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Thread: Gaggia Baby Class Portafilter issue

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    Gaggia Baby Class Portafilter issue

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    Hi there, not many posts under my belt so forgive my relative innocence! We recently bought a 2008 built Gaggia Baby Class online (had previously bought a Carezza some months earlier but the steam function packed it in) and had to replace the group head seal as a matter of urgency. My son bought a blank disc for back-flushing and we did that methodically prior to first use. The problem we now have is that the seal 'pops' as the group head heats up until it is no longer possible to insert the portafilter in the machine! I measured the replacement seal to make sure it was the correct thickness (8.5 mm) and that checked out fine, it is the seal with the rounded edges on one of the sides and that was the side inserted into the machine, second time round I reversed it and same result. Bought another seal on-line from a different supplier and basically the issue remains unchanged, exactly the same issue. When the machine is cool you can insert the portafilter but as soon as you've pulled a couple of shots it becomes unworkable.
    A couple of observations: each time the seal had been replaced there is evidence of water sitting in the groove, I wonder if there is an escape of pressure through the side of the shower holding plate that forces water/steam behind the group seal? Has anyone had a similar problem? Any insight at all would be most welcome....

    cheers, Ian

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
    A couple of observations: each time the seal had been replaced there is evidence of water sitting in the groove, I wonder if there is an escape of pressure through the side of the shower holding plate that forces water/steam behind the group seal? Has anyone had a similar problem? Any insight at all would be most welcome.... cheers, Ian
    Hello Ian, I don't have a Baby Class, nor have I ever used one, but I have rebuilt a couple of Classics, and dismantled a Carezza for parts, so I'm familiar with them. I'm not sure if the Baby's have a three-way solenoid valve like the Classic, a pressure valve like the Carezza.

    It does sound as though water may be getting under the seal. It should not be able to get behind the seal while the portafilter is locked in tight, but maybe it could be happening as the portafiler is removed.

    If there is any damage to the flange in the group head that the inner edge of the seal fits against, or if the inside diameter of the seal is too big and it doesn't fit firmly against the flange, it could let water in.

    However, I think that there would have to be at least some pressure in the group as the portafilter was being removed, to force water under the seal. Do you hear any release of pressure as you turn the handle to remove it ??. If you do, then a faulty solenoid or valve may well be the cause of your problem, but if not, I'm not sure what else it would be.

    There is a forum at Gaggia Users Group who are very experienced and helpful with all the small Gaggia models, you could try posting your query there.

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    Thanks for your insights deejee, I don't seem to hear any pressure release when the portafilter is being removed, I know that if I left the portafilter in for too long with the Carezza after pulling a shot it seemed to be quite hard to remove and the pressure was evident but not with the Baby. The group head appears in excellent shape and the seals both appear to have been regulation size and fit so it is certainly hard to imagine how it is possible for the seal to build pressure and force itself out of the housing. I'm just a little wary when a couple of parameters are altered at once (in this case the seal replacement AND the backflushing) as my experience is that it makes it difficult to know exactly which one is the culprit. I'll swing by the Gaggia Users Group as recommended and see if there's any info to glean....

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    Still trying to get some traction on this issue with the Baby Class. I've got a 3rd replacement group seal on order (not that much choice here in Tas) and am not convinced that it will make any difference anyway. Tried sourcing info from Gaggiausers but even they are at a bit of a loss as to why we have water being trapped behind the seal, the fault is nothing if not consistent: turn the machine on, prime the boiler, wait the requisite among of time before pulling a shot, perfect 25 sec shot and crema etc, pull a 2nd shot ditto, then the water expands behind the seal pushing it out and thereby blocking the PF from full insertion. When the machine cools the water obviously contracts allowing the PF to insert normally. The group head appears to be in pristine condition, we've thoroughly cleaned the shower distribution disc and screen etc, replaced the seal after removing water from groove in group head etc etc but still the problem returns to haunt us! I am quite convinced that there is not an issue with the seal itself as we have replaced it with ones from different suppliers with zero change in terms of the problem described. Bummer is that we have had to damage the seal each time we remove it as it has had a number of cycles of compression and heating and cooling, I don't particularly mind shelling out $10 each time for a new one (apart from the week-long wait for the postie to deliver it) if it had any effect on the issue. Is it possible for the PF/basket to be subjected to an excess of pressure and if so could that inject steam or heated water up behind the group seal, another words is there a valve or something similar malfunctioning?

