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Thread: What have I done? (Cimbali Jr thread)

  1. #1
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    What have I done? (Cimbali Jr thread)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I lucked(?) into a very reasonably priced La Cimbali yesterday, problem was, the guys son was selling it for him and all he knew was that when they pulled it out of their pizza shop, it was running.Tthe outside looked ok, group was gunked up beyond belief but I had driven all the way their, so I took a gamble. Now it is up to the community to tell me if that gamble will pay off! I got the covers off the old girl this evening and although there is no rust, the mould is incredible! I would hate to imagine what was happening in the pizza shop, I assume the fungi pizza was their specialty. I have not plugged it in at all yet as I don't have the correct connections to get water into it and also, I am not sure what the procedure is. If anyone can let me know what the first steps towards a rebuild should be I would be most appreciative! It obviously needs a good clean but is there anything I should do to check the state of it. It really does look ok besides the mould, I'm just not sure how to assess the componentry. Also, I can't find any sort of model identification code or serial numbers, the only stickers on it have worn off so can anyone help me with dating it?
    Thanks and enjoy the pics!











  2. #2
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Doesn't look that bad from the pics. If it's just dirty outside the components then it's ok. Clean it up. Pull the collar off , clean the group. You could take out the element to assess scale.

    I would give it a good clean and fire it up. Pretty sure the model you have, the water feeds the small tank that the pump then pumps out from. So you could just keep ripping that up so you can test it.

    Cheers

  3. #3
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Hi artman, thanks for your reply.
    The mould seems to have permeated everything. The entire floorpan is covered along with most of the wiring.

    It really does look like it is ok besides that, the electronics box is completely clean and dry and there is no scale inside the steam wand or hot water tap. It is just everything else that is covered in mould, and now that a bit of water has dripped on the mould, it STINKS.

    So, I am going to take it all the way down as that is the only way I am going to get rid of this mould, there was no way I was getting it clean otherwise. The boiler is stamped 1997 so there's that question answered. If any of my photos look interesting I will upload them after the stripdown.
    Now, once more unto the breach

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    Senior Member saoye's Avatar
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    Soaking everything in descale solution should clean it all up. I guess your disappointment level or elation level really depends on how much you paid for it. These are solid machines built with quality material and with better care (mechanically) will outlast you.

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    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Oh, you mean like this

    It was actually in really good nick besides the mould and some black scale inside the boiler which I can't seem to get rid of. Any tips?
    For now it is in a million pieces on my shed floor and bench while I await a parts delivery. My children may actually get to see me today!
    E-Gene and Stickleback like this.

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    Hi I wish you all the luck in the world with this machine as I "bought it first". The guy selling was a really nice guy and let me have it for a a night to see if I could get it to run from a reservoir instead of plumbing. Needless to say that the machine worked from mains and not( At least I couldn't) from a hacked bottle. In an old post here Java said that he had got his and seen others running off tanks. Oh well!!
    The mould was incredible but when I did extensive research on the net( and calls to the importer to see if it would run on a "tankl")the machine internals looked very reasonable.

    I was quite surprised at how upset I was having to return it and not getting to buy it and clean it up.

    Again best of luck. Looks like a great project for you.

  7. #7
    TOK
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    Bought cheap? Then "no problem".

    Its condition is pretty much par for the course for a machine coming form a commercial environment, and there is no need to "take it all the way down" if what you mean is a total disassembly.

    Some quite experienced people will remove the body panels, mark and photograph all the wiring, and remove, then take the bare machine out back and hose and brush/wash it down thoroughly including with whatever detergent they want to use. They then thoroughly hose it off and leave it for a week to dry off, use compressed air in nooks and crannies to make sure its dry etc. It should come up clean as a whistle. They then replace the wiring, hook up and test.

    My view would be to NOT disassemle stuff that ain broke and is just dirty.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    FYI the plastic water tank with all the probes running down into it is part of your volumetric dosing system. Yours had to be near one of the last production runs before Cimbali did away with that dosing system.


    Java "Still lovin' his Cimbali!" phile
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    I just missed out on this one! I was going to buy it as a back up machine for my mother in law. She has had her Jnr for nearly 30 years and it still runs a treat! I service it for her once a year and besides rebuilding the steam arm assembly the thing has been indestructible! Looks like a fun project man, you can buy connections and braided hose from bunnings and just lead the hose into a Brita filtered water jug to get it up and running. Just remember it has a manual boiler refill button to keep the boiler topped up. The gauge is on the left. If you need any advice or a free hand let me know, I live in Melbourne also and I know this machine from back to front. Good luck mate!

