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Thread: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

  1. #1
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    Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    OK, at this point in time, Im feeling like a dill....

    Decided to replace the seal on the Silvia. Got the old one out after fiddling with a small screwdriver and a long nose plier. Installed the seal plus the shim (paper gasket) as per instructions. Found I couldnt even get the portafilter on. Turned the machine on to heat things up, then tried again. Finally able to just lock it in.

    Decided to try it out. No leaks, but because it didnt feel right at all, as I was still having trouble getting the portafilter to lock in easily. After a few days decided that it wasnt right. Removed the gasket (that was difficult) and shim. Reinstalled the gasket without the shim, but that made little difference. The gasket felt rock hard and id not give at all. Made me wonder if there were different grades. Anyway, this time it leaked.

    Ordered another gasket from another supplier and this time carefully removed and cleaned around the grouphead and installed the new gasket. It appears that this gasket has slightly different texture on both sides. Decided that the "rougher" side should go in first. The portafilter locked in beautifully, the handle at right angle to the machine and the gasket felt softer.

    Decided to brew a shot. Leaked horribly !!! Try again, lock in harder, still dripped. Lock as hard as reasonable, still dripped!!!!
    *&$@#*&&@!!!!!!!!!

    How difficult is this???!!! Im thinking it is rocket science afterall !! Can anyone help?? Please enlighten me !!

    franjae

  2. #2
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Sometimes the seal is not actually all way in the housing. It normally moves the last little bit when you lock the handle in but it sounds like you still have a gap. Can you tell whether the leak is from the seal->basket side or the seal->head side? If it is the basket you should see some coffee slurry on the rim of the basket and seal.

    The seal should feel firm but flexible so if it is otherwise then it may be suss. Where did you get the seals from?

    If you had trouble getting the seal out in the first place you may have damaged the face inside the head such as gouging. Have you had a look with a torch?

  3. #3
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Thanks Wired,

    The first seal was from Sienna Coffee and the second from Coffee Parts. I am sure they are different thickness and material. The second one felt much much better but still leaked.

    I am sure the face is OK as I was fairly careful when cleaning before the installation. I will leave it to see if it will bed down.

    Does anyone know if different quality seals exists??

    franjae

  4. #4
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Franjae.

    a) now that you have had the latest replacement seal leaking in situ, & given we are not 100% guaranteed that it had been pushed "home" properly beforehand, there could be some coffee grit forced behind it into the seal groove by pressure...so the seal should now be removed to clean the area thoroughly, then refit the seal.

    b) to fit the seal properly, start the seal into the groove by hand as far as it will go, then apply the group handle to the group WITHOUT THE FILTER IN PLACE, and push the group handle as far around as it will go. This pushes the seal evenly, fully home.

    c) The seal is "one sided" ie it is meant to go in one way only. The seal is pushed home with the chamfered edge into the groove...the sharp edge faces downwards. *If you fit the seal the other way around, the sharp edge is likely to catch on the groove with similar symptoms to those you have experienced.

    d) Diff brand and size seals do exist. The salient feature is the size. Fit the seal initially without the paper spacer. If the group handle goes around too far, remove the seal and fit the spacer in before the seal. If when you have done that the handle doesnt go around far enough, remove all again, leave the spacer out, and live with the handle going around a bit further than you expected, as long as there are no leaks.

    e) Do not replace or remove seals unless something is wrong, eg if the seal is not sealing any more. They are usually very long lived. *

    Regardz,
    FC.

  5. #5
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Thanks FC,

    In hindsight I should have left it alone.....I just got to laern to stop fiddling with the machine!!!

    I am still unsure which side is the right side. The second gasket did not come with the paper gasket. Even if I had to push the portafilter pass the midpoint, it should seal nicely.

    I will continue using the machine for another day or so and see if it will seat itself. If not, Ill have to pull it out again (hard work and hopefully not damage it) and reinstall.

    Cheers

    franjae

  6. #6
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    The group seal or "undercup washer", is basically a square sectioned circular rubber seal of ***around*** 8.5mm diameter in the rubber section. The side to place upwards into the group has a chamfered edge, either on the inside diameter, or the outside diameter, OR BOTH, of the top face of the seal. The bottom face of the seal has square edges.

    The chamfer is not big, just enough to stop the edge of the seal from catching on the sharp edge of groove machined out of the group into which the seal is going to be squeezed.

