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Leaking steam wand

During steaming I am getting some leaking from above the lock nut as you can see in this video:

[video width=425 height=344 type=youtube]g_vGcZ9wFyg

I've tried snugging up the lock nut but it is still leaking. Do I need to back off the lock nut and tighten the steam wand fitting?


  • hi rob

    1. what vintage is your machine?

    2. how stiff is the steam wand when you try to move it? stiff, easy to move, or flopping about?

    3. if the answer to (2) is stiff then dont keep tightening the nut, instead unscrew the nut completely from the valve and see if the brass plunger is riding directly on the stainless ball end fitted to the top of the steam wand, or is there a ptfe washer or o-ring sitting in between the ball end and the brass plunger?

  • It is latest generation with PI module. The movement of the steam arm is firm but easy to move, certainly not floppy. I will unscrew to investigate and report back.

  • The o-ring had split and pushed up inside the plunger. Not sure if the o-ring on the ball is supposed to look like this either? The arm was really stiff to get off, I think the threads are not chased cleanly or have been cross threaded. I've tried to sort this by unscrewing the lock nut.

    Do I need one of these:

    Am I OK to use without this o-ring?


  • The arm screwed back on much easier than it came off, so hopefully threads now sorted.
  • Rob West post=15615 wrote: The o-ring had split and pushed up inside the plunger. Not sure if the o-ring on the ball is supposed to look like this either? The arm was really stiff to get off, I think the threads are not chased cleanly or have been cross threaded. I've tried to sort this by unscrewing the lock nut.

    Do I need one of these:

    Am I OK to use without this o-ring?

    hi rob

    how old is the machine/who did you buy it off as i cant find your name in our database as having sold a machine to you

    if it is less than 12 months old all this is a warranty issue

    the production date will also be laser etched on the top of the boiler

    kind regards

  • I won the machine at the CF UK Lever day last weekend. The date on the boiler is 12/18.
  • Ha! Definitely all under warranty!

    If you can please tell me if the thread on the valve has been damaged - i would be most surprised but if it has it needs to be replaced

    Note that as you present the nut up to the valve that it is compressing the spring above the plunger so it is going to bind on the valve thread to an extent

    Assuming it isn’t cross threaded I will just need to send you a fat o-ring to sit between the plunger and the ball end

    On the anti vac valve use a 17mm set spanner and a hammer to strike the spanner to shock the threads apart: this technique is counter intuitive but important

    Once the anti vac is off the boiler you can remove the circlip from the top of the valve and the valve stem will fall out. You will then be able to inspect the o-ring for any damage or other detris that might prevent the o-ring sealing

    It’s a bit disappointing to have leaks on a new machine so I apologise for that

    Kind regards

  • I think the threads are OK now. Using the lock nut cleaned them up. It was super stiff to unthread, requiring a spanner all the way, but I could screw back up using my fingers.

    The initial removal was hampered because I was not able to get the open end of my 22mm ring spanner on the steam wand body. Luckily the closed end just about fitted otherwise I'd have been stuck as an adjustable just could not get enough purchase to unscrew it as it was that tight! The ring spanner slots onto the hot water fitting fine so the steam wand must a slightly too fat. Sod's law!

    I presume you are happy that the other o-ring on the ball joint is OK from the picture? If so then just replacing a broken o-ring is fine. How do we go about sorting that out?

    I'll try removing the anti-vac later today once the machine has cooled down. I need my coffee first :-)
  • hi rob

    when you say the 'other' o-ring which one are your referring to?

    in your images above i see one o-ring that has been torn in half

    the ball end on the top of the steam wand is seated into a ptfe collar, which is partially visible (white) in one of your images above

    my plan is to send you another fat o-ring for this issue and then whatever you need for the anti-vac valve

    if you can dig out the remains of the torn o-ring and check that the white ptfe collar is in good order

    let me know what you discover with the anti-vac valve - it is a very simple design and easy to understand how it functions

    kind regards

  • I did not see anything white, the collar on the ball of the steam wand is black. I'm not sure if it is in good order as it appears to have two tears in it, or possibly indentations where the brass plunger has gouged it because the o-ring was not there. If it is supposed to be perfectly circular then I think it is damaged. I've attached another photo using flash but it is a bit out of focus, sorry.

    I will report back on the anti-vac in a bit.

  • I am afraid the anti-vac valve just will not budge. I have hit the spanner as hard as I dare and it will not budge. The spanner is pretty close to the other pipes and I'm concerned about damaging them too.

    With the panels off I can hear it hissing on and off so it definitely needs sorting. Have you got any tips for how to get it off? Is there an offset spanner you can recommend to get in there? I must admit this is getting out of my comfort zone.

