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  • Gaggia Classic Group gasket

    I quick question for those who know out there, I have a Gaggia Classic and the group head gasket went like concrete and developed a "skin" about 1/2 mm thick which was brittle. This skin got dozens of fine cracks in it causing the group handle to leak coffee from all around it.

    I guess this is a common problem (maybe just a maintenance item, although my Gaggia owning friends have not reported it) and while the gasket is easy to replace when I disassembled the group head I found a disgusting black sludge inside despite the fact I de-scale it regularly. This took hours to clean up.
    So my question is what is the best de-scaler to use and should you disassemble the machine or just pump it through.
    What do you think the sludge was (it isnt rust) and should it be there?

  • #2
    Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

    Originally posted by bottles link=1210892605/0#0 date=1210892605
    I quick question for those who know out there, I have a Gaggia Classic and the group head gasket went like concrete and developed a "skin" about 1/2 mm thick which was brittle. This skin got dozens of fine cracks in it causing the group handle to leak coffee from all around it.

    I guess this is a common problem (maybe just a maintenance item, although my Gaggia owning friends have not reported it) and while the gasket is easy to replace when I disassembled the group head I found a disgusting black sludge inside despite the fact I de-scale it regularly. This took hours to clean up.
    So my question is what is the best de-scaler to use and should you disassemble the machine or just pump it through.
    What do you think the sludge was (it isnt rust) and should it be there?
    Hi Bottles,

    Are you backwashing your machine? If not, it might be timely to have a read in http://www.cafetto.com/articles.htm

    Cheers

    2mcm

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

      Hi bottles,

      Yeah that black stuff is old coffee oils gone wrong. Youve gotta add a backflush into your routine every now and then. Even with it, its a good idea to get the stubby screwdriver out and soak that shower screen in some cafetto or similar - same goes for your group handle and baskets... Is your group handle floor under the basket black too?

      The group seals go... probably a good idea to change it annually anyway. A brush to clean the gastek and GH area is a good idea too to scrape away old grinds etc.

      Once you get it all clean, its not so hard to keep it that way after the first one. Let us know how you go!

      YeeZa

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

        Oh, depending on where you live, group gaskets are easy to get and a pretty cheap - check out the site sponos there <----------

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

          Thanks for the info, I remove the shower screen about once a month and clean it along with the group handle and baskets (which I wash daily) in the normal daily washing up of dishes using dishwashing detergent.
          You are correct YeeZa the handle floor is brown not metallic but it didnt last long after new (2 years old)
          The area I was referring to above is the bit under the plate that is held down by 2 large allen bolts where the single water hole from the boiler is diffused into 4 outlets. this plate is what holds the gasket in place and I have never had it off before. I regard it as "inside the machine" the shower screen screws into this plate.
          My Gaggia manual says only to descale the machine and doesnt mention backwashing. How do you actually do a backwash?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

            Yeah Cafetto is the goods for keeping things shiny. I soak my PF and baskets overnight and they come up nice.

            Yeah that dispersion plate above the shower screen does get pretty filthy. Backwashing will help keep this cleaner, longer.

            There should be a few threads on backflushing the Gaggias that you could find in the search. You need to get yourself a blind filter basket (basket with no holes), or if you cant find one - a rubber blinding disk, (which I dont think does the job as well). Basically you put in the blind filter basket, crank on the machine for a couple of secs and it basically chokes the machine, opening up the 3-way valve and cleans out the system.

            The manual doesnt recommend backflushing, in fact I think it discourages it. Ignore this. Trust me, other will agree. Youve gotta do it, especially in these little machines with 3-ways.

            YeeZa

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

              Originally posted by bottles link=1210892605/0#4 date=1210896500
              clean it along with the group handle and baskets (which I wash daily) in the normal daily washing up of dishes using dishwashing detergent.
              Gday bottles,

              Welcome to CoffeeSnobs mate....... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

              You need to be careful using dish-washing detergents on any parts of your espresso machine that comes into contact with the extracted coffee. Detergents are usually petro-chem based products that break down the bonds within oily substances and guess where most of the flavour constituents reside in extracted coffee? In the coffee oils extracted from the roasted bean.....

