In looking through posts here it appears that descaling is the fix that everyone suggests for the above problem. If I have already done that and it still leaks is the only other solution to buy a new valve? It doesn't look like the valve comes apart but I am thinking that there might be a way that I am not seeing.
I recently had this problem with my Classic. The steam valve does not come apart to service it AFAIK. I took the steam valve assy off, thoroughly soaked it in citric acid, replaced the O-ring, re-installed and it still leaked. I went back the the local Gaggia parts dealer and bought a new steam valve. It was about $30 IIRC and it works perfect now, no leaks. I guess they just fail after a while.
dsclark Senior Member Joined: 21 Jan 2008 Posts: 33 Location: Carson City Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sun Feb 10, 2008, 10:22am Subject: Re: Gaggia Steam Wand Drip
The steam valve does come apart. Use some needle nose pliers to pull out the clip and it will come out. Of course, I have tried a couple of different O-rings and they didn't work. I got another steam valve three months ago from whole latte love and this one was different; rather than being made out of plastic, it was made of brass. Hoepfully, it will last longer.
Hmmmm.....just the opposite of what I stated so unequivocably. Well, maybe we are using the language differently.??? The steam valve does come OFF, but I still don't think that it domes APART.
That having been said, I have never seen a plastic steam valve, so maybe that's where we are differing. The brass steam valves that I am familiar with really are cast all in one piece and don't have parts that can be taken apart and re-assembled.
The valve itself certainly can be prised off of the boiler, and would have to be to be replaced.
Now I can remove the stem and clean the valve with descaling solution. It appears that this fixes the dripping. Some notes:
The mod isn't hard, but it does involve grinding off metal parts. Don't do the mod if you're not comfortable with that idea. Also see the safety precautions in the video.
Very frequent and intense descaling with strong solution might prevent or even reverse this problem without the mod, it's worth a try.
New valves are available for around $70. I found them at WLL and Partsguru. The part number is EF0045/01/A.
You might have actual damage to the brass needle and seat if the valve has been badly overtightened. Then the fix gets more complicated. Brass is soft. Try brass polish before resorting to more aggressive measures. The needle and seat must mate perfectly, which they did when the valve was new. Once you start abrading it, the changes you make could cause a permanent leak. It might be worth the money to start fresh with a new valve.
The OP did not specify what model we are talking about so this question is impossible to answer. All commercial Gaggia machines use rebuildable steam valves. And of course if the water going into the machine is properly softened and conditioned in the first place, scale buildup will not be an issue for a very long time. However if it is a consumer machine like a Classic, and replacement valves are $30, why would one even try to rebuild it. A new valve will last much longer. Let us know what model of machine it is and we will go from there. Good luck.
Replacing it will work....briefly. Cerinis has it for $45.00.
The design of the valve is such that the new one will begin to leak very soon.
Unfortunately descaling while the valve is still on the machine doesn't leave the internals of the valve in contact with the descaler for long enough to do the necessary job. Perhaps removing it and soaking it for a longer time might clear the scale??? I've always been to impatient to put the machine back together to try that.
So....either put a pitcher or cup under the drip to make the leak less annoying, or do the mod that DennisSeattle has so well documented above. If you are going to own a Classic and are going to steam you are going to have a leaky valve.
Thanks SJM. That is what I thought... Cerinis was the cheapest I found too at +$50 when you include shipping. The $30 cost comment was probably just an inaccurate memory. Going to go for it. The original valve worked fine for at least a couple of years so a new valve should last that long too before it fails.
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