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Restoration of a 3rd Series Faema Mercurio (Tall Group)

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  • #16
    I like to show people how to do something if they ever run across a similar situation. Not too many threads are seen for stuff like this it feels like.

    The screw I questioned is indeed for plugging a hole made during machining of the group so it's staying put. I am working with Pascal/Chromes d'Antan for the boiler flange and a replica 1500W heating element. I am taking my boiler to my metal worker guy that did the Faemina shaft repair. A 30mm wrench and 28mm socket are on order for the valve nuts and group nut respectively.

    I have been speaking with Enrico Maltoni about my machine. It's complete as I thought and he notes it's the final/last ("l'ultima") series of the Mercurio. He also believes there are four, maybe five series total rather than my previously thought three series. Supposedly they are less 'desirable' than the earlier curved group first series but I am saving that group for a Marte down the road. He does like a Mercurio of any series a lot nonetheless. Maltoni also noted it sometimes occured where brown and black bakelite handles would mix and is not unheard of, which makes sense as the black bakelite is original from that time.

    I have a new ultra sonic cleaner on the way that will stop me from starting to clean the little bits until it arrives. I got the hot water/inlet valve off the frame. I needed to maneuver it carefully to take it out as it was close to being stuck on there without unscrewing one of the fittings. I do not want to take it apart as it currently has water scale built up very heavily and old seals. I want to soften them up first before attempting disassembly so I do not end up with a broken/sheared off fitting.


    • #17
      I got the frame stripped completely after deciding to take off the serial tag. It was pretty simple to do, just take a small punch and tap out from the back to knock out the rivets. The tag is a little bent so I hope to flatten it out a but before returning it to the frame. The frame itself is in very good condition. The only true rust I could find was a little bit where the group head bolts on, and I partially think that rust was from the bolts rather than the frame. I might just keep it as is since I do not see serious pitting or rust but the frame definitely needs a serious cleaning in terms of nicotine residue. Any suggestions on how to do that?


      • #18
        The backsplash is quite grimy as well. Normally I would just directly use Autosol for cleaning up but I think I may need to use something before to get the grime off first, at least for the back part. I'll take suggestions on that to ensure the chrome is not affected.

        The boiler is starting its soak. Once cleaned up I'll get the stress cracks soldered up.

        The manometer bezel is intact. I think the manometer design is one of my favorites.

        Last thing tonight is looking at the gas valve. Taking a closer look and being informed by a member for Kaffee-Netz I see that it is the same valve used for temperature regulation on the Faema V-groups! Very interesting use for it as I presume it was a surplus valve needing to find a home.


        • #19
          You are most certainly welcome!

          I got my new sonic cleaner, a 6L Vevor. It's quite bigger than my old Harbor Freight one, which I burned up during cleaning the Faema President bits and more powerful. I immediately set about de-scaling my fittings in citric acid. I was able to take off four out of the seven fittings from my steam valve and hot water/inlet valve before I decided to spray penetrating fluid and let them sit for a while. They were really gunked up, especially at the hot water fitting since water likely remained in the pipe after use. Fortunately my sonic cleaner made them nice and clean.


          • #20

            For the chrome bits I focused on getting the nicotine build up off using Glo-Joe to great effect. I was able to fit the lower group in the cleaner and at this point for most of the chrome bits they just need a little polishing or are already set. Some of the pieces like the preinfusion mechanism I did not know where chromed until after the cleaning! I even cleaned up the boiler flange pretty nicely. It appears to be iron or steel? A question I have is can I keep the cylinder in the group as is or should I take off the remaining chrome inside?


            • #21


              Finally, on the preinfusion rod there is a very small gasket, measuring 7x4x4mm. I can likely just stuff it with teflon tape but I am asking if there is somewhere I can buy a spare.


              • #22
                I got my boiler and some bits dropped off with my metal guy to fix up. The powder coating guy is on vacation so I will not have that done until at least 21 October when he gets back. The boiler flange is mailed off to Pascal for adaptation to accept a new element.

                I finally got the bottom group fitting off after some soaking in penetrating oil and the arrival of a 28mm socket. It needed my 3 foot pipe wrench to wrestle loose but now I can do a final cleaning and polishing of the inside and exterior of the group body

                The last thing at this point I need to take apart is the upper group assembly. The piston is stuck so I started letting it soak after a heating session with the propane torch. Hopefully I'll get it off soon to start its cleaning process. I can consider myself to be fully in the cleaning portion of this project and since I see what's apart I can place my parts order. The valves use the same gaskets as the E61/President and I have some leftovers from my past projects. The more esoteric stuff is the boiler and group gasket, which I do have a source for.

                Project costs from what I am estimating will likely be around $1700 with everything including parts, tools, and labor purchased in the process, and that is a worst case estimate. This is still within my personal budget tolerance with the base cost of the Mercurio.


                • #23
                  My metal guy was really quick and I picked up my stuff today after 24 hours. The boiler had three welds added with silver solder, and the cam extender for the water inlet valve was fixed up as well.

                  I did some more descaling of some little bits. The valves are now all apart and I am ready to place my parts order after seeing everything I need. One thing I am concerned about is the cam for the inlet/hot water valve is very stuck on the large fitting and cracked on the tip. It appears at some point the rod became stuck with this fitting and the cracks are from someone exerting force on it in an attempt to move it. I bet that is what also caused the cracks on the now fixed rod extender. I hope I get all the scale out and coax out the rod to see if I can salvage it or if I can manage it in its current state.


