Post By icecoffee
Help me with a free Faema Family (aluminum boiler)
During my search on the internet, it seems this is the goto forum with regards to the Faema Family espresso machine. I was given an almost pristine Faema Family which has sat in a closet for close to 10 years. It has the slider instead of knob steam release, therefore an aluminium boiler. I removed the top and back of the machine body, and it looks great inside. No signs of any water leaks in the past. I plugged and switched it on. The on/off button lit up. I quickly cycled the 3 other buttons and everything seems OK. I tried priming the pump, it didn't seem to work. I then turned it off and unplugged it. I have a few questions now before going forward.
First off, I was able to find a user manual, but it was for the original brass boiler machine. Does anyone have the user manual for the aluminium boiler model? I'm asking because I'm not sure how to prime the pump/machine. I tried using the instructions from the original model, but the pump didn't seem to draw any water, though it seemed to vibrate like a normally healthy Ulka pump should. I tried a few times, only 15 seconds, letting the machine rest 10 minutes in between tries, as I didn't want to damage the pump or the heating element. Not being sure how to go forward, I stopped and decided to seek out some expert advice.
Second question: What should I prepare myself for, when trying to revive an espresso machine that has been stored for 10 years? I'm thinking priming the pump may be an issue. What about the 3-way solenoid valve and the OPV? Will all this time in storage leave them 'stuck'? Anything else I should look out for?
Third question: I wanted to remove the group head shower screen to do some superficial cleaning up. It seems the hex screw is stuck by hardened coffee oils/tar. I don't want to strip the hex screw. Do any one of you have any idea how I can remove the screw holding the shower screen without stripping it? WD40?
Fourth question and final question: Are there any suppliers of parts for the machine? I'm probably going to remove the boiler, open it and descale it. I'd like to change the main boiler gasket, heating element o-rings, and the group gasket. Is there anything else I should plan on changing while I'm at it?
I'd appreciate tips from those of you who've had to restore machines that sat on a shelf for a decade. I'm new to this, but looking forward to spending a few weekends putting this machine back in service.
Thanks in advance.
Give this a try as often with single boiler that have been sitting for ages, opening the steam wand will help draw water into the boiler
1. Turn the steam wand/function fully open
2. Turn on the machine (with a full tank)
3. Turn on the switch to run water through the group
4. Once water is coming out the steam wand (and group) for 20-30 seconds, you can stop the water running in the group as the boiler should be full
I would start with the shower screen and group seal and a thorough chemical back-flush (if the OPV is working). The group seal has likely petrified and a good trick is to use a screw or a few screws, screwed into the rubber then use a decent pair of pliers to rip the group seal out. If the seal it too hard to get a screw into you may have to use a flat-blade screwdriver to gouge it out, if it is not stainless steel you will need to be careful not to damage the group internals.
As long as the screw looks strong and is stainless steel you should be able to remove it. If not and it is a protruding screw you could use multi-grips to get a better purchase. I guess if you are doing a full strip WD40 is not going to hurt as long as you clean the parts and remove the oil.
Fourth question and final question:
Hmm not sure how easy it is to source parts in Australia for your machine but one of the site sponsors CoffeeParts probably has the largest range of coffee spares in Australia. Also if you can find the parts diagram just do some Google searches on the part numbers and see what you can find. There are some good suppliers overseas of obscure parts PM if you want some more details. EvilBay also has a pretty good smattering of parts for older machines.
This thread might be helpful, although it originally focuses on the Brass Boiler model...
Thanks roosterben and Dimal. I'll try once more!
Getting back with a bit of info on how things are going so far.
I was able to prime the pump. After numerous failed attempts I did some more searching... I unplugged one of the wires to the heating element. Then I got a squeeze bottle and filled it with fresh water. I tried to force water into the water supple hose. Did this numerous times while turning on the pump for 30 seconds at a time, then letting it rest for a minute. It eventually did the trick The pump works fine, and I was able to fill the boiler.
Unfortunately there is a small water leak from the bottom part of the boiler / brew group. I'll need to disassemble the machine to get a better view of the origin of the leak.
I was also able to remove the shower screen. After cleaning the hex screw, I was able to get good traction.
I'll be back with more info, and probably more questions once I've located the exact source of the leak.
Thanks for your help