Post By caffeinated-cam
Post By caffeinated-cam
Rancilio Z9 2 Group Lever Rebuild
I've posted elsewhere but hoping the CoffeeSnobs crew might have some advice and answers to some of my questions: https://www.home-barista.com/repairs...0.html#p547810
Myself and friend have nearly completed a restoration of a Z9 2-Group Lever machine and about to test. Welcome comments to the questions I've posed.
1. We've wired up both elements (we were originally thinking about wiring up just the one to reduce ampage) but the electrician has advised that the circuit should be able to handle both. If we do decide to only use the one, can people foresee us having issues getting the machine to pressure? What do people think - one or two elements, and why?
2. We were thinking that we're going to need to purchase a water pressure regulator valve to sit between the machine and the water mains. Is this necessary or can we connect straight from the mains?
3. The manual water fill knob seems to be set very hard to the right which means it only has a small space to travel (and therefore some concern that it won't open the valve enough). Does it need to be able to open fully in order to do its job?
4. One thing we've noticed from the beginning - there's no drain pipe/outlet for the boiler. Is that normal for these old machines, and does it matter? I guess you'd just 'drain' it by flushing water through it when it's turned on, but mainly just asking out of curiosity.
5. On the topic of the Gigar (auto-fill device) - we've tested the old model (RL40) it and it appears to work. We have however also purchased a newer unit (RL30) but we can't seem to source the plug-in base or base station that it mantles into. The RL30 has spade terminals which don't fit the old base station. If we did want to replace the old for new, do people have any recommendations for how to mount it to the frame/machine in the absence of the base?
6. For anyone who has similar experience restoring one of these beauties...any practical advice on how to go about starting them up for the first time?
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If you have 15 amp power then use the two elements. You can disconnect one element to run on ten amp but heat up time will be like waiting for the second coming.
A pressure regulator is vital as mains can be all over the place and will play havoc with auto fills and inlet valves.
The manual fill valve should be fully open to operate efficiently or it will be just slow.
Not sure what you mean by the boiler drain but in any of my old machines i just pull the bottom sight glass mount.
And Use a recommended anti-scale filter.
Thanks - we had to replace the pressure gauge but could only find a double that fit the body, so we've got one terminal left unconnected. Do we need to cap this (for example, will pressure escape), or can we just leave it unconnected?
That's looking beautiful,
In regards to the 1 or 2 element and since you've wired it for 2, it should be easy enough to try it on 2 then disconnect 1 and compare to determine if one is sufficient. You could always install a switch to have the best of both worlds, ie; have both elements on for warm up, then switch off the second.
With the Gigar device, is there any reason for you to replace it since it works? Do you have a photo of both old and new so I can better understand what you're wanting to do?
So with the Gigar, we originally thought the old unit had completely had it but on reflection should have waited to test it before buying a newer unit. I agree, given this old unit seems to still work we'll probably keep it for the time being. If it doesn't work for some reason however, we've only been able to find a newer, slightly different unit.
As you can see, the new unit won't slot into the original base station - and we can't for the life of us find anything online that it would fit into. How it is is how it was sold.
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The new one looks like it just uses simple spade connectors and not designed to be fitted to a special base like the old one.
If you were going to replace it, I'd remove the old base and fit female spade connectors to the wires (may need to extend them) then plug the females directly into the new unit. To secure the box, if there is no obvious anchor points, you may need to come up with something or at worst cable tie it to something.
So we plugged her in and plumbed her up today, and partial success. The electrics are all good. The auto fill kicked-in straight away and filled the boiler to the level of the water level probe, and then kicked the switch to start heating the boiler. We went with the suggestion of going with the two elements to start with and there were no issues encountered.
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Unfortunately we couldn't get her to pressure though as water started to flow fairly liberally from both groups and I suspect it's the piston seals that need replacing. It should just be the two seals that sit on the bottom of the piston rod wouldn't it?
There also appears to be a few small leaks that we'll need to attend to.
Ignore the grime and rust in the below images - we've actually cleaned these puppies up but the seals haven't been touched. As you can see they're completely flush with the disc.
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This is an example of someone else's after reconditioning: notice the overhang of the seals. Hopefully this, when rectified fixes it...Appreciate anyone's experience with this sort of problem.
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Hi again. For those interested, it has taken a little while but we're essentially done with the rebuild of the Rancilio Two-Group lever machine. We've had it running most weekends for the last three months and despite a couple of very minor leaks it works an absolute charm. Now we'll turn to modding the exterior but for the moment it's sitting naked on the counter with all of it's internals on show.
See the linked-to video for a bit of a glimpse. Any questions/comments, would love to hear from you. Cheers.
Congratulations! That looks like a great shot.
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