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Hello Ian, Sorry to hear you are still having problems.

    I don't have a solution, but I do have a couple of questions.

    Are you using pressurized or non-pressurized baskets ??

    What does the top of the puck look like - firm and dry-ish or wet and sloppy ??

    Have you tried leaving the portafilter in place for a while before removing it ??

    Once this problem starts, how long is it until the portafilter will lock back in place again - a couple of hours, overnight or not until you remove the seal ??

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    Thanks for responding deegee, I'm using non-pressurised baskets (had the "perfect crema" disc with the Carezza but didn't use it on either machine-wanted to go 'authentico'). The puck, well it is "moist" but not too much standing water when the shot's been pulled, probaly about right for one of these machines if I'm not mistaken. As far as leaving the PF in place goes, my son pulled a shot this morning and when I got up to take him to work (yes 7.00 am on Sunday!) He couldn't actually remove the PF having left it in for only the normal 30 secs or so. I managed to remove the PF using quite a bit of force, much more so than would otherwise be necessary normally. The puck was very dry which I guess is to be expected. We usually don't bother trying to reinsert the PF until the next morning by which time the machine has well and truly cooled down but having said that we have sometimes reinserted it later in the day when the demand for coffee has been at a crescendo, perhaps 2-3 hours later. Generally every time a shot is pulled it seems to add more water in behind the seal so the situation deteriorates and eventually the PF will not insert no matter what, only by puling the seal out can we start again. Any thoughts on the issue very gratefully appreciated!

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    OK, if you're not using pressurised baskets, we cant blame them, and if the puck is just moist, then the 3way solenoid is probably working, so I'm running out of ideas. I found some specs that says the Baby Class has a 15 bar pump, which is lower than many other espresso machines, so I don't know where any excess pressures could be coming from.

    I have a couple of ideas that could be worth trying. The first is simply to put some lube on the bearing surfaces of the portafilter lugs and crank the handle in as tight as reasonably possible to create a better seal between the gasket and the group head to see if that will keep the water from getting in behind the gasket.

    The second is a bit more radical. If we cant stop the water getting in behind the seal maybe we could provide a way of letting it out. I can't remember where, but I once saw a picture of a seal that had some small slots around the outer circumference of the seal. They were not very wide or deep - from memory (very vague), they were only one or two mm wide and deep. I think there were four of them, but I'm even less sure about that. I had no idea at the time why they were there, but they might have provided a pathway for water to escape between the outer edge of the seal and group head flange it seats against. They should not have any effect on the normal sealing between the basket/gasket/group, but might provide an exit for the water, the next time the P/F is locked in.

    So if all else fails, maybe you could try cutting or filing a few shallow "V" or "U" shaped notches in the outer edge of the gasket.

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    Sorry for delayed response on this one (had a succession of guests staying since xmas and haven't been able to check the forum) and thanks for the detailed information. We can certainly give the first suggestion regarding the lube a try after pulling the seal and getting rid of the water again, I'm starting to run out of seals that aren't somewhat compromised by the removal process but it's worth a shot. I tend to try not to tighten beyond 6 o'clock normally as it is already quite firm being a new full-thickness gasket but I'm running out of options! In terms of the pressure, if the basket (and seal) are normally meant to be pressurised to 9 bar when a shot is pulled and which is dictated by the pressure limiting valve OPV(?) placed after the pump then is it not possible that a defective valve could load the basket with a few bars more?