                  • #24

                    This is the entire preinfusion mechanism apart. I'll explain how it works once I get it assembled again. The group I noted easily accepts an IMS shower with an E61 gasket. I will need an 8mm height for proper locking of the portafilter.


                    • #25
                      My parts order is sent out. The only odd gaskets of the bunch was the boiler gasket and the small 7x4x4mm gasket in the preinfusion mechanism. Brooks espresso/Thijs was able to custom order that gasket for pretty cheap and he sells the former by default. All other gaskets like the valves, sight glass, and group gaskets are still commonly available today which is incredibly convenient. There is no group gasket and instead the group is bolted directly against the frame. My Gaggia lever group gasket would fit however the thermosyphon fittings prevent this without modification. I can cut the gasket to adapt the fittings but my current decision is to keep it original and have no gasket. I have the old gaskets chipped out mostly, using a small pick and hammer to lightly tap the chunks out.

                      I've been polishing and cleaning pipes, fittings, and panels up. Of all the body panels I only used Autosol on the backsplash, group cap, bottom front panel, and the lower rear panels just to get rid of the last of the nicotine. Everything else will essentially remain original, even on the inside. The only notable difference I saw in the polishing was the rear of the backsplash. You can note on the photo of the rear backsplash the little holes on the right side where the rivets would go for the old style labels for the massimo and minimo pieces.


                      • #26


                        • #27
                          Well until I figure out what thread direction the piston is (pretty certain it's right handed/loose ccw but I like to check) I'll try going at it from above and make a jig. It has been painful to get it unscrewed with a leftie-loosie mantra. I spray penetrating oil almost every day, whack the piston with a mallet to shock the threads a little, and heat the thread area with a propane torch, the whole shebang. I do not want to be doing all this effort only to find out the thread is opposite to what I am trying to get loose and am actually tightening it.

                          I am looking at the clips for the lever fork and they are different from the ones seen on the Zodiac. They are much thicker and are very sturdy. My ring pliers are not having a good time getting them off but that may be due to gunk build up. If there is a different tool that I should use I'd love to know.

                          I did my best for what I had but I just could not get the piston off today. I had a small chisel that I struck the notch where the c-spanner went and tried pulling after with no success. I had the lever nearly cocked fully and had zip ties added and tightened to the point the spring was exerting almost no force against the piston thread and I could very slightly jiggle the fork.


                          • #28
                            These are my notes for the jig I plan to make. I need the jig to hold the group by the two ledges on the sides of the group head one 'level' below where the bearings rest. I took out the bearing guides so I had more ledge to hang off of. The jig top may need to be cut into from a side as the bearings stick out 4mm further than the ledge wall. I'll have some wiggle room with it though if I just cut a rectangular hole in the middle. This is a beefy group so I will be using four threaded rods and 1-1.5" plywood (real plywood not that compressed wood shavings stuff) for compressing the group.

                            The wood will be pretty thick and I will use fender washers to distribute the force more evenly. Double nuts will be used on the bottom so I do not unscrew anything while tightening from the top. I need start from a mininum of 10" of height since the 7.5" measured contains a somewhat compressed spring already and I also need to include the wood height for the top board. To be safe I will do 12" for a reasonable maximum height allowed by the threads. I am thing of 1' square boards but I believe I can shrink it to 8". The rods will be 3/8" and if needed I can go bigger to be overkill.

                            I need the center of the bearings to be at least 2" above the top board as my bearing separater needs to fit properly to take the bearings off to access the rod smuggling pin. Once that is knocked out I got a disassembled group. Besides getting the materials those thick c-clips are the thing stopping me from proceeding.


                            • #29
                              Looks like you're having a lot fun with this restoration project.
                              Certainly enjoying reading your progress updates...



                              • #30
                                I hate the fact there is only a 5 photo limit per post...
                                Today was a good day.

                                First thing this morning I went off to Home Depot to get my materials. The jig costed about $27 in materials. I used the following:

                                12 x 1/2" Fender Washer
                                25 x 1/2" Nut (it was cheaper for the bag than 18 individual nuts)
                                One 3/4" x 2' x 2' BC sanded Plywood where I cut out two 9" x 9" pieces.
                                4 x 1' 1/2" threaded rod

                                I marked out the cuts on one of the 9"x9" pieces with a right edge. Threaded holes were two inches away from the edges and I made a rectangular hole with a jigsaw to snugly fit the group housing. The holes were drilled out with the little drill press I have with both pieces clamped together and marked on one side so I would always keep the holes together. Two nuts and a fender washer are on the bottom of each threaded rod with one nut and fender washer on top. The top piece also had one nut and one fender washer per threaded rod.

                                The security/c-rings were so buggered they came off in pieces. I have no idea what happened to them but I used a dremel to get the remaining chunks cut off. These can be replaced so it's not the biggest upset. I compressed the group such that I could fit my bearing separator onto the bearings. One of the bearings could be taken off by hand and the other one did not show much resistance against the separator. The pin was finally unearthed and tapped out easily. It is likely not original as the original had a knurled end on a side. In fact my new pins look exactly like the old one. The group is now apart and literally the only thing still together is the water inlet rod and its fitting. Something wild happened with it and it's still stuck fast.