Vivaldi-II Group Heating Element

If something breaks post warranty, let us know about it. Tell us how you fixed it. Let us know how much the parts cost.
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ScottW
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Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:08 pm
Location: North of Seattle

Vivaldi-II Group Heating Element

Post by ScottW » Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:56 pm

I've had my Vivaldi-II since 2006. Before last Saturday, the only failure has been the pump -- which was an easy replacement.

But last Saturday morning the group heater finally died. Wouldn't heat up, and water coming out of group was "milky" looking. Turns out that was because the heating element literally "split open" and spilled out the white insulation material (ceramic?) into the boiler.

I ordered a new element and gasket from Chris Coffee web site on Sunday. They shipped it Monday morning, and I had it in my hands (on the West cost) by noon today!

Replacement was straight forward, except for ONE problem I wanted to share here that might help someone else. The old heating element had a brass alignment pin that engages an alignment hole on the boiler. The new element did not have that pin. When trying to install the new element (without the pin), attempts to tighten the big retainer nut was causing the element to rotate out of position. That alignment pin is REALLY helpful to prevent the element from rotating.

I assumed the pin was pressed into the old element, and tried to pull it out -- but ended up just breaking it off. :oops: Looking at the broken piece, it appears it is actually threaded on one end and screws into the element's brass plate. I wish I had known that.... I suspect I could have unscrewed it using needle-nosed pliers, and then installed it into the new element.

I ended up making a new alignment pin (though not threaded) and that solved the rotation problem. But for anyone else replacing their group boiler element: I recommend trying to unscrew the little brass pin from the old element so you can transfer it to the new element. Having that pin there to stop the rotation is really helpful, and (trust me on this) salvaging the old one would be a LOT easier than making a new one!

My Vivaldi-II is back up and running again!! Have to say, I am really pleased with the quality of this machine and the support from Chris Coffee. After 13 years of daily use, all I have had to replace is the pump and now the group element. And each time, the support staff at Chris Coffee have responded immediately, told me exactly what I needed for the repair, and shipped it lightning fast. They've earned some repeat business whenever I need another machine.

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