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mjohn
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Posted Thu Jul 4, 2013, 10:23pm
Subject: Steel boiler bolts?
 

Does anyone know why they used regular steel bolts on boiler end plates rather than stainless? Seems stupid to me. What if they rust through? I've got an older commercial machine and I'm worried about it's safety. There's only two bolts holding the element in. If one of them lets go...
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DavecUK
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 6:56am
Subject: Re: Steel boiler bolts?
 

mjohn Said:

Does anyone know why they used regular steel bolts on boiler end plates rather than stainless? Seems stupid to me. What if they rust through? I've got an older commercial machine and I'm worried about it's safety. There's only two bolts holding the element in. If one of them lets go...

Posted July 4, 2013 link

It's probably a better choice for the end plates than stainless due to the way different steels expand, contract and microfracture with temperature changes. Steel is generally not an ideal boiler material, especially with the weak points at the welds. press forming a steel boiler to avoid welds generally results in a very thin boiler prone to corrosion and pinholing. That's not to say a decent steel boiler cannot be made, I suppose it can, but it's not an ideal material, stainless steel for boilers would probably be very difficult to work with.

So regular steel bolts, probably no where near as bad as you think....besides, why should they rust through?
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1stline
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Steel boiler bolts?
 

mjohn Said:

Does anyone know why they used regular steel bolts on boiler end plates rather than stainless? Seems stupid to me. What if they rust through? I've got an older commercial machine and I'm worried about it's safety. There's only two bolts holding the element in. If one of them lets go...

Posted July 4, 2013 link

Although I am not a metalurgist, there are differences in the strength of steel and stainless steel. In fact, stainless that is not attracted by magnets is softer than stainless that has iron ore in it. Hence, it is have better to use full steel where there is steam pressure on the inside. And, if the boiler is designed correctly, the screw holes should not be exposed to the internal water and steam in the boiler. As long as the gasket is working correctly, there would be very little water in contact with the steel screws.

This is one of the reasons why it is important to rectify any leak within an espresso machine as quickly as possible. The most important one being an electrical hazard.

 
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mjohn
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 10:12am
Subject: Re: Steel boiler bolts?
 

I noticed a lot of rust around these steel bolts that's why I'm asking. I think it's electrostatic corrosion because the metals are different. The boiler and end plate are brass or copper. And they're also completely stuck every one of them. THanks
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mjohn
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 10:14am
Subject: Re: Steel boiler bolts?
 

So how hard is it going to be to get these things out? And what do I do if they break off? I'm worried more about the heater element bolts than the boiler bolts because there's only two. Don't you have to be a licensed boiler guy to work on these? Thanks
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steamer
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 10:55am
Subject: Re: Steel boiler bolts?
 

Boilers in general are made of steel, I mean were talking building heating system from 5 pounds to 1200 pounds. And yes they use steel bolts. Stainless is a more brittle material and will snap/break easier than a steel bolt, grade 8. stainless will also gall and seize in the threads. Brass bolts into brass is a better idea, but nothing beats steel. Yes there are case studies that steel bolts will remain intact while the pressure of the endplates will slowing unscrew the bolt from the threads from the pressure building up. Feel safer now?
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mjohn
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 6:00pm
Subject: Re: Steel boiler bolts?
 

well I just spent the day getting one bolt out and this is what it looks like so no. Look how necked out it is from the rust

mjohn: IMG_0451.JPG
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CoffeeRon
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 6:12pm
Subject: Re: Steel boiler bolts?
 

You never mentioned the type of machine or how old. (not that the type matters, just curious). I would say it would probably be a good idea to replace those. But I guess you've figured that out. I guess your question is what type of bolt to replace them with. Yes those look bad but then they did do their job for it looks like quite a number of years, just as the manufacturer intended. The reasons for not using another type have already been addressed. I would replace them with the same type of bolts that were originally used. Be sure they are the same grade. I'm guessing grade 8 as mentioned above. Getting OEM ones from an espresso machine parts source would be a good idea if you have any qualms or concerns.
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mjohn
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 6:50pm
Subject: Re: Steel boiler bolts?
 

Thanks, the heater bolts are actually studs with nuts on them. If they break off do I have to get a boiler guy to weld new ones on or can they just be drilled and tapped?
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CoffeeRon
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 7:37pm
Subject: Re: Steel boiler bolts?
 

mjohn Said:

Thanks, the heater bolts are actually studs with nuts on them. If they break off do I have to get a boiler guy to weld new ones on or can they just be drilled and tapped?

Posted July 5, 2013 link

To that I would say they would weaken and develop a leak long before they actually broke. At that point it would probably be best to look for a new boiler.
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