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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I recently purchased a second-hand Quickmill Andreja from someone off eBay which was in working order and seemed fine on the surface of things, however I wanted to take it back to zero so to speak and dismantle and clean everything so I knew all was in good condition. I'm extremely glad I did as so far I've found some pretty messy and dangerous things, and thought I'd share a run through with everyone so anyone wanting to attempt the same thing is pre-armed with more info than I had (virtually none!).

Just to clarify, I have zero experience taking coffee machines apart. I'd say I'm somewhat technical and curious, which is always helpful! I'd say so far (I've not finished yet) the process of taking everything apart has taken about 4 hours, cleaning it has taken probably 2 or 3, and I'm sure putting it back together will take 3 or so. I'll detail everything I used and bought as I go. So, here goes...

I got the Andreja and a Mazzer Mini E for £800. In retrospect I should have paid less - probably £650 or £700 would have seemed better considering the time I need to spend on Andreja. The Mazzer is totally fine, just needed a clear of the burrs (and they were pretty fine anyway), but the Andreja isn't in the best of states. The guy I bought them from was a nice chap, but unfortunately I was pretty naive when purchasing - I didn't remove the e61 mushroom (which I knew I should, I just didn't feel I could as I didn't know how hard it would be to do so I skipped doing it) and I didn't open the machine to look inside. Both of these would have helped a lot, though in fairness I'm not sure it's normal to dismantle a coffee machine you are about to purchase! Here is what they looked like when I got them home, nice!

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So I started making coffee with it, I used to have a Rancilio Silvia and I got a bit obsessive with it, so I thought I'd be kindof ok at pulling a decent shot, how wrong I was - they were absolutely crappy! Something I noticed was that the water tasted a little odd, not particularly bad, just a bit...hard, so I decided I'd take the mushroom off, here is what I found:

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To me this looked kindof scaled but I had no idea really - I later found (from Frank, aka El Carajilo) that it was "exceedingly scaled", which wasn't the best to find out! Anyhow, I soaked the mushroom in white vinegar, and also poured some in the grouphead (from the top where the mushroom was) and let it do its work, it came out pretty good (sorry no pic, I've got some later though...).

Anyway, the next day my curiosity got the better of me and I took the case off the machine, here were the innards:

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I had no idea really what to expect, though I did think the boiler looked a bit cruddy, and the insulation looked a bit old, but after all the machine was nine years old so what should I expect? I did notice that the bottom tray was fairly dirty and looked a little wet - I wasn't too sure what to make of that, it didn't look alarming really, just dirty, so I cleaned it and closed it back up for another day.

A day later I started ringing round to see who would service the machine, basically I wanted a descale and though I knew I could do it myself I had read that descaling an old machine (that had not been descaled frequently) could cause scale to break off and block things up, so I thought I'd get a professional to do it. I found out it's actually pretty hard to find someone to service your coffee machine! Everyone said commercial only except Bella Barista, but they wanted £200 and although that is probably reasonable, it felt like a hell of a lot to me just to get a descale done! Interestingly, some of the other service guys said (after I showed them the machine) that they would do it - I suppose they don't expect most home users to have an e61 machine so they just say no. If anyone wants a list of the people that said yes, give me a shout.

That night, I had some energy (!) and decided to do the service myself. The first thing I did (after removing the case) was to take photos from all angles I could imagine so I knew how to get it all back together again...

The top of the boiler did not look healthy. I later asked Frank about this and he said the anti-vac valve was probably spitting water out, and it had messed up the temperature limit stat (the one with the red wires going to it) and probably the boiler pressure release safety valve (the tall one in the middle):

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I took off the water and steam pipes, and also the boiler pressure gauge pipe and what I know to be the pressure limit stat, but at the time I called it "thing"!
:whistle:


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The temperature limit stat looked worse for wear:

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I then disconnected the brew pressure gauge pipe, the unit that goes in to the top of the HX pipe (sorry no idea what it's called, it has a silicone tube on the bottom though), and the pipes to the e61 (i disconnected these from the e61 end, then later removed them from the boiler end). I then disconnected the boiler water supply and the bolt holding the boiler the bottom of the machine. I then finally disconnected all the wires needed (I labelled where they came from) and I could remove the boiler!

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This was the boiler removed:

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My plan was to remove the heating element (the same as urbanbumpkin did), but I'll cover that later on...

Next I cleaned out the inside, before and after:

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Continued in next post...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Now on to the group. I followed a video on

in order to disassemble the group head, and laid it out to take a photo. Note how black the parts on the left are - the mushroom and other parts in that column are cleaner as I already used white vinegar on them...

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The grouphead was disgusting I soaked it in Cafiza, which helped a bit, but I ended up soaking in citric acid, which worked absolute wonders!

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After the soaking - note the cam hasn't been soaked yet, so is black. I'll soak it later:

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Then I removed the insulation from the boiler. It was crappy anyway and I'll replace it silicone sponge from eBay (thanks urbanbumpkin!). I just used a kitchen knife and it came off easily.