    I've seen the gaskets you're referring to
    notched group seal.jpg: Interestingly the supplier contends that it has "4 grooves in side wall for easier removal and replacement" but I can imagine that they might performs as vents to release the pressure. I guess the detective in me wants to find a logical reason for the water getting behind the seal in the first place as it can't be considered normal. I replaced the seals in the Carezza we had including the boiler to group head etc and the machine performed faultlessly so I don't believe it's "operator error" but I'll do anything possible to get this machine functioning properly...
    Last edited by Porkchop; 21st January 2015 at 08:26 AM. Reason: Commercial link(s) removed

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
    In terms of the pressure, if the basket (and seal) are normally meant to be pressurised to 9 bar when a shot is pulled and which is dictated by the pressure limiting valve OPV(?) placed after the pump then is it not possible that a defective valve could load the basket with a few bars more?
    The Baby has a pressure valve which I think it is different to the Classic's OPV, but even if it was faulty I don't think it would cause your problem. I'm not certain of this, but I used a Classic for a while with a jammed OPV, so it was running at full pump pressure - probably about 15/16 bars. I also used another for a short time which which ran at about 13 bars before I adjusted the OPV . Neither of these had a problem like yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
    I guess the detective in me wants to find a logical reason for the water getting behind the seal in the first place as it can't be considered normal.
    Yes - Me Too !! My main suspect at the moment is not the pressure valve, it's the three way solenoid valve.

    Which leads me to ask a couple more questions. When you back-flushed it did the water/suds flow into the drip tray ??.
    Do you see or hear any discharge into the drip tray at the end of each shot ?.

    You mentioned in a previous post that your son had a problem removing the P/F ( after leaving it on for a little longer than usual ?) when he had pulled a shot.
    Does it always unlock more easily if you take it off sooner, than when you leave it on for while ?.

    Have you removed the shower screen and the shower block and cleaned them ?.

    To be honest, I am not sure if the answers will be conclusive, but they might get us closer to the source of the problem.

    P.S. I also wonder how/why you damage the seals to remove them. I can usually get them in or out fairly easily when they are new and fairly flexible. It's only when they are old and brittle that I have to damage them to get them out. I use smallish blunt screwdriver, (no sharp edges) and a bit of vaseline or soap to get it down the side of the seal to prise it out.
    Last edited by deegee; 21st January 2015 at 09:49 AM. Reason: See P.S.

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    The reason I mention the OPV is that a certain US-based supplier who shall remain nameless due to forum T&C has stated on their site that post-2006 Babies are not to be recommended due to inferior internal components, I believe that the valve in question is made of plastic on our machine whereas one can 'mod' it with an adjustable more robust brass version from the Classic. I guess that without testing pressure at the basket with a jury-rigged gauge one would never know what is taking place, it's of comfort to hear that you have experienced higher pressure at the basket without any issues so that probably rules it out...

    I actually have thought it may be the solenoid valve all along too but the answer to the question is it appearing to function normally is a "yes"! When back-flushing the water/suds discharge as per regulation into the drip-tray. We've taken the cover off the drip-tray both when back-flushing AND pulling shots to check its operation and both appear to be working correctly. We have removed the shower screen and shower block and cleaned them meticulously (right from the get-go) I've even substituted the shower block from the Carezza whilst we still had both machines and there was zero difference.

    The day that my son had difficulties removing when PF (which apparently was very shortly after pulling the shot) I think can be attributed to using the machine successively over a couple of days without removing the group seal and attendant trapped water.

    As far as removing the group seals, I understand what you are getting at in terms of damage to the seal but the group head is chromed brass if I'm not mistaken, and I would rather damage the edge (external) of the seal than risk scoring or gouging the soft brass which is absolutely unmarred at this stage. The seal fits so tightly within the groove (which may perhaps be due to hydraulic pressure) that it is extremely difficult to get any kind of instrument down the side far enough to prise it out, again it's not really a normal situation unfortunately. The seals are relatively cheap at $10 with postage but a group head is considerably more expensive but point taken, I'm a tightwad don't worry!

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Well that seems to eliminate a couple of theories, so what's left ?.

    I guess high pressures could still be a factor, even though I never had your problem while using classics with OPV's that were jammed or set too high. The machines are similar, but not identical, so I suppose it's still a possibility.

    I have been wondering about gasket sizes, because I once got one off FleaBay that was too big. Both the OD and ID were about 1.5mm larger than what seems to be the "correct" size of 72 X 56 mm. Though there is some doubt about this - I have seen various combinations of ID's from 55 to 57 and OD's from 70 to 73.5 mm.