    I also noticed that when pulling some water through the group the PI display says check expvalve. Is that related?
  • hi rob

    its a factory technique and it works; you simply need to apply a bit more gusto

    it is counter intuitive, but even though it makes an alarming din striking the wrench with a hammer is the safe and correct way to ensure you do not turn the boiler inside out

    (just pulling on the end of the wrench harder and harder will be reassuringly quiet but it is likely to result in you distorting the boiler)

    you can see it in action here @ 5'35"

    and also at 5'50" and 7'40"

    i appreciate that there isn't a lot of free space between the pipes, but there is enough to get the job done; below is an image of me undoing the safety valve using the same technique:


    you only need to get the wrench to move with the hammer strikes and then you will be able to just use the wrench alone once the nut is moving

    there are many other owners on here who have undertaken the same task, expressed the same concerns as you, pushed on, and got the job done

    do it using this method and i assure you no harm will result - you've just got to shut out the alarming clanging sounds and push on

    do not use a socket and ratchet as they absorb too much of the percussion shock and you will ruin your ratchet

    do not use an adjustable wrench, vice grips, or water pump pliers

    use a straight (not offset) set spanner or ring spanner - a 12 point ring spanner can be helpful as it gives you finer angle adjustment to fit the spanner in between the pipes

    the 'check expansion valve' message is something we wrote into the display so you can dial the expansion valve down slightly if the pressure is measured above 12.7 bar, but this is nothing to worry about and unrelated. we can tweak the expansion valve an 1/8th of a turn later on and that will eliminate that issue

    kind regards


    Attached files

  • Ok, I will give it another go but I was using plenty of gusto and a bigger hammer by the end.

    What did you make of the steam arm photo?
  • you've just got to get it off

    the images above are a little too out of focus for me to tell much from, but your second image on the first page is clear and this is where i can see the white edge of the PTFE around the ball

    i would also direct you to PDF parts diagram which provides an exploded view of all the components that make up the steam wand - this is probably the easiest way for me to articulate what needs to be there (note that the PTFE washer referred to on the diagram has been replaced by the fat o-ring i have been referring to, and indeed yours has but it has been torn because it has been done up too tight)

    kind regards

  • The parts diagram is useful, thank you. However It doesn’t show the complete parts list as the brass plunger is not there so I am still a little confused about what I should end up with. The torn o-ring in my picture was stuffed inside the plunger and I left that out when I reassembled. The thing on top of the ball fitting is still in place. Which one of these is the fat o-ring?

    The thing that is still in place looks damaged as it has some indentations in it. I presume it should be smooth and uniform? If it is the PTFE fitting does the replacement o-ring go on top of this in the end of the plunger? Can this PTFE fitting be replaced or does that require the steam wand to be replaced?

    Ironically with the torn o-ring out of the picture and everything else reassembled the steam wand isn’t leaking now.
  • hi rob

    if you look at P12 of the PDF parts list it shows the assembly in question

    we are interested in BOM ID=6 and BOM ID=7 on P12

    BOM ID=6 sits between the steam retaining nut (BOMID=2) and the ball fitting (BOMID=3) to ensure a seal between the two

    if you look very carefully at your steam wand assembly you may be able to see a very fine edge of BOM ID=6 lying between BOMID=2 and BOM ID=3

    if it is sealing now BOM ID=6 is clearly there anyway as it wouldn't seal without it

    lets now turn to BOM ID=7

    this is shown on the PDF parts diagram as a machined ptfe seal but it was changed some time ago (perhaps 2 years) to a fat o-ring (meaning an o-ring with a relatively large cross sectional diameter relative to the outside diameter of the o-ring)

    if there is nothing functioning as BOM ID=7 then the assembly will leak as the plunger spring will not be sufficiently compressed for it to force the brass plunger (not shown in the PDF parts diagram but i am referring to the component shown in the first image in this thread - IMG_0568) against BOM ID=3 which in turn pushes down on BOM ID=6 with sufficient pressure to maintain a seal

    so if your assembly is not leaking it leaves me thinking that your assembly contained both BOM ID=7 as a ptfe component and the fat o-ring which would explain why your assembly was very tight and the o-ring has been shredded as there is not enough room for both to be present in that space

    so my last question would be; can you please confirm that the two o-rings on the brass plunger that appear in your first image of page one (IMG_0568) of this thread are in good order not nicked damaged or torn and when you depress the plunger into the valve with the spring above it that it slides in and out of the valve body freely with no binding

    if it does then we are sorted on the steam wand

    which leaves us with; did you get the anti-vac valve off the boiler?

    kind regards

  • I have been away from home since yesterday, back tomorrow so I will have another attempt at removing the anti-vac valve then. Does it have thread lock on it? If so will a bit of heat help?

