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Thread: Gaggia Classic Not Pumping

  1. #1
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    Gaggia Classic Not Pumping

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi CS

    My trusty Classic, which has been with me for many many years and many road trips (it goes everywhere) finally died this morning. Half way through pulling a shot the pump stopped making its usual viby noise and turned into a much quieter and deeper sound and the coffee stopped pouring out. i flicked it to steam mode and hit the pump. it made the same low noise and no water comes out of the steam wand either. now this is different to the other issues i see on youtube where the pump makes a really high pitched scream. ive had that issue but that's just a block/water thing and can be fixed by leaving the machine cool. to me this sounds like the pump has finally died a slow death and is no longer pumping. like i say it still makes "the noise" but its very different to the normal pump noise. it's as if you've taken your foot off the throttle and the engine is now at 500RPM instead of 1500RPM. Not sure that helps but you get the idea. so before i buy a pump for about $60 I thought I would ask the pros if I'm on the right track with the pump OR could it be something else and the pump is just a symptom. with no water coming out of the group or wand and the pump making the same exact low noise on both with no pressure involved you would think pump but maybe a solonoid is blocking the whole thing or??? \
    thanks all. i can post a video if that helps???
    Video on the way....

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    I had exactly that problem with mine. It's not the pump. It' the valve(?). I got it fixed (pre discovering cs so a non site sponsor) for $240 including a service that figured was due.

    Your video brought back sad memories , but she works like a charm now.

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    Thanks SBM. What valve is it that went on yours?
    The OPV valve or the solenoid valve. .

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    Hello Gaggia Users,
    Another option is to check gaggiausersforum.com they cover all gaggia models and have easy step by step troubleshooting videos and "how to's".
    If your solenoid is the problem then they can be disassembled and cleared (common problem),if you can hear the coil clicking when you select brew etc ,then its repairable.
    I have four classic's and all have shown some blockages one type or another however, none have ever had a failed coil in the solenoid (always a first time I suppose).
    I have had one with a failed boiler element,even that was repairable,great coffee machines.
    Classic's are so well built and hardly anything kills them,blockages only slow them temporarily.
    Hope that helps,if not I can offer you a reasonable price and I'll repair it and add it to my collection!
    Cheers
    Mick

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    It seems to be called a steam valve. (I come from an extremely low knowledge base re how coffee machines actually work.)
    online for about $55.

    good luck.

  7. #7
    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    I don't think your problem is in the solenoid valve or the steam valve. The pump sucks water from the tank and pumps it into the boiler via the OPV. From the boiler it is forced through the solenoid valve into the group head, or out of the steam wand if the steam valve is open.

    If the pump is working, and the solenoid valve was blocked or faulty, you should still get water through the steam wand. If the steam valve was blocked you should still get water through the group head. So unless they both failed at the same time they are probably OK.

    It seems more like a jammed valve in the pump, or a blockage between pump and boiler.
    Vibe pumps will sound quieter than normal if there is a blockage in the pump valve, or somewhere downstream from it.

    To check if the pump is working, you need to unscrew the output tube from the pump at bottom of the OPV, put the end of it into a container, and see if you can pump water. If you can't, then the problem is in the pump, and if you can, then it's probably the OPV, or the entry hole into the boiler.

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    Thanks deegee. I'm handy with the tools so took it apart last night and agree it could be the OPV. I turned it on as it was now stone cold and water did flow through the group. I decided to run some flush through it and after a good flush and back flush which caused a lot of brown crud to come out she's all fine again. I suspect the OPV was blocked after seeing the brown crud come out on a back flush. It's a sturdy old machine that classic. I seriously have had it for years it's even been to Bathurst and sat on the back of somebody's UTE and ran off a genie. Anyway I'll have to keep a better eye on the back flush and clean from now on. Thanks for the tips everyone.

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    Well done.

  10. #10
    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmbassett View Post
    . Anyway I'll have to keep a better eye on the back flush and clean from now on. Thanks for the tips everyone.
    It would probably be a good idea to give it a thorough descale treatment too.

    Cheers, deegee.

  11. #11
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Just be aware that it could happen again. If you haven't been descaling the machine regularly then you've probably got a decent build up inside the boiler and group by now. Doing a back flush and a descale can actually dislodge some of this descale and send it back into the solenoid and/or OPV. My Classic is currently in pieces while it undergoes a full strip and rebuild due to this.

