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Thread: La Cimbali Junior Type R restoration

  1. #1
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    Question La Cimbali Junior Type R restoration

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello CoffeeSnobs!

    A long time reader in the dark. Over the past couple years I've grown to love working with coffee, grinders and machines and im finally here with real questions. I have done basic restores of vintage single boilers: first an 80s German-version Saeco Aroma, then i found I 1970s KRUPS/Gaggia Baby in beautiful white for $5. Both are almost like new now! But both I did with no help, which definitely wasn't the best route... I learned A LOT though, and had to learn how people solved this more dramatic problems (like how easily brass tubes break, and what to do after that...)

    But now I have bigger fish to fry and I really need some help to make sure I dont wreck my prize. I found this La Cimbali Type R on craigslist, and ended up scooping it for the bargain price of $150. She listed the steam as not working, but so far... so good. The machine works! But not without its problems.



    I've already started cleaning what I can get to without a full disassembly... should have snapped one right at the start! Trust me, there was way more black, green and red. Nothing a brass brush/dezcal couldnt handle so far though. Made me excited when I got the brew head all sparkly and back on!



    The potential is definitely there!




    I have found really helpful threads scattered around the net (such as : https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...unior-r-2.html ) but I still need some help. This model is heavily under-documented and predates the S/1, mid to late 90s i believe. Very simple manual function, the full modern machine is there sans extra electronics. A vibe pump and a reservoir make it a little different than what most Cimbalis people are dealing with though, and make it perfect for me to work on. I've seen most of this stuff in simpler machines.

    1) Leaking 3-way solenoid. Very little info on the solenoid to correctly identify it... At brew pressure, the solenoid leaks at a few points around the coil and around the securing night before the drain pipe. The top nut is glued on with rust and spins the internal column when cranked, making it feel impossible to remove. The solenoid body can be manipulated to get to the hex screws homding it to the group head. Since I cant open it so far, I ordered a whole new valve guide and body to replace. My question i suppose is how likely is it that a valve guide "breaks"? Should I just work hard to get that top nut off and replace the coil? I am resisting spraying a chemical rust release as I dont want that nead anything Ill intake, but I guess I would give it a full clean once its off... For now the complete replacement is on the way and can be returned if I don't need it.

    LEAKS ARE WHERE THE SCALE BUILDUP IS! Some on backside, and also leaks from top nut.




    2) Many brass screw joints are locked together by calcium and scale, particularly those directly attached to the boiler. While I would love to do a full restore, I'd rather have a working machine. I'm afraid of the condition of the brass under these monstrous crystal growths (especially due to the color of rust coming through) and am hesitant to descale them with the fear that they will be hard to fully seal again. Am I crazy? Should I just descale and tape?





    Otherwise, there is just rust and dirt... not too bad for the age! A few things to replace here and there, but not points of contention. They will happen over time. Someone at some point cared for this thing on its journey. I have a lot of plans for cosmetics, but as my first time working inside a big machine like this, I really appreciate the help.
    Last edited by Bachonga; 1 Week Ago at 08:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    I have this machine, but it is badged as a Faema e98 compact. Same electrical setup with the two rotary switches on the front base.
    The only part to have failed on my machine has been the brew solenoid. If it was me, on your machine I would remove and replace the entire solenoid, then maybe descale the original and hang onto it as a spare. Given the amount of scale at the joints of your pipework Im guessing that solenoid is probably gummed up inside. You mentioned you bought this on Craigslist, Im guessing you are in the US? Is your machine running on 110V?
    Given my machine is running on 240V my setup is possibly different to yours. For what its worth my brew solenoid was a Sirai brand [Sirai Type ZA32A, V220-240 Hz 50] but I replaced it with a Parker. I feel maybe the Parker sticks a little more than the Sirai but it doesn't really effect the functionality and it reminds me to keep up with the back flushing.
    As for the pipe joins with the scale and rust, those joins should be just copper and brass components, I'm not sure where the rust would be coming from. Looking at the photos Id say a full rebuild really needs to be undertaken. All the leaking joins need to be cleaned and re seated or they will continue to leak and cause problems down the track.
    Good luck with the project. Once it is up and running the machine is a very dependable one and capable of making great coffee.

  3. #3
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    Great. This sounds strikingly similar, especially since the solenoid is the only broken part. It is 120v though.
    Here's the (newly buffed) front panel showing Type R.





    Thank you for your experience Aaron! Portafilter to check pressure and brew solenoid en route, and I will definitely scour for "e98 compact."

