In my other post, La Pavoni Europiccola Rebuild... sort of different., I showed that it is possible to rebuild an Europiccola with modern parts from a reasonably well preserved 1970's machine.
I really did not think to make a step by step guide, as I just did a gamble, unsure of what would actually come out and much less if it worked at all. But... it worked.
People here (thanks Gary) suggested that a step by step guide would be a good help to walk someone else to do a similar build.
So, I got another machine, again for free, from the same exact barn where the first was found (no, there are no more...), my uncle's farm in the country. Clearing the place, he actually was going to throw these away. They have been in a dusty corner for the last fifteen or so years, and the condition of these machines (the one I restored and this one) is uncannily similar.
For "reasonably well preserved" I mean a machine that has a good condition boiler, no pinhole leaks, no deformations, dings, or badly corroded parts, good chrome, complete for the main parts, and not been tampered with.
Most 1970's EP that are featured on Ebay priced around 50-100 $ are much better than the one shown below that I am going to rebuild, most of those actually work!
Before I introduce you all to the sad remains of the Second Europiccola, I'd like to discuss what I aim to do in this thread. I aim to build (not restore; build) The Ultimate Europiccola espresso machine.
An Europiccola that is better, and noticeably so, in actual performance and features than the current brand new version of the EP, including the best of all the features that in the years made La Pavoni's lever espresso machine an icon, and then some.
Let's take a look at what we want.
The 1970 EP have the super desirable brass sleeve in the group. Alas, the group is actually screwed in the boiler, so there's no way to thermally isolate the group from the boiler itself, with a 1-2mm thick Teflon full surface flat gasket. But it's the single feature we won't miss too much anyway (except when it's time to change the small gasket in the group...).
Watch out! We need to use an EP that has SN from B0000 to 51000, these are the ones that have a removable, separate shower that is effectively kept in place by the undergroup gasket, and although earlier versions could be used, the integrated screen shower in the brass sleeve make those less desirable for our build.
As for the group gaskets, the piston uses current gaskets (as you all know) and although I've found someone in the US that builds the old square section undergroup gasket, by either turning a simple 2mm brass ring, or cutting it out of flat gasket material, we can easily use standard and very inexpensive, older size O ring type gaskets.
The 1970 EP have the super desirable cast aluminum base, very sturdy and tough, which also doubles as a super effective heatsink (we'll see why it works even better than it does originally during the rebuild).
We will change the heating element to a modern, less desirable single coil, stainless steel built unit, that is a bit more noisy, and less thermally efficient, but is easily replaceable and immediately available (and also lots cheaper).
We will add a current Ma Ter pstat, the Echo 125u is in my opinion (YMMV) a very accurate and super fast unit.
Add modern and safer Silicone and fiberglass armored wiring, with resettable thermal fuse protection, and operating light that is in function absolutely on a par with current EP function.
An Antivacuum valve system, not going to delve into that, there are tons of threads, I feel there's a need for it, so I'll add it.
Since 1970 EP have the 12mm sight glass screw on top, it's extremely easy to adapt a standard pressure gauge with the Professional adaptor.
Surprise! The new and current steam body with detachable wand actually has the same threads as a 1970 steam body on the boiler. The knob and inside parts are totally compatible. So, we can add a detachable wand if we feel like it, including the dreaded cappuccinatore. But, detaching the wand and being able to soak it and clean it is good too, right?
Finally, the portafilter feels really good and heavy in the hand. Great for dipping in cold water and do more espressos in a row (I learned that here! It works!).
Last but not least, the cost. In the end, including the 100$ needed for the EP, my aim is to stay way below the cost of a new EP.
What do you think?
But, it can be done!
So here it is, I've just got in the sad remains of a 1972 Europiccola. It has a burnt coil, no wiring whatsoever, badly corroded base, cracked glass, every single gasket to be replaced, no rubber cover for the base... but is otherwise complete, with its own portafilter and one and two cup filters.
serial number: B7605... possibly 1971 or 72.
Second version PF
Although it does not look like it, the sight glass is cracked and filled with scale. It'll be a chore to remove.
...Ouch. Turned bottom up, this is what I saw. Almost as bad as the first one.
The heating element. No ohm reading on both; dead.
Detail of the totalled switch.
Detail of the OPV and steam tube. Don't look too bad
As expected from the SN, a removable shower. Good!
Source : http://www.home-barista.com/repairs/building-ultimate-la-pavoni-europiccola-t32701.html