    My theory, FWIW, is that the fit between the inside of the seal and the inner flange is important, and the fit between the outer edge of the seal and the outside of the groove is less so. Thus a seal that was bit undersize should be better than one that was a bit over. Then I found the same thread on the Gaggia forum that you did, and the only person who has the same problem is using an undersize gasket !!. WTH

    I also found a site that had pics of a lot of different gaskets and quite a few had three or four slots around the outer edge as in the pic above. Have you had a chance to try this idea yet ??. If one of your seals is damaged around the outer edge, you might as well mutilate it a bit more.

    I also keep thinking that if the three-way is working, the only way that water would get behind the seal is if the P/F is not locked in tight enough before & during the shot. Have you tried some lube on the lugs yet ?.
    Last edited by deegee; 22nd January 2015 at 09:09 AM. Reason: Typo's

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    Yes the elimination process continues unabated deegee! We took the machine apart yesterday and dismantled the solenoid to ensure that it was both operational and clean. I had seen one stripped down on-line from the same machine which had split internally but our's appears in perfect shape, the various components had no build up of scale, they moved freely etc. Electro-mechanically it would also appear to be functioning correctly as described in a previous post above.

    We took the group seal out yet again, attempted the small blunt screwdriver technique aided by food-grade grease and was able to gingerly remove it, excess water was cleared, group head cleaned meticulously and everything put back together again. The one thing we didn't do was try the grease on the PF lugs approach before pulling a couple of shots, and of course we ended up with the usual scenario! It might have been because we were in a lather to video the machine whilst in operation to document the fault as it occurs. I'm probably boring the pants off everyone on this forum (who are actually reading this topic) but here they are for people to make their own mind up...btw they are very short! If you think I'm completely incompetent I had to create a Vimeo account, upload all the videos to it after compressing with HandBrake and then upload them finally to coffesnobs. The videos were taken by my son in short clips as the process was spread out over quite a while, the next three in sequence follow in the following post according to site rules...
    Last edited by Porkchop; 23rd January 2015 at 01:10 PM. Reason: add links

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    Hhhhmmmmm......try again?


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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
    We took the group seal out yet again, attempted the small blunt screwdriver technique aided by food-grade grease and was able to gingerly remove it, excess water was cleared, group head cleaned meticulously and everything put back together again. The one thing we didn't do was try the grease on the PF lugs approach before pulling a couple of shots, and of course we ended up with the usual scenario!
    Partly because I have no other ideas left, and partly because I think it's got to be worth trying, I would really like to see you try a combination of slots in the outer edge of the gasket, grease on the P/F lugs, and the handle locked in good and tight. Is one of your earlier gaskets OK around the inner half of the top & bottom faces and the inner edge which sits against the flange ?. That should work well enough to test the theory without chopping into your only good one.

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    And (hopefully) here are the remaining clips:

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Just watched the 4th video.

    You make the comment, quite emphatically, after replacing the p/f..... "not at 6 o'clock".

    Why does it have to be at 6 o'clock? Are you simply just over-tightening the p/f for the sake of some unnecessary

    'symmetrical correctness'?

    What happens when you load and lock the p/f at 7 or 7.30 o'clock? If it makes a seal whilst pouring a shot ......

    no problem. Have you tried an 8mm group seal?

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    Possibly if you watch the 6th and final video you would see the progression of the problem whereby it is all nigh impossible to insert the PF at even 8 o'clock let alone 6 o'clock! In fact the final progression of the problem is that the PF can't be re-inserted without pulling out the seal and releasing the water that has been building up behind it with every successive shot. Much of the advice that has stemmed from drawing people's attention to the problem has been akin to someone experiencing a tyre that is slowly going flat on a car, "just keep pumping up the tyre "and ignore the cause of the leak whether it be a faulty valve stem or nail that has become embedded in the tread.
    This a standard issue domestic machine with unmodified group head, group seal(s) that have been checked and rechecked for correct dimensions and a standard issue Portafilter that is the original part that came with it. If you look online at the question of PF position it is generally accepted that around 6 o'clock is the 'correct position' on one of these machines as a reference point. Obviously there will be a variation but we're talking here about "on average"...
    Last edited by Porkchop; 23rd January 2015 at 09:13 PM.

