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Thread: Help on Napolitana "issue"

  1. #1
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    Help on Napolitana "issue"

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    One and all, especially Mal as hes probably taken his apart many times, Im looking for guidance on repairs to a Napolitana. My mothers Nap is "sick". Its a ~2001 model, if that makes a difference - the branding on these things has undergone so many changes I cant remember what badge I bought it under!

    The story thus far:
    About 5 months ago now, it took a power surge during a lightning storm. Mum goes back to drinking instant (yes, dire straights indeed). A week or so later on my next visit I look inside, note the shorted wire. Easy, got an electrician to repair that.
    About 3 months ago the boiler element died (apparently looks like it ran dry). Mum goes back to drinking instant (yes, dire straights indeed). A couple of weeks later on my next visit I look inside, nothing visible. Luckily Ive taken a whirly-blade grinder and a plunger for her. Ship Nap off to the local electrician, who diagnoses the element issue, but cant repair. Eventually locate a Sydney repairer to fix, and $300 later it seemed OK.
    About 2 months ago the steam wand fell off. Mum goes back to drinking plunger coffee.
    About 6 weeks ago I replaced the steam wand - hard to get a spanner onto it so it only got a "cursory" tightening.
    About 2 weeks ago the steam wand fell off. Mum goes back to drinking plunger coffee.

    So this weekend I went and visited. I pull the lid off and just cannot get a spanner or anything onto the nut at the steam wand so I decide the only way to get this to stay put is to take the boiler out of the case and fit it prior to putting the whole thing back together. No problem I think, Im a semi-intelligent person with an aptitude for spanners. Right, first mistake of the night.
    One busted bolt later, I got it all apart, and the wand fitted again, this time with the locknut done up nice and tight. Looking at the bolt I can see my problem - seems like theyre soft and the thread was mainly stripped from them - not a good sign. I then went looking for some replacement bolts, found some that were roughly the same diameter and length. Lucky. When I started reassembling the boiler into the case, I found how lucky I really was - I didnt realise the boiler was screwed together by these screws first, then the portafilter holder was using the "excess" to hold that part to the chassis and boiler. The spare bolts I found had identical threads... phew. Boiler intact, screwed together, all is good.

    Then I needed to reassemble the boiler into the case, and mount the portafilter holder. I was worried about the fit, mostly with one of the spots where the nut doesnt give enough clearance for the socket to fit, but after all that I thought Id got it all back nicely. Bzzzt. Fit the handle and block up the spout outlet with my finger, turn the pump on, and a stream of water comes out the back of the group head. Its leaking from the rear part of the portafilter handle, which seems to coincide with where theres a small notch in the holder. After a couple of adjustments to the gasket (requiring removal of the portafilter mount) and making sure all the mountings were tight, I gave it a whirl with real coffee. All looked good for the first 12 secs of the pour, then bam coffee grounds go everywhere, all over in a tenth of a second, but the handle hadnt moved, it had just released pressure. I had noticed that the gasket was a bit firm, and of recent times I thought you had to lock the handle too far around, so I think the gasket is shot - but Im hoping thats the only thing. Is it possible that something else is not correctly fitted? Any guidance appreciated. Mal and other Nap owners, have you had to buy/replace gaskets and if so any suggestions about sourcing them? The guys at Sydney who repaired the machine were rather unhelpful and wanted me to get the spare parts from the importer in Melbourne - who were the people who put me onto them in the first place. I suspect theyll be less than interested in selling me a gasket.

    cheers
    Brett

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Help on Napolitana "issue"

    Quote Originally Posted by poundy link=1153700668/0#0 date=1153700668
    All looked good for the first 12 secs of the pour, then bam coffee grounds go everywhere, all over in a tenth of a second, but the handle hadnt moved, it had just released pressure. I had noticed that the gasket was a bit firm, and of recent times I thought you had to lock the handle too far around, so I think the gasket is shot - but Im hoping thats the only thing. Is it possible that something else is not correctly fitted? Any guidance appreciated. Mal and other Nap owners, have you had to buy/replace gaskets and if so any suggestions about sourcing them? The guys at Sydney who repaired the machine were rather unhelpful and wanted me to get the spare parts from the importer in Melbourne - who were the people who put me onto them in the first place. I suspect theyll be less than interested in selling me a gasket.

    cheers
    Brett
    Gday Brett,

    Boy, sure been having a bad run there ol mate :o. I havent really pulled my Mokita apart more than once really, and that was at the time I fitted a PID controller for Boiler Temp Control and just took advantage of the opportunity to give everything a really good clean-up 8-). Havent waved a spanner at it in anger since really..... Well, apart from the time I was going to try and retro-fit a Silvia Wand. This turned out to be a waste of time though as the Silvia Wand is just too different in shape and length to be a simple exchange.