    I will also disassemble the steam arm again and check the o-rings on the plunger but I think they are fine. If the purpose of BOM ID=7 is to seal BOM ID=3 against BOM ID=2 then the shredded o-ring looks too small to do that job. I think BOM ID=7 may be damaged so I will try and take a better photo. I think the plunger may have gouged into it because it was so tight with the extra o-ring in there. Should the plunger sit directly on BOM ID=3?
  • hi rob

    the thread of the anti vac may have liquid ptfe on it but trust me, heat is not required to free this component from the boiler

    if you distort the boiler following the method i have detailed i will buy you a new boiler

    we've spent enough time on the steam wand ill just send you a new wand assembly and lets move forward

    as soon as you let me know on the anti-vac i can get a parcel heading your way

    kind regards

  • Apologies for my fussing. The LR is a fabulous machine and I am currently making the best espresso ever and I don’t want to mess it up!

    I feel bad that I got the machine for free and don’t expect you to have to cover these issues on top so I have ordered a wand and anti-vac valve on your website. Even if the current valve can be fixed I would rather have a new one on hand to save having to mess with it multiple times.

    Thanks for your support so far, I will report back when I have managed to get the thing off!
  • thank you for your order rob. i will endeavour to get it despatched on tuesday, or failing that wednesday

    your machine comes with a 12 months worldwide parts warranty the same as anyone else's so i have refunded you

    when the parts arrive i am available on FaceTime or WhatsApp HD video service to assist you with the install

    kind regards

  • So I decided to have another go at it and after a couple of minutes of hammering I finally managed to budge it! On disassembling I cannot see anything wrong, so glad a new one is on the way. If you can see anything in the photos let me know.

  • hi rob

    as i understand it the valve is sealing but when you turn the machine off you are getting a hissing sound from the valve as the system cools

    this suggests to me that instead of the valve dropping cleanly down into the open position when the pressure of the steam in the boiler is no longer great enough to support the weight of the valve plunger it is somehow binding which is causing the steam to make a noise as it rushes through a small gap in the partially open valve

    i can think of two things that would cause this;

    1. a rough finish on the ptfe seat in the head of the valve that the o-ring pushes up and seals against and the plunger runs through, or a rough finish on the brass plunger or body that is causing the plunger to bind in the valve body

    2. the presence of silicone grease on either the plunger or the inside of the valve body that is causing the two components to 'stick' together

    you can obviously test whether it is (1) and or (2) responsible by holding the assembled valve between your fingers with one hand and with your other hand move the valve plunger up and down and detect whether it is moving freely or binding or sticking

    i will be surprised if it is not able to be returned to a serviceable state

    the most likely area to cause binding is the brass crown area at that bottom of the plunger (largest diameter) as it looks quite dirty on yours - i would start by giving that face and the face it runs against on the inside of the stainless valve body a good rub with metal polish and then a thorough clean with hot water and dishwashing detergent then just lots of hot water and a good rub with a clean towel, obviously

    also check that the chamfer on the bottom of the stainless valve body is not rough from the operation of a poor parting tool or subsequently dinged as this will cause the brass plunger to bind in it

    interested to hear what you discover

    kind regards

  • Hi Reiss,

    The anti-vac valve is not sealing reliably when the machine is on. Jiggling it can get it to seal but then it will just start hissing again so there is a constant slight pressure loss. The sound was just more noticeable initially when the machine was turned off and the pressure was slowly declining. It is also slow to close on initial heat up. It splutters for several minutes.

    I cleaned off the PTFE seat just in case there was any microscopic debris. I could not see any imperfections in it by eye. I did not feel and grease on the brass plunger and it feels like it moves freely.

    On reinstall it has continued to leak.


  • The boiler element is turning on every 90 seconds at the moment. I presume that is much more frequent than normal due to the pressure loss?
  • That element cycle time is very much normal

    It’s a small boiler with a large radiator attached to it (the lever group)
  • Good point - a very nice radiator for my kitchen :-)

    Anything else you want me to look at on this anti-vac valve?

    The steam wand has also started leaking again from around the lock nut unfortunately.
  • no, its all good.
  • Hopefully the replacement parts will arrive soon and I can get them installed (should I have received a dispatch notice from Fracino)? I think I am OK on carrying out that process, it would just be good to know whether to use PTFE tape or Loxeal on the anti-vac valve. At the moment I have just stuck it back on without anything. The threads looked quite clean so I don't know if there was anything on there or it was just torqued down very tight.

    Would you be able to give me instructions on how to adjust the expansion valve and how to set the correct value? Thanks
  • you shouldn't really need anything on the thread of the anti-vac valve to achieve a seal

    in the unlikely event that it was leaking between the threads a drop or two of loxeal 55-03 would be the answer

    the expansion valve should not need to be adjusted; what makes you think it does?
  • hi rob

    i presume you are referring to changing the pre-infusion pressure

    if this is the case there are instructions on how to do this at the tail end of the video that Frans made on how to install the digital pre-infusion kit

    you can find that video here;

    there are occasions when the expansion valve requires adjustment, but this is typically for LR that have had the digital preinfusion kit added by the owner, not for machines that have been factory fitted with the digital pre-infusion module

    kind regards

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