How to Maintain your VBM E61 Grouphead | 1st-line Equipment

How to Maintain your VBM E61 Grouphead

How to Maintain your VBM E61 Grouphead

Some dual boiler espresso machines and heat exchange espresso machines feature an E61 grouphead, which defines a modern size and fitting of a portafilter (typically 58mm) to hold your ground coffee. One of the espresso machine brands, Faema, created the original E61 grouphead, but some espresso machine manufacturers like VBM and Lelit were inspired to design their own. Each type of E61 grouphead comes with differences in how to maintain it or install spare parts because some cams or gaskets may be different on them.

Precisely, if you have an espresso machine with a VBM E61 grouphead, you can learn about a general overview on how to maintain it by taking it apart and lubricating the various components inside, as well as potentially using a general E61 grouphead maintenance kit we offer.

A Step-By-Step Overview

First of all, when performing your maintenance, you may need an Allen key. In other cases, however, you may need two wrenches. Additionally, the E61 grouphead MAY not allow water inside because the pinhole might have limescale or blockage.

  1. For a VBM E61 grouphead, use an Allen key screw to remove the mushroom. This is easier when it is actually on the espresso machine. If there is limescale, you COULD run some descaler through the machine, but it is best that you use a water softener. Feel free to learn more about which water softener to use in our “Water Choice” customer education article!
  2. The first section you can work on is the side of the E61 grouphead. First, take off the nut. There might be a large screw on the side. The hand leveler will typically slide out easily. What is nice about the VBM E61 grouphead is that it is normally easier to leave the grouphead on its side. 
  3. Use the Allen key again to remove the whole mechanism.
    • Please DO NOT use too much backflush detergent since all the grease or lubrication will be removed. 
      • We sell Petrol-Gel lubricant to use for your replacement gaskets and cams. If your espresso machine is being used for commercial use, you will be happy to know that it is NSF-approved for food-grade use!
  4. When getting ready to use the Petrol-Gel, we recommend wearing gloves before applying this because your hands will feel greasy. Take out the lube to apply it on the cams and other components. Feel free to use as much as necessary!
  5. The next section you can work on is the bottom of the E61 grouphead, where you will need two wrenches. Perform your maintenance from the bottom to the top.
  6. Remove any additional screws with a 12-inch wrench as well as a 10-inch wrench.
  7. Remove the big nut with the same 12-inch wrench. A long spring and a cam with another gasket will come out.
  8. The E61 grouphead maintenance kit that we sell will change the different components. As previously mentioned, this kit is very general since all E61 groupheads have different designs, depending on the manufacturer’s requirements. You MAY need some original spare parts from the manufacturer or you may purchase the general spare kit.

Overall…

…by following these general steps, E61 groupheads typically last for 5-10 years as long as you take the time to maintain them as well as your espresso machine. However, if you do get a lot of limescale in the E61 grouphead, this could unfortunately cause them to have a shorter lifespan.

Have any questions? Feel free to post a question on your E61 espresso machine’s product page’s Q&A section on our website or contact us, and someone in tech support will get back to you!

 

Check out our YouTube video about maintaining an E61 grouphead!


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