Sunday, August 25, 2019

Saeco Via Venezia doesn't pump water: Replacing the pump

The Seaco Via Venezia is a really basic Espresso machine. Everything is manual, so one needs to pay attention when making Espresso. The hot water reservoir is rather small and the heater not very powerful, so it takes a little while to heat water for the next cup. However, the very simple construction makes it a lot less vulnerable to failure than other consumer espresso machines. This machine has served us well for several years now with no problems.

Nevertheless, a few days ago the machine intermittently stopped pumping and water pressure was rather weak. It appears there are really only two possibilities for this problem: Either the water line is clogged somewhere, or the pump has gone bad.

I took the cover off and checked the silicone hoses for any visible clogs. There's a hose coming from the reservoir into the pump. From the pump water goes into a T-connector, where one hose loops back to the reservoir -- probably some kind of overflow mechanism -- and the other leg leads to the boiler in the front of the photo.

Our pump model is an ULKA EAP5. To my utter surprise I found the exact pump on Amazon for only $26, so I figured it was worth a shot to try replacing the pump.

The white cable connects through a thermal motor protector that is hot-glued to the pump. The hot glue needs to be carefully removed to free the part, so the protector can be taken off.

Taking off the intake hose and the elbow piece was easy enough. However, disconnecting the pressurized side of the pump stumped me until I looked at the output pipe of the replacement pump and noticed that it had threads inside the pipe, and there are notches for a wrench. Once that was clear it was easy to unscrew the pump and get it out of the machine.

When I had the pump out, I opened the steam wand and blew into the T-piece to check whether there were any clogs in the hoses or the boiler. I could feel air blowing out of the steam wand, so I knew that there was no obstruction.

On to installing the new pump. When I removed the rubber foot holding the pump in place to have more room to unscrew the pump, I didn't notice that the screw was held in place by a nut on the other side of the sheet metal that was now sliding around loosely in a plastic compartment above the water tank, so I had to unscrew that to get the nut out and the pump mounted properly.

Everything went back together nicely. Before closing it up, I tested the machine, primed the pump, and made sure that water is pumped properly both through the steam wand and the portafilter. We should have proper Espresso again tomorrow morning.


Elvis said...

Du bisch a Kapsele :-)

Jarrod said...

Hey Bernhard,

Great post but much like every other tutorial I'm finding, nobody mentions how to get the pump-to-boiler hose off! I'm going crazy, I'm sure it easy but after removing the nut (right side of the T-connector), I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the little brass piece separated from the T! I'd be forever grateful for some advice on that, it must me so simple.. I've ripped every other piece apart!


Bernhard Beck said...

Hi Jarrod,

yeah that had me stumped for the longest time. It's a threaded connection and not obvious at all: "[...] disconnecting the pressurized side of the pump stumped me until I looked at the output pipe of the replacement pump and noticed that it had threads inside the pipe, and there are notches for a wrench."

Using the wrench it was easy to get the assembly apart.

Hope that helps,

Jarrod said...

Hey Bernhard. Thanks for the reply!

I've got that part figured out, what I'll refer to as the 'Bottom' of the T (Pump-to-T). The part I can't figure out is the 'Right' side of the T (T-to-Boiler) with the shore hose. You slide the nut off leaving you with the exposed thread and then the hose has that little brass piece that appears to just stick in there - I can not remove it! Pliers, rotating, force... it's solid. Here's a picture:

Any ideas?

Thanks again,

Bernhard Beck said...

Oh, I see.

I never tried to open that piece. I left the T in place and unscrewed the pump by holding the bottom of the T in place and rotate the pump to unscrew the bottom of the T connection.

Adrian said...

Thank you for the instructions! Also worked with my SAECO Intuita (of course with a bit of a different pump). Only tricky part, as you mention, is to disassemble the pressure side connector.
This saved me a few bucks and the environment some more waste!