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Thread: Lelit PL62 Mara ó typical lifespan?

  1. #1
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    Lelit PL62 Mara ó typical lifespan?

    Question for Mara owners and former owners ... has anyone used a Mara until it died? (And by ďdiedĒ, what I mean is that it didnít make sense to repair because the cost of repair would be on par with the cost of an equivalent new machine.) If so, how many years did you get out if it?

    I bought mine in December 2014. Since then, Iíve used it everyday, making 2-4 double shots. I backflush with water daily, with Cafiza every 2-4 weeks. Iíve descaled it twice, and replaced the pressurestat once due to corrosion. At the moment, itís working, but as I pull a shot the pump pressure slowly drops 1-2 bars over ~30 secs, and once in a while the pump gets quiet and pressure drops significantly. So I brought it to a tech. The tech told me that a whole laundry list of parts are failing, and advised me either to replace all of them together or just to let the machine die and replace it. He described the machine as ďtiredĒ (whatever that means) and sent me this photo.



    So, does ~4 years sound like a reasonable lifespan, or should I seek out another tech?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Four years sounds very ordinary to me, most quality machines will make the 10 year mark with a little care and preventative maintenance, my current Bezzera machine is 10 years old and still going strong.

    Try another repairer, if you let us know your location perhaps someone can recommend a good repairer.

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    It does look rather badly corroded for a 4 year old machine, but I don't have a Mara and can't comment on whether this is typical.
    Was it used in a harsh environment?
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    Hi Thunder240! Tech from Crema here - Looks like there is a bit of scale on top of the boiler possibly from a leaking anti vacuum valve. Yelta is correct though, you should get more than 4 years out of a quality machine like this one. I just looked up the price of the Mara and it’s around the $2200 mark. I could not see any repair or service that would come close to this price, possibly it could be around the $600 for a full service and repair. It might be worth considering a new machine which will have newer technology and you will get a warranty with a new machine as well.

    Maybe even get a quote with everything the technician said needed to be replaced and let us know on this forum, we can see if it's accurate for you.

    Hope this helps your decision!

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    Thank you, all!

    Iím in San Francisco, and would certainly appreciate a recommendation for a local tech nearby. (I understand, of course, that the likelihood someone on Coffee Snobs has local knowledge drops quite rapidly east of the Gold Coast!)

    This guy quoted me the following:

    2 1/2 hrs labor -$375
    1- water pressure pump- $90
    1-pressurestat-$75
    1-overpressure valve- $75
    1- E-61 group reb kit- $90
    1-Vacuum valve- $20
    $725 to repair (all prices USD)

    He also added that the on/off switch and level control are currently functional but ďno telling how long they will lastĒ, suggesting that when they fail Iíll be right back in his shop paying for more repairs.

    Over here in the States, the Mara retails for $1400, but itís fairly common to see it on sale for $1100-ish. I think his labor rate ($150/hr) is what most techs would charge in SF. Itís high, but we have Silicon Valley to thank for that.

    Water where I currently live is wonderful, almost no calcium. However, until last November I lived in Virginia, where the water is pretty hard.

    There is a certain attractiveness of getting a new machine with a new warranty, I wonít lie

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    Ah, I see! We're in Australia, so considering conversion and the extra costs we incur, those numbers make sense. That does mean, I don't have any tech recommendations for your though - sorry! If it's tempting, it might be more worth your while to outlay a little more money now to get yourself an upgrade

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    Lelit PL62 Mara ó typical lifespan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crema_Garage View Post
    Ah, I see! We're in Australia, so considering conversion and the extra costs we incur, those numbers make sense. That does mean, I don't have any tech recommendations for your though - sorry! If it's tempting, it might be more worth your while to outlay a little more money now to get yourself an upgrade
    Crema, thanks for the advice.

    Well, after some reflection, checking the bank account, and doing some research on parts availability, I think I have a plan.

    In the near term, Iím going to buy a double boiler PID machine with a rotary pump. There are several available here for around $2500 USD from the likes of ECM, Quickmill, Profitec, Rocket, Bezerra, as well as Lelit, and Iím sure other brands as well. Once it arrives, Iíll take my PL62 down to my garage, order the parts, and see if I can teach myself how to service an espresso machine! It may take a while, but Iím guessing the experience will serve me well, and if I manage to eventually replace all of the worn/corroded parts and get the machine reassembled, Iíll add it to my go-kit!
    Last edited by Thunder240; 13th September 2018 at 04:26 PM.
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    2 1/2 hrs labor -$375
    1- water pressure pump- $90
    1-pressurestat-$75
    1-overpressure valve- $75
    1- E-61 group reb kit- $90
    1-Vacuum valve- $20
    $725 to repair (all prices USD)

    These all seem pretty easy to replace by yourself. I replaced the water pump in my last coffee machine at $30 in 15 minutes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder240 View Post
    Crema, thanks for the advice.

