I recently purchased replacement group gaskets for two 7-yr-old Gaggia Classics, and replaced the originals according to posted instructions - easy job. BUT the gaskets appear to be too thick. It's now very difficult to set the basket in place on one machine - I can get it a bit past the starting point but nowhere near 6 o'clock, even with a hard push. On the other machine, it's virtually impossible to set the basket. Online discussions are inconsistent about whether the gasket should be 8.5, 9 or 10 mm thick for the Gaggia Classic. Unfortunately the old gaskets are long gone in the trash.
The old gaskets were probably worn and much thinner then they were originally. New gaskets are thicker and usually do not allow the portafilter to turn all the way to the 6 o'clock position right away. They will wear in a bit with use. As long as there is a seal when you are brewing coffee, then you should be alright. 11-01-13 05:09PM
One thing to consider when replacing a very old gasket is that any old gasket material left behind can result in high-spots, which can make tightening the filter difficult. A good plan when replacing the gasket is to make certain the seat is completely clean of any residual gasket material (Or "Small chunks of stuff" as it is often described). Finally, bear in mind that the new gasket is going to be more rigid and somewhat more thick than the gasket you just removed. This will begin to change over the next few weeks, but the first few days of use will be difficult. 11-01-13 05:09PM
Thanks for your suggestions. I took the coffee maker apart again to check for debris under the gasket - there was none. However, I noticed that the gasket is asymmetric - one side is beveled and the other isn't. It took about an hour on the web to find replacement instructions that even mention this. Turns out that the beveled side goes up towards the brew group and I had it in the other way around. I really wish all those people who put instructions on the web would include this information. The basket now sets fine - doesn't get to 6 o'clock, but it's easy to set the basket. BTW, it's a 9-mm gasket - I found a faint "9" on the rim. 11-01-13 05:09PM
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