Rebuilding an Olympia Cremina 67 Espresso
The Olympia Cremina was built to last, therefore it was designed
with rebuilding and repair in mind. Most times one is approaching a specific
problem, and in the case of lever machines this generally means a point source
leak, making the repair task evident. Other times one feels "it is time" for a
full rebuild to get the entire machine up to top operating condition and
generally to not worry about some future failure. This guide is based on our
personal experience rebuilding these machines and will hopefully be of some
benefit to the prospective rebuilder.
The Cremina basically has 4 separate rebuildable systems: steam
wand valve, group with piston, boiler, and sight glass. Of course, there a few
other incidental seal replacements such as the boiler cap gasket, but most
repair issues involve the big 4. This document covers the full rebuild process,
taking the machine down to its basic components, cleaning, and reassembly but
each area can be rebuilt by itself without approaching the others. We have
broken the directions down into chapters covering each of the 4 areas, with a
bit of errata. All of these tasks involve the removal and replacement of a
gasket (flat sealing element) or a seal (3 dimensional sealing element), along
with parts inspection, cleaning, descaling and reassembly.
Almost the entire rebuild can be accomplished with a Crescent
wrench, a couple of screwdrivers, a hammer and a 5mm hex allen wrench......or
some combination of tools that you just happen to have lying around, but for
good fit and minimized possibility of damage to the machine we recommend the
following tool kit:
- 17mm open end wrench....for the large nuts on sight glass and
top brass main steam channel
- 15mm open end wrench....for steam wand and steam to boiler
connection on some machines
- 12mm open end wrench for steam to boiler connection on some
- 30mm open end wrench...for top boiler nut (if too tight),
generally a large crescent wrench as the 30mm is generally not one found in most
- snap ring pliers.....for piston pin clips and rod seal
- flat head screwdrivers, large and small.....for steam wand
valve and front stainless panel screws
- wood, plastic or rubber mallet..for driving out
piston/dispersion screen and loosening/tightening nuts
- 5mm hex wrench (allen)...for group mounting cap bolts and
boiler cap bolts
- seal chasing tool...blunt probe tool to aid in removing and
- miscellaneous items such as small wood dowels in case of a
stuck piston pin, pointed tool to gouge out portfilter seal, needle nose pliers
if needed and it is always good to have a skill knife handy
- DOW 111 lubricant for assembly lube
- and most of all PATIENCE!!!!!
General Thoughts and Hints
If your machine has an unknown maintenance history you are
approaching a blank page. Some if not all of the nuts and bolts may be
overtightened and difficult to break loose and remove. Very old seals may be
hard and brittle, almost appearing to be metallic and may need to be chipped or
chiseled out of the machine. Scale usually does not interfere with disassembly
but will hinder assembly. Approach all stainless panels with care, as a
scratched panel will ruin your whole day. Approach the task like a
surgeon....have a nice clean work area to begin, as it will get cluttered and
have rags on hand as well as a container for small parts. And you may find it
helpful, though annoying, to take pictures of critical assemblies before you
begin since you may not be assembling the machine for a few days, long enough to
become confused and end up with a few leftover parts, always a bad sign. And
have your new parts on hand and ready...it's installing the new stuff that is
the best part of the rebuild.
Notes: All screws, bolts and nuts loosen conter
clockwise (CCW) and tighten clockwise (CW). There are no reverse threaded bolts.
R&R means Removal and Replacement. Obviously cleaning, descaling, polishing
and general housekeeping should be done on all parts before assembly, and this
will not be specifically mentioned in the instructions. The photos below are
thumbnail pictures - click on the photo to see a larger view!
So, it's time to get to work so let's start with an easy
Olympia Cremina Boiler Cap Seal R&R
- Indications: Seal hard when probed with finger or screwdriver.
Steam escaping at cap.
- Tools Required: small screwdriver or seal tool
A simple task....pry out the old seal, or cut out if needed.
Install the new seal and seat all around the edge with your
seal chaser or screwdriver (there is a shoulder inside the cap which this seal
Olympia Cremina Steam Wand
- Indications: water dripping from wand, steam escaping around
knob, knob difficult to close or will not close.
- Tools Required: 17mm wrench, large flat tip screwdriver, small
flat tip screwdriver, seal chaser.
- Remove the white knob center disc by pushing aginst one edge
with a finger. This should pop up the opposite edge....you can use a small
wooden stick for more leverage if need be..
- Remove the knob screw with large flat tip screwdriver.
- Pull knob straight off, sometimes helped by a wiggling motion.
- Remove the large brass nut using 17mm wrench.
- Using the knob lightly applied, turn the valve CCW until it
coasts in the socket. Pull Knob out with fingers (may seem a bit stuck)
- Remove the small brass screw on the end which holds the flat
bibb washer in place. NOTE!!!!!!! Every machine we have rebuilt so far has this
screw VERY tight and difficult to remove. The brass is much softer than your
screwdriver and can be ruined quite easily leaving you with no screw to replace.
Make sure your screwdriver bit is a perfect fit in this slot. If it does not
break free after a conservative effort on your part chip or cup out the seal and
soak the screw and socket overnight in penetrating oil, then try again. If you
are having trouble holding the rotating socket while you try to turn the screw
you may rig up a pair of pliers with some rubber or cloth padding to protect the
brass socket. If you have damaged the slot, then try a plier to hold the head
and turn it out (then off to the store and hope to find that special little
screw). With some patience, it should come out fine, JUST BE CAREFUL!!!!
NOTE: A tip on that steam valve bibb washer and pesky screw.....the last couple
of times we have dealt with that issue, particularly when the bibb washer is
rock hard, instead of chipping out the old seal we used a propane torch to burn
out the seal (holding the valve body with a pliers). Not only does this
shortcut the removal of the old hard washer but seems to provide enough heat to
loosen the screw at the same time. This saved us a lot of worry and struggle
to get both the old washer and the screw out in one step.
- Slip off the old O ring.
- Clean the brass valve, inspect all parts.
- Install the new O ring and apply thin coat of DOW 111 to the
- Install the valve bibb washer. The screw head should be
slightly "buried" in the surface of the rubber seal with no parts sticking up
past the plane of the seal face.
- Screw the valve back into the housing.
- Install large brass nut.
- Install knob and large screw with washer.
- Pop the while disc back in place.
- Enjoy the feeling of finger tip control as you tightend the
knob, but don't smash it....your valve is factory new and you won't need to
hammer down on that knob anymore!!
Go to Olympia Cremina Rebuild Instruction Manual Part 2 for Group, and Piston Seals