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Caravel blowout?
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Caravel blowout?  
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ideaofnorth
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Joined: 27 Jun 2013
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Location: Maine
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Posted Mon Sep 30, 2013, 9:01am
Subject: Caravel blowout?
 

So I've had a great few weeks with my Caravel, getting used to different tamping techniques, lever pressure, etc. Really great machine and I'm loving the results.

This morning I'm afraid I did something terrible. I purchased it from eBay Italy and the seller supposedly replaced all gaskets, seals, etc., however when I was pulling a shot this morning I had a sudden loss of pressure and water and grinds came out from around the portafilter. I tried a few more times and had the exact same issue towards the end of the pull.

Did I pack too tightly and break something? Is this an easy fix with replacement seals and gasket from OE? Please tell me my new friend will be ok.

Thanks!
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GVDub
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Posted Mon Sep 30, 2013, 9:20am
Subject: Re: Caravel blowout?
 

Check the seating of the portafilter gasket. If you're regularly coming close to choking the machine, it can happen (has to me several times). Just pull it out, cliean it, clean where there were probably some grounds that got behind it, treat it with just a (very) little food-safe silicone lubricant (Dow 111 or equivalent), reseat it and you should be good.
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ideaofnorth
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Posted Mon Sep 30, 2013, 9:51am
Subject: Re: Caravel blowout?
 

Thanks so much! I'll try that tonight and report back.

GVDub Said:

Check the seating of the portafilter gasket. If you're regularly coming close to choking the machine, it can happen (has to me several times). Just pull it out, cliean it, clean where there were probably some grounds that got behind it, treat it with just a (very) little food-safe silicone lubricant (Dow 111 or equivalent), reseat it and you should be good.

Posted September 30, 2013 link

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triodelover
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triodelover
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Posted Mon Sep 30, 2013, 6:21pm
Subject: Re: Caravel blowout?
 

Mine did that when I first got in (Caravel v1.1 on a VAM chassis).  Ordered the gasket/seal kit from Doug and Barb and followed their instructions here.  The first thing Doug suggests is to replace the o-ring in the base of the piston body and test.  Voila! That did it.

ADDENDUM:  One other possibility is if the heating element isn't properly positioned the kettle will not seat itself correctly and the snap-in collar will be difficult to re-insert, usually on one side only.  That will throw off the group alignment enough to cause leaking at the grouphead.
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ideaofnorth
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Joined: 27 Jun 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Maine
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Oct 1, 2013, 6:47am
Subject: Re: Caravel blowout?
 

Last night I removed the gasket and cleaned everything pretty thoroughly. Couldn't figure out how to remove the piston though, V1.2 but the lock ring doesn't seem to release it?

Also, under the gasket I noticed what looked like a ring of printed paper or something? Any idea? I was hesitant to remove it.

I pulled two shots last night and a couple this morning, little reluctant to apply as much pressure as before but things seems to be back in order?

I'll probably order the seals and a new gasket from OE soon anyway, just to know it's up to snuff?

Thanks for the help!
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GVDub
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Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Tue Oct 1, 2013, 8:17am
Subject: Re: Caravel blowout?
 

You might need to soak the whole piston assembly in Cafiza or another TSP-based cleaner for half an hour or so. Start with really hot water and just let it soak, as there may be old deposits that are gumming up the piston. Because of the breathing hole in the piston, things can get pretty funky in there.
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IMAWriter
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Posted Thu Oct 3, 2013, 9:18am
Subject: Re: Caravel blowout?
 

I'm guessing the paper was a 'shim" of some sort, due to a ill fitting gasket.
I would purchase another gasket, if available from Doug. Just let him know which version, in case they're slightly different. (I don't own a Caravel, so PTI!)

 
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ideaofnorth
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Joined: 27 Jun 2013
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Location: Maine
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Oct 7, 2013, 7:20am
Subject: Re: Caravel blowout?
 

I removed the ring of paper, guessing you're right it was a shim. Strange because the gasket fits fine without it.

Finally got a 100-220v transformer as well, started dialing in the temperature cutoff last night. The bonus to using the element vs pouring in boiling water seems to be that the group heats up as well? I could be imagining this but everything seemed up to temperature.

Also finally got a grinder, the Macap M4 that was listed here, and started dialing that in as well. I can tell things will take some tweaking but none of the shots I pulled last night or today were terrible.

Thanks again for all the advice!



IMAWriter Said:

I'm guessing the paper was a 'shim" of some sort, due to a ill fitting gasket.
I would purchase another gasket, if available from Doug. Just let him know which version, in case they're slightly different. (I don't own a Caravel, so PTI!)

Posted October 3, 2013 link

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