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    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Hi freddy123 and dans1982, thanks for leaving it for me! I seemed to have lost the photo but I decided that to really get rid of the mould I would completely disassemble it, that was before reading TOK's post. It is nice to have it in bits though so I really know what I have on my hands.
    Everything that looked safe to go in descaler did so for a couple of hours. The group parts all went into a bucket of urnex overnight and are looking great. The inside of the boiler, heat exchanger and the element have a lot of black scale that doesn't sem to be budging, any advice on how to get rid of it? A lot of it flaked off, and I scrubbed the element and heat exchanger as much as I could but it still looks really black. It is not possible for me to get my hands inside the boiler to scrub that.
    I have placed an order with coffeeparts.com.au for a few gaskets and a shower screen, besides that she is sweet. I cannot wait to get this thing back together!

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    Look's like its the same vintage as mine! Mind you, this week trying to replace my group head seal I didn't get it quite right, and when trying to redo it, managed to shear off a bolt in the group head

  12. #12
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dans1982 View Post
    Just remember it has a manual boiler refill button to keep the boiler topped up. The gauge is on the left.
    Are you sure? The reason I ask is that it has a probe going into the top of the boiler which I assumed was for the autofill. Thanks for the offer of help, I will be sure to pm you if I have any trouble and hopefully be able to reward you with a cracking brew!

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    The button between the two switches is the manual refill. My mother in laws is a bit older than yours but should be fairly similar in function.

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    The button between the two switches is the brew button. It. is an auto fill model.
    I know this as I have an identical model.

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    I stand corrected!

  16. #16
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Well, everything is looking nice and shiny onside now, my parts have all arrived (thanks Pedro) but I've hit a snag & I was hoping somebody who has done this rebuild may be able to give me a couple of pointers.
    I thought that I had photographed every piece of wiring I possibly could, however I have found this earth cable and I have no idea where it is supposed to clip to. There are two clips there, one clips to the cover of the electronics compartment, I can't for the life of me find a spade for the other one to go on. Amy clues?



    The other thing is, I don't know what that thing there is called, what it does, or where the hose from the back of it is supposed to go.



    Thanks, I can't wait to get this thing fired up!

  17. #17
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    The ground wire most likely connects to the panel that mounts near it. The hose is probably the one that connects the overpressure valve to the drain box. The overpressure valve is the brass part in the foreground of the picture. The nipple where the hose attaches is on the side away from the camera. There will be a similar nipple on the drain box.


    Java "Getting to know a new toy is so much fun" phile
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  18. #18
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    OK, I figured out that the spade the earth wire was supposed to connect to had snapped off, so have soldered it in place for now. The hose from the overpressure valve is connected, I have replaced the antivac valve (thanks Chris), my brother in law (sparky) has checked the electrics and now I think I am ready to fire it up. I currently do not have it plumbed in (it is in the shed) and am wondering what to do to prime the boiler. I assume if I switch it on, the element will switch on immediately and burn out if there is no water in the boiler? I can take it inside to plumb it in if required to fill the boiler, however I would like to bench test it in the shed before moving it inside.
    So, am I right in thinking that it is a BAD idea to turn it on without any water in the boiler, and if so, is there a way to fill it before the element turns on?
    Cheers

  19. #19
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    hJust realised that the autofill probably controls the element, correct? I think I'll just go ahead and try it out, wish me luck and thanks for the help!

    Edit: well, I plugged it in and switched it on for about 5 seconds. The pump didn't turn on so I switched it back off. I felt the side of the boiler after this and it was a little warm, so I guess I was wrong about the element not switching on. That, or my autofill is faulty, which could explain why the pump isn;t switching on I guess. I am out of time for today, will have another crack on my next day off.
    Last edited by magnafunk; 13th July 2014 at 05:51 PM.

  20. #20
    TC
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    If you're worried about a dry boiler and potential long fill time, the best option is to isolate the element and then try the the fill. If all goes well, power down and disconnect from the power and then bring the element back in.

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    +1 to above.

    However if you don't want to isolate element , then you can always remove a fitting on the top of the boiler (eg pressure relief valve) and manually fill the boiler using a small funnel, (and then reinstall removed fitting/valve).

    Obviously ensure power is isolated to machine prior to removing covers and accessing internals of machine

  22. #22
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Thanks that was my next idea when the brother in law is next over. For now I must spend some time with my partner and explain to her why I need to spend so much time on this machine when the gaggia ts works perfectly

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    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    That's a really good idea Mouldy, back to the shed with me.

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    Welcome, just remember not to overfill, you just want to ensure that the element is at least fully covered. That way, when you switch on you can see if auto fill is working without worrying about element.

