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Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

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  • Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

    I have just finished restoring a classic Europiccola Pavoni- she is working like a treat and looks like new.... However I have found a tiny pin-hole leak in the boiler just below where the group head comes out. The hole must be tiny as only a little steam escapes when the machine is at full pressure. I am wondering if there is any way of fixing it? Is there any sealant/paint/enamel I could spot over the hole? Would such a repair hold under pressure?

    How about a tiny spot weld? I am not sure about that because the brass is chromed... and its a trick spot to access.

    the tiny hole really doesnt matter but this machine is such a classic I want to make it perfect.

    I can post some pictures here- but you wont be able to see much- the hole is almost invisible...

  • #2
    Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

    If youre not able to yourself mate, ask someone with the requisite expertise to "Silver Braze" the pinhole for you. I wouldnt risk using anything else on an espresso machine boiler. It may be necessary to remove some of the chrome from around the repair site but if its nickel rather than chrome, it should be ok with just a clean and light sand.

    Cheers mate
    Mal.

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    • #3
      Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

      thanks Mal,

      I am not capable of doing that myself- who would be likely to have that sort of equipment? Auto mechanics?

      I just tested the machine again and the hole is so small- I was wondering if there was any type of tape or patch I could use? The boiler of a Pavoni only operates at a few BAR pressure.

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      • #4
        Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

        Would love you to post a pic...not to see the hole, but just to see your classic europiccola.

        I love waking up to a good hard pull, on my europiccola that is. I dont think there is any other way to enjoy making espresso as much as a lever machine.

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        • #5
          Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

          Hi Jack,

          any of the Liquid Metals (epoxy based) or any glues generally wont like the heat and the same thing goes for tape adhesives.

          Best suggestion is as Mal mentioned above a small patch of removed chrome plate around the hole and then high content silver solder (to keep the temperature low).

          This sort of job could be done by most good welders with a fine tip on an Oxy torch or if you know a good silversmith in particular as they will have small torches and are used to doing small neat work. A good job will be barely noticeable being silver on silver.

          Pics needed when finished too

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          • #6
            Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

            OK- here are some pics- this is a very early model before they added the removable drip try- but after they added the sight glass. The group head and portafilter have a different design than later machines. The portafilter is a good 6mm deeper than later ones so I think it could accommodate an extra large basket- if i can just find one. The build quality seems to be superb on this machine:









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            • #7
              Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

              thanks for the repair tip guys- I actually have a jeweler friend and she owes me a favour- here is an image of where the leak is:



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              • #8
                Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

                Originally posted by 362A3737202B312C2B24262A23232020450 link=1241242689/6#6 date=1241268539
                thanks for the repair tip guys- I actually have a jeweler friend and she owes me a favour- here is an image of where the leak is:
                I do not know about others but the BLING was to intense to see any thing ;D

                Be careful when referring to a pin hole... In many fields a pin hole can mean and demonstrate many things..

                1: On my Car a pin hole in the Water pump housing... Is not a pin hole... It just the weakest point of all the corrosion that has let go... Touched it with a screw driver and had a hole the size of my thumb...

                2: In you teeth 4 example a pin hole can hide a totally rotten tooth..

                3: In metal it can also be the indicator that the rest of the material has had the "Richard" and as others will attest to... You hit it with a welder or an oxy flame and it all dissolves away..

                The old trick that I often used to repair fuel tanks on the road... Was to remove a screw from teh door sill and screw it in

                Not saying you should revert to this, but there are many ways to fix a leak... However you need to be 100% sure of the type of leak first.. and the status of the material around teh leak..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

                  Yep,

                  All too true AM. I would imagine that the Boiler on the LP would be either brass or copper hopefully; wouldnt expect it to be Al, etc. Fingers crossed anyway Jack....

                  Mal.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

                    I have the same early model Pav - where the group screws directly into the boiler, no bolts or flange like the later models. My boiler is 3mm thick brass.
                    Silver solder should lay into that seam quite neatly and should do the trick I would imagine. But you can always screw the bottom off the boiler and look at the hole from the back to be sure.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

                      hey Aaron,

                      did you ever un-screw the head? Is it even possible? What can be done about the water tube?

                      Looking closer at the leak it may actually be coming out of the thread of the group head. Is there a seal there? I doesnt look as if it is intended to ever come off. If the leak is coming from the thread then I would need to get the solder laid right into the right angle where the two parts meet...

                      I am not sure whether it really matters- as the leak seem to disappear at times- and is so tiny- doesnt seem to affect anything. If I am lucky a tiny particle will get forced in there and block it up...

                      How do you find your Pavoni Aaron- any thoughts on using the older model? So far I am very impressed with mine- quality seems better than later machines- and the large basket is slightly larger than normal which is good.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

                        I missed this topic the other day Sorrentina if you take your Pavoni to an engineering shop and ask them nicely to silver braze the leak up Im sure they will do it.
                        You will need to remove any plastic or rubber that will be affected by the heat. If the job is done right, i.e they put enough heat around the area, the solder will go through to the inside of the boiler and make a better, longer lasting repair.
                        I would do it for you but I am in Melbourne.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

                          I think perhaps the leak is actually at the seam of the group head and the boiler body. I thought it was just below but I think a teency jet of steam was spraying at the lower point from above fooling me to the location. I am not sure if there is a seal in there- so I concerned about brazing it- in addition it seems to have disappeared- so fingers crossed it has fixed itself!

                          thanks for all the tips everyone.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

                            I have tried to unscrew the group, but there seems to be no way to make it budge. I have tried heating it op with a heat gun, but there is no movement whatsoever. I figured the water tube would just unscrew as the group unscrews, but I have pretty much given up on that.
                            The best person to ask in Francesco Ceccarelli, he has the same exact model as you and can probably tell you for certain if there is a seal in that joint. His website is:
                            http://www.francescoceccarelli.eu/index_eng.htm
                            Francesco was the one who put me onto a guy in sydney who had one to sell. Mine is going to form the basis of my gas powered machine as it is fairly beat up and missing a number of parts. So until I get a bottom for the boiler and a new sight glass I wont be able to tell you my thoughts on actually using it.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Pinhole leak in brass boiler- La Pavoni

                              Dont know whether the pinhole problem has been fixed....

                              But I swear by JB Weld epoxy. Fixed a leak in my radiator years ago and still going strong. Very heat and pressure resistant.

                              Comes in two small tubes, mix a tiny amount out of one with an equivalent amount of the other tube, apply it, and let it set rock hard.

                              The finish is a light grey colour.

                              http://jbweld.net/faq.php#faq001

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