    Anyway, back to the problem at hand. Its an easy exercise to replace the PF Gasket once you get one, just remove the Group Shroud again give it a good clean and then remove/replace the gasket while its off, then replace Shroud. The Gasket can go on either way, theres no right or wrong orientation. The best place to get a new Gasket or three, is from Lygon Imports in Melbourne who import these machines and all the spare parts. Ive never had any luck trying to deal with them via e-mail but a couple of CSers rang them direct with their requirements and found them to be extremely helpful and courteous. They dont mind dealing direct with the consumer so feel free to give them a call. From their website here... http://www.lygonimport.com.au/index.php , their phone number is (03) 9486 1572.

    All the best,
    Mal.

  3. #3
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    Re: Help on Napolitana "issue"

    I sold my "nap" a while ago and dont remember all the details, but I had pulled it down a *couple of times. The only issue I recall with the group gasket was I found I had to wind the portafilter round a bit too far for my liking. Option was to either fit a shim to tighten the fit up, or, as suggested by the tech at Lyogn imports to carefully take a bit off the face of the group with a sander or grinder. I cant really visualise how this worked now (seems counter intuitive) but it had the desire effect. I also recall the gaskets didnt seem to last that long on either the steam taps or the group head.

    Poundy those repair bills sound horrendous, Ive never priced a new element but the other parts were pretty cheap. Id stick to the DIY *and get your parts direct from Lygon. The tech there was reasonably helpful if you can get through to him. The girl on the phone tries to screen his calls * and provide level 1 support but youll really need to speak to him for anything but a simple parts order.

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Help on Napolitana "issue"

    Quote Originally Posted by mauricem link=1153700668/0#2 date=1153817357
    I also recall the gaskets didnt seem to last that long on either the steam taps or the group head.
    Hi again,

    Never had this problem. Have only replaced the PF/Group Gasket after about 15 months service, and thats with making about 5 espressos/cappas every day. I dont understand the recommendation to "skim" the face of the Group Head, especially with something as coarse as a grinder :o. I wouldnt let a grinder within a bulls roar of any part of any machine I owned :P. I can understand the logic behind it but certainly not the method, and when its all said and done, new gaskets are so cheap to replace, why would you bother :-?.

    I second the motion to DIY though..... Someone is definitely having a bit of a lend of you there I think Brett. Even having custom elements made as one-offs for very specific applications wouldnt cost anything like that sort of money for the KW output required. I think if you can deal direct with Lygon, namely Daniela Parisi then you should be able to get things worked out in your favour. All the best,

    Mal.

  5. #5
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    Re: Help on Napolitana "issue"

    Thanks Maurice and Mal

    (this is from memory - its a little while ago, and the bill is in the garage) The repair bill comprised something like $50 for the element, $20-$30 for misc bits and pieces including descaling solution and boiler gasket, and $180 labour (3h at $60) then add GST. I didnt take too great an offence at it - I had already tried to get the element through Lygon, but was headed off at the pass by Daniela and redirected to the Sydney agents.

    I was wavering on whether to get the repair done, or whether to pay the "inspection" fee and then go talk to the sponsors about upgrading to Giotto or Diadema Junior, plus grinder. The convenience of the all-in-one unit, knowing that it would be a big challenge to easily get space for the newies in mums kitchen, I just went the easy way and got the repair done.

    So tomorrow Ill ring Daniela and order a couple of new group head gaskets (its overdue for one, thats for sure) and while Im at it Ill get a new set or two for the steam valve.

    cheers again
    Brett

  6. #6
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    Re: Help on Napolitana "issue"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1153700668/0#3 date=1153825433
    Quote Originally Posted by mauricem link=1153700668/0#2 date=1153817357
    I also recall the gaskets didnt seem to last that long on either the steam taps or the group head.
    Hi again,

    . I dont understand the recommendation to "skim" the face of the Group Head, especially with something as coarse as a grinder :o. I wouldnt let a grinder within a bulls roar of any part of any machine I owned :P. I can understand the logic behind it but certainly not the method, and when its all said and done, new gaskets are so cheap to replace, why would you bother :-?.
    Mal.
    Maybe my post was misleading, I recall fitting a new gasket and then still finding the handle wasnt fitting as tight as it should, apparently this is quite common as a machine ages. Solutions are either a shim or a lap. The lygon tech reckoned they "lapped"? them all the time, *I ceratinly wouldnt trust myself with grinder for any precision work (although I was tempted to take the chainsaw to my Krups on more than one occasion >:(), 180grit paper and some improvisation on a drillstand kept everything nice and square as I recall.

  7. #7
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Help on Napolitana "issue"

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by mauricem link=1153700668/0#5 date=1153870981
    I ceratinly wouldnt trust myself with grinder for any precision work (although I was tempted to take the chainsaw to my Krups on more than one occasion >:(), 180grit paper and some improvisation on a drillstand kept everything nice and square as I recall.
    No worries Maurice,

    You had me a bit concerned there for a bit :-?. I can certainly empathise your situation with the small t/block machine though.... I really did start tearing my hair out trying to achieve consistent brews from my old Sunbeam, nothing to do with the PF seating properly as such though....,

    Mal.



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