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    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Well, I turn it on and hear the pump click and nothing happens. It looks like it takes the same Ulka pump as the Brasilia I have in the shed so I will try and swap pumps after the Brasilia has cooled down enough to disassemble...

    edit: Ok, so it isn't the pump, looks like I just have to have it hooked up to mains pressure to fill the doser. In other good news, it got up to 1 bar pressure and it had only sprung one leak. I released the pressure, put some teflon tape around the errant seal and it is now all sound. However, trying to run a shot through and water is spraying everywhere around the group. Have just replaced the gasket, maybe I have not seated it right, will check it again on next day off, when I will also be dragging the beast inside to see if she works!
    Last edited by magnafunk; 13th July 2014 at 08:51 PM.

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    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Group head may be gunked with coffee resin. Commercial-grade back flush may be required. Sometimes I remove the group and soak it in detergent and boiling water to loosen the old coffee oils.

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    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Addendum: replace shower as well.

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    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    ... and only because you look very handy at disassembly. A cleaned up group produces such good clean water.

  29. #29
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    OK, it's been a long time between posts, I have had plenty of other things on so this had taken a back burner. I have gotten the old girl reassembled and set up inside and it is making great shots. The water spraying out the group was simply because I was missing a screw! However after getting the grinder dialled in and learning to use the machine (the steam power is phenomenal!) I went and did a few things up the street and came home to about half a cup of water on the bench. Somehow I have lost a piece of the "dosing chamber" somewhere between disassembly, descale and reassembly. The problem is, I don't even know what I am looking for. There don't seem to be any parts diagrams around for this model, coffeeparts don't stock any bits for the dosing chamber and I have called Coffex who don't really sound interested in such an old machine. I was hoping somebody who has the same model can have look at the 2 photos and tell me what I am missing, and hopefully it is something that can be replaced with a generic or jury rigged part.





    There is something missing that goes between the inlet pipe and the nut that holds the chamber in and I have no idea what. Here is a photo of another guys resto that you can see something but it's hard to say what. (Image is from Izambard's rebuild thread on HB)



    Thanks everyone for the help so far.
    Last edited by magnafunk; 19th August 2014 at 10:45 AM. Reason: credit due

  30. #30
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Hard to say from the pics included but you would need at least one if not two washers. One between the nut and the chamber for sure I would think, and possibly another underneath the chamber. With-out at least the one you won't have a watertight seal there. Any material that is soft enough to form a watertight seal, designed for constant water exposure, and is food safe should do the trick. A silicone one should work nicely.


    Java "Long live Cimbali!" phile
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    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Slightly embarrassing but I think it is just one washer missing that was in my box of bits. Have half filled the chamber, will go out for dinner and see if it has leaked when I get home. Thanks again

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    Hi magnafunk, did you get your machine up and running yet?
    I think I need to start a new thread titled "What have I done too, Cimbali Jr" as I've just bought Sticklebacks broken one to try and get going
    Last edited by ausdb; 31st August 2014 at 11:06 PM. Reason: eye karnt spel ryt

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    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    She's running in my shed but have not got the doser to stop leaking yet. I reckon it is just a case of getting a thick enough o-ring, problem is, when I am not busy, I am lazy! What issues does yours have? It was all pretty straightforward, especially with the help around here (thanks everyone!)

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    Hi MF, I think I have a similar problem too some times but mine seems to be more time spent on forums than actually doing things.

    I bought it as one of the group collar bolts had sheared and the steam valve leaks a little. I've just started to tear it down and noticed that the boiler which had been repaired once before may also still be leaking but that's not insurmountable as I'm a fridge mechanic by trade and its a copper boiler.

    I wasn't planning on pulling the dosing chamber completely apart to descale it, but if you do want some pictures of what the washer /O-ring looks like I am more than happy to.

  35. #35
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Oh no, don't do that, yours may start leaking too!

  36. #36
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Well, it has been a while between shots, but the Cimbali is finally taking pride of place on the brew bench! The leak from the dosing chamber just needed a new washer and o-ring. I think that was the last thing to sort out.

    The steam wand drips a little so will rebuild that eventually, but for now I just want to enjoy it. It's going to take some practice steaming milk,this thing is an absolute beast! May need to hit up coffee parts for some different tips.

    Thanks everyone for all the great advice and Chris and Pedro for the parts, I may be asking one of you for a quieter pstat soon though!

    Excuse the tablet pic


  37. #37
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    So many hours work and it looks the same as it did in the first photo I posted!

    Edit: except it has that beautiful glowing green light :-)



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