La Pavoni lever machine – regular maintenance

La Pavoni coffee machines are extremely durable. They have a very good design, but like any machine, you have to maintain it. I had already talked a little about it in this article, when I started with my La Pavoni. Today I will complete my information of the time focusing on the maintenance of the boiler and pistons. It is recommended to perform this maintenance from time to time (approximately every 6 months). This is something that will increase the longevity of your La Pavoni coffee machine.

For the writing of this article, I used my personal experience as well as the video (below, at the end of the article) posted on the Youtube channel of the brand. We will discover how to dismantle the entire machine, how to clean it, and how to remount it.

Necessary equipment

Add to that two screwdrivers, white vinegar and possibly a hook to catch the seals.

Disassemble a “La Pavoni” machine

  • Disconnect the electricity and when the machine is cold, empty the water from the boiler.
  • Using two wrenches of 14, unscrew the two nuts above the piston holding the lever.
  • Remember to identify the nuts that have been removed to avoid losing or mixing them.
  • Remove the two pins holding the lever. If necessary, use a screwdriver.
  • Identify pins and put them away so you do not lose them
  • Remove the lever and then tilt the machine to the side.
  • Using a hook, remove the gasket that surrounds the shower under the piston.
  • Remove the shower by pushing on the piston rod.
  • Then, remove the piston.
  • We will proceed to the maintenance of the piston: with the help of the hook, remove the two seals of the piston. It’s not very easy, do not hesitate to force.
  • On the machine, unscrew the two bolts holding the piston body.
  • Remove the piston body. Be careful, there is a copper pipe that dips inside the boiler. So do not be too abrupt.
  • Unscrew the copper pipe from the piston body.
  • Using a special tool, you can unscrew the plastic tip on which the hose is attached. You can also do it by hand, it’s not too tight.

Deep cleaning of a “La Pavoni”

Now that the machine is dismantled, we will be able to proceed with the cleaning. Clean all gaskets, the inside of the piston body with degreaser soap and water. You can help with utensils such as a toothpaste or a rag. Dip the copper pipe in vinegar for 15 to 20 minutes. This goes against tartar.

You can also put some descaling tablets in the boiler. I advise you to do it at this time because it is easier to empty to rinse well when the piston head is disassembled. For more efficiency when descaling, you can light the machine a little to heat the water.

Reassemble a “La Pavoni”

Once the machine is clean, we can start the reassembly. If parts are worn, you can buy news to replace them. For example, you will find a “La Pavoni gaskets set” here.

  • Put the seals back on the piston. Attention to the direction of assembly, the widest parts of the joints must be directed towards the outside (as indicated in the picture below). The joints are difficult to put back, do not hesitate to use a screwdriver to help.
  • Screw the plastic element that connects the pipe to the piston body.
  • Do the same for the copper pipe by screwing it onto the plastic element. Remember to direct the pipe downwards (so that it goes well to the bottom of the boiler tank). It will be easier for insertion.
  • We will now grease several items that are moving in the coffee machine.
  • Put grease (food grade) on the contour of the plunger and on the outline of its stem. If you do not have one, this type of fat must be used.
  • Add grease (food grade) to the inside of the piston body as shown in the photos below. This is the same type of grease as for the piston that must be used.
  • Once everything is well greased, replace the piston in the piston body. It’s a little complicated, the joints are tight. You can use a screwdriver to help you by forcing a bit.
  • With a shank, well guide the openings for the pins.
  • Place the correct seal around the shower.
  • Insert the shower and gasket into the piston body.
  • Use a screwdriver to drive the seal. Personally once it is a little depressed, I place my filter holder thoroughly to put everything in place.
  • Put the piston body on the boiler. Be careful not to forget to replace the seal.
  • Screw the two bolts correctly.
  • Now we will be able to put the lever back. To position the lever, be carful to the direction of the holes.
  • Once the lever is placed, put the pins and secure them with the fasteners. Attention, there is a kind of bearing that can guide one of the two pins, do not forget it.
  • Then replace the two nuts on the piston rod using the 14mm wrenches.
  • Finally, adjust the descent height of the lever. It must be done with the two nuts of the piston rod. If the piston goes too low, it may squeeze the handshower and cause it to fall.

And that’s it, you’ve completed the maintenance of your La Pavoni coffee machine. It is ready again to operate long before a next maintenance operation.

Below is the video from which I shot the images to illustrate this article.

Feel free to comment to ask questions or to say anything :).