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    Alright... I'll admit I only skimmed through the posts (and watched the videos), but I gauge that the only problem is not being able to insert the portafilter after making a coffee? I have a baby class at work, which is in much worse condition than yours (the paint on the driptray is half peeled off). When I bought it ~2 yrs ago I replaced the seal, smearing a drop of oil over it before inserting (has been fine since). From memory the PF doesn't always sit at the same spot, sometimes I really need to force it in.

    I suspect your main problem is the result of expansion caused by the heating during steaming. Every time after steaming milk I flush water through the group head (w/o a PF inserted) until it flows freely. Attempting to backlflush with a boiler full of steam is futile, it will only cake the grinds onto the showerscreen. As this flushing would cool the head, perhaps I never noticed an issue when locking in the PF.

    How water ends up 'behind' the seal is beyond me. Where are you getting your seals from? I got mine from (nonsponsor) ebay claiming to be genuine. Otherwise coffeeparts.com.au sell them. If you still have problems it might also be worth trying an 8mm as per chokkidog's suggestion. Ignore the o'clock position of the portafilter. It will 'look' best when perpendicular, but as long as the lugs hold it doesn't matter (albeit from changes in showerscreen height). New seals will tighten shy of 6 o'clock until they wear out a bit. The height of the basket rim also makes a difference. On my ECM at home my VST locks at ~5:30 but the blind is at ~6:30 when using the same PF.

    Finally I doubt the OPV/pressure is to blame. Consider that many machines such as the sunbeam EM6910 don't have an OPV. A 15 bar pump is the standard issue, and won't actually reach that pressure unless you have the blind filter attached. The baby class indeed does have a cheaper plastic OPV vs the classic's brass, but this just makes it harder to adjust the set pressure. Your 3-way also appears to be working fine.
    chokkidog likes this.

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    Also I'll add that greasing the PF lugs and seal is a recipe for disaster! expect a PF full of coffee at 10 bar to come flying off the handle (literally).

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
    Hi there, not many posts under my belt so forgive my relative innocence! Any insight at all would be most welcome....

    cheers, Ian
    Hmmmmm..... just trying to help you. :-D

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    so for my last two bob's worth.....

    video 5 demonstrates forcing the pf to the six o'clock when it seems to be snug enough at 7.

    video 5 shows your 8 o'clock but you don't show whether making a coffee at that point is successful.

    When at the 8 o'clock the p/f comes out alright. Are you distorting the seal by asking it to go the six?

    And why not try an 8mm?

    From post#1 I assume the machine is 2nd hand?? Maybe from dodgy bay or similar??. Have you measured the thickness of the p/f lugs? Are you positive

    that the group handles belong to that machine and aren't from a different machine? Are the lugs on the blind filter p/f the same

    thickness as on the one you're making coffee with?

    Good luck.

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    Sorry if my tone seems a little terse but the intimation in other posts seem to point to the fact that I am being OCD about how the portafilter sits in the machine when that is not really the point at all. The point is that if we leave the machine alone (and don't pull the group seal to release pressure) then the PF becomes increasingly difficult to insert until it reaches a point where it cannot be inserted at all, the final video doesn't show this but it does show the reduced movement from 6 o'clock to 8 o'clock at best. If the situation remained constant with the PF only inserting to 7 o'clock then I would be more than happy to wait for it to bed-in (or not) and leave it at that...

    As far as the rest of the post goes it assumes quite a lot, yes the machine was 2nd hand, it was purchased on-line and if I mention where from then admin will probably remove the reference as being "commercial" but I am in no doubt that it is absolutely stock-standard. "I assume the machine is 2nd hand?? Maybe from dodgy bay or similar??. Have you measured the thickness of the p/f lugs? Are you positive
    that the group handles belong to that machine and aren't from a different machine? Are the lugs on the blind filter p/f the same
    thickness as on the one you're making coffee with?" Can I just say that we only have one PF and that we insert either single or double shot or blank back-flushing filters as required, two PF's would be a luxury!

