Hi everyone, my rancilio silvia is three years old I have never descaled, hardly ever turn it off, it now blows back hot water to the reservoir tank, depositing small black specs into the water, it won't brew from the group head, it pumps water from the group head with the filter basket empty and steam wand is dispensing water, when I open the steam valve it doesn't have as much pressure as it should, will a descale and a back flush help. I have replaced both thermostats on the boiler I thank you all in advance for any suggestions, regards Pete
SBDU machines like SIlvia were never designed to be left on for extended periods. If it was being used every 30 to 60 minutes, or having water pumped through the wand at those intervals, it would be OK, but it would still accelerate wear on the machine.
Remove the tip from the steam wand and check to see that it is clear of debris (the tip should unscrew from the wand). With the tip off CAREFULLY try the steam function. The removal of the tip may allow a bigger blast that will clear the line if there is a clog. The hot water back to the tank and inability to brew certainly means that water is getting by the pressure relief valve on the boiler. The small black specs could be a worry. That could be bits of scale or minerals from the water, or it could be flaking of the heating element.
All in all, if it were my machine, I would be disassembling the boiler for an inspection, cleaning, and possible replacement. If it gets to that point, you might as well overhaul the steam/hot water valve as well. If you are mechanically inclined, it is a relatively easy machine to work on.
Thanks for your advice, I will also take a look at the boiler, I have a very high regard for this machine, it has made never let me down in the past, I have made countless cappuccinos and lattes for myself and friends, and they have all said that they were the best they had ever tasted, regards, Pete
If you've never replaced the group gasket or taken off the dispersion screen, now's the time. If this is the case, toss the screen in the trash and get a new one form one of the many online parts suppliers (they're very cheap). Give your group a good scrubbing, and make sure it's all nice and clean before putting on the new screen and gasket.
I was addressing the specific reported problem, but emradguy brings up a good point: As you tear it down, make a list of parts. It should include: shower screen two group gaskets steam valve rebuild kit (two(?) O-rings and one cock gasket) Steam wand O rings (2) Boiler Gasket Silicone grease (Dow 111 or equivalent) for valve rebuild
Other possibilities will be new boiler top half and parts for over pressure relief valve. Additionally, with the thing torn that far apart, a PID might be in order...
MattINLA Senior Member Joined: 2 Oct 2009 Posts: 69 Location: Glendale Expertise: Professional
Posted Sat Apr 28, 2012, 6:32pm Subject: Re: rancillio silvia not pumping properly
You will need to open it up, inspect and clean the boiler put in new gasket. Hopefully your boiler bolts are not seized - a very frequent serious problem. If so, that's a major, major hassle. Why Rancilio shipped the Silvia with plain black 5 mm boiler bolts is a mystery - they start corroding almost instantly. I rebuild these machines all the time and replace these bolts with SS and so should you.
luckeepeet Senior Member Joined: 19 Mar 2011 Posts: 5 Location: australia Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Thu May 3, 2012, 2:51pm Subject: Re: rancillio silvia not pumping properly
That would be helpful to just replace the parts, where can I buy them? the retailer I have been using only sells the complete units, I would appreciate any assistance, thanks in advance, regards, Peter
yeah, as long as you have a bench vise. Second time I needed to rebuild the valve on my Silvia, I couldn't get the sucker apart (no, I don't have a bench vise - tho, I suppose I could have used some vise grips and c-clamps and figured something out). I ended up getting a whole new valve/articulating wand assembly (I wanted one anyways).
Parts: espressoparts.com; chriscoffee.com; seattlecoffeegear.com there are others too.
Also, calblacksmith did an entire Silvia rebuild, which he documented in detail. It'll may be helpful to you as well. I'd probably start by doing a search for silvia rebuild on this forum to find it. If you can't find it, he's on here a lot and can probably provide you with the link.
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