    And for the threads, that's what I found weird as well. But I started to clean off the crystals and it doesnt seem tooo bad. I have loosened all the top-side fittings except the hot water tap, which is proving to require a lot of force. My plan is to apply some dezcal daily and give them a twist; if it doesn't work, keep applying dezcal daily until I can get it to budge.

  4. #4
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    Heat is a great persuader, Hit it with a gas torch (carefully) heat the fitting then carefully apply some force with a correctly sized spanner. It might take a few goes but the cycle of hot and cold helps to fracture the scale.

  5. #5
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    Thats a great suggestion and will give it a try as soon as I get better access to the insides! I havent heard that tip before.

    Aaron, do you know what parker solenoid you chose? Obviously yours is 220-240v, but the wattage is what I was more concerned with. I made sure to buy a conical valve to fit the fitted brass tube connection, but couldnt tell at all if it was 9w or 24w. Went with 9. Also could not tell if the OEM solenoid was a "lucifer". By the looks it was an Italian company that is neither parker or lucifer, but I can find 0 information on the one I have.

  6. #6
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    Because info is so split up across websites on this specific machine, I will post any links im using. The one below has some great info and awesome clean-up pictures. I had planned to paint my frame white as well!

    https://www.home-barista.com/espress...lp-t31532.html

  7. #7
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    Aaron, I just gave a go at the torch on the fitting. Didnt budge this time but I'll keep hitting it a few times a day when I have spare minutes. Any advice to an approx heat? I got it to just about where I couldnt touch it, was scared to go much above that. Don't know where all the o-rings are yet...

  8. #8
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    Hotter than that, Heat until it smokes but don't let it get much beyond a very dull red hot.
    pipe joins are generally metal to metal, with no gasket.
    Try giving it a few sharp taps when its hot to break up the scale.
    Last edited by Aaron; 1 Week Ago at 01:40 PM.

  9. #9
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    For the solenoid, take a look at the coffee parts diagrams for Faema and La Cimbali:
    they give model numbers for Parker and Lucifer solenoids - 240 and 110V
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bachonga likes this.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    A much larger collection of diagrams and listing of parts for specific machines can be found here.


    Java "More data!" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    For the solenoid, take a look at the coffee parts diagrams for Faema and La Cimbali:
    they give model numbers for Parker and Lucifer solenoids - 240 and 110V
    Unfortunately this model predates those diagrams I believe. The brand on the solenoid is SCEM, as seen above.
    According to the diagrams I did get a proper replacement though, and I guess I'll find out if the old valve fits the Parker soon enough!

    I really appreciate the help with the diagnostics and can't wait to post the progress. And I'll get around to posting my older machines soon!

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    FYI only the very first pic you linked to shows up. Now that you have picture posting permissions it would be a good thing to upload them directly to here.


    Java "Pics good!" phile
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  13. #13
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    What a shame I can't edit the post. Is there a 24 hour limit here? Also, the photo-uploader on site kept flipping and rotating... Let's see if this new site works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bachonga View Post
    Hello CoffeeSnobs!

    A long time reader in the dark. Over the past couple years I've grown to love working with coffee, grinders and machines and im finally here with real questions. I have done basic restores of vintage single boilers: first an 80s German-version Saeco Aroma, then i found I 1970s KRUPS/Gaggia Baby in beautiful white for $5. Both are almost like new now! But both I did with no help, which definitely wasn't the best route... I learned A LOT though, and had to learn how people solved this more dramatic problems (like how easily brass tubes break, and what to do after that...)

    But now I have bigger fish to fry and I really need some help to make sure I dont wreck my prize. I found this La Cimbali Type R on craigslist, and ended up scooping it for the bargain price of $150. She listed the steam as not working, but so far... so good. The machine works! But not without its problems.



    I've already started cleaning what I can get to without a full disassembly... should have snapped one right at the start! Trust me, there was way more black, green and red. Nothing a brass brush/dezcal couldnt handle so far though. Made me excited when I got the brew head all sparkly and back on!



    Cleaned the side of the boiler. The potential is definitely there!





    I have found really helpful threads scattered around the net (such as : https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...unior-r-2.html ) but I still need some help. This model is heavily under-documented and predates the S/1, mid to late 90s i believe. Very simple manual function, the full modern machine is there sans extra electronics. A vibe pump and a reservoir make it a little different than what most Cimbalis people are dealing with though, and make it perfect for me to work on. I've seen most of this stuff in simpler machines.