              Much better to use the purpose designed espresso clean product made by Cafetto, info here, and who also happens to be one of our respected Site Sponsors supporting this community. In the interim, I guess you have to really thoroughly rinse all traces of the detergent from the PF, Basket and other components to make sure the possibility of contamination with the extracted coffee is minimised as much as possible.

              All the best,
              Mal.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

                i got myself a caffetto barista kit. Comes with cafetto, a brush, a blind basket and a cloth. Well worth it for cleaning out a classic. Available at coffee parts on the left in the sponsor list.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

                  Thanks eveyone, my machine is going great now.
                  I think there must be lots of people out there who put up with less than perfect coffee and really dont know any different.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

                    Im replacing the gasket on my Classic and am wondering whether I need the 8.5mm or 9mm gasket (as offered at coffeparts.com.au)?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

                      Originally posted by julio link=1210892605/0#9 date=1215675938
                      Im replacing the gasket on my Classic and am wondering whether I need the 8.5mm or 9mm gasket (as offered at coffeparts.com.au)?
                      Gday julio,

                      Id just give Pedro a call and ask him mate.... hes a very knowledgeable bloke 8-),

                      Mal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

                        I think it depends on the model.... I know the older (pre 1985)Classics that I have used a slightly thicker (9mm) than the current.... but I could be wrong on that... call Pedro.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

                          Originally posted by bottles link=1210892605/0#8 date=1213412584
                          Thanks eveyone, my machine is going great now.
                          I think there must be lots of people out there who put up with less than perfect coffee and really dont know any different.
                          My Classic is about 2 1/2 years old.  Ive noticed some spray and drip coming from my bottomless portafiler the past few days.  Ive had a new gasket standing by.  I ordered it a while back when I was ordering some Clean Cafe, figured Id save on future shipping charges.  So I went about changing it this morning.  Removing the plate (the one held on by the 2 hex screws) was the toughest part.  It was fused on pretty tightly.  When it finally popped off, the reason was obvious.  Gunky, sticky, brown build-up everywhere.  I ended up soaking everything in CLR (Calcium, Lime & Rust remover) for a few hours, then spent a fair amount of time scraping and rubbing to get all the little bits of plaque off.  I felt like a dental hygienist. I do routine descaling, but after seeing that mess Im going to add back-flushing to my procedure.

                          Ill test out the new gasket tomorrow morning.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

                            Gday Crema crem crem,
                            Yeah backflushing is a must. I know the Gaggia manual says not to, but IMO you have to. Its got a 3-way that needs to be cleaned out - it can take it for sure. Ive been doing it for ages on my old one, and its fine. When I used my Gaggia I used to do a freshwater backflush every couple of days, and then a chemical backflush once a week. I used to descale every 3 months with my Gaggia cos of the aluminium boiler. (I only do it once every 6 months on my Expobar). The gasket is part of the annual run-over. I change it yearly.

                            That black gunk is not the goods, especially when it ends up in the cup.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Gaggia Classic Group gasket

                              Thanks YeeZa,

                              I did a fresh water backflush just to test it out.  I used the "perfect crema" device that came with the machine to plug the portafilter.  It took around 5 seconds until water backed through the pressure release tube.  I performed the backflush twice.

                              The shot I pulled this morning (first since changing the gasket) was fantastic.  No spray or drip, and a great looking pull as observed through the bottomless portafilter.  Beautiful crema, and definitely cleaner tasting. I noticed that, with the new gasket, the portafilter handle doesnt rotate as far to the right as with the old one.  It stops right in the middle.  I guess thats another good indicator of the gasket getting old and worn.

                              With my recent Silvia steam wand mod, bottomless portafilter, new gasket, and de-gunking of the shower assembly, Ive rekindled the romance with my Classic...

                              While I was at it yesterday, I also performed another mod to the steam knob.  I posted a new thread.  Heres the link.

                              Link: Gaggia Classic Steam Knob Mod

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