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dtrumpet
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Joined: 26 May 2014
Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon May 26, 2014, 2:58pm
Subject: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

Hello,

I'm in the process of rebuilding my Saeco Aroma after a thorough cleaning. I replaced the main boiler o-ring that joins the two halves with what I believe is the correct OR 176 silicone o-ring, but the seal keeps leaking. I've tried assembling the boiler several times now using various levels of torque (from moderate to breaking a screw in half) and food-safe silicone grease for the o-ring. At one point, I finally managed to obtain a seal, but after a few heating/cooling cycles and pulling a dozen or so espresso shots, the leak returned suddenly.

Is there some trick to getting this o-ring to seat properly? The lower groove is very shallow and the upper mating surface is completely flat. Should I add some RTV silicone (if so, which food-safe product)?

Thanks for your help!
-David

dtrumpet: IMG_1278.jpg
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dtrumpet
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2014
Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon May 26, 2014, 2:59pm
Subject: Re: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

Here's a photo of the upper half of the boiler.

dtrumpet: IMG_1281.jpg
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jannus
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Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 71
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Posted Tue May 27, 2014, 12:49am
Subject: Re: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

Hi David,

I've reassembled only one or two of those boilers, so I'm by no means an expert, but here goes.  This is all assuming you haven't done the below already, hope I cover some new ground:

First confirm that the leak IS from the big seal, and not somewhere else!  I remember one of my saeco's had a leak at the entry point into the boiler, turned out there was a nut there that could be removed, and a very crispy o-ring underneath.  Should be obvious by checking where the water comes from when the unit is at full temperature.  Steam temperature isd more likely to leak.

If the big o-ring is in good nick and the right size, all I can suggest is tightening it in stages, assuming you haven't already done so.  Tighten all four screws until the mating surfaces just touch the o-ring, then tighten the top right one quarter turn, the bottom left one quarter turn, top left one quarter turn, bottom right one quarter turn.  Criss-cross pattern, much like you would a cylinder head.  Keep doing this to eventually get the whole thing tight.  I certainly didn't leave mine very loose, but no use overdoing it either.  Just a good, tight seal, don't force it.

If you've done that, and it still leaks, check if the boiler mating surface is not bent.  

If the above is all obvious and you've already done it, I'm afraid I can't offer much more pointers!  :)

Best regards, and good luck,
Jan

Edit:  Looking at your pics again, the big o-ring you got in there really does look like the right one, and it's in obvious good nick.  You shouldn't need any additional silicone sealer, although I usually at least slightly lube the o-rings with food safe silicone grease before I fit them.  On that boiler (looks very much like one on a Saeco Magic Cappucino I had, be sure to remove the element and replace the o-rings underneath there.  They tend to be the ones that leak.  This should be obvious from white marks on the outside of the boiler, and will be even more obvious if you watch the boiler while the machine is operating.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,881
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue May 27, 2014, 7:32pm
Subject: Re: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

Check to make sure that the two halves are not warped, it happens and then a good seal is hard if not impossible.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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stefano65
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stefano65
Joined: 30 Oct 2004
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Posted Wed May 28, 2014, 4:02pm
Subject: Re: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

As mention above make sure your boiler's halves are not warped
put them against each others without the o-ring and look for gaps

the silicone o-ring is nice and soft and should give you a nice "give"

shooting in the dark here but another possibility
make sure that the bolts are the full threaded one and not partially thread so they are not running out of threads before they are tight

 
Stefano Cremonesi
info@espressocare.com
www.espressocare.com
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dtrumpet
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Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed May 28, 2014, 5:14pm
Subject: Re: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

Thank you everyone for your responses!

I've looked over the boiler and it doesn't appear (at least to me) to be warped. I've tried very carefully tightening the bolts a quarter turn at a time, but to no avail.

I'm starting to suspect that the replacement o-ring I ordered from a "Philips Parts" website is slightly too big, with a circumference that's about 1-2mm greater than it should be. When I push the o-ring into the groove in a couple of places, it pops up slightly in other places. During several of my attempts to seal the boiler, part of the o-ring has actually slid inside the boiler, despite my efforts to properly seat the top half of the boiler without shifting the o-ring. To me, this suggests that there's a little extra o-ring material, and it doesn't compress easily, especially with such a shallow groove on the bottom half (and no groove whatsoever on the top half).

I just ordered a new o-ring from Stefano's, which will hopefully solve my problem!

(I would be able to compare the old o-ring against the replacement o-ring I have, but I stupidly left the old o-ring at home in California, and I'm in New Mexico for the next 3 months. The boiler seemed to be working at that point, so I didn't bother packing it.)

I'll post back once I get the replacement from Stefano's and attempt the reassembly once again.

Thanks!
-David
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Frost
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Frost
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Posted Wed May 28, 2014, 6:03pm
Subject: Re: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

From your picture, it appears the O-ring is too thick to fit the groove; wrong part.
The O-ring, when fully compressed (should fully compress only 10-30%), must still fit fully into the groove.
Hopefully Stefano will get you the right part.
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dtrumpet
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Joined: 26 May 2014
Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat May 31, 2014, 9:16pm
Subject: Re: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

I received the new o-ring from Stefano's today. It has the same apparent cross-sectional width as the previous o-ring I ordered (elsewhere), but a slightly smaller inner diameter (maybe 1-2mm). It seems to fit more easily into the groove; when I push it down in a couple of places, it doesn't pop out in another place.

However, when I tried (4-5 separate times) to slowly tighten the bolts (< quarter turn, criss-cross pattern), the o-ring eventually slipped into the boiler in one or more places. During my latest and most patient attempt, I could see the o-ring start to buckle inward in several places as I tightened the bolts, leaving visible gaps in the seal. This happened after only a few turns of each bolt, with very little torque.

One thing I'm not sure about is whether the bottom half of the boiler is supposed to be in a particular orientation when I join it with the top half. The bottom half has no markings and seems like it should seat properly regardless of which bottom holes line up with which top holes (it's obvious how the top half should be oriented in relation to the filter holder). I think I've tried all 4 possibilities at this point anyway.

Thoughts?
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dtrumpet
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Joined: 26 May 2014
Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat May 31, 2014, 9:49pm
Subject: Re: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

Here's a picture of the boiler without an o-ring. You can clearly see the heating element inside the boiler cavity from each of the four sides (only one shown). This suggests that the o-ring is an integral component and not just a gasket for preventing small leaks due to imperfect machining.

Is it supposed to be like that, or does that mean it's warped? I wonder why that joint never leaked with the original o-ring...

I do recall that when I originally disassembled the boiler, I had to gently pry the halves apart with a flat-head screwdriver, so maybe the factory used a small amount of adhesive to secure the o-ring in place? Or maybe this is normal after 4 years of daily use.

I'm finding this intensely frustrating. The top half of the boiler curves inward just at the point where the o-ring should sit, meaning that the o-ring has to be seated *perfectly* or else it will naturally slide into the boiler cavity. It's hard to imagine a worse design than that...

dtrumpet: IMG_1316.jpg
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stefano65
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stefano65
Joined: 30 Oct 2004
Posts: 1,415
Location: Eugene OR
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme,Elektra,
Grinder: Vario,Macap,
Vac Pot: not
Drip: not
Roaster: not
Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 4:08pm
Subject: Re: Saeco Aroma boiler reassembly
 

First thank you for your order,

something must be warp,
I installed them weekly on repairs and we sell many many of them,
the o-ring you purchase from us is original Saeco part
and from the factory there is no other additive to the o-ring (they get stuck just from the pressure and sometimes from the scale etc etc)
and when you close the 2 haves the o-ring stays in place it does not slip in

try positioning the flat halves of the boilers on a flat surface glass etc etc and see if you notice something odd

 
Stefano Cremonesi
info@espressocare.com
www.espressocare.com
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