Olympia Cremina: extracting a broken sight glass

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

#1: Post by BeMitica »

Hi All,

So I got a Cremina (to borrow the wording of the wise). Some work needed, including a leak at the base of the sight tube. I tried to follow very carefully the instructions I found here to dislodge the sight tube (planning to change all seals and gaskets).

I suspect that I broke it while attempting to turn it. Or it was already broken. Doesn't matter at this point... here is what I see:

A ring-shaped break, at the top, inside the upper cross bar.

I sourced a new sight tube. Now my question:

How do I safely remove the broken tube?

It feels rather stuck. Do I have to go nuclear and break it completely? I am hoping for a less messy solution...

Supporter ♡

#2: Post by pizzaman383 »

When this has happened to me I have broken it out in pieces. I am hopeful someone else will have a better suggestion.
LMWDP #551
“Taste every shot before adding milk!”


#3: Post by Sw1ssdude »

Have you tried inserting a hook, grabbing the rim of the tube, and pull out?

Adding a spritz of lubricant (WD-40, soapy water, brake cleaner, rubbing alcohol, olive oil, lard...) and wiggling will help getting it out of the petrified rubber gasket.

Just make sure you were protective eyewear.
Lean Mean Caffeine Machine


#4: Post by gabe_herz replying to Sw1ssdude »

I will second the protective eye wear, and be sure to work near a surface that will be easy to clean up broken glass. Definitely not near carpet or a rug! Good Luck!

BeMitica (original poster)

#5: Post by BeMitica (original poster) »

Thank you pizzaman583, Sw1ssdude and gabe_herz.

After trying again to push the tube up with increasing degrees of controlled violence, I had indeed to break it off. Successfully extracted all pieces, now I only need to extract the fossilized seals somehow. Perhaps I'll wait for the replacement seals to arrive, so that I see what they even look like! (Not much is recognizable in the seat of the sight tube anymore...)

Thank you for the advice to wear googles, despite all my precautions the tiny shards still find their way to escape!

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#6: Post by drgary »

You can heat fossilized seals with a small torch in a well-ventilated area. They become easier to remove with a picking tool that you can get at a hardware store.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

BeMitica (original poster)

#7: Post by BeMitica (original poster) replying to drgary »

Thank you!

Actually I have the same problem with the two copper crush washers. The one on the safety valve is stuck to the valve, and the one opposite the steam wand is stuck to the frame. Here are pictures of that one.

On the second picture you can see both the o-ring on the steam wand side (top), easy to pry off, and the copper washer opposite (bottom), stuck very hard!

I don't have a torch. I tried with a very small screwdriver, but the copper seems really crushed into place... any clever tricks?


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#8: Post by drgary »

I was thinking of a small butane torch you can get at a hardware store. You would turn the flame down and use the tip of the flame to focus on a small work area.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

BeMitica (original poster)

#9: Post by BeMitica (original poster) »

It worked, finally, with some violence... all seals removed, the last one standing was the crush washer on the OPV:

Heat, then a punch and no mercy. Soon ready to start the rebuild!