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Are some machines easier to service at home than others?

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  • Are some machines easier to service at home than others?

    Thinking of buying a 2nd hand machine (Silvia? Gaggia Classic?).

    There are a few listed here and there at the moment in various states of disrepair, and I'm thinking - bravely and without any experience - that it might be worth picking one up and giving it an overhaul myself. I half expect that any machine I buy second hand will benefit from a little tlc (new seals and a good cleanup at least).

    Just thought I should ask if there are any particular machines I should be wary of or more comfortable with - or any particular headache 'problems' I should be trying to avoid when I'm looking at 2nd hand machines. Thoughts?

  • #2
    The popular single boiler Italian machines are all fairly simple inside. The good thing is that the more popular ones have a tonne of info online about modifying and servicing them. So if you can find a Saeco Via Venezia, Gaggia Classic, Rancilio Silvia or something similar for cheap then it's worth considering. Even though I've done a bit of tinkering with the odd Breville and Sunbeam, I'd avoid the appliance brands for your first foray into this sort of thing as they are usually not quite as straight forward internally.

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    • #3
      Are some machines easier to service at home than others?

      Originally posted by MokaLoca View Post
      Thinking of buying a 2nd hand machine (Silvia? Gaggia Classic?).

      There are a few listed here and there at the moment in various states of disrepair, and I'm thinking - bravely and without any experience - that it might be worth picking one up and giving it an overhaul myself. I half expect that any machine I buy second hand will benefit from a little tlc (new seals and a good cleanup at least).

      Just thought I should ask if there are any particular machines I should be wary of or more comfortable with - or any particular headache 'problems' I should be trying to avoid when I'm looking at 2nd hand machines. Thoughts?
      Simple is better. The Classic and Silvia are relatively easy to work on. There's a considerable amount of support on CS for either of those (as many of us have had one or both).

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      • #4
        If you can pickup a cheap used NS oscar they are also easy to work on (and more worthwhile than a small single boiler) and there is not a part you can't find should you need it :-)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by sprezzatura View Post
          Simple is better. The Classic and Silvia are relatively easy to work on. There's a considerable amount of support on CS for either of those (as many of us have had one or both).
          Yeah that's what's leading me towards either of those at the moment. Definitely like the idea that I can fix it myself. As much as those Breville machines look like they make a great cup of coffee, I haven't seen a lot of evidence for anyone doing their own maintenance on them...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by gonzo89 View Post
            If you can pickup a cheap used NS oscar they are also easy to work on (and more worthwhile than a small single boiler) and there is not a part you can't find should you need it :-)
            There's one going here for a good price :

            http://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-har...m2m-sale.html#

            and you won't have to work on it for quite a while. Life's a lot easier with a HX machine rather than a single boiler.

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            • #7
              No arguments about that. HX is my fav.

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              • #8
                Does look nice, but that's a long way out of my budget. Really considering repairs because most of the machines I can afford (justify?) are likely to need a bit of attention.

                Very happy to do some maintenance / repairs if it saves me money and I get a machine that's built to last. Strongly leaning towards a Silvia I think...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MokaLoca View Post
                  Does look nice, but that's a long way out of my budget. Really considering repairs because most of the machines I can afford (justify?) are likely to need a bit of attention.

                  Very happy to do some maintenance / repairs if it saves me money and I get a machine that's built to last. Strongly leaning towards a Silvia I think...
                  No worries. Good luck with your search. I have owned both a Silvia and a Gaggia. They are both great machines and good resellers. Second hand Silvias seem to start at about $400 and Gaggia at about $250. Don't forget to factor in a grinder!

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                  • #10
                    Ta

                    Been watching eBay for a while, those prices seem pretty spot on.

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                    • #11
                      Might be worth putting a WTB ad in coffee hardware for sale section with your aims and price point.

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                      • #12
                        Also look around for an old Bezzera BZ99 - not sure if they're still sold new but they were a few years ago for around the $2000 mark. Because they've been going for 30 years with hardly any changes, you can find older one's real cheap. I've bought two over the years for $300 each (one dead heater element, other case had started to rust) and they are rock solid. Good parts availability, cheap.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by simonko View Post
                          Also look around for an old Bezzera BZ99 - not sure if they're still sold new but they were a few years ago for around the $2000 mark. Because they've been going for 30 years with hardly any changes, you can find older one's real cheap. I've bought two over the years for $300 each (one dead heater element, other case had started to rust) and they are rock solid. Good parts availability, cheap.
                          Definitely will now, thanks. That looks incredible...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by stephen28 View Post
                            Might be worth putting a WTB ad in coffee hardware for sale section with your aims and price point.
                            Yeah I'd love to - apparently your account needs to be two weeks old before you do that though, so will have to lurk for a bit first.

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