1974 La Cimbali Eleva

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IamOiman
Team HB

#1: Post by IamOiman »

One of the machines from my recent lot purchase, this is my first La Cimbali machine. What I find particular about the Cimbali Eleva is how small and light the machine is. I can easily move it myself with no issues, and I estimate the whole machine weighs maybe 20-25kg max.

The condition of the machine is pretty good, but very dusty and dirty. I am not seeing much rust on the frame or the boiler bolts. The group cover is a coated metal piece while the black piece that covers the heating element is plastic. The grouphead appears to use the M15 piston and seals thankfully, however during initial inspection I realized the group inlet is fully plugged with scale deposits.









The body panels are attached to the frame only on the front via ten screws, two of which are on top and require the cup housing rails to be removed first to access them. The metal group cover is attached only by one screw on the front of the group, and the plastic cover is held by two screws to the backsplash.



In this state the machine is super light. My Eleva does not have the gas burner, just electric only. There is only one pipe that connects to the boiler (the water inlet). The water level, manometer, steam + hot water valves, heating element, and grouphead all attach to the boiler lid in the front. There is a wobbler weight that came with the machine but it is missing the pin that the weight normally rests on and I did not find it inside the machine so I am probably SOU. The combined power of the heating element is 1300W (500W + 800W). As a side note if a new heating element is necessary Nuova Simonelli uses the same flange as the Cimbali Eleva, and there is a 110V 1500W option available (there is also a 220V 2700W if you really want that quick heat up time).





The first thing I thought of is how simple it is inside. Nothing beyond the minimum necessary, utilitarian I would say. When I do begin to dissasemble it fully I will be interested to see how it compares to very pleasant to work on San Marco 6X.
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

bgnome

#2: Post by bgnome »

She's definitely a beauty! Thanks for sharing.

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IamOiman (original poster)
Team HB

#3: Post by IamOiman (original poster) »

My pleasure. I make these posts to show others my findings but also helping me remember where things go during reassembly 8)

Continuing forward, I popped off the lower chrome piece that holds the portafilter gasket. It is held by three oddly shaped bolts that are conical to center the part easily in place. They have a strange head size at 11mm. I was hoping to take off the lower group too but it was pretty stuck to the lid, so I focused on removing the backsplash. This involves a few parts to come off. First the hot water and steam valves came off. There are two bracket plates behind each valve for support. The water sight cover attaches via two screws, but it cannot easily come off without removing the backsplash so I left it dangling for the time being.





With all of these parts off the backsplash was only held by four M6 bolts that connect the lower front frame to the main assembly. I took off the water inlet pipe from the boiler too. At this point I carried the machine downstairs for further work. The bolts came loose with some effort, they were awkward to reach, and oddly enough only the lower bolt on each side had a nut in addition to threading into the frame assembly. With the backsplash off you can see the two square brackets that support each valve.




I tried take off the pipes but they were oddly stuck even after undoing the nuts going into the lid. I decided to work on them after taking off the lid. The boiler nuts loosened without much issue, as did the heating element nuts. In the process I discovered there was some water still in the boiler that I prompty removed with my drain siphon.





The lid came off with some poking with a pick, and the inside is surprisingly clean. Hardly any scale is present and really contradicts the plugged group inlet. The boiler can slip off through the front side once the lid is off.





The lid is pretty wild looking with all the pipes and pieces attached.





I got the heating element off first followed by the lower group casting. I made note of the date on the group, and this machine is dated from New Year's Day of 1974. The tubes really fought me coming off. They are attached via hemp packing, and there is a small divot for the tubes to be better secured by that hemp. I eventually managed to get everything off but the manometer after 1 hour. The manometer has a strange hex size that is bigger than 17mm but smaller than 18mm or even 11/16 inch. I don't want to round off the nut so I stepped back from that to think of an alternative solution. Part of the issue is there is not enough clearance to sneak my knipex pliers in or adjustable wrench that I possess.








From here I need to get that manometer off so I can clean the lid properly. I also would like to remove the old studs if possible. Despite its simplistic look the machine was not super fun to take apart compared to the LSM 6X I just did a few days ago. I felt like the machine was fighting me a few times and had to force it to play nice.
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

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IamOiman (original poster)
Team HB

#4: Post by IamOiman (original poster) »

The manometer came off with an oil strap wrench on the casting to get the necessary grip. There is a tube that pops out through the lid but it needed to be bent to fit, not really meant to be serviced often.




The three gaskets on the lid were very baked on (and suspicious in terms of material...). I have been scraping and poking each one off with picks and hobby knifes. Water use has been plentiful. As of now I only need to work on the big boiler gasket, and it is really not fun to do.






I was a little confused initially what material of the lid was made of. Originally I thought it was pot metal like some earlier Gran Luce machines, then based off of the grey color, an aluminum alloy. I lightly wire wheeled a section to still show a grey/silver color on the surface. However it felt pretty hefty to be aluminum, so I just wire wheeled with more force in a few areas to reveal brass underneath a really heavy duty plating. I had to press pretty hard to take it off in a small spot. This made things easier for me as I knew I could do a citric acid cleaning and have better luck removing some of the studs.





The studs mentioned above are the three group studs. I considered removing the heating element studs but they are in pretty good condition and don't want to risk a sheared stud(s). Two of the M10 group studs could be taken off after heat and double (well triple in my case) nut method, but the last most rusty looking one fought me. I decided to try out the stud removal tool used by Mingiunate with his 1957 Urania 2nd gen refurb. It worked really nicely actually, just about a second of impacting from my little 12V impact driver loosened the stud from the threads. I could still thread a nut onto the removed stud too. In the future there is a set of stud removing sockets sold by ABN I want to try as well for smaller studs.




-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

Pressino

#5: Post by Pressino »

Nice work. I was curious about the heavy plating used on the boiler and lid. Any idea why they built it like that, besides perhaps for appearance or on the theory that it would prevent tarnishing? I suspect that some of the corrosion you can see in inside the boiler around a couple of orifices is due to an electrolytic interaction between the plating material and copper pipes/fittings.

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IamOiman (original poster)
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#6: Post by IamOiman (original poster) »

I do not know why the lid was plated nor what the material could be made of. Perhaps for the latter it was to match the boiler color.
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

Tillamook

#7: Post by Tillamook »

Very beautiful machine. If it were mine, I would leave the group exposed.