18 responses to “La Pavoni lever machine – regular maintenance”

  1. joe coten Avatar
    joe coten

    Good morning
    Great posting however I’m not confident in my ability to go through the maintenance procedure. The last service was 3 years ago and I’m not sure the guy that did it knew exactly what he was doing. Is there anyone in the Bordeaux area of SW France you could recommend? The Pavoni service centre in France is in Marseille and the cost of the service plus postage makes this route uneconomical.
    I’d be grateful for any help with this.

    1. Hello,
      I guess if you ask for maintenance in France, you speak French? Because I am French and I wrote the article in French here:
      The maintenance procedure is pretty easy to carry out either even. I don’t know of a La Pavoni accredited centre in Bordeaux.
      Considering the price. And of difficulty, I recommend you try it yourself. I tried to explain each step as best I could. Don’t hesitate if you have any other questions.

  2. I inherited a La Pavoni Professional lever machine. It has not been used for many years. Decided to « commission » it first, so I ran some a water and white vinegar mixture through it and it came out brown, like a weak cup of coffee. Tried it a second time, still brown water. I assume this is due to the coffee residue within the machine, but I do not know for sure. Any thoughts?

  3. We inherited a La Pavoni Professional lever machine that has not been used for many years. I decided to « Commission » it before using it, and following the I instructions in the manual I ran a solution of white vinegar and water through. The water came out brown. I did it again and it came out brown again, looked like a weak cup of coffee. I assume it is just coffee residue built up inside. Any thoughts?

    1. Paul. yes, surely something is not clean within the machine. has thr coffee basket been removed? it is my guess that there is old, dried coffee within it. sometimes the group head/handle comes off with the coffee portafilter still in place.

  4. Christopher Scott Avatar
    Christopher Scott

    Hi. I’m inquiring about setting the piston stroke with the two 14 mm nuts at the top of the piston. I set the piston so I can just start to see the edge of the lower gasket on the piston from the bottom of the group head without the shower screen installed. I imagine there is a proper place to put this so it works correctly. How do you determine the stroke of the piston?

    1. Hello,
      I have adjusted the end of the piston stroke so that it is almost touching the shower.
      If the plunger goes too low, then the handshower starts to come out. It is then necessary to stop the piston slightly before.
      Hope to have helped you :).

  5. How long do you have to let this machine cooldown in order to remove the filter to add more coffee for another shot?

    1. generally after 2 or 3 coffees the machine becomes too hot to continue making more. then either I let it cool for several minutes (about 15 minutes) or I cool the piston with a wet cloth.
      but the La Pavoni are not machines that allow you to make a lot of coffee in a row

  6. First, thanks for putting this together. I feel significantly better about doing the work myself after reading and watching your instructions, thanks. Do you know where I can purchase the special tool for removing the plastic tip which the hose connects to? Cheers!

    1. Hello, no I’m sorry I don’t know.

  7. Thank you for this very helpful guide! I just used it to clean / overhaul our La Pavoni. One thing I noticed was that most of the holes in our shower were clogged! I used a sewing needle to clear them. Have you seen this before? Do you have recommendations for how to clear them? I’m thinking now I need to wipe down the shower after each use, any other suggestions?

    Thank you!

    1. Run water through after your pull , plus wipe it aswell

  8. My replacement gasket is replaced but the group is too tight. How do I adjust it?

    1. I had this problem. I found that I had been provided with the wrong gasket. I believe 3 different sizes/profiles of gasket depending on the year of manufacture of the machine. Once I had installed the correct gasket everyting was fine.

  9. Raja Beirouti Avatar
    Raja Beirouti

    Hello, and many thanks for your brilliant page with clear instructions. I am onto my 2nd Pavoni machine, the first having been with me since 1990. I regularly maintain the machine myself, its fairly easy once it’s been done for the first time. ” comments I would like to make: Firstly, the piston seems to unscrew itself slowly, and drops so that the lever cannot be pulled up to its highest, thus restricting the water flow into the group. Both my 1990 model and the new one seem to have this problem, and it needs tightening every month or so. Would it be advisable to use Loctite thread on the piston head when tightening?
    My second comment is more of a useful tip, my new machine’s gasket above the coffee holder is impossible to remove with any conventional tool, so I insert a pointed wood screw between the gasket and the metal, then pull gently. PERFECT solution, doesn’t even damage the gasket.
    Many thanks for your input.

  10. Richard Stutsman Avatar
    Richard Stutsman

    The wood screw is dangerous. “0” rings depend entirely on a smooth surface to work. Any scratch on the metal will cause a leak. I always assume if I have to remove an o ring then it has to be replaced anyway, so sacrifice the old one to remove it.

  11. Tony Cullimore Avatar
    Tony Cullimore

    I am in the middle of my first La Pav service. I read this article and watched your video first and it’s going well. Thanks for taking the time Thomas – much appreciated.

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