    Well, after some reflection, checking the bank account, and doing some research on parts availability, I think I have a plan.

    In the near term, I’m going to buy a double boiler PID machine with a rotary pump. There are several available here for around $2500 USD from the likes of ECM, Quickmill, Profitec, Rocket, Bezerra, as well as Lelit, and I’m sure other brands as well. Once it arrives, I’ll take my PL62 down to my garage, order the parts, and see if I can teach myself how to service an espresso machine! It may take a while, but I’m guessing the experience will serve me well, and if I manage to eventually replace all of the worn/corroded parts and get the machine reassembled, I’ll add it to my go-kit!
    Make sure you get a water filter too as there is evidence of limescale in your photo. The use of softened water and regular servicing will save you $$ in the long run.

    charlie

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    Got it.

    Would you guys also replace the two copper tubes coming out of the boiler, and that valve at 12 oíclock on top of the boiler to which one of the copper tubes connects?

    If yes, how does the calculus change if I discovered that this valve is actually part of the boiler itself (according to the PL62 parts diagram)?

    Excluding the boiler replacement, I bet I can do it. Certainly worth a try before giving up on the machine.

    Finally, for what itís worth, this guyís prices for the parts are double what the US importer of Lelit would charge me for a retail order.

  11. #11
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    Don't change the pipes or the fitting at 12 o'clock - they are just stained and should be perfectly functional. The fitting is not part of the boiler btw. And yes, I didn't say it but those prices are a bit on the high side ...

    charlie

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    you could check prices here

    https://www.jetblackespresso.com.au/...c/lelit-parts/

    charlie

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    Nice, thank you Charlie. I may get in touch with you by email or PM.

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    Hi Thunder,
    Sorry to read about the woes from your machine. A HX like the Lelit should be pretty bulletproof. I would try a good descale (look up how to do it properly on a HX). It usually solves most problems. Downside is if you have big chunks of scale, it could block valves - happened to me - had to take everything apart and soaked it in citric acid.

    If you have the time and inclination, you could do all that servicing yourself.

    Most of the parts listed could be taken apart and clean up.

    You could have had a sticky vacuum valve accounting for the corrosion. Again, fixed by a soaking and cleaning and replacing the o-ring if needed.

    You could even repair the pump itself if you want. Just search "Ulka pump o-ring and ball" on ebay.

    The carbon on the Pressurestat could also be cleaned up for a little more life also.

    Good luck

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    Hi Thunder 240,

    Curious to hear how it worked out for you? I'm interested in the PL62 Lelit HE and concerned about the longevity after hearing about your woes.

    Thanks

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick2018 View Post
    Hi Thunder 240,

    Curious to hear how it worked out for you? I'm interested in the PL62 Lelit HE and concerned about the longevity after hearing about your woes.

    Thanks
    No matter what you buy, use properly filtered and softened water and have a regular service done by a specialist and you'll get the most out of it. Any machine that gets limescale in it will generally require expensive descaling and parts replacement within a surprisingly short time frame.

    charlie

  17. #17
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    Charlie is right on the ball there.
    Saying thereís something wrong with every mara from this one issue is like saying thereís a problem with every ford because one ford had a problem after 3 years after 3 years of dirty fuel, no servicing and one component failure that spewed water over the engine bay and caused surface corrosion.
    Simple enough really.

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    Well, after opening up my machine and seeing for myself the tight quarters, I got cold feet! So instead, I took it to another tech for a 2nd opinion. After an inspection, he replaced all of the soft parts inside the group and the valves, along with a corroded wire, for a much more reasonable $183 USD (150 for labor, 33 for parts). He thinks the gasket or threading inside of the safety valve leaked as a result of wear, but apparently these machines use valves with replaceable soft parts, which is great. So, Iím back in action!

    In case anyone is looking for a tech in California, the shop is Great Infusions in Santa Cruz.
    Dimal, Yelta and level3ninja like this.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder240 View Post
    Well, after opening up my machine and seeing for myself the tight quarters, I got cold feet! So instead, I took it to another tech for a 2nd opinion. After an inspection, he replaced all of the soft parts inside the group and the valves, along with a corroded wire, for a much more reasonable $183 USD (150 for labor, 33 for parts). He thinks the gasket or threading inside of the safety valve leaked as a result of wear, but apparently these machines use valves with replaceable soft parts, which is great. So, I’m back in action!

    In case anyone is looking for a tech in California, the shop is Great Infusions in Santa Cruz.
    Great outcome Thunder, pleased to hear you got it repaired at a reasonable cost

    Thanks for keeping us informed.

    As an aside, drove from San Jose to Santa Cruz via the Big Basin Redwoods State Park a few years ago, spectacular!
    Last edited by Yelta; 4th October 2018 at 08:07 AM.
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