Rebuilding an Olympia Cremina 67 Espresso Machine
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 machines.
- 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 metric sets
- snap ring pliers.....for piston pin clips and rod seal clip
- 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 installing seals
- 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 one.....
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 fits in).
Olympia Cremina Steam Wand R&R
- 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 ring.
- 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: