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Thread: Silvia boiler replacement.

  1. #1
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    Question Silvia boiler replacement.

    Hi All.

    After just over 11 years of faithful service, Miss Silvia started tripping the RCD the other day when she got hot. A quick check revealed that the leakage current was coming from the heating element.

    I've got a new boiler coming, and just had a couple of questions for people who have done this.

    I've seen some recommendations to put gasket sealer or gasket former around the o-ring at the base of the boiler, but some sites don't mention it.
    Also, some people seem to recommend using thread sealer on the OPV/boiler connection.

    I was just wondering what people's experiences are with/without using these?

    Cheers,
    Brett.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brekel View Post
    Hi All.

    After just over 11 years of faithful service, Miss Silvia started tripping the RCD the other day when she got hot. A quick check revealed that the leakage current was coming from the heating element.

    I've got a new boiler coming, and just had a couple of questions for people who have done this.

    I've seen some recommendations to put gasket sealer or gasket former around the o-ring at the base of the boiler, but some sites don't mention it.
    Also, some people seem to recommend using thread sealer on the OPV/boiler connection.

    I was just wondering what people's experiences are with/without using these?

    Cheers,
    Brett.
    Hi Brett, Iím a former Silvia owner. I donít recommend any grease, sealer or etc. on the seal - itís designed to do its job dry. That being said, if the base is corroded it may leak - ensure surfaces are clean and unpitted by corrosion (if there is any).

    I liked to be able to adjust the bypass on the OPV/bypass so I didnít seal it. It was set too high for me and I was pulling 6.5bar shots. If you do want to seal it mark where itís set with a Sharpie, back it out a bit and drop one drop of the blue stuff (Loctite 543(?) medium bond) on the outermost threads. You want to get to it eventually to replace the bypass gasket and clean/descale the tension spring down the road.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks sprezzatura.

    I tend to agree - if there's an o-ring, it's designed to seal. I'd seen comments elsewhere though that straight from the factory there was a sealant applied. Maybe the comments were made by people who's boilers had become stuck through built up deposits - I can't say, so I thought I'd check people's opinions and experiences before I do the job tomorrow, so thanks for your thougbts.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brekel View Post
    Thanks sprezzatura.

    I tend to agree - if there's an o-ring, it's designed to seal. I'd seen comments elsewhere though that straight from the factory there was a sealant applied. Maybe the comments were made by people who's boilers had become stuck through built up deposits - I can't say, so I thought I'd check people's opinions and experiences before I do the job tomorrow, so thanks for your thougbts.
    Iíve seen single boilers leak where (I suspect) lubricant applied to an o ring caused it to shift as the bolts were tightened (think ice cube between a pinched forefinger and thumb). Nice and clean; tighten like bolts on a car rim in an x-like pattern uniformly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brekel View Post
    Thanks sprezzatura.

    I tend to agree - if there's an o-ring, it's designed to seal. I'd seen comments elsewhere though that straight from the factory there was a sealant applied. Maybe the comments were made by people who's boilers had become stuck through built up deposits - I can't say, so I thought I'd check people's opinions and experiences before I do the job tomorrow, so thanks for your thougbts.
    Post an image with the boiler off. Letís see what it looks like!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprezzatura View Post
    Post an image with the boiler off. Let’s see what it looks like!
    I had a laugh, I'll do that.
    Will be interesting to see the state of the inside of the boiler after 11 years. Hasn't been descaled in some time, but it's been run with quite softwater. Plus for a couple of years (up until 18 months ago) it was running on rainwater which also had a pH low enough to stop additional scale formation, possibly even reduce any that was already there.
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  7. #7
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    Well, I can confirm that there was no sealant applied to the boiler out of the factory, and certainly none is needed. The new boiler went in and the base sealed down perfectly.

    For a machine 11.5 years old with pretty much daily use, that has never had the boiler apart, hasn't been descaled in 5 years, and has been run on mainly unfiltered tap water (but it was tested and I knew it had low TDS/TH), the inside was better than I thought it might be.

