This part tamps the coffee grounds, routes water flow between various components, and creates much of the the backpressure for crema development. If you are seeing a lot of water going to the drip tray and/or grounds bin, or if water/coffee no longer comes out of the dispenser and fills the tray, this should be replaced.
In the older ESAM and EAM models, this part was integrated with the coffee boiler, so if either part failed you had to replace the entire assembly. This new modular design makes repairs more affordable, and distancing the mechanics valve from the boiler protects the internal seals from excess heat.
If replacing this part yourself, note that it is attached at two locations: on the left side via two #2 Phillips screws through the transmission carrier, and on the right side via two 4mm socket cap screws. Two notes when installing the fasteners: lubricate the threads of the Phillips screws to prevent them from breaking, and install the Phillips screws first. This will ensure that the part is correctly aligned before tightening the socket cap screws. Don’t forget to connect the two sensor wires, and either replace or transfer over the 3 o-rings from the old part for the Teflon tubes. The o-rings must be installed on the ends of the tubes before inserting, do NOT push the o-rings into the opening of the connector and try to then insert the tube, the edge of the tube end can cut the o-ring. The bottom left connector is slightly smaller than the other two and is more difficult to install the tube into, this is normal. You can VERY carefully push in on the brass bushing with a small flat screwdriver to provide extra force. Do not hold the tube with pliers for leverage, you will crush the tube.
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Espresso Resource NW
5305 NE 121st Ave
Vancouver, WA 98682