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Thread: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

  1. #1
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    Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Thinking of buying and restoring an old lever machine. I am posting *some pictures from various forum posts Ive collected as a bit of a guide of what you dont want to find when you get your treasure home.
    Sort of a buyer beware thread of what could be waiting for the hapless buyer to discover.

    This spring needs replacing corrosion weakens the spring, also notice pipe wrench marks on the piston, corrosion on the base of carrier and rod is cosmetic, pipe wrench marks are also cosmetic but could have been avoided.



    Two images of cracked carriers probably caused by the lever flying up and hitting the stop, I believe both were repaired by welding.


    The Gaggia lever group uses a rack and pinion gear system shown above, corrosion shown is cosmetic not structural.

    A Gaggia rack you wouldnt want to discover when you pull your group down.

    How much pressure would it take to do this.


    The result of some ham fisted repairer, probably unrepairable.


    Not a lever but showing a corrosion repair.


    Ice damage caused by incorrect storage in a cold climate, not likely in our climate but included as a warning to expect the unexpected.


    Boiler from a domestic lever, solder has melted out as a result of overheating.

    These are images Ive collected together if anyone objects to me using there image and wants me to remove it just PM me. If anyone wants to add more please feel free.


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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    are you trying to put us off the restorations! perhaps so you can get them all? ;-)

    Seriously- it is quite true that you cannot judge a lever by its cabinet...

    There can be some very nasty surprises waiting for you inside. However luckily it seems that generally parts can be found even for the most obscure designs. And sometimes all thats needed is new seals, a lube and a descale...

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Awesome post ;) Very handy info for the unaware!

    Well done [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif]

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    are you trying to put us off the restorations! perhaps so you can get them all?
    Not me, I wouldnt do that ;D

    Awesome post Wink Very handy info for the unaware!
    I dont want to discourage anybody from taking on such a project but rather to encourage a potential buyer to look under the skin and give it a thorough inspection before handing over the cash.
    For example the group with the broken out piece came from this machine

    One group was fine the other as pictured.
    Very sad as it is a fine looking machine and caught the buyer completely unawares.

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Corroded studs, to be expected I suppose, these are on a Urania



    Boiler from a E61, not to be expected I suppose.


    Attempted repair

    New boiler

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Are these common or likely to happen to new machines? I was tempted to go the lever option as I saw it as a safer/less things to go wrong alternative to a pump machine.

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Thet are more a warning to potential buyers of older ex commercial machines and come under the heading of Caveat Emptor ;)

    I own one of the machines featured anove with a cracked spring housing, this is generally caused by letting the lever go without a loaded puck in the PF so the spring accelerates 2-3kg of handle up with speed like a hammer to crack the casting :( This could as easily happen with an old or new machine with a lack of care.

    The worn Rack one of the others is just wear and tear over 30+years and even if you cant buy a new part gears and pinions can be cut for a price if needed.

    All the boiler problems above are just the sort of thing that turns up regardless of Lever or Pump machines.

    If you were considering buying a modern non spring lever then some of these things will never come up and if you feed it good water and descale once in a while then also not a problem there. If you get drunken "mates" around unscrew the handles so they cant play with the levers *::)

  8. #8
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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Quote Originally Posted by 7F787C737B716474737A1D0 link=1279448833/6#6 date=1280319285
    I own one of the machines featured anove with a cracked spring housing, this is generally caused by letting the lever go without a loaded puck in the PF so the spring accelerates 2-3kg of handle up with speed like a hammer to crack the casting
    One thing to keep in mind is that this characteristic is one that led to the demise of lever machines. There are OHS considerations to be considered here. Quite a few jaws have been taken out by levers coupled with inexperience. If you own or aspire to own one, do be careful.

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Are these common or likely to happen to new machines? I was tempted to go the lever option as I saw it as a safer/less things to go wrong alternative to a pump machine
    I second BFs reply
    Thet are more a warning to potential buyers of older ex commercial machines and come under the heading of Caveat Emptor
    I put these pics together as a bit of a inspection guide, and as a warning to buying sight unseen from a online auction site whose sellers act dumb when it comes to coffee machines.
    I expect most machines to be OK and can be restored to good working order and I wouldnt want to discourage someone from taking on such a project just bear in mind the machine could have been retired for a reason.
    The worn Rack one of the others is just wear and tear over 30+years and even if you cant buy a new part gears and pinions can be cut for a price if needed
    Ive heard these racks are no longer available but not having a Gaggia Ive had no need to confirm it.
    I own one of the machines featured anove with a cracked spring housing
    The first pic is out of my Aurora, a corroded spring is to be expected after 30+ years of service. I suppose it was caused by a leaking top seal at some time.

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    I believe Ofra from Di Bartoli accidentally sustained a broken nose from a lever machine...

    Was there ever a lever designed that had some kind of gearing that could decelerate the return movement? Seems like it should have been possible- without affecting the functionality.

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Ouch :o

    I did go on to the staff to be very careful about releasing the levers with no pucks in and had them raise and lower them several times empty on purpose. Touch wood no problems so far.

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Your barista will have to wear a full face helmet BF ;D

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Quote Originally Posted by 585F5B545C564353545D3A0 link=1279448833/10#10 date=1280453249
    I did go on to the staff to be very careful about releasing the levers with no pucks in and had them raise and lower them several times empty on purpose.
    Dont let the OH&S people know, full PPE will become mandatory. ::)

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    I think if the machine is mounted on a bench with adequate height the risk is greatly reduced.


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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Quote Originally Posted by 776B7676616A706D6A65676B62626161040 link=1279448833/13#13 date=1280489542
    I think if the machine is mounted on a bench with adequate height the risk is greatly reduced.
    Good point Jack....

    My one group Pompei arrives early next week and I have in total perhaps 5 x lever shots of experience....

    Let the learning begin! :-/

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    I think if the machine is mounted on a bench with adequate height the risk is greatly reduced.
    Photos Ive seen of lever machines being used in cafes have shown them on high bench tops, I thought the height would allow a easier pull on the lever but safety could also be a reason.

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Just checked a few pics of my setup the top of the piston is just on shoulder height for me at 62" so my nose might be at risk. One of my crew at 54" is fairly safe and any higher she would need a ladder to reach *;D

    To keep good control over the lever standing behind it is best so unless you are on top of the bench I really dont think it is a major issue.




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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    I really dont think it is a huge issue- unless you let inexperienced people play with your machine. Some things are inherently dangerous, stairs, a chainsaw, etc. Common sense dictates caution. An inexperienced user may not realise that a spring lever can jump straight back up- but having depressed the thing their instincts should tell them to take care releasing it...

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    Re: Lever machines, what you dont want to find.

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    If its of any help this vid shows the sort of thing Ive seen in photos.
    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Dq97OHWL3c&NR=1[/media]



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