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The next day I went to my dads to try and get the heating element removed. Long story short - I didn't bother. It was absolutely rock hard and I don't think it even shifted a millimeter, instead I decided to descale via the top of the boiler, so I removed the anti-vaccum valve and the boiler pressure relief valve (I was most likely going to replace these two parts anyway), and I removed the boiler fill probe so that no electrical components remained on the top of the boiler, so that I could soak it to get rid of the corrosion that has resulted from the anti-vacuum valve spitting everywhere!

Problem was, I wanted to see the state of the boiler first, so I used a USB endoscope! In the end actually I got a better photo using the light from the endoscope and using my iPhone to take a photo, here is what the boiler looked like inside:

2017_03_10_22_42_29.jpg

I was worried from the state of the group head and the top of the boiler that the inside would be incredibly badly scaled, but to me it actually doesn't look too bad, maybe someone else would disagree?! So anyway, I got home and put the boiler upside down (along with all the other copper pipes, and also the water and steam wand and some of the grouphead that I didn't do earlier) in to a citric acid solution (I got the citric acid from Amazon, here) and left overnight.

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And that's where I'm up to! The parts are currently soaking and starting to look nice and shiny. Tomorrow I will flip the boiler the right way up and fill the inside and leave it to soak, then I'll plug up the HX pipe and lay the boiler on its side and soak that too. It would have been far easier if I could have removed the heating element, but oh well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh yes I forgot to mention, and a big warning!!

Frank noticed that my boiler safety valve looked a bit cruddy and suggested I replace it. I am very very glad he gave that advice....

Whilst at my dads we took the safety valve off and hooked it up to his compressor - we reached 8 bar before we decided to stop, and the valve had not activated
:(
my dad tapped the piston with a hammer and screwdriver and it moved, so we hooked it back up and it was now jammed open:

2017_03_10_22_39_08.jpg

Who knows what force it would have taken to open this critical safety valve - I'd hope that it would have opened before the boiler exploded but who knows. I'm soaking it in citric acid as we speak, but only out of curiosity - I won't be re-using it.
 

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Nice write up and well done. I think the boiler is actually not as bad as I would have thought after seeing the state of the group!

Certainly better than my Cherub.

Good luck with the next steps.
 

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Brilliant piece, kudos to you, the machine actually looked nice before you stripped it. I can understand your shock when you did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So the top is looking a whole lot better after the descaling!

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One question though - does anyone have a diagram of what the heat exchanger pipe looks like? I ask because I notice it has a pipe within a pipe, so I'm unsure how it works exactly.

A secondary reason is that I'm a bit gung-ho at times with jobs like this and I did something fairly stupid
:whistle:
- I wanted to descale the HX pipe that I referred to both it was open at both ends - I needed something to block to bottom up I used, er, blue tack. I knew I should have tested how it reacted to citric acid but I didn't, them I saw little bits floating to the top of the the tube. "Ah scale!" I thought, er, no...it was blue tack

Anyway - I think I've got it all out (there wasn't much) but I'm wondering if any may have become trapped in the pipe (I'm not sure what it looks like inside - can't get the endoscope in).
 

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Excellent write up so far. Having guides like this is very useful as both a reference to do it again, and for someone who hasn't done it themselves. Well done!
:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The boiler inside after descaling, looking pretty good
:)
frank suggested that I still remove the heating element in case it becomes more stuck in future - I might do so, there is a garage near me that could help out so might give them a buzz

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El carajillo said:
Did you tell him about the Bronze Giant from Jason & Argo ?? He has chickened out at the moment but I am trying to persuade him.
:D
;)
:exit:
He he he. I thought it might put him off if I mentioned it too two of us and an socket extension to get the heating element out...and when it did it made the noise of the bronze statue from Jason and the Argonauts:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeh I wasn't sure how far to push it - didn't use an extension so maybe thats where i went wrong
;)
might ask a garage tomorrow to have a go.

Thing I'm thinking is once I have it out I'll need to replace the gasket, which seems to be 54mm, where did you get your replacement one from?
 

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meph137 said:
Yeh I wasn't sure how far to push it - didn't use an extension so maybe thats where i went wrong
;)
might ask a garage tomorrow to have a go.

Thing I'm thinking is once I have it out I'll need to replace the gasket, which seems to be 54mm, where did you get your replacement one from?
Bella Barista:good:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So today I decided to take the advice of El carajillo and take out the heating element - I took it to a local Garage (very nice guy as well - M P L Autos & M C Autos in Bingham in Nottingham) who spent about 1 minute finding the right socket, and quite literally 1 second removing the element! It came out fantastically, I'm not sure how much of that was down to the descaling and what was down to the sheer force of an impact wrench (I suspect the latter!) but I'm very happy to have gotten it out
:)
so, I could now just throw the whole boiler in citric acid, totally submersed. I'd already gotten all the scale off really but nice to give it one final clean:

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I also ordered the parts I needed to finish everything off, just in case anyone needs them for future reference:


I've also ordered the 10mm insulation as opposed to the 5mm - I felt the 5 looked a bit thin and the machine already had 10mm (or more) insulation, so it should be fine.

So, tomorrow the parts should arrive and I'll reassemble!
 

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Top marks for perseverance
:good:
.

When you reinstall the element take great care to ensure the gasket / seal is kept centralised as you tighten it up.

The thread on the element is reduced near the flange, if you do not keep the seal centralised it will only catch the edge of the flange and it can leak.
 
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