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Thread: Leaks!

  1. #1
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    Leaks!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hmm. After removing and descaling a few of the copper pipes in the Brasilia there are a few small leaks - a drop a second or less - from some of the joints.

    Is there a trick to getting these little blighters to seal completely? Should I polish the mating surfaces or something?

    I've done them up as tight as I'm game with some pretty big spanners.

  2. #2
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    duncanbourne,
    Welcome along to the wonderful world of commercial coffee machine "re-birthing".
    Any appliance reliant on hot and high pressure liquid (water), will over time cause eventual deterioration/failure jointing material,the stuff that initially prevents liquids (water) leakage,these areas (piping connections) undergo heating and cooling together with varying levels of vibration (all killers of jointing material).
    Most piping in coffee machines is copper,when brand new copper is ductile and tolerant of heat/cooling/vibration,as coffee machines age (with use) copper will be gradually hardened and therefore become increasingly prone to failures (the connection area of piping ,in particular.
    When you removed the piping for cleaning /descaling,had you considered returning the copper itself to it's former levels or ductility and tolerance of heat/cooling/vibration by "annealing",most likely not.
    Most people would inspect and believe the piping is perfectly serviceable for reinstalling,most likely it may be ,for a short while at least!! When dealing with such metal piping ,consideration must be given to updated jointing materials (gaskets etc) however,further consideration must be allowed for the possibility that a much shortened service life despite all the effort and work done,sadly this is the risk any new owner of a refurbished espresso coffee should expect.
    "I've done them up as tight as I'm game with some pretty big spanners." would suggest to me the piping is failing,may be fixed with renewed gaskets etc but that's only part of the remedial action necessary,remember short term situation and eventually other leaks/failures can and most likely do occur.
    Initial first aid for your leaking piping is check your gaskets and replace necessary gaskets if not stopping any leaks,be careful not to over-tightening copper piping or you may cause stress fracturing of copper!
    Good luck.
    Cheers,
    Mick.
    Quote Originally Posted by duncanbourne View Post
    Hmm. After removing and descaling a few of the copper pipes in the Brasilia there are a few small leaks - a drop a second or less - from some of the joints.

    Is there a trick to getting these little blighters to seal completely? Should I polish the mating surfaces or something?

    I've done them up as tight as I'm game with some pretty big spanners.

  3. #3
    rrm
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    The quick and dirty way is a turn of teflon tape on the male flare face and a couple of turns behind the flare nut on the back of the female flare.

    The former forms a seal and the latter stops the nut tearing away at the copper pipe. In fact you can always put a couple of few turns tape behind the flare nuts, even when the flare is sound.

    Flares should not need to be so tight that you lift the entire machine off the bench when tightening.

    The correct procedure is anneal the flare, ie heat until a cherry red and let cool naturally. You can do this on a gas hotplate - or better still mapp gas or oxt acet torch - hold the pipe with pliers.

    The reason you are having problem is probably because copper has work hardened, likely having been removed and replaced a few times.

    Tightening flare connections until your eyes water seldom fixes leaks. But it can split the flare.

    Good luck.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    A tried and true technician solution for most annoying small leaks.

  5. #5
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    duncanbourne,
    After having stated what is ideal regarding repairing used commercial coffee machines,I also have gone your way with similar machines,I'm up to number six.
    Machines were collected in various state of repair,it is so satisfying getting them up and running again,moved one on to new owner however,remaining are spread through staff rooms etc,very appreciated by all.
    rrm recommendations are sound and I too would encourage the application of teflon (great stuff) tape,especially high temperature jobs,with consideration to annealing,fiddly but easy to do.
    How has the rest of your machine coped with it's rebuild?
    Cheers,
    Mick.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprezzatura View Post
    A tried and true technician solution for most annoying small leaks.
    Works very well, although I now tend to use Wurth Pipe Seal instead since most of our consumables are now ordered via Wurth. I do carry teflon tape but very rarely use it, due to the risk of stray bits of tape causing blockages through a machine. The only time I use it is when it's the only way to get a threaded fitting to seal where the fitting has to be fitted pointing in a particular direction (such as a right angle fitting at the top or bottom of a heat exchanger) so cannot just be tightened down until it seats.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    There's some heavy-duty, high-temp Loctite stuff that's great for grinder threads that comes with a handy brush in the lid- this stuff is golden (but $$)

  8. #8
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I smear this in steam wand internals and on brazen on flares and ferrules.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    It's rated to 400 ... so, no heat issues.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Ever try the yellow gas PTFE TAPE, Morgan? It's pretty good for those position-specific fittings like injectors at the base of a HX machine.

