La Cimbali Junior/R - Restoration

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.

#1: Post by Black-Wolf »

Hi all,

I've gotten this machine locally for 250€. Haven't opened it yet, she was forgotten for at least 6 years in a garage. Besides some minor visible rust, spider webs and the missing knobs the lights turn on when plugged.

The restoration that some of you guys in the forum have made on similar machines are amazing. I hope to be able to do the respectful honors you deserve for the knowledge shared.It seems that most of the models there are D/1. Are there any significative differences to this R version?

Is there a list of all the gaskets I should start to buy to replace the dried ones?

Here's the pics:


#2: Post by AllenBW »

Off the bat, grouphead gasket for sure, checkout the gasket on the heating element, if your lucky its teflon n awesome n not need in replacement... oh yeah and then the one that goes inbetween the hx and the boiler... hopefully that holds water, HOW EXCITING! i remember my first Cimbali Junior, yer in for ah lotta rewarding fun, send pictures of the brain box! (that thing under the drip tray)

Black-Wolf (original poster)

#3: Post by Black-Wolf (original poster) »

Today I had some time to start working on it. Just to clean and do a checkup.

Everything looks good on the "brainbox"

Here's the group head with the desintegrated gasket with and without the shower screen. The hex screws on the group are stuck I was unable to remove them gently.

Now for the spider's hotel and the heating blanket

The tubes of the reservoir also seem alright but I think I should replace them.

The heating element and the boiler (there was some water inside)

Even though I haven't plugged it in yet I feel rather confident that I will be able to make it work. No big concentrations of scale in sight :)

List of parts as of now:
  • Group head gasket
  • Heating element gasket
  • The water dispenser on the front
  • Heating blanket for the boiler
  • Blank basket
Anyone recommend a good european shop where I can get these parts?

Black-Wolf (original poster)

#4: Post by Black-Wolf (original poster) »

So I got back from my vacations and started working on the machine again.

Here's some more pics:

The group head is kinda of disgusting

And the boiler after removing the destroyed heat blanket:

Any recommendations about the best material to replace the old blanket?
Also found this site from Netherlands that sells replacement parts . Is it a safe site?
Sorry for all my questions but I am kinda of a newbie on doing this type of work.

Thank you for reading me :)


#5: Post by Sander1981 »

Congrats on the find, and look luck restoring it!
Also found this site from Netherlands that sells replacement parts . Is it a safe site?
I have ordered from them multiple times, as they have some hard-to-find gaskets, and I would again.

Kind regards,

Black-Wolf (original poster)

#6: Post by Black-Wolf (original poster) »

Where's an update on the project.

The Ulka pump was dead and it probably should because it was from the beggining of the 90s. Not sure if the old pressurestat was in working order but I've replaced to be safe. Here are the old parts:

Meanwhile I've placed the heating element and a few parts on a citric acid bath and scrapped the gunk on them. I forgot to took pictures of this part. I had to scrape off the old seal as you could see in the previous pictures was fused to the metal.

Here's the new pressurestat and the cleaned heating element in place:

And the new water pump:

Then I've hit a roadblock, the machine was not detecting that there was water in the reservoir. In the beggining this was working and after some search on the forum I've found a clue in this post that some water could have gone into the pressure switch making it fail. I took it out of the brainbox and after some jiggling some droplets of water came out. Not sure how they got there but after that I could hear the click by moving the dome in the reservoir.

With the heating element wires disconnected I've turned the machine on and started pumping water to the boiler. Then I've connected the heating element. The water started to heat up to the point I could hear it.
Then I've tried to pull some water from the group head:

At this point some hissing started, the anti-vacuum valve is not sealing preventing the pressure to build up. I've helped it seal with a screwdriver and let the pressure build up to about 0.8 bar, at that time opened the steam wand and was able to get steam and also some leaks between the boiler and the heating element.

At this point I've ordered a new anti-vacuum and safety valve even though the safety one looks to be in order. Very happy with my progress until now, can't wait to pull some espressos from this beast.

Any tips for emptying the boiler? Thinking about 1, 2 and 3 options, the logical one seems to be 1 to syphon the water out but I'm unable to unscrew it gently and when force is applied the boiler bends. Is it safe to apply force or should I try to unscrew one of the others?

Black-Wolf (original poster)

#7: Post by Black-Wolf (original poster) »

Well, I tilted the machine and emptyed the boiler through the anti vacuum valve exit.

Did some descaling:

And my first (single dose) coffee with it:

Very watery but I'm happy