    1) Leaking 3-way solenoid. Very little info on the solenoid to correctly identify it... At brew pressure, the solenoid leaks at a few points around the coil and around the securing night before the drain pipe. The top nut is glued on with rust and spins the internal column when cranked, making it feel impossible to remove. The solenoid body can be manipulated to get to the hex screws homding it to the group head. Since I cant open it so far, I ordered a whole new valve guide and body to replace. My question i suppose is how likely is it that a valve guide "breaks"? Should I just work hard to get that top nut off and replace the coil? I am resisting spraying a chemical rust release as I dont want that nead anything Ill intake, but I guess I would give it a full clean once its off... For now the complete replacement is on the way and can be returned if I don't need it.

    LEAKS ARE WHERE THE SCALE BUILDUP IS! Some on backside, and also leaks from top nut.





    2) Many brass screw joints are locked together by calcium and scale, particularly those directly attached to the boiler. While I would love to do a full restore, I'd rather have a working machine. I'm afraid of the condition of the brass under these monstrous crystal growths (especially due to the color of rust coming through) and am hesitant to descale them with the fear that they will be hard to fully seal again. Am I crazy? Should I just descale and tape?





    Otherwise, there is just rust and dirt... not too bad for the age! A few things to replace here and there, but not points of contention. They will happen over time. Someone at some point cared for this thing on its journey. I have a lot of plans for cosmetics, but as my first time working inside a big machine like this, I really appreciate the help.
    Last edited by Bachonga; 1 Week Ago at 08:32 AM.

  14. #14
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    Faceplate with Model


  15. #15
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    Looks like the pictures are working for me! I will continue.

    So today I replaced the brew solenoid; Parker ZB09 110-120v 9w is a fit. Looks like the old valve guide would fit this Parker coil, but I'm just gonna stick with a new valve as well.




    Unforunately, a shipping mistake made it so I cannot use a PF gauge yet. I am pretty positive the pressure is 10bar+. It's pushing out coffee, but the flow looks high and the coffee is definitely more of a strong coffee than espresso. Some crema but not what we are looking for. I'll have to wait a couple days to find out.

    As a result I am already preparing to adjust the OPV. However, whoever did the work last used teflon to tape the adjustment screw in... its proving very hard to turn, and is actually turning the entire OPV at the adjoining T-connector rather than moving the adjustment screw. I looked through the diagrams, but none so far show the OPV itself... I assume this is because many of the new models are rotary pumps rather than vibe.




    My question is whether this entire OPV piece just unscrews from the T? It budged a bit when I tried to adjust the screw, but then became very hard to turn. Since there is no diagram, I do not know if it is supposed to come apart. You can tell I'm trying to be very careful... In my past machines, breaks were a total pain and sucked money out of upgrades.

    If it can come apart, I'll do that before gripping the OPV to try to turn the adjustment screw loose. Otherwise I'll start to look at more sensitive options.

    (P.S. Cleaned a little brass to get an idea of how good everything will look... day by day.... !)




    Thanks a lot you guys. I am really happy I signed up! Java, I have read many of your posts! You're a good man, with a great brain. A pleasure to finally be talking.
    Dimal, Javaphile and level3ninja like this.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Good to see you figured out a way to get pictures up Bachonga. However we really do strongly encourage people to upload directly to here as one of the hard learned lessons over time is that picture hosting sites regularly change their addressing structure and as a result all the previous links break and the pictures on sites that had linked to them disappear with no warning.

    In case you haven't seen them there's a couple of threads about posting pictures on here you may find helpful:
    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/off-topic...-sideways.html
    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/off-topic...e-posting.html


    Java "Looking forward to following your project!" phile
    kelvin8r and Bachonga like this.
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  17. #17
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    Got the next small load of parts and will be posting some update pictures once the OPV is redialed.

    Speaking of OPV (expansion valve), I found this thread: https://www.home-barista.com/espress...ng-t31644.html


    With this picture:
    18159_photo.jpg

    I had to look through a lot of rebuilds to find my exact one. Seems like they switched to a different one pretty quick. As soon as I saw the threads, I gave a push and screwed mine right off.

    Anyway, I took mine apart and it might be missing something... that metal bit inbetween the spring and the the valve screw (far right).

    It seemed to be working before... and doesn't look critical except for spacing. If anyone knows if it has a real function it would be much appreciated.
    Gonna give it a good clean and get it back on tomorrow to see how its working.

    EDIT - Not planning to if everything is working, but a possible replacement that may open up the ability to add a brew pressure gauge: http://www.cafeparts.com/10-Bar-Expa.../Product/12612
    Interesting that it says rated for only 10bar max though.
    Last edited by Bachonga; 4 Days Ago at 05:09 AM.



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