  11. #11
    rrm
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    Just feel very sorry for the next technician that meets a joint with that particular sealant.

    It is a permanent seal. And works the same a loctite if it gets on any thread.

    The "first" technician may love it, but subsequent technicians will hate it.

    I'd always use a non hardening sealant if possible.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    It's not a permanent sealant. I remove threaded carriers, clean them with metho and apply it again. The only permanent sealant is rancid coffee oils that seize the threads on grinders that do not get adjusted or cleaned as often as they should.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    The 58-11 comes off with very little effort. I've been using it on dozens of machines here for 5 years.

  14. #14
    rrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprezzatura View Post
    The 58-11 comes off with very little effort. I've been using it on dozens of machines here for 5 years.
    The plumber who plumbed t our new house (12 months ago) used it on the garden taps. I had to use oxy to heat the sockets to unscrew them. A risky practice when the piping is polyethylene.

    It's bad news because it is a Methacralate anaerobic curing adhesive (same as locktite)- I'd suggest a non hardening sealer.

    MDS: http://www.loxeal.com/files/5811e.pdf

    For general use (not coffee machine) I use stag or hawkins pastes. Both old fashioned and proven.
    Last edited by rrm; 14th January 2016 at 07:11 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I'm always happy to try something new. If Stag paste works better and is less expensive (58-11 is not cheap!) I'll give it a go. Where can I find it?

  16. #16
    rrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprezzatura View Post
    I'm always happy to try something new. If Stag paste works better and is less expensive (58-11 is not cheap!) I'll give it a go. Where can I find it?
    I did say this :
    For general use (not coffee machine) I use stag or hawkins pastes. Both old fashioned and proven.
    However, I'd actually lean toward hawkins imperishable compound. Not that I've tried on coffee machines. However the MDS indicates it's OK.

    http://app.buyall.com.au/buyall/pict...400608msds.pdf

    I wouldn't use stag, because it's messy, stains and I'm not sure if it is suitable for potable water. Excellent on gas connections and steam 'tho.

    Any plumbers supply will have hawkins . And it's non hardening.

  17. #17
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    Wouldn't use it on the Steam circuits of an espresso machine, or other food processing system that uses Steam in the process....

    Stag has a very prominent and distinctive odour that manages to permeate most systems exceedingly efficiently...

    Mal.
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  18. #18
    rrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Wouldn't use it on the Steam circuits of an espresso machine, or other food processing system that uses Steam in the process....

    Stag has a very prominent and distinctive odour that manages to permeate most systems exceedingly efficiently...

    Mal.
    Perhaps I should have clarified for industrial steam applications NOT coffee machines.

    Every time I open a tube of stag paste, it seems to end up covering everything, hands, tools, pipes and it's tenacious as anything.
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  19. #19
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    Know what you mean...

    It is good stuff though.

    Mal.

  20. #20
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I'll try Hawkins on the HX circuits then. The places that are annoying to deal with leaks are under the boiler in front where the flow meters feed the circuit and injectors.

  21. #21
    rrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprezzatura View Post
    I'll try Hawkins on the HX circuits then. The places that are annoying to deal with leaks are under the boiler in front where the flow meters feed the circuit and injectors.
    In a perfect world flares should seal on their own.

    So any connection with any sealant is never optimal. But in the real world with a well serviced machines and labor charged on time, I can see the imperative to use a sealant.

    Please, please let us know how hawkins works out. After "throwing stones", I'd be interested to hear how it works out and if my advice is not sound I'm happy to be told. The school of hard knocks is a good teacher.

    cheers

    Rob
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  22. #22
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I will order some, it looks ideal, and I will let you know how it works. Thank you!
    Matthew

  23. #23
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    Hi mulquemi,
    Thanks for the annealing tip, I'll give that a go. I was about to try polishing the mating surfaces but annealing can only help.
    Restoration is going slowly as I never get much time and don't want to leave things disassembled for weeks so I do little bits at a time.
    This weekend I hope to pull apart, clean & de scale the 4 way valve that controls boiler fill and, crucially, contains the OPV that regulates brew pressure, which seems too high.
    This is on a Brasilia cappuccino del.
    Funny how people speak of loctite as though there's only one type. The trick of course being to get the correct one of the 50+ products for the job, in which case it works like magic.
    Cheers,
    Duncan


    [QUOTE=mulquemi;570578]duncanbourne,



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