    As you've found out its hardly ever the pump, and the pump is easy to test so can be eliminated straight away if you have problems. If it happens again you'll need to pull out the solenoid and OPV and clean them properly. From personal experience I suggest that you pull the whole lot out of the frame as it's really fiddly getting in to try and remove the solenoid and OPV individually, but the whole assembly (barring the pump) comes out easily. Glad you're up and running again. Good luck.

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    Hey Leroy. You jinxed me. She stopped pumping again this morning! No water out of the group or steam wand. Definitely feels like a blockage. I'll pull it apart tonight and take pics as I go and report back. May help others if and when I get to the source of the issue.

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    Ok stripped it down and pulled the boiler apart and took the solenoid and opv off. Took loads of pics but here's a video of it back together and water flowing out the wand but not the group. I'm thinking solenoid?
    http://youtu.be/53UwfUA9SAM

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    Ok after stripping it down and confirming that water flows from the pump to the OPV and into the boiler I decided to pull the solenoid off and run the pump to confirm if water was flowing out the boiler and into the solenoid. On turning the pump on water came gushing out the boiler to where the solenoid inlet would be. So now we can confirm that water gets TO the solenoid. Solenoid back on machine and no water flows out the group head and as pressure builds water flows out of the OPV return pipe to the water tank.turning the steam wand on shows water flowing out of there so 100% confirmed the OPV is working. So the only thing it could be is either the solenoid has blown ( I stripped the solenoid apart and there are no blockages ) or the inlet back to the boiler is blocked. I suspect the solenoid is not working. Thoughts?

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    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1412118496.912250.jpgImageUploadedByTapatalk1412118514.674451.jpgImageUploadedByTapatalk1412118529.478296.jpg
    Couple more of the solenoid and of the OPV return pipe working proving that the OPV is OK.

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    dmbassett,
    Love all your picture,looks like my work bench in progress as well.
    Did you confirm whether the coil of the solenoid was ok,checked its actual operation under current?
    Coils can go open circuit,if it has shorted you would blow your fuse/circuit breaker,if open circuit it wouldn't work (no clicking).
    Cheers
    mick

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    Hey Mick

    I don't get the nice click when you turn the brew pump on just the sound of the pump. It used to make that snappy click sound. Definitely thinking solenoid. Not being good with electrics ( more mechanical ) not sure how to test it. ?

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    dmbassett,
    The coil part of your solenoid is a molded plastic part (square black thing)that encircles the shaft of the actuator (metal plunger with the seal).
    Just locate the terminals of that (should have been two connectors connected).
    Using a multimeter or test lamp (battery and globe) touch probes (one on each terminal) and you should get a closed circuit (ooo on meter or globe will glow).
    If no closed circuit or no glowing globe, you have a open coil.....dead and is not repairable other then replacing the coil part or the lot if coil is not available.
    Cheers
    Mick

  22. #22
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    As Mick has pointed out it could be the solenoid coil so if you can check it then it'd be worth doing. But like the pump this part rarely fails. What's more likely is that there is an invisible blockage in the solenoid. If you haven't already seen it have a read of this web page as it's the best instructions I've seen for doing a strip of a Classic - http://protofusion.org/wordpress/201...-and-cleaning/. You'll see that the author gives clear instructions on how to clean the solenoid fully and this could be key. I'd also make sure that you clean all the scale off your group head and from inside the boiler if you haven't done so already. This can only be done by soaking everything in descale solution then applying a lot of elbow grease. Good luck.

  23. #23
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Here's what my group head and boiler looked like. Yuck.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1412645318.181736.jpg
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1412645344.532191.jpg

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    dmbasset
    Just checking with you for progress with your classic?
    I've some spare parts you could have for the postage cost and replaced parts posted to me if that helps.
    Otherwise I'm always interested in another classic for repair!
    Cheers
    Mick
    QUOTE=dmbassett;542280]Hey Mick

    I don't get the nice click when you turn the brew pump on just the sound of the pump. It used to make that snappy click sound. Definitely thinking solenoid. Not being good with electrics ( more mechanical ) not sure how to test it. ?[/QUOTE]

