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Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

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  • Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

    Ive recently noticed slight leaking when Im pulling a shot from my silvia v2 and I thought maybe the seal is probably full of stale oil so I went out to buy the group head brush + clean machine powder + blind filter. (I bought the machine 2nd hand)

    The story so far is, I back flushed 10 seconds on/off a number of times, gave the rubber seal a good scrub and now my silvia is leaking more than ever. It seems to leak more when I try to lock my portafilter in to a point where it is past the 6 o clock point(where the portafilter handle is pointing).

    I seem to have cleaned the machine well but the problem is Im getting spraying water or water coming out of the group head leaking into my espresso.

    Do i need to replace the group head seal?

    How much would it cost and where should I bring it to?

    Can I do it myelf? I cant seem to get the seal ring out of the group head to examine for cracks/damage. Some guides on the v2 would be nice.

    Im considering putting in a PID on the v2, swapping out the steam arm to a v3 and replacing my rockys doser into a doserless chute. Buying a naked portafilter. 

    Its quite a number of jobs to be done, would be nice if Im pointed to a place near Hurstville NSW. 

  • #2
    Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

    Hello JWL,

    At Hurstville you are very close to Coffee Parts at Pagewood.

    http://www.coffeeparts.com.au/

    Have a chat with Pedro. He is just on the other side of Sydney Airport from you.



    Barry.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

      Originally posted by 4E554A58405D4E462F0 link=1327195828/0#0 date=1327195828
      Do i need to replace the group head seal?

      How much would it cost and where should I bring it to?

      Can I do it myelf? I cant seem to get the seal ring out of the group head to examine for cracks/damage. Some guides on the v2 would be nice.
      I think you probably do need to replace it. The seal is a whole $5 or so from coffee parts. The thing that does them in is going hard - so if you get a teaspoon and cant make a dent in it by pushing up against it, it is probably naff.

      Removing the hardened seal is a bit of a chore. I did one on a relatives machine. I used a chisel and drove it into the seal (it is about 7-8mm thick) and then levered it out. There isnt enough room to get a chisel in there though - I had the luxury of a pre-shortened chisel. My plan B was to put a self tapping screw into the rubber seal and use that to pull the seal out.

      Re-assembly was easy - just push the new one in and use the portafilter to push it up home. There was, from memory, some hard to remove black crud in the recess the seal sits in. I probably used a small screwdriver to remove it (I dont actually remember).

      All in all it is a pretty simple job. If it is really stuck, maybe 20 mins. If the seal is flexible you can use a butter knife to get between the seal and the casting - maybe 1 min to get off!

      All the seals I used came from Pedro.

      Hope this helps!
      /Kevin

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

        ^^^ Pretty much exactly what KJM said...

        Ive found it can also leak a bit if there is old coffee sitting against the seal and/or the basket rim.

        The seal is very cheap. I ended up with KJMs plan b - just be careful you dont go right through the seal with the screw and into the metal above.

        Fitting the new one was easy. I gave it all a good clean first, put the new seal in and the portafilter does the rest when you lock it in

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

          Update: Ive put in a new group head seal and at the same time, Ive put in an auber PID with pre infusion.

          Ive bought a new naked portafilter to rule out possible portafilter/basket damage.

          It is still leaking, although the crema flowing out of the naked portafilter is nice, the water dripping into my cup is spoiling it.

          Anyone else got any idea what I should check/change next?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

            There is two reasons I can think of that are possible causes, one is to much coffee in your filter basket try a little less coffee in the puck(even if you let the shot run fast it will confirm if you were over dosing), and two maybe someone else can confirm but can the seal go in the wrong way round or is it the same both ways (my old Minore seal was different on both sides)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

              Thanks for that Jono...

              I dose my coffee by overfilling, then gently swiping the top up down left right with an old card to fill the voids. I then sweep off the excess before tamping. Is this the right way to dose it? Would that be too much coffee in a basket or should i weigh the beans? Ill give it a go with lesser this afternoon.

              This morning I was using the 3 mark on my rocky when its giving me a near 20 second pull but its leaking and spraying from the group head. I then bumped up the coarseness to 8 and it didnt leak as much as when it was on 3. I thought the water leaking into my measuring glass is increasing the volume in error. I then tried making it coarser.

              Although it stopped leaking at 8, each pull is finishing around the 10 second mark during the brew cycle.

              I tasted it and it was quite sour.

              I then tried about 8 different pulls adjusting the grind and tamping pressure but I cant seem to get anywhere near 25 second without it leaking.

              Is this now a problem of my tamping pressure? Am I not tamping hard enough at a coarse enough grind?

              Or is it something else leaking in my group head when the pressure builds up?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

                sounds like youre doing ok, there should be a few mm from the rim of the basket to the top of the tamped puck, but if the flow is to fast your ground is to course. The tamp pressure in my opinion is not as important as getting the coffee quantity in the basket right. Just another dumb question is the water leaking on the outside or the inside of the group handle? If you can video the process you follow and show the leak it may help.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

                  When I had a Silvia I found the 5 cent piece test to be a big help getting things sorted. http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1274249469/7

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

                    Originally posted by 766D72607865767E170 link=1327195828/4#4 date=1327755084
                    Anyone else got any idea what I should check/change next?
                    Grab a dinner knife or other suitable (blunt!!) tool and ease the new seal off. I suspect you have some crud in the groove it sits in. That crud can be grounds or even resiny oxidized oils. If you had to attack the old seal with "tools" : Id bet there is just a tiny bit of something up there which stops the seal going in flat.

                    You need to backflush a Silvia to clean the oils from the head - so it shouldnt matter how insanely fine you grind - it shouldnt leak. It should hold the full tote-odds without spraying everywhere.

                    If you can see where it is leaking, that also points to where the crud is. I hereby claim first dibbs on it being at the rear of the grouphead where it is maximally difficult to both see and clean ;D

                    Hope this solves it!

                    /Kevin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

                      Thanks for that tip KJM. I had to use a screwdriver, stab the old seal and pry it out. It came out in one piece without much damage to the seal other than the part where I stabbed it from.

                      I tried to notice where the leaks are, it looks like the flange entry gaps are leaking the most. It generally sprays out from near the left flange entry.

                      It also sprays when I back flush...

                      Ill do what you suggest once I get some time in the weekend but Im not sure if Ill damage this seal with my attempt of prying it out again (its really tight I can barely get anything between the rubber).

                      Will a spacer help? What does it do? I heard itll help old machines with leaky group head seals.

                      Lastly, are you suggesting for me to take out the seal, then attempt to back flush without it?? Or should I just remove the seal and try to use some hot water with my espresso clean powder to try and give it a good scrubbing?

                      Im