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Thread: Rancilio Silvia Leaking Boiler? (and more)

  1. #1
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    Rancilio Silvia Leaking Boiler? (and more)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all, I couldn't find anything existing on this so I thought I'd add a new thread.

    I have a Rancilio Silvia v2.

    While attempting refurbish my steam valve and replace my group head cover I ran into a few issues. I'll list them below:

    1. The rear of the boiler seems to be leaking. I'm guessing this is not ideal. Judging by the calcium marks it has been doing it for a little while. Any ideas on the issue and if this is a fix I can do myself? Photos attached.

    2. I was only able to replace two of the 4 screws that I removed to take off the group head cover, these are the ones at the front. The rear ones only seem to hold on the group cover. Is it an issue to leave these off? I aim to replace these once I re-paint the cover.

    3. After removing the steam valve I was unable to loosen the stainless steel bolt from the brass part, the larger one that needs to be removed to replace the valve o-ring. Is it possible that on older machines this is fused or do I need to give it a better go with a vice and some extra tools? All I had were 2 spanners working against each other so I'm thinking I need a bit more elbow grease.

    Thanks for any help and wisdom! I'm more than happy to take it in for a, probably overdue, service. But for what they charge I like to try and do as much as I can myself.

    Cheers, Paul

    IMG_20181210_181558.jpg
    IMG_20181210_181545.jpg

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    Cant see photo of boiler leaking but if similar issue to silvia i just fixed if the boiler hasn't wrapped it properly needs a new sealing o-ring. Easy enough to do if your handy. Remember to disconnect from power and drain boiler.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    I can see leaking boiler... It's dripping over the 240v connectors there. It needs fixing pronto!
    Ensure this is plugged into a RCD also.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    I can see leaking boiler... It's dripping over the 240v connectors there. It needs fixing pronto!
    Ensure this is plugged into a RCD also.
    Thanks Jackster, how do you recommend I fix it? Weirdly, It hasn't leaked again in the past 24 hours (I've left the front metal plate/screen off and have still been using it...)

  5. #5
    Sir
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    1. The leaky boiler would be the boiler seal, which is a big red o-ring that drys out and cracks over time with the heat of the boiler. I'm sure one of the sponsors could sort you out with getting a new one. Depending on how long it's been leaking you may have issues with the boiler bolts rusting and corroding, being a pain to get out/wanting to snap off, so it might be good to have some of those on hand if they need replacing once you've got them out. Also be sure to empty the boiler as much as you can beforehand otherwise you'll get water everywhere once you open it up.
    2. It's fine to leave the back 2 off until you put the collar back on.
    3. Elbow grease... after doing a lot of these, I've found some come apart easily, others need spanners/vices/hammers etc, but they all come apart eventually

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    Thank you Sir! Yes, the bolts at the base of the boiler look a bit rusty, I'll grab some spares!

    It seems that once the boiler heats up it stops leaking, either expanding the seal or evaporating the water before it accumulates. Probably why i didn't notice until I opened up the chassis to refurbish the steam valve, which is now working perfectly, thanks!

    I also wonder if my boiler is getting too hot for some reason, it's been a while since I've opened the top and now it looks like some of the connections are getting a bit baked. Has anyone seen this before/have a fix? It's a v2, so pretty long in the tooth.

    I'll attach more pics below, including the rusty boiler bolts.

    IMG_20181212_144101.jpgIMG_20181212_144046.jpg

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    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    When you get the replacement bolts grab some stainless ones instead and apply a bit of food grade line to the threads. Should make future maintenance easier. Same for the case screws/bolts.

    When you get the boiler apart check the mating surfaces and I ring groove and mating face are nice and clean.

    Cheers
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  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Just need to be careful how much torque you apply when tightening the bolts into a brass boiler flange.
    The brass is relatively soft and can be stripped out if not careful...

    Mal.

    P.S.
    In the photo above, is that item taped to the top of the Boiler an RTD Temperature Sensor feeding into a PID Controller? If so, it's not looking too healthy either and should be fixed permanently into a Thermal Well or properly clamped to the Boiler with some Thermal Interface Material between the two.
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    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    I though that's what that might have been

  10. #10
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    There's probably some lovely corrosion/oxidation going on under that RTD and tape...

    Mal.

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    Thanks Artman and Mal!

    The tape is holding down a basic thermometer that runs out to a cheap digi display on the top of the unit, definitely not a PID. It's just so I can tell how close it is off the boil. The previous owner put it there. I've always been a little suss on the tape, what would tb the best way to stick it down?

    UPDATE: I've pulled out the old O-ring and given both mating surfaces a clean and sand back, they were pretty grim! (Pic attached)
    IMG_20181213_184648.jpg

    The bolts are corroded at the top, I think I'll replace with stainless and lube them as Artman suggests. (Pic attached)
    IMG_20181213_184822.jpg

    While I'm here, what is the dodgy looking corrosion on the two protruding bits on top of the boiler (apologies for my technical jargon)? Do I need to address this, and if so, what should I do? (Pic attached)
    IMG_20181213_184622.jpg

    Many thanks again for all of your help and insight!!!!

  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Which area of the Boiler are you referring to mate?
    The area circled in Red or the area in Pink?

    rancilio-silvia-leaking-boiler-more-02.jpg

    Re the proper fixing of the Thermometer Sensor...
    The best bet would be to drill and then tap a suitable thread, near the edge of the boiler and quite shallow - No more than about 4.5mm deep - for a 3mm threaded screw, preferably of brass. You could then use this to fix the Sensor down hard against the Boiler with a small brass saddle, with some TIM between the Sensor and the Boiler.

    Needless to say, this should be done carefully as you don't want to penetrate through to the internals of the Boiler and is also why I suggest doing it close to the edge where accidental penetration is less likely.

    If this seems all too much for what is only a thermometer, then I guess you could use tape again and regularly check it to ensure it hasn't started to come adrift.

    Mal.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    What about a saddle on one of those boiler bolts?

  14. #14
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    What about a saddle on one of those boiler bolts?
    A bit too low I'd reckon...

    The Brew Water is taken from near the top of the Boiler, if memory serves...

    Mal.

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    Thanks Mal, I went with the tape option again. It's served relatively well for 4 years.

    Regarding the corrosion, I was talking about the red circled parts, what I'm assuming are the element connections. Is that rust something I need to address? I don't think I can replace the element on its own on a machine of this age, it seems to be welded into the boiler body.

    While there, I also re-applied thermal paste beneath the thermostat sensor things. It seems to be a bit more consistent with boil temperatures now.

    There was an ungodly amount of crud in the boiler. I think it was either really old/intense lime scale or corrosion that had built up with disuse and a full boiler from the previous owner. I got all of it out (about 1cm thick) but in my haste to get it working again forgot to descale. I'll give it a good descale with citric acid when I get the chance, is this the best product to be using for descale? I't certainly seems to be the cheapest!

  16. #16
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Nothing to worry about re the discolouration around the element terminals. It's just where the element has been autogenously welded or silver brazed to the boiler. If you ever need to replace the boiler, there is a method to drill out the old element such that normal replacement elements can be used. If you do a search on here and Google, you should be able to find it. It's a pretty simple process as nothing too daunting is involved...

    Citric acid is Ok to use but dedicated products like 3-Way Descaler or the one Cafetto markets, would be quite a bit better. Sounds good re: the temperature sensor...

    Mal.
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    Thanks Mate!
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