other group is about to go.* :( The tool should make it much easier to change than using a g clamp.* 8-)

    +1 for the OE funnel. My grinders doser throws to the left and the funnel catches those grinds nicely.

  35. #35
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    How often do you need to replace the seals ?

    I am very much thinking about getting a PV L when they are available, but a bit concern about the longevity of the original seals.

    Thanks.

  36. #36
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Hello Boofa,

    my first set of seals lasted around 2 years of daily use. After that they were still OK but one group developed a very slow drip so I replaced them and descaled the machine.


    But late last year I got another shipment of machines and they were fitted with faulty seals so people who purchased then have had to replace them already. Ponte Vecchio say those seals have been entirely weeded out and sent me new spares. There shouldnt be any problem with my next shipment. I will of course test a few machines as soon as they arrive to make sure.


  37. #37
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Jack, thanks for your prompt reply. I guess one good thing about PV Lusso is the simplicity of the unit and even if something goes wrong it is not too hard to dismantle the unit and fixing it.


    Cheers.

  38. #38
    Ash
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Just finished changing the seals - 1 hour to do both groups taking my time and gave everything a good clean and wipe down while I was at it.

    Lacehim, the package is on its way.

    Jack, that is a fantastic tool.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Cheers ash. Good go hear the tool has been a success for everyone. ;)

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    how many seals were left in the box?

    Let me know if you need more Lace.

    Glad it all went smooth. A big thanks to everyone getting this issue sorted. Glad the tool is safe (I was starting to miss it* ::)). Once you have done it once it only takes 15 minutes per group or less.

  41. #41
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    I wonder if a silicon version of the seal work would work better/longer?

    I understand you can replace the o-rings on the steam and hot water valves with silicon versions...

    Any engineers out there who can offer an opinion?

    Sniff



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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    In theory they should work. I am not sure if they would be stiff enough though. Not sure how easy it would be to make them- or to source them. They are of quite a specific design.

    To be honest I am not sure how long the seals might last for- I know from experience at least 18 months of daily use. But I have also restored vintage machines from the 60s and their original seals were still fine with a clean and lube...

  43. #43
    Ash
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Jack,

    When I sent it on there were enough seals for Lacehim to do both groups and 2 spare seals. I only used one set, as I still had another set from OE sitting in the draw, so I used them ;) No point in having them sit in the draw doing nothing.

  44. #44
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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    I got the tool, it arrive yesterday. :) Thanks Ash.

    I still have your OE tool to post back to you too Ash.

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    brilliant! it made it all the way down the line.

    I was worried some postal disaster could befall it. It is the only of its type in Australia... I have asked PV in Italy if I can get more of them made- but in the meantime:

    I am wondering if there are any machinist/engineering enthusiasts out there who could make a tool like this? It could be made out of steel piping of the right diameter instead of a portafilter. The bayonet teeth on the side would need to be welded on... to bottom could be a pipe end cap... a bit of tapping, drilling and turning and bobs your uncle...

    I would certainly purchase 5 of these straight off the bat if the pricing was reasonable. If it was great I would commit to 15 units (and so on)!


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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    I finally got time to do my left group seals today. The left group has been slipping the last few days and leaking since day one. The tool was amazing. Very easy to use. The only issue I had was when I was putting the piston back in, but decided to pull it out again because I forgot to lube the shaft after I cleaned it. My hand knocked the group handle and BANG. Nearly pood myself. I was glad I took sniffs advise and removed the drip tray! :) Got it back in and made sure the group handle was locked in better this time! :)

    The tool made life much easier than the jig I made. The handle was easy to turn and the seals just slipped in. I even found getting the new seals on the piston much easier (didnt heat them in water this time). Mind you it was a learning curve the first time I did it.

    So top marks to PV for this tool, and for Jack for letting us use it.

    Jack can you email or PM the address for the tool to be sent to. Ive only just done the leaking group but I tested it today and there is no leaks. :) Also I have a spare 3kg express post bag, Will that be ok? It has tracking but so signature on delivery?

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    Re: How to Change Seals: The Ponte Vecchio Lusso Way!

    Hello there Lace,

    I am glad it all went so well- the tool really is a gem. I had planned to have the tool sent back to one of the first recipients as they had a few slips on one group after replacing the seals. However (touching wood), the group settled in an stopped slipping so they dont think they need it now.

    From experience: the occasional slippage can happen even when the seals are fine. I had one slip last week. I think it can occur especially if you raise and lower the lever very quickly. It seems that the water pressure builds up between the bottom of the piston and the coffee puck and this pressure forces the lip of the bottom seal to seal against the cylinder wall. If the lever is released very quickly- or if the filter basket is packed too loosely- this pressure does not build and a slip can occur. A half pump or two of the lever usually makes it grip and the shot can progress...

    This is my theory anyway.

  48. #48
    B85
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    Great work thanks for the guide and the descaling tip with the acid

  49. #49
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    Hi All, I recently changed the gaskets on my Ponte Vecchio Export machine, but I ran into a problem when trying to use my clamp because it was not powerful enough, but I came up with a different way to release/install the piston using my "Car Jack"

    I wish I could post photos directly, but for some reason the forum will not allow me to do it. (Strange).




  50. #50
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    Hi, new member ish. i have just replaced the piston seals on my Ponte Vechio using a very similar method described here, at first all seemed well but after i made a few coffees i noticed that water kept flowing from the group head!! any suggestions would be welcome. i may add i'm a seasoned professional coffee machine engineer on large commercial machines but i have little experience on this machine.

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