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5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
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alspresso
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Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 9
Location: texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Mazzer mini
Posted Mon May 21, 2012, 11:43am
Subject: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

Recently my Silvia has been acting up a bit and I am not sure why.  Began to produce virtually undrinkable shots, no crema and extremely long brew times, just seems to drip out. See photos ( poor drip and poor flow* which shows just water running without any grinds)   Tried backflushing, descaling, cleaning, to no avail.   Tried adjusting the grind on my Mazzer mini, again no luck.  The thermostat has tripped several times and most recently when I tried to get some steam from the boiler.  There is sometimes a small drip/we spot on upper right side of the boiler (see photo leak/drip) but I am unable to determine where it is coming from.   The area behind the brass fitting is where I see a small wet spot on the rim which encircles the boiler. there is rust on the connectors below as seen in the photo.   Checked thermostat with ohm meter and it checked ok.   Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated since my stove top espresso maker is just not cutting it.

alspresso: Screen shot 2012-05-21 at .jpg
(Click for larger image)
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,009
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon May 21, 2012, 12:25pm
Subject: Re: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

I don't own a silvia but based on what you said about leaks, no crema and long brew times it sounds like you don't have the pressure any more - probably caused by the leaks.  The tripping is also probably a result of the leaks.  I am sorry to say, I think you need to start tearing it down and cleaning it, replacing seals etc.  All that stuff that you did not want to hear.  Or maybe sell for parts and upgrade.... (wait, did I say that out loud?)

Good luck

 
Coffeenoobie

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Everman
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Everman
Joined: 25 Nov 2004
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Location: Coffee Land
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Valentina Levetta, Elektra...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 4:39pm
Subject: Re: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

The problem could be the pump, is water flow normal with an empty pf?  Can you test the brew pressure?
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alspresso
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 9
Location: texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Mazzer mini
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 10:35pm
Subject: Re: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

Not sure how to test pressure, you can see the water drip out in one shot.   does not seem to have much pressure.  any idea what is involved in finding out if it is pump and how to replace it?
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,009
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 7:39am
Subject: Re: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

Even if it is the pump you have to fix the leaks.  I suggest you fix the leaks and if that doesn't fix the issue then replace the pump.  If you replace the pump first you might replace a part that is not broken and you might have leak issues that can't or is not worth fixing.  Either way you need to do what I suggested one way or the other.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
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Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
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Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 8:14am
Subject: Re: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

If you bought that new, then my first thought is that it has been fed water high in mineral content and not been regularly descaled. The leaks at the boiler and the tripping of the thermostat point towards high levels of scale in the boiler leading to overheating, and possibly low water levels in the boiler from not refilling the boiler after steaming, and these factors damaging the boiler gasket or even warping the boiler. The scale build up and possibly lack of backflushing can clog brew paths causing low flow. The low flow could be casued by a scaled pressure relief valve being partially stuck open from scale as well.

Checking the thermostats with an ohm meter is not a good test. These either work or don't. This machine needs to be disassembled and the boiler and heating element checked after descaling off the machine. The 3-way and all other related brewing parts need to be cleaned and inspected. All gaskets need to be replaced. The pumps are generally very dependable and firve years of use is not that much, so that would be the last thing to check.

 
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,009
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 9:55am
Subject: Re: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

He is right, it needs a complete over haul to find all the issues, if you don't feel up to it, sell it for parts and upgrade.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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alspresso
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 9
Location: texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Mazzer mini
Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 10:27pm
Subject: Re: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

Thanks for the responses.    OK, only used water that has been put through water softener on max soft.  The leak I notice is not really a leak per se, but a tiny spot of water on the rim of the boiler that I can't seem to find out why or where.  I have descaled it but not on a monthly basis, perhaps every 4-5.   Tried backflushing, cleaning the solenoid assembly/valve - changed portafilter gasket, cleaned the dispersion and shower screen.  I was trying to bypass the inevitable, but guess I will have to tear it down.  I don't think that it overheated, but........     Thanks......
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,841
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
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Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 10:55pm
Subject: Re: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

descaling should normally be a once a year thing with a non HX machine, if the water was on the soft side, as you say.
Does the machine SOUND any different?

Randy (fcrn) is VERY knowledgeable regarding the Silvia. Perhaps, check out his website.
With all you've done, sounds like the consensus may be correct. A disassembly.

Good luck, and keep us up to date!

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
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JGG
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JGG
Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 1,375
Location: Kentucky, US
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: PID Silvia; PID Alexia
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Roaster: Hottop D w/HTC+TC4C
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 5:06am
Subject: Re: 5 yr old Silvia- unable to pull a good shot
 

The arrow in your photo points at the OPV in reference to the wet spot.  This suggests to me that the OPV may be central to the flow problems you are seeing.

While pulling a shot, lift the shorter of the two hoses out of the water reservoir.  This is the return line from the OPV.  Would be interesting to know how much water is being shunted back to the reservoir by your OPV.  Excess flow through the short tube would indicate an OPV adjustment or deterioration problem (and would explain the low flow you see at the group).

If you have low flow at the group and little or no flow through the return line, then your pump is probably bad.

Jim
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