    Rancilio group seals / undercup washers usually have "vertical cuts" in the outer edge of the seal sio you should be suspicious of you have been sold a seal without these "vertical cuts" ( lest the seal is not quite the exact correct size).

    Most manufacturers supply seals in a couple of different vertical thicknesses to acount for wear over time. The thicker seals are for worn set ups where the group handle will often move a lot further over to the right when applied. The thicker seals kind of "take up the slack" and result in the handle not going around so far. This shouldnt become a problem in regular domestic use but can often be seen in older commercial machines...the group ring (the groove that the lugs in the handle go around in) wears, as do the lugs on the group handles...

    I honestly doubt that anything is going to "bed in" or "seat itself" for you. If it were nmine I would remove the "sus" fitted seal, clean in the groove and replace as noted in the post above.

    Regardz,
    FC.

  7. #7
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Thanks FC, right, looks like I have more fiddling to do tonight. After this I should be an expert in pulling out group seals!!

    Will let you know if it still leaking after this!

    Cheers

    franjae

  8. #8
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Right, some of you may in interested to know how I went with the seal.

    The seal was damaged (again) when I pulled it out. Got another one and installed, making sure the bevelled side goes in first. Guess what? It LEAKED !!!

    Man, I was close to throwing the whole lot out. Especially after taking a lot of time making sure everthing was cleaned before the seal went in.

    Anyway, I pulled the seal out again and this time it put in the paper gasket as well. IT WORKED!!! NO MORE LEAKS!! :D

    Looks like I wont be touching this again for a long long time.

    Cheers

    franjae

  9. #9
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Good on you franjae,

    You must be relieved to have your Silvia back again. A condensed blow by blow account mightnt be a bad thing to put together for others who might follow in your footsteps. What do you reckon?

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  10. #10
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    No problems.......hopefully this will help.

    As I had to remove the seal so many times, I found the easiest way of getting the old seal off was to use a small self tapping screw, about 10cm long and screw that into the old seal. Make sure you dont go in too far, just enough so that you can pull the seal out with it. Beats digging around denting and scratching the group head.

    Once the seal is out, carefully clean out the area around the grouphead where the seal sits, making sure there you have not left any old grounds or any remnants of any old gaskets and seals. I used a small flat screwdriver to carefully clean this area out. Make sure you dont scrape too hard to leave marks that may cause the surface to be uneven.

    Before you instal the new seal, make sure you decide if your portafilter is presently locking on tight without the handle going past the centre point, ie more than 90 degrees to the machine. If so you will need the paper gasket installed as well, otherwise as I found out the hard way, that the portafilter will not be tight enough and it will leak. If you decide that the gasket is required AFTER you install the seal, you will most likely damage this new seal trying to get it out again!!


    IMPORTANT : The Group Seal is bevelled on one side and as FC correctly pointed out, this bevelled side must go in first. The surface of this side is also smooth compared to the otherside which is slightly textured. You will know that you have installed the seal correctly as the seal can be pushed it nearly all the way simply using your finger. Then use the portafilter to push the rest of the way in.

    Thank goodness the seals are cheap enough to buy. You may want to order two at a time just in case you stuff it up like I have done. :(

    I bought the first seal from Sienna and the next two from Coffee Parts. Coffee Parts prices are better and they got to me in one working day!!! And I am in Perth! Excellent!!!!!

    Cheers

    franjae

  11. #11
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Great Tutorial franjae,

    Also very innovative using a self-tapper to remove the old seal, nice lateral thinking.

    Maybe we should think about setting up a heading where gems of information like this can be listed under various sub-headings. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  12. #12
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Franjae, your trials and tribulations are undoubtedly a painful learning experience from which the rest of us will benefit. You have smoothed the rough territory for us to traverse when the occasion arises, as it will.
    May I ask what the cost of said seals is?

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1119402040/0#10 date=1120271068
    Maybe we should think about setting up a heading where gems of information like this can be listed under various sub-headings. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

    Cheers,
    Mal.
    Unfortunately this version of the software doesnt allow the nesting of folders. :-/

    Java "Still hates water" phile

  14. #14
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    Re: Replacing Group Seal - Part 2 HELP!!!!!

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Robusto,

    The seal was $4.65 and the paper gasket $1.45. Thank goodness!!

    franjae :)



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