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La Cimbali M21 Junior Stuck Portafilter

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  • La Cimbali M21 Junior Stuck Portafilter

    I have a La Cimbali M21 Junior and up until now had never had any problems. I decided to clean it using a new blind insert which I purchased from coffee fitted into the group perfectly and I had no problems inserting it into the head. I did a couple of sessions and everything went well but when I went to remove the group from the head it wouldn't budge. I tried everything I could think of then resorted to less gentle persuasion and used a hammer to gently tap the group in order to turn it enough to release it. This resulted in the handle of the group breaking off at the end leaving the stub of the screw still attached and it still won't budge. I need to know if there is anything I can do to remove the group.....this is getting desperate as this is my only source of coffee all know what happens when there is no coffee......please help!

  • #2
    I have an M21 and have never had a moment's trouble, so this is a first!

    First, let the machine cool to room temp. Just turn it off and walk away!

    Later, when it's cool, get the appropriate size allen key and loosen the three bolts holding the collar around the group head. A few turns of each bolt (don't forget the one at the back) should drop the collar enough to release the pressure on the group handle. Wiggle gentle and it should release.

    Hope this works!! I'm not a nice person without coffee


    • #3
      Thanks for that DTQ, just waiting on delivery of allen keys to give it a try. Fingers crossed


      • #4
        Presuming it is indeed unrelieved pressure that is preventing the group handle/portafilter from being taken off once it is off you'll need to determine why the 3-way valve did not work correctly.

        Java "Please release me let me goooo...." phile
        Toys! I must have new toys!!!


        • #5
          How did you go with this? Up and running again I hope


          • #6
            Ongoing saga......thanks so much for your advice, it worked and after a fairly forceful effort, the collar was loosened and the whole thing dropped out. There was a thick black gunk in the base of the blind group insert which I figured was the reason it got stuck....there was just no way that goop was going to get through the fine screen in the collar. At this point there was a decision made to take the rest of the thing apart and give it a thorough clean. This all went according to plan until I got to the small stainless steel screw which holds the screen and the brass ring in place. It is totally resistant to any efforts to unscrew it. Have even tried heating it with my little kitchen blow torch (works well for caramelising the tops of my cream brulees but not so with the stainless steel screw) so I am left with the remaining block to a thorough do I get this screw to release or do I just leave it and hope that the cleaning process up to this point will be sufficient. I feel that I will have to replace the seal in this at some point in the not too distant future and then I will have to address the problem again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


            • #7
              Ok, well pretty good so far, really

              To remove the shower screen, the short Stanley branded flat screwdriver with the yellow handle fits perfectly. Put on a pair of rubber gloves for grip, push up into the screw with both hands around the screwdriver, and twist to your left (this is anticlockwise, since the screw is upside down).

              If this is still not working, and the machine is cold, gently tap the screw a few times with a blunt instrument to break the seal on the thread (same as for a tight jar lid), then unscrew. I've never been unable to remove the screw, so I expect this should work.

              Since you already have the group head collar off, you can just cut off the group head seal, and replace with a new (correct angled) seal, available from many suppliers, including Coffee Parts. Mine lasted 10 years though, so there shouldn't be any real rush if you are using this at home.

              Lastly, always backflush with an appropriate powdered detergent on a regular basis. You will fill the small drain tray twice doing this procedure, but it's worth it.

              These machines are bullet proof, and you should have few, if any, problems with minimal but regular maintenance.

              All the best.


              Last edited by DoubleThreeQuarter; 22 June 2014, 07:41 PM.


              • #8
                Another way some have removed stuck shower head screws is by bending two sides of the show screen down (creating "wings") and turning those as well as using the screw driver. Replacement shower screen is only a few dollars.

                On my machine the seal goes hard every six months or so, but again it's quite cheap.

                Don't tighten the screw too much when replacing.

                Give everything a decent soak in coffee cleaner like caffeto.

                As above these machines are built like a tank and last for many years if looked after.