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    Quote Originally Posted by burr View Post
    Alright... I'll admit I only skimmed through the posts (and watched the videos), but I gauge that the only problem is not being able to insert the portafilter after making a coffee?

    I suspect your main problem is the result of expansion caused by the heating during steaming. Every time after steaming milk I flush water through the group head (w/o a PF inserted) until it flows freely. Attempting to backlflush with a boiler full of steam is futile, it will only cake the grinds onto the showerscreen. As this flushing would cool the head, perhaps I never noticed an issue when locking in the PF.

    How water ends up 'behind' the seal is beyond me. Where are you getting your seals from? I got mine from (nonsponsor) ebay claiming to be genuine. Otherwise coffeeparts.com.au sell them. If you still have problems it might also be worth trying an 8mm as per chokkidog's suggestion. Ignore the o'clock position of the portafilter. It will 'look' best when perpendicular, but as long as the lugs hold it doesn't matter (albeit from changes in showerscreen height). New seals will tighten shy of 6 o'clock until they wear out a bit. The height of the basket rim also makes a difference. On my ECM at home my VST locks at ~5:30 but the blind is at ~6:30 when using the same PF.
    My 16yo son was performing in front of the camera and I did the filming so you have to bear that in mind, I think he only inserted the blank filter into the PF in an attempt to demonstrate that the solenoid was operating (that's why the drip tray insert was left off for much of the filming). I have bought the seals from three different suppliers including coffeeparts.com.au and the only one that has worked completely as expected and without any dramas was the one purchased for our Carezza as part of a maintenance kit from a US-based supplier who shall remain nameless. The Carezza's seal was square on both sides and all others I have seen are rounded on one set of shoulders. I really don't care that the machine won't accept a PF to 6 o'clock on all occasions, I just don't believe that it is "normal" for the situation to deteriorate over a period of time until it becomes untenable, fitting thinner groups seals or lubricating portafilter lugs etc etc are bandaid treatments in my book...

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    Quote Originally Posted by deegee View Post
    Partly because I have no other ideas left, and partly because I think it's got to be worth trying, I would really like to see you try a combination of slots in the outer edge of the gasket, grease on the P/F lugs, and the handle locked in good and tight. Is one of your earlier gaskets OK around the inner half of the top & bottom faces and the inner edge which sits against the flange ?. That should work well enough to test the theory without chopping into your only good one.
    I hear what you're saying and I'll give it a try tomorrow but I still earnestly believe that there is something fundamentally wrong somewhere, and oh, thanks for at least giving some more suggestions!

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    When you say that water is getting 'in the groove' behind the seal, how much are we talking about? Do you mean that it is just wet whereas it was dry upon replacing it? And this only happens after several days of use - each time after you completely cool the machine the PF becomes more difficult insert? This all sounds pretty strange to me but I would try not to get too fixated on the water issue.

    If it doesn't progessively get worse the 8mm seal may be a permanent solution. Perhaps your gaggia came off the production line a little wonky.

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    Could it be that the basket is damaged or the incorrect size for the Baby, if it is not sealing properly it might force water in behind the seal .

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    You can mention whatever other site you like, just don't provide a link. :-)

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
    I still earnestly believe that there is something fundamentally wrong somewhere
    I tend to agree, but I'm suggesting greasing the lugs to test whether the P/F is fully locked into the group and and the under side of the seal is pressed hard against the group head as well as the other side pressed against the basket. ( I'm sure you would have mentioned it if there was any water leaking during a shot - so I have assumed that there is a good seal between the gasket and the basket )

    Re the P/F flying off :- I have greased the lugs on Classics on a few occasions and this has never happened, but perhaps you should hold the P/F handle during the shot, just in case.

    As for the slots in the gasket, I guess that is a workaround rather than a solution, but if it helps, then why not use it.

    And though I'm tempted I will refrain from any other suggestions at this time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burr View Post
    When you say that water is getting 'in the groove' behind the seal, how much are we talking about? Do you mean that it is just wet whereas it was dry upon replacing it? And this only happens after several days of use - each time after you completely cool the machine the PF becomes more difficult insert? This all sounds pretty strange to me but I would try not to get too fixated on the water issue.

