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Used Sunbeam EM4820

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  • Used Sunbeam EM4820

    I bought a used Sunbeam Cafe Crema II off Gumtree yesterday, gave it a bit of a clean and tried to make a coffee with it. Water leaked out between the group head and the portafilter.

    I am kinda hoping it is just that the machine needs descaling, so I will attend to that tonight if I have time, however it might be something else and I don't know where to find a service manual.

    I took a couple of photos of the leaking, as well as the portafilter to see if anyone could identify something I have done wrong. I made sure it was tightly attached prior to putting water through it.
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    Also, the portafilter provided has 2 outputs for the coffee, and seems to be quite shallow. I'm used to the deep area used on the Moka Pot (I have used a 6 cup Bialetti for years), so is it expected to purchase another one which is deeper if you need a stronger coffee?

    In hindsight, I probably would have been better off getting a new machine instead of starting with a cheap 2nd hand one. On the other hand, I can take it apart without worrying about voiding any warranty, and the cost was small. The milk frother worked well, once I got used to it.

  • #2
    There are no deeper portafilters available, that's it. From your photos I would suggest the leaking is due to the amount of coffee in the basket. I know in a Moka pot you make the coffee level with the top of the basket. That is not the case with an espresso machine. If it's not from you over packing it, there might be a crack in the basket, or a worn group collar requiring either a shim or replacement.

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    • #3
      As level3ninja mentioned the most likely cause is too much coffee (which might stop you getting a proper seal and tightening the handle fully) and/or a petrified group seal which should only cost $10 to replace, if you have a look on EvilBay for "Sunbeam EM4820 Brew Head Seal Part EM482015". Nothing wrong with the machine you have bought. The portafilter baskets are likely dual walled creating false pressure which is good for using supermarket beans. If you happen to have a decent grinder and good beans (from a local roaster or cafe) you may want to see if Sunbeam have single walled filters to suit your machine.

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      • #4
        I figured out at least one cause, the rubber seal on the group head was stuffed. The head needed a good clean too.
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        The last photo is the "after cleaning" photo. There was a bit of corrosion on it, so it is not mint condition. Hopefully it won't affect the coffee produced.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by donnsuil View Post
          I figured out at least one cause, the rubber seal on the group head was stuffed. The head needed a good clean too.
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          The last photo is the "after cleaning" photo. There was a bit of corrosion on it, so it is not mint condition. Hopefully it won't affect the coffee produced.
          Yep, a good clean and a new gasket is a good place to start. When you're buying a new gasket make sure you buy the right one (see the part number that 'roosterben' mentioned above). There are other Breville 51mm grouphead gaskets that won't work in this machine as they are too small. Your replacement seal will probably be blue rather than white/clear. There are a couple of other things that can cause the leaking that you described, but what you've done so far is the way to start. Hopefully that sorts it out and gets you up and running. These machines can make pretty reasonable coffee when used carefully.

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          • #6
            It was fun while it lasted. The new gasket did fix the problem, largely, however I think there were more problems inside which may have been exacerbated after I tried to pack in more coffee grinds for a stronger shot.

            After replacing the gasket, I noticed when using the milk frother that a little bit of water was still coming out of the group head. I had an inkling that that was not a great sign, but it still worked OK. The sides and top were getting quite hot too, which added to my concern. After heavy tamping into the portafilter, I initiated the shot. Water kinda dripped out at a small rate compared to previous, and after a bit I saw a drip come out of the side of the top of the machine.

            There is a thread here https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...am-em4820.html I found out later that indicates a "water diverter valve" can crack, I wish I had seen it earlier.

            On top of that, I can't see how to take it apart, and one of the screws for the group head won't budge, so I think I'll cut my losses there and look at another option. I feel a bit deflated now, but I did learn a bit along the way, and the financial cost was low too.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by donnsuil View Post
              It was fun while it lasted. The new gasket did fix the problem, largely, however I think there were more problems inside which may have been exacerbated after I tried to pack in more coffee grinds for a stronger shot.

              After replacing the gasket, I noticed when using the milk frother that a little bit of water was still coming out of the group head. I had an inkling that that was not a great sign, but it still worked OK. The sides and top were getting quite hot too, which added to my concern. After heavy tamping into the portafilter, I initiated the shot. Water kinda dripped out at a small rate compared to previous, and after a bit I saw a drip come out of the side of the top of the machine.

              There is a thread here https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...am-em4820.html I found out later that indicates a "water diverter valve" can crack, I wish I had seen it earlier.

              On top of that, I can't see how to take it apart, and one of the screws for the group head won't budge, so I think I'll cut my losses there and look at another option. I feel a bit deflated now, but I did learn a bit along the way, and the financial cost was low too.
              Yeah if it’s not the gasket and/or group collar then it’s the valve mechanism inside. It sits behind the central selector switch on the front and directs water from the single thermoblock to the appropriate place depending on your selection. It’s just white plastic and it gets brittle from all the heat it’s exposed to and then cracks. Once that’s happened you’re stuffed really. They can be replaced, but it’s not particularly easy and not really worth it either unfortunately.

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              • #8
                Can't replace that part unless it's from a salvage machine and it's not worth it because it'll just break too. Sunbeam don't sell the spare part new.

                The steam tip on your machine is a good upgrade for older EM6910's whose steam power is weakening. Hang onto the tip if you junk the machine, someone will want it.

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