    The element in the new-style boiler certainly goes lower, much closer to the base.

    From the boiler point of view it all went fine, but with the change of boiler style I had to add in the male/male adaptor for the OPV. Unfortunately this leaks where circled in the picture :-(
    I'll look into resolving that tomorrow.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  8. #8
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Some red Teflon tape should sort that out, no?

  9. #9
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brekel View Post
    Well, I can confirm that there was no sealant applied to the boiler out of the factory, and certainly none is needed. The new boiler went in and the base sealed down perfectly.

    For a machine 11.5 years old with pretty much daily use, that has never had the boiler apart, hasn't been descaled in 5 years, and has been run on mainly unfiltered tap water (but it was tested and I knew it had low TDS/TH), the inside was better than I thought it might be.

    The element in the new-style boiler certainly goes lower, much closer to the base.

    From the boiler point of view it all went fine, but with the change of boiler style I had to add in the male/male adaptor for the OPV. Unfortunately this leaks where circled in the picture :-(
    I'll look into resolving that tomorrow.
    That is clean! Try a little 58-11 Loxeal on the threads to the OPV.
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  10. #10
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    There is a copper washer installed between the boiler and this adapter in the later model Silvias.

    Thread tape or sealant will sort yours out. If you want to do it to factory spec, you could contact a Rancilio service agent and see if you can buy a couple of the washers.
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  11. #11
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    And she's up and running :-)
    Looked at the loxeal, but grabbed some thread tape from work to try first. My one concern with the loxeal was that it's rated to 150įC. The steam thermostat is a 140į one, but the temp continues rising for 30 sec after it cuts out so it overshoots, putting it right at the limit.

    The thread tape did the trick, and gives a little flexibility in getting the OPV valve at a good angle while still sealing.

    Replaced the steam valve gasket and o-rings while I had her on the operating table. A close examination of the valve seat where it presses against the gasket revealed a couple of deep scratches with raised edges. I suspect they had been there from new, which would be why I always had to turn the valve of really hard. It was the one thing that didn't seem quite right with the machine when new, but after a while you forget about it and accept out as part of life. The old gasket was really compressed!

    After lapping the face (didnt' fully remove the deepest scratch but took off the high points, and the scratch isn't right across the face) and installing new sealing gasket, it shuts off beautifully: I just need to retrain myself to have a gentle touch when closing the valve!

    I've put her through a few warming/cooling cycles, going up to max steam temp. No leaks :-)

    Gave her a good clean up inside and out, and she's ready for the next 11 years 
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Brekel; 30th November 2017 at 11:33 PM.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brekel View Post
    And she's up and running :-)
    Looked at the loxeal, but grabbed some thread tape from work to try first. My one concern with the loxeal was that it's rated to 150įC. The steam thermostat is a 140į one, but the temp continues rising for 30 sec after it cuts out so it overshoots, putting it right at the limit.

    The thread tape did the trick, and gives a little flexibility in getting the OPV valve at a good angle while still sealing.

    Replaced the steam valve gasket and o-rings while I had her on the operating table. A close examination of the valve seat where it presses against the gasket revealed a couple of deep scratches with raised edges. I suspect they had been there from new, which would be why I always had to turn the valve of really hard. It was the one thing that didn't seem quite right with the machine when new, but after a while you forget about it and accept out as part of life. The old gasket was really compressed!

    After lapping the face (didnt' fully remove the deepest scratch but took off the high points, and the scratch isn't right across the face) and installing new sealing gasket, it shuts off beautifully: I just need to retrain myself to have a gentle touch when closing the valve!

    I've put her through a few warming/cooling cycles, going up to max steam temp. No leaks :-)

    Gave her a good clean up inside and out, and she's ready for the next 11 years 
    Nice work Mr. Tech. Two fingers when shutting off these types of valves (C.M.A., etc.) cranking them destroys the sealing gasket for steam shut off quickly.
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