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Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
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Chanty
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Fri Jul 16, 2010, 9:38am
Subject: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

Had a dripping steam tube on my Classic; descaled machine & stopped dripping almost 100% for many brewings. I have no idea if this could be related, but finished the last of my beans & picked up freshly roasted beans where I normally get them. I ground them at the same setting I always do, tamped the same way I
always do, and espresso seemed to stream out too fast; so set grind finer.  Espresso was just dripping out, and water began to steadily drip out of steam tube. Put grind back to where it was on grinder & ground more espresso. Tamped a little harder. Espresso streamed out slower & more normal, but now steam wand
is dripping steadily again. Any thoughts? Thanks.
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fwtechwiz
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 530
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evolution
Grinder: Hario Skerton
Posted Fri Jul 16, 2010, 6:08pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

I did a little searching and found this on toomuchcoffee.com.  It was copied from another forum that I do not know the source, but it may help your situation.
" The valve is leaking is very common on all Gaggia household machines
but not a big problem. Resist the temptation to crank harder on the
knob to stop the leak as the plastic knob will break.
It uses a brass needle that seats in a brass hole. Even a small bit
of scale will causes a minor leak, usually corrected by de-scaling
boiler and running solution through the steam wand.
If that doesn't do it, remove the whole valve, disassemble and soak in
descaler (there is a small ring clip on some of the valves holding the
stem in. remove it or just ignore it, when you screw out the stem, the
ring just comes out), if the needle seems to be damaged it can be
resurfaced by spinning it in a drill press and holding a fine file or
emery board to sharpen or reshape it slightly. Replace all o-rings
using a bit of superlube in the valve rings, reassemble and that should
be it, easy repair, happens all the time. Or you can just buy a new
valve and o-ring and replace that. "

EDIT - also a link to a coffeegeek post on this same subject. Gives a source for replacement steam valve.  click here
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Chanty
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Fri Jul 16, 2010, 7:41pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

Thank you so much for your very helpful reply!  I am going to save this.  Would you believe that it is now not dripping hardly at all AGAIN?  So, I don't know if the dripping starting up right after I was using new beans had anything to do with this or a coincidence, cuz after I descaled the wand completely stopped dripping & just started up after about 2 brewings with the new beans & now is fine again.  Weird, huh?  I will keep your info cuz if it ends up being the valve repair--unfortunately, I am not mechanically minded and will have to have someone repair this for me.  If it is that; hopefully this won't be happening every 6 months or I'll have to give up making my own cappucinos.....
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boyscout
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Dec 2009
Posts: 405
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Jul 17, 2010, 7:30am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

Chanty Said:

Thank you so much for your very helpful reply!  I am going to save this.  Would you believe that it is now not dripping hardly at all AGAIN?  So, I don't know if the dripping starting up right after I was using new beans had anything to do with this or a coincidence, cuz after I descaled the wand completely stopped dripping & just started up after about 2 brewings with the new beans & now is fine again.  Weird, huh?  I will keep your info cuz if it ends up being the valve repair--unfortunately, I am not mechanically minded and will have to have someone repair this for me.  If it is that; hopefully this won't be happening every 6 months or I'll have to give up making my own cappucinos.....

Posted July 16, 2010 link

Linda, the intermittent appearance of the problem may be another indication that Kurt is correct, that scale moving around in your system is at times interfering with the valve seal.  If you do something that happens to dislodge the interfering scale, your leak stops, but if another bit of mineral scale floats into the wrong place in the valve, the leak starts again.  Just a theory, but possible.

You mention de-scaling the machine and descaling the wand "completely", but when you were de-scaling the machine did you pump descaler solution out through the steam valve and wand?  The wand comes after the valve, of course, so cleaning the wand won't help much, but the key part of the advice Kurt posted is that loose scale from the boiler or steam tube may have travelled to the valve (whether you pumped it there or not).  Getting solution all the way through that path and letting it do its work might help.
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Chanty
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Sat Jul 17, 2010, 8:19am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

"You mention de-scaling the machine and descaling the wand "completely", but when you were de-scaling  the machine did you pump descaler solution out through the steam valve and wand?  The wand comes after the valve, of course, so cleaning the wand won't help much, but the key part of the advice Kurt posted is that loose scale from the boiler or steam tube may have travelled to the valve (whether you pumped it there or not).  Getting solution all the way through that path and letting it do its work might help."

Thanks again for the tips.  Here's the thing though.  I descale exactly as the instructions dictate and the way I've descaled various espresso machines I've owned for years.   Basically, mix the descaling powder with water and mix the solution well.  I have 32oz. of solution, and after heating machine--let out about 8oz. of solution through the steam wand.  I then wait about 20 minutes; then repeat.  I also let about 8oz or so of solution out of the boiler.  I wait 20 minutes between every 8 oz. of solution being released through steam wand.  Then fill the whole water reservoir with water (72oz) and release water through steam wand and boiler until water is clear.
So power is on, I open steam knob, and press espresso button down/on and let at least 8 oz. of solution out in cup through the steam wand; wait 20minutes; repeat & again some out of boiler.  Because I'm following the descaling directions 100% correctly; I have to strongly assume that the solution is not only going through the steam wand but also through the valve.  Hopefully, I shouldn't have to disassemble the steam tube when descaling to get any deposits out of steam valve?  Thanks again!
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boyscout
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Dec 2009
Posts: 405
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Jul 17, 2010, 11:00am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

Chanty Said:

I descale exactly as the instructions dictate and the way I've descaled various espresso machines I've owned for years.<snip>

Posted July 17, 2010 link

If the descaler you used was effective then it sounds like everything should have been flushed out.

My Gaggia, after about seven years, needed a new valve.  Its leaking wasn't an intermittent problem though.

Hopefully, other ideas will appear here.  Good luck.
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Chanty
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Sat Jul 17, 2010, 11:14am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

I descale exactly as the instructions dictate and the way I've descaled various espresso machines I've owned for years.<snip>
Thanks so much for your replies.  I really, really appreciate any help I can get!  I'm confused--what does the <snip>  mean after my statement?
My machine is only about 1 1/2 years old; and it is good to know that when your valve needed to be replaced it was not doing the intermittent dripping like mine is, but a regular dripping.  Something for me to watch for.  Thanks again!
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gbastiani1952
Senior Member
gbastiani1952
Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 279
Location: North Carolina
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: QM Andreja Premium
Grinder: Cimbali Junior
Drip: Crusinart
Posted Sat Jul 17, 2010, 7:24pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

I have the same problem with my Gaggia Baby. But it will start to leak when after I descale the unit but will slow down and stop just before it's time to descale again. My machine is about the same age as yours, 1 1/2 yrs and I talked with the techs at WLL which is were I brought mine and was told that a new steam valve is around 55.00 dollars and shouldn't be that hard to change out if you what too. I use Urnex Cleancaf to descale and descale the unit as per the instructions that came with the machine, I also back-flush twice a month. I use my machine everyday to make two double shots, but rarely make any milk drinks so that's why I called WLL and asked about the steam valve leaking by.

 
Gery Bastiani
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Chanty
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Sat Jul 17, 2010, 8:11pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

Hey Gbastiani, I think I remember you from the old WLL forum. I wish they never would have taken that site down.  Thanks for your info!  I'm a total ditz when it comes to mechanical type stuff; so if it comes to having to have that valve replaced; I'll have to fork out for labor & parts which will kind of tick me off since I take very good care of my machine & it isn't that old to have something going already. Arghhhh
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boyscout
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Dec 2009
Posts: 405
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sun Jul 18, 2010, 7:28am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic intermittent dripping steam tube, HELP SOMEONE PLEASE!!
 

Chanty Said:

I descale exactly as the instructions dictate and the way I've descaled various espresso machines I've owned for years.<snip>
Thanks so much for your replies.  I really, really appreciate any help I can get!  I'm confused--what does the <snip>  mean after my statement?
My machine is only about 1 1/2 years old; and it is good to know that when your valve needed to be replaced it was not doing the intermittent dripping like mine is, but a regular dripping.  Something for me to watch for.  Thanks again!

Posted July 17, 2010 link

Linda, the "<snip>" is an old habit, typed in by me after editing a quotation from your post.  Used to be considered basic courtesy on bulletin boards and forums to indicate that in your selected quotation, you've cut words from the other person's post that might be important to some readers.  Interested readers can look back for more.

These days, you usually only see "<snip>" from geeks who have populated various internet forums for much too long, over two decades in my case.

BTW, when you ARE quoting from a previous message in your reply here, you should use the "quoted" button on the bottom of the other person's message to start entering your reply.  The coffeegeek web site will paste the whole of the other person's post at the top of the editing box for your reply, inside special characters that give it a different background color when it is published (look at your words above.)  This makes it less-confusing / more clear that you are quoting a previous message.

Before beginning your reply, snip out - see now? - words in the quotation that aren't important to the context of your reply.  Be careful not to delete the special characters (square brackets and contents) that start and end the quoted passage in your reply.

This is much harder to describe than it is to do.  Next time you're going to respond specifically to something in a message, just click the "quoted" button at the bottom of that message.  The rest should be obvious.

Hope you get your leak issue resolved.  BTW, my Gaggia was a Classic from the mid-90's, a different (more robust) machine compared to the Gaggias of today.
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