    If it doesn't progessively get worse the 8mm seal may be a permanent solution. Perhaps your gaggia came off the production line a little wonky.
    In terms of water in the retaining groove problem only 5-6ml but the groove is absolutely dry before the seal is inserted, it's a simple law of physics that if water is heated it expands and that if this takes place in a relatively sealed environment it will behave like a piston in a cylinder, the only moveable part in this instance is the group seal. Very little water is required to initiate a response that can be quite dramatic in effect. I believe that the water is forced behind the seal the very first shot that is pulled after having replaced the seal and that it only gets worse the more shots are subsequently pulled, in other words it doesn't take days. The first time this happened we allowed the machine to cool 3-4 hours before attempting to use it later that same day and after just managing to get the PF in place and pulling a shot (the 3rd for that day) it was impossible to reinsert the PF without allowing the machine to cool down overnight.
    The previous owner had owned the machine from new and had it used it apparently without any issues since late 2008, he has since upgraded to a Rocket. The machine is in pristine condition both inside and out and there is zero evidence of anyone having tampered with its various components, I take your point that it could have come of the assembly line a little "wonky" but the previous owner could hardly have used it for six years straight without encountering similar problems as us. If water is trapped as part of the process of using the machine then the thinner gasket would eventually behave just like the 8.5mm, I've got another one coming in the mail this time from a third supplier of apparently regulation size so we shall see...
    deegee likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by looselegs View Post
    Could it be that the basket is damaged or the incorrect size for the Baby, if it is not sealing properly it might force water in behind the seal .
    I take your point but I am something of a stickler for doing things correctly or "by the book" and I have examined everything from the seal, shower screen, holding plate, basket etc and they are all in perfect condition, this is a machine that has been well looked after. We had a Carezza in the house for the first few weeks of ownership and I was able to substitute all of the bits below the group head for the Baby's and there was no change in the symptoms which to me is a pointer to all not being well elsewhere in the system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deegee View Post
    I tend to agree, but I'm suggesting greasing the lugs to test whether the P/F is fully locked into the group and and the under side of the seal is pressed hard against the group head as well as the other side pressed against the basket. ( I'm sure you would have mentioned it if there was any water leaking during a shot - so I have assumed that there is a good seal between the gasket and the basket )


    As for the slots in the gasket, I guess that is a workaround rather than a solution, but if it helps, then why not use it.

    And though I'm tempted I will refrain from any other suggestions at this time.
    Look I'm not getting stroppy with any of the suggestions posted on this forum in terms of a perceived willingness to help especially yours deegee. The seal of the basket to group head appears excellent each time we have replaced the group seal, hopefully one of the videos shows that to be the case. I've already said that I would give the slots in the gasket a try today, I'll report back after doing that plus lightly greasing the lugs, just as a footnote in relation to whether it seals properly or not each time we have removed the seal a completely circular score mark has been evident which probably points to the basket sealing tightly against the lip of the basket, thanks...

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    Thanks for the heads-up chokkidog....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
    In terms of water in the retaining groove problem only 5-6ml but the groove is absolutely dry before the seal is inserted, it's a simple law of physics that if water is heated it expands and that if this takes place in a relatively sealed environment it will behave like a piston in a cylinder, the only moveable part in this instance is the group seal. Very little water is required to initiate a response that can be quite dramatic in effect. I believe that the water is forced behind the seal the very first shot that is pulled after having replaced the seal and that it only gets worse the more shots are subsequently pulled, in other words it doesn't take days. The first time this happened we allowed the machine to cool 3-4 hours before attempting to use it later that same day and after just managing to get the PF in place and pulling a shot (the 3rd for that day) it was impossible to reinsert the PF without allowing the machine to cool down overnight.
    The previous owner had owned the machine from new and had it used it apparently without any issues since late 2008, he has since upgraded to a Rocket. The machine is in pristine condition both inside and out and there is zero evidence of anyone having tampered with its various components, I take your point that it could have come of the assembly line a little "wonky" but the previous owner could hardly have used it for six years straight without encountering similar problems as us. If water is trapped as part of the process of using the machine then the thinner gasket would eventually behave just like the 8.5mm, I've got another one coming in the mail this time from a third supplier of apparently regulation size so we shall see...