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    Sorry for the delY but I've since taken the classic apart AGAIN and soaked the solenoid valve and the opv in citric acid. I blew air through the holes and ther are NO BLOCKS at all. On putting it back together nothing. No water flow. I decided to take the pump outlet off again as I needed to see if water was actually getting to the OPV and surprise surprise no water came out for about 30 seconds then all of a sudden it started to flow. Back together and water came out of the group and wand. Success! But not so fast. When I turned the pump off and back on the pump went back to a quiet sound and no water then all of a sudden it kicked in and water flowed. This keeps happening so I'm thinking the pump is 99% dead and struggling to pump. I made a video linked below and if you turn the volume up you can here the pump TRY and kick in until it does right at the end. Now if I turn it off it dies again. Video explains better. So CS gurus could the pump be aba out to die? I think we can see there are no blocks anywhere.

    http://youtu.be/QpTYH5DZPGg

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    dmbassett,
    Thanks again for the video,sounds exactly like your pump is working fine and then hesitates during flow (brew),the clean out of opv and solenoid was not wasted time anyway...!
    Your pump sounds as if something's floating around that is causing the variation of flow,its really a simple bit of engineering and well within most peoples ability to disassemble and clear,important thing is to keep track of how it disassembles and reverse that procedure when re assembling.
    Sometimes the tiny stainless springs can fracture and cause similar problems,I find if the spring bits are cleared and then stretch the shorter length spring remaining to give good tension...it works fine.
    See how that goes otherwise another pump is in order.
    Cheers
    Mick

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    Hey mick took your advice and stripped the pump. Looked clean and free in there. Stretched the top spring and soaked the bits in citric acid. Only question I have is about the top piece that the outlet hose connects to. Does it have a one way valve in there because I tried blowing through it and I could not but sucking hard on the outlet metal bit did release something and I could suck through the piece. Pics below but it's back together now and making noise but no water flow.
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1413196098.952208.jpg
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1413196140.425841.jpg
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1413196177.037173.jpgImageUploadedByTapatalk1413196194.858320.jpg
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1413196228.389955.jpg

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    http://ulkapumprepair.blogspot.com.a...site-page.html

    Found this site which shows the pump in bits. I think I've found my issue. There is supposed to be a small plastic type ball which sits on top of the piston and mines not there!!!!! After 10 years plus of daily use maybe it wore away! People on the site linked above talk about the ball getting smaller and smaller over time. The ball is made of some thing called Dreamliner?? It's the ball near the number 2 here:-
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1413199846.594756.jpg

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    Found the ball! It was on my workbench. Seems smaller than it should be though so this could explain the lack of pump?
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1413201087.968831.jpg

    Sitting on top of the piston...
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1413201103.548368.jpg

    Sitting on the spring...
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1413201122.805644.jpg

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    dmbassett,
    Wonderful news that things with your machine are resolved now,I did enjoy your posts..so easy to follow with all the images,thank you and I'm sure now lot's of others are more aware of the simplicity of the pump and that "I can do that " attitude.
    Cheers
    Mick

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    Hey nick not resolved just yet but I suspect the little plastic ball is at fault. It's not round anymore and a lot smaller than it should be so not foaming a seal. But yes very easy to take apart and clean. I'm thinking new pump for about $30

  33. #33
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Wow, you've really gone as far as you can go. It's very informative that's for sure. Everything I'd read had always said that I the pump works when tested then it's not the pump. But maybe this is one situation where it's no so black and white and it can test ok without working properly the way it's supposed to. I'm really hoping you get a result in the end and I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.

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    Old pump next to new $29 ulka ex5 pump...
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1414195753.677461.jpg
    Fitted it this morning an hey presto the machine lives another day. Sounds slightly different now I suppose I got used to my old pump dying. It was 10 years old and used hard. I suppose this problem with my machine was hard to diagnose because the machine would work intermittently. After stripping every part of the machine down several times I now suspect that the issue was with the plastic internal parts of the ulka pump. They had worn away. Specifically the little ball thing. It was supposed to be round but had rounded off to an oval and I think this would move around when the pump was running and sometimes form a seal and pump and sometimes not. Hey that's my thinking anyway. Thanks for the tips and advice everyone hopefully this bread will help others when their 10 year old classic starts acting up. Not a bad result for $40 inc shipping fix!
    http://youtu.be/QWQS3AUe2mk

    Mark
    Dimal likes this.

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    Bread = thread

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    Mark,
    Great to know you have finally got the coffee flowing again,your problem was a very tricky one to diagnose,you have achieved a nice satisfying fix there, in the end,it's a pest you had to replace the whole pump.
    If you have nothing else to do in your idle moments,would it be worth wiring it up (carefully...with the electricity) and see if it pumps from a bucket,might have to prime it though......as if you had a window of time without pressing domestic obligations that is!
    cheers
    Mick.



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