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Help!! Silvia disaster...

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  • Help!! Silvia disaster...

    Fellow CoffeeSnobs,

    Ive been a member of this group before - but have changed email addresses and its been a few years since Ive been here, so I needed to create a new account (bad memory...).

    Anyway, I recently burnt out the element in my Silvia .

    I was quoted $350 to get it replaced, so I thought, what the heck, how hard can it be to replace it myself, and I thought Id like to get to know the innards of my trusty friend so I can perform my own maintenance in the future. I bought a new boiler from a coffee parts supplier for $200 and set about replacing it. Its actually not that hard, just a little finnicky. But heres where the problem starts...

    The boiler has changed from the earlier model (my machine is about 5 years old). The new boiler type requires (and comes with) a fitting between the overpressure valve and the boiler body, and a new steam pipe, as the steam pipe comes directly out of the top of the boiler, rather than from the side in the old boiler.

    All went well. I followed the instructions here...
    Note however, this site shows the old boiler type.

    Anyway, I now have a bad leak where the OPV fitting piece meets the boiler. I have used thread tape and Stag jointing paste, but it hasnt sealed the joint. I have tightened the piece as far as Im comfortable, which is pretty tight, but it leaks badly, and is not surprisingly worse when the pump runs or when its at steam temperature.

    I know Im not the only one to have this issue...

    Can anyone help? Any ideas on what to do from here?

    Totally bummed, caffeine deprived, and feeling stupid. The $350 quote is now looking like value. :-[


  • #2
    Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...

    Okay, so after a bit of diagnosis, its clear that the fitting simply doesnt provide a tight enough seal between the OPV and the boiler. Tape thread doesnt cut it.

    Stag thread sealant is only rated to 20kpa, and the pressures in the system are 9-11 bar (900-1100kpa).

    So the question is, can anyone recommend a thread sealant/gasketer that is suitably heat resistant, pressure resistant and safe to use in the machine? Any help appreciated.


    • #3
      Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...

      I think AM is one of our resident gurus on this sort of thing...Ill try and drag him in here, Castiron...


      • #4
        Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...

        Permatex High Performance Thread Sealant



        • #5
          Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...

          Originally posted by 70606C6C77625C64626F030 link=1246663541/2#2 date=1246703414
          I think AM is one of our resident gurus on this sort of thing...Ill try and drag him in here, Castiron...
          Here ... Oh... What no coffee as a reward

          Originally posted by 486C656566665C486C706E6C030 link=1246663541/3#3 date=1246704680
          Permatex High Performance Thread Sealant

          The stuff KK has recommended is worth while...

          Loctite has some good products as well...

          The issue will be that your looking to;

          1: Seal metal on metal
          2: Threads that are not truly matching or worn ??
          3: Heat resistant
          4: Suitable to come into contact with water
          5: Consumption of said water ?
          6: The ability to pull apart later ??

          To harp on the old Quality issue... and Root Cause Analysis you need to ask WHY and then WHY again and again to get to the RC.

          The issue here is that a quick fix is one thing... But to understand and to then apply a true fix is a better option.

          Having not seen or experienced the issue... I can only assume what we have is an issue of different threads profiles as in Tapered Vs Parallel.

          High temp silicon could also work.... The issue is a bit of trial and error vs being able to see / touch and get a better picture of what is going on....

          Where are you located ??


          • #6
            Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...

            I would first try putting more plumbing tape on - wind lots on. If that doesnt work, I have used loxeal 18-10 (coffeeparts sell it). Seems to meet all the reuqirements. I dont know anything about your machine fitting, so my comment is just about stopping a general leak.


            • #7
              Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...

              Thanks for the responses!!

              Im located in Sydney, north-side.

              Thanks AM, KK and Damian1.

              AM - thanks for the advice. The fitting is brand new (its a male to male brass fitting piece) and came with the new boiler that I bought from Coffeeparts. I would have presumed that the threads on this fitting would match those in the OPV and boiler, and that a few wraps of thread tape would provide a tight seal. Maybe that was my mistake.

              Ive sent a query to Coffeeparts and will chase them up on Monday to see if they can shed some light on it. Otherwise Ill be back to their store to give the Loxeal a try.

              I havent wrapped loads of tape around it, but will try that also before anything else.

              Appreciate the feedback all.

              Many thanks again.


              • #8
                Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...


                Thanks everyone for your advice. I wrapped loads of thread tape around the cleaned joints without any jointing paste, and really tightened the fitting - more so than before. I new it was tight enough when the copper crush washers were, ah, crushed slightly (I know since I had to take it off again to get the spacing of the washers right to get the correct angle on the OPV). The washers werent crushed before.

                Anyway, no more leaks. I think I was too cautious with the tightening previously, as brass is quite soft and I have read warnings that overtightening can crack or deform the boiler, but I was able to give it more without any problems.

                After running a full tank of clean water through the machine, I have pulled some lovely shots again today and am back in business.

                Cheers all.


                • #9
                  Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...




                  • #10
                    Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...

                    Ah...another happy Coffeesnobber...gotta love those...


                    • #11
                      Re: Help!! Silvia disaster...

                      So just to confirm as i have a friend in the same boat...

                      A new type Silvia bolier IS comaptible with old (1st gen) Silvia e.g 6-7 yr old?