    Hah sorry to keep on drilling the same point, but are you certain that the problem gets worse with successive shots? Its hard to determine from your posts whether it is just repeated use on the SAME day, or repeated use over several days which makes it worse. If you let the machine warm up for 4+ hours before use can you insert the PF?

    When you say that "it was impossible to reinsert the PF without allowing the machine to cool down overnight", did it insert normally the next morning?

    If you keep on ordering more seals, I would strongly suggest getting an 8mm to try out anyway.

    Good luck!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
    Sorry if my tone seems a little terse but the intimation in other posts seem to point to the fact that I am being OCD
    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
    I take your point but I am something of a stickler for doing things correctly or "by the book" and I have examined everything
    Gotta have a laugh! :-D

    But seriously, I hope you get sorted,

    Chokkidog over and out.......of this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burr View Post
    Hah sorry to keep on drilling the same point, but are you certain that the problem gets worse with successive shots? Its hard to determine from your posts whether it is just repeated use on the SAME day, or repeated use over several days which makes it worse. If you let the machine warm up for 4+ hours before use can you insert the PF?

    When you say that "it was impossible to reinsert the PF without allowing the machine to cool down overnight", did it insert normally the next morning?

    If you keep on ordering more seals, I would strongly suggest getting an 8mm to try out anyway.

    Good luck!
    OK here's the run-down one last time, every time the seal is replaced (after clearing the underlying water) the machine is warmed up, a couple of shots have been pulled within 2-3 minutes of one another and it is observable that by the time the second shot is pulled the PF is becoming really quite difficult to insert. If a third or subsequent shot is pulled the machine essentially rejects the PF and it is virtually impossible to continue without risking damage to the machine or user by forcing the PF to engage.
    In other words it occurs by the end of one continuous session on one day. If the machine is allowed to cool completely overnight then the PF can be reinserted although it feels firmer than it perhaps should and the cycle begins again. If the water isn't eventually bled from behind the seal then the machine becomes unusable full stop. I think that the water obviously cools and contracts once the machine is fully cold thus allowing the PF to insert albeit with some difficulty.

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    Thought I'd update anyone out there still following the thread with the latest manifestation of the ongoing saga regarding the group seal. I've just taken delivery of yet another seal, this time from a third supplier for this machine. The interesting point is that it is completely square-shouldered unlike the previous ones (and it looks exactly like the one I fitted successfully to the Carezza some months ago). I've taken some shots of the three seals so the differences can be gauged, seal number two has had some v-grooves cut into is outer edge in an attempt to vent the excess pressure but this wasn't successful (thanks deejee regardless, it was worth a shot!) I'm just about to fit the third seal with the square profile and we'll see where that ends up...
    IMG_2751.JPGIMG_2750.JPGIMG_2749.JPG

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    Alright, that's it, textbook functionality, I'd say we've cracked it! There has been no binding of the PF (so, evidently no build-up of pressure). What can we learn from this? On the Gaggia users forum there have been quite few discussions regarding group seals and their suitability or otherwise and I think this just confirms the fact that all seals are not created equal. The first two seals with their rounded edges appear to have a slightly harder composition and seem to respond differently to tensioning with the porta filter, the third seal has a matte appearance and a suggestion of talc on the surface the others have a more polished and 'dense' surface.
    From what I've read online perhaps the seals with the rounded edges are more aimed at commercial machines with the same size group head etc, it can't be coincidence that the Carezza we replaced the same seal in only weeks previously worked perfectly the first time we used it AND it resembled very closely the latest seal used on the Baby. I've found belatedly a thread from a couple of years ago on Home Barista's forum that appears to substantiate this claim, I'm posting the link and having scoured the site for conditions relating to commercial links I hope it won't be removed Group gasket on Gaggia Classic pops out under pressure - Home-Barista.com
    Dimal and deegee like this.



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