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Faema Family - help with diagnosis

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  • Faema Family - help with diagnosis

    My trusty Faema Family from 1984 has stopped working following a water/vinegar cleaning. It heats up and the coffee and water buttons both cause the pump to start but it never draws water. At first, there was a weak flow via the grouphead, steam and nothing via the water button, then only steam, then nothing. I fear that whatever residual water that was in the boiler is now depleted and that I will ruin the element if I keep running the pump. I tried manually priming the water uptake but after water fills the length of the tube, it stays full as the pump never draws.

    I opened it up to look for obvious blockages in the screen or the rubber tubes off the 3-way valve but I didn't open the boiler.

    I suspect the next step is to look for scale blockages in boiler or the line out of the vibration pump, but I wonder, shouldn't the pump be drawing at least a little water? I don't want to go to the next level of tear down (and unknown territory for my skills) without an idea that I am on the right track.

    I have seen some keen interest for this machine on this site and hope an expert can guide me.

    Many thanks

  • #2
    not sure but just check if all your water lines are connected properly? that bit of water/steam that you saw could have been residual water from before your cleaning and no new water enters the water system. it's possible that the pump is not able to draw water cause its not connected back to the water reservoir somehow. either that or check if the solenoid valve is connected properly to the water line and if it opens when energised.

    good luck!


    • #3
      Originally posted by Allywee View Post
      check if all your water lines are connected properly?
      There is nothing wet inside nor any loose connections to the touch, to make me suspect leaks.

      Originally posted by Allywee View Post
      check if the solenoid valve is connected properly
      If I understand correctly, the solenoid comes after the boiler, so I assumed it was not part of the problem. I can hear it clicking when I hit the coffee button

      What else could cause no water uptake at all?


      • #4
        Update - there was a gallstone of sorts in the plastic outlet off the pump. Now water is flowing but I'm struggling to get the weak pressure back to normal. Does the Faema Family need priming?


        • #5
          I thought I would follow up on this repair for my Faema Family. I am not allowed to post images as I guess I am too new, but I do have some pics of the components, so if anyone asks, I can provide a link.

          Anyway, I made use of photos of the guts 1/2 way down this thread:

          Diagnosis: even though the lines were clear, the pump was making noise and the boiler was heating, the lack of water uptake meant that the pump had failed. I replaced it with a ULKA EAX5 pump (CA$60), flushed out and cleaned everything (except the boiler interior) and it is working better than ever.

          Pump replacement involved:

          Equipment: metric allan key set, new pump

          1. unplug, remove water tank, metal group head frame, steam knob and wand and the back of unit body by removing 2 bolts under the water tank lid and the 2 feet / bolts on the bottom of the unit (the 2 rear most, not all 4)

          2. facing the rear, remove the 4 retaining bolts in the corners and the 2 large bolts on the lower right

          3. lift the guts up and away from the body to expose the pump

          4. pull off the 2 electrical connectors from the pump (note which one goes where)

          5. pull off the rubber inlet hose from the pump and free the pump from the housing

          6. unscrew the metallic outlet hose by turning the whole pump (rather than turning the outlet hose)

          7. attach new pump and reassemble the unit by reversing the above steps, except for re-attaching the back case

          8. add water and test the machine without waiting for it to heat up - if you hear the click of the solenoid but no noise from the pump / water flow, you probably attached the electrical leads backwards (as I did). Open up and correct

          9. if water is flowing, pull a shot of coffee to create pressure and check for any leaks. For instance, I did not tighten the outlet connection enough and had to correct

          10. reattach the back panel

          Fairly easy repair with the help of other's experience on this site. Took me about 3 hours with errors. I could do it again in one. My Faema Family will turn 30 next year. A great machine.