regarton Senior Member Joined: 8 Sep 2011 Posts: 6 Location: Waco Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Lelit PL041
Posted Sat Oct 22, 2011, 8:27pm Subject: Re: Le'Lit Owners Thread
I'm a new member, but I've lurked around coffeegeek for more than a couple years now. My first post, which received no comments, was about my Lelit PL041 springing an internal leak at the 3-way valve (cf. "Lelit PL041 Leaking at 3-way Valve" on Sept 9, 2011). The stem on the brass valve was cracked at the base, and I had wondered if anyone else had experience such a problem, and if so what they had done. Now that some weeks have passed, I figured I would post an update here, relaying the problems I'm continuing to have with this issue:
I decided to chance buying a new 3-way valve from 1st Line, but they were unable to secure a new part in a timely manner. Eventually I agreed to purchase a used 3-way valve, which 1st Line warrantied for 30 days. Once I received the part, it was quite a challenge to install. Though the specs printed on the black housing were identical, the valve stem was about a 1/4" longer than the original! The only way to attach it was to force the valve to rest at an angle between the boiler and the pump instead of the vertical position that the original had been in. Anyway, once I finally reassembled my machine, I cleaned it internally, and successfully pulled a few decent shots.
I wish I could report that that was the end of it. Unfortunately, two days later the machine completely locked up: water wouldn't come out of the group head or the stem wand. At first, I thought it might be the pump, but when I disconnected the first line leading from the pump to the boiler, the pressure within the machine released quite violently. (Thankfully, I received only minor burns.) The conclusion that the tech at 1st Line and I came to was that the used 3-way valve had failed, was no longer releasing pressure, and was creating backpressure preventing water from being released through the group head as well as the steam wand. Now, 1st Line is in the process of sending me a "new" 3-way valve.
Truth be told, I don't know that this will fix the problem, but I wanted to post an update in case anyone has experienced (or might experience) something similar with their PL041.
Updated: It took several attempts by trial and error, but I finally was able to restore my Lelit PL041 to working order. 1st Line did send me a new 3-way valve, and this time it was the right size. The only problem was that the terminals on this replacement valve were facing a different direction than the those of the original 3-way valve. What this meant was that I had to acquire longer heat resistant wires so that the female ends of the wiring would reach the male terminals of the valve. Once this was done, the machine was fixed ... or so I thought. It again began to leak, but this time it was from the PTFE (Teflon) tubing that goes from the boiler to the 3-way valve. Apparently I had damaged it in dozen or so times that I disassembled /reassembled the machine. An easy fix, though, and for that I am thankful; just had to purchase the tubing from 1st Line (since no one around my neck of the woods sells this size of PTFE tubing), and once I received it, I just had to slide the new tubing into the quick connects, and voilą my machine was ready to go.
The machine has now been working for a week, and I may return to post an update in a few months. Unfortunately, this has not been an easy fix, but admittedly I did complicate the process on a couple of occasions. Ultimately, I'm hoping to get a few more years out of my PL041 before it breaks down again. (fingers crossed)
oelias Senior Member Joined: 2 Dec 2012 Posts: 4 Location: USA Expertise: Just starting
Posted Sun Dec 2, 2012, 8:48pm Subject: Re: Le'Lit Owners Thread
I have owner a PL041 for about two months now. This is my first machine. Overall, I am very satisfied with the results. It took a while to learn how to temperature 'surf' the machine. At first, I was getting very sour shots, but that improved with skill. In retrospect, I should have bought one with a PID pre-installed... Also, I was having issues with underextraction, flow, etc, but these all seemed to be related to my grinder and not the machine. After resolving grinding issues, I am able to produce very good shots. Frothing was excellent from day 1 and produces very good microfoam.
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