A simple repair…. That’s what I thought when a friend asked if I could look at his Gaggia Classic Coffee Machine, which had developed a nasty little leak when in use. The coffee wasn’t all that good either, due to the lack of pressure available, caused by the leak. In short, it needed attention.
The owner had already bought a repair kit consisting of the main seals/ gaskets that commonly fail, so I thought no problem, take to pieces, replace seals, happy days. Er, not quite.
Once I’d stripped the machine down, pretty straightforward on these machines, the bare parts were exposed, which revealed the problem. After being fired up briefly, not to make coffee I’d like to point out, water could be seen escaping from the boiler unit, a alloy bodied lump of metal, split in two halves, held together by 4 screws. The boiler, as the name suggests, heats the water up with one heating element and creates steam for the steam wand, with another element, all part of the same module.
After separating the boiler halves, I traced the leak to a faulty gasket, but crucially, one side of the mating faces was heavily corroded and unlikely to re-seal with a new part fitted on its own. Remedial action was required.
This model is a few years old and a replacement boiler is still available on a few websites and prices vary from £40 to £60 at the time of writing, so at that price, starts to make the cost of repair unviable.
I decided that the face with the corrosion had enough material to withstand loosing some, so went about sanding the worst of the corrosion away before gradually moving on to smoother and smoother sandpaper.
Because Gaggia Classics are fairly common, I decided to video this repair process as I suspect the corrosion affects many machines with age and just fitting a repair kit won’t cure the problem on its own. See below. I hope it helps anyone else with the same machine facing the same problem.
Once I was happy with the new finish, I fitted a new gasket and reassembled the boiler. After putting it all back together, I purged several tanks of water through the system to remove debris, before attempting a cup of coffee. Once filled up with my favourite Lidl coffee, the machine performed well once again with no leaks and the end product tasted great.
Cost of a new machine: £249.00. Cost of repair: £4.50, plus time.