*Attempting* to Service my Neighbor's Olympia Cremina

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
w3agle

#1: Post by w3agle »

Long story short, my neighbor learned I liked espresso and pulled his Cremina out of his kitchen cabinets and told me to play with it. It had clearly never been serviced so after a week of having fun with it I pulled the group head apart. I've watched tons of videos and been super cautious along the way. Now that I'm putting it back together it seems that I've done something wrong!

This machine was purchased from Cerini coffee in roughly the past 10 years (SN: 25.0582). I haven't seen any videos of people working on a Cremina that has the same internals as this one. I'm still pretty new to the game though so maybe I haven't looked hard enough yet.

When I pull the lever up I get an absolute deluge of water coming out of the shower screen. And then if I release the lever it's like the piston is pressed back down by pressure above it. The most likely thing I can think of is I have done something wrong with the piston seals allowing the water to get up behind the piston. I purchased this from orphan espresso: https://www.orphanespresso.com/Olympia- ... _5722.html

Step 14 of these instructions tells you which way to orient the channel in the piston seals (top one channel goes up, bottom one channel goes down). I wish I had taken a picture, but I'm 99% sure this is the way I put it together. The rings in the photo do seem more substantial than the ones I received, but they're still from orphan espresso so they should be good. https://www.orphanespresso.com/Olympia- ... 549-1.html

The only leak is a persistent drip from the shower screen while heating up. Does this give us any indication of what's going on?

imgur album with some random photos:

caeffe

#2: Post by caeffe »

w3agle wrote:Long story short.......
When I pull the lever up I get an absolute deluge of water coming out of the shower screen. And then if I release the lever it's like the piston is pressed back down by pressure above it. ..........

The only leak is a persistent drip from the shower screen while heating up. Does this give us any indication of what's going on?
I don't have a Cremina but do have a manual lever machine like it (Pavoni Europiccola) and spring lever (Elektra Microcasa)

What you describe is typical of a manual lever and is also typical of what happens when the piston seals need to be replaced; especially the part where you get a drip while warming up. This happens whether you have a manual or spring lever - I've experienced this with both machines and seal replacement will fix it. Sometimes, the seals may expand after warm up and the dripping will stop but dripping indicates worn seals.

The Cremina your neighbor has is the newer upgraded ~ 2000 version - not like the 1967 version. Looks like nieghbor also has the matching Olympia grinder. See here: Olympia Cremina Review
LMWDP #162

w3agle (original poster)

#3: Post by w3agle (original poster) »

That makes sense. I guess I'll wait for more cremina owners to chime in. I just replaced all of these seals as part of the service so I don't think they're worn. Orphanespresso also seems to have a really good rep, so I doubt they are subpar components. I think what's most likely is they are just not a good fit on my newer model machine. I probably should have just ordered this set from cerini: https://www.cerinicoffee.com/products/o ... 1390-30-40

I'm already like $50+ into this pro bono gig and I've gotta stop the bleeding. If it comes down to it I'll pay the $82.50 for the cerini stuff though.

pizzaman383
Supporter ♡

#4: Post by pizzaman383 »

This is eventually going to cost you the purchase price of a new or used cremina! :wink:
Curtis
LMWDP #551
“Taste every shot before adding milk!”

Marmot

#5: Post by Marmot »

Was it a struggle to get the first seal into the grouphead when you pushed the piston with new seals back in?
Usually you have to carefully press the upper seal in all around to get it into the grouphead.
Taking out the piston is a fairly fast and easy task so I would certainly check it and maybe post a picture here. Water coming out of the filter screen usually means it can get past the lower seal so there must be a leak there.
This machine and grinder are of the newest generation which are very expensive and it is certainly worth it getting it to work again.

w3agle (original poster)

#6: Post by w3agle (original poster) »

Yes I had to carefully take a prodding tool (?) to poke the entire circumference of the lower seal inside the grouphead chamber before the piston would insert. It seems like a good seal. It's possible I put them in backwards though. Top and bottom can be confusing if I'm holding the thing upside down.

I'll pop it off and check that orientation as well as get photos asap. I'll be out of pocket for a few days starting this Sunday but may get to it before then.

Marmot

#7: Post by Marmot »

The seals have to point outwards and it sounds like you installed them right.
Since you put new seals in it should be tight. One possibility I can think of is that you turned the seals around while pushing them over the piston so they are inside out.
Anyway we will wait for you to post pictures. These machines live forever and all you ever have to change are the seals.
For many people the Cremina is the best espresso machine available. You can get much better results than with a normal pump machine.

w3agle (original poster)

#8: Post by w3agle (original poster) »

Updated pictures as of right now. I'm not putting it together again until I have a better idea of what I'm doing wrong. I've already lost one gasket from repeated removal.






mikel

#9: Post by mikel »

I think I'd need to see what you mean by 'gushing', to get a better idea.
The only leak is a persistent drip from the shower screen while heating up. Does this give us any indication of what's going on?
As for the persistent drip, you might try tightening the screw on the bottom of the piston really hard. Some water may be getting between the piston rod and the piston till it warms up enough.

The other possibility is the gaskets aren't tight for that newer type piston. If water gets pass the gaskets on both sides of the piston, you might get what you are observing.

DJF

#10: Post by DJF »

Mike's suggestion is spot on but if leaks persist take the seals off (carefully after soaking in hot water) then wind Teflon tape around the piston until it will raise the seals about a mil. This will have the effect of simulating a fatter seal.
"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I don't think so."