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Mahlkonig vario - pulley noise?

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  • Mahlkonig vario - pulley noise?

    Hi all, upon grinding this morning my vario made a screeching noise.
    I pulled the burrs out and couldn't see any stones or the like. It still made a terrible noise even without the burrs in - video
    I took the back cover off and there was heaps of grinds in there - and big particle size too.
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    My guess is that the grinds that are in there have caused the pulley to wear or the belt to slip. I haven't taken the pulley or belt off as I wouldn't really know what bit is the problem if either. Any advice? The new pulley is only $10, and the belt $20 so not a massive outlay if I replace both, but wouldn't mind some confirmation from someone more knowledgeable than me. The top of the motor has air vents, and I assume a fair few grinds have made their way inside too.
    By this stage I was ready to have an instant, so put the cover and burrs back together and loaded it with beans to see if my cleaning had magically fixed it. No such luck, and I think it confirms it is either the belt or pulley as it sounded worse and must have been totally slipping as no grinds came out.
    Video here
    Thanks in advance!
    ps, I now know why some people think these grinders aren't super high quality - the seal to prevent grinds entering the working parts was just flopping around and not doing much, plus the general insides just don't seem super robust.

  • #2
    Turns out the lock screw on the pulley came loose so the drive shaft started to slip. Have tightened but am not confident it's a lasting solution.
    New motor inc drive shaft around $130.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by johnandcass View Post
      New motor inc drive shaft around $130

      I guess with that type of design, a grub screw is the only option available for fixing the pulley, unfortunately....


      • #4
        A quick update.
        You can source a baratza preciso motor for $50 and is meant to be the same as the one in the mahlkonig Vario.
        Regardless, the importer has advised they think it should be replaced under warranty so I've sent the motor off for assessment.


        • #5
          Any further updates on this one?


          • #6
            Originally posted by LeroyC View Post
            Any further updates on this one?
            I sent the motor off for assessment and then had no response to 3 or 4 emails over a two week period after it arrived requesting an update.
            A new motor then turned up in the post on Thursday along with an invoice but no explanation or information. Invoice says list price is $120 or so and discounted price was half, then postage on top.
            I fitted the new motor Thursday night and it's working well.
            I sent an email to the contract I had at the importer along with the company's generic email on Friday saying I understood it was to be assessed for warranty and that I was surprised to get an invoice without any notice. Will give them a call next week to try and clarify.


            • #7
              I will start by saying I am not recommending anyone attempt the following and if you are concerned about your coffee filled vario you should take it to a tech and get them to look at this thread if they are not familiar with the grinder.

              I have a 2013 build Vario - W, only 6 months old which I have used for the odd manual brew and cupping of roasts. The steel burrs in these things really are nice, but that's about it.

              Ground somewhere in the vicinity of 5 to 10kg. I went to move the grinder the other day and it sounded like it was full of grounds?
              Did some searching and came across this thread, sigh.

              All because of a crappy rubber seal that is a very poor fit in diameter and thickness, so it kinda just sits in there flapping around allowing grounds to continually make there way into the innards.

              So the grinder still in warranty still functioning fine but by the time the warranty is finished you have a situation like the OP.

              I ended up doing a full strip down, clean and rebuild. The grub screw on the drive pulley was already loose.

              I got a bit over 10g of grounds out, only been grinding coarse for brewing so it was not too bad. Still there was lots that had got inside the motor and in the belt / pulley / drive pulley. The cynic in me wants to think that they almost do this on purpose so that they fill with grounds like the OP and fail prematurely.

              I found another use for blu tack, all the way around the rubber seal on the plastic lower burr housing. This keeps the seal much tighter against the top cover when reassembled so that the stray grounds actually stay on top of the rubber seal and can be brushed / gently sucked out.

              I bought a new Vario 2015 build for someone else and was going to move down to one myself from 83mm Ceado for space / usage concerns. But the new one is exactly the same! loose flapping seal. This new grinder being used for espresso for a month or so and not ground that much, so less chunks. But there was still significant fine ground coffee on the insides already! getting into motor and pulleys. So I performed the same tear down, clean and blu tack modification.

              I just could not recommend anyone ever buy one of these grinders unless they address this crappy seal, which needs to be near twice the thickness and less pliable. Otherwise they are pretty nifty machines, but not real bang for buck.

              Pretty annoying and fiddly to take apart and almost funny that its now partly held together with blu tack.

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              • #8
                Nice detailed post Steve.
                I would recommend that anyone with this grinder at least periodically check the grub screw and amount of grinds in the mechanism and consider something like Steve's bluetac solution.
                I might try a little melting craft glue and see if that will work to stick to the top cover.
                I've also been vacuuming rather than brushing when cleaning to reduce the risk of the seal being pushed down even with a soft paint brush.
                Totally bodgy designed grinder with poor seals, plastic gearing and non-loctited grub screw let alone adjustment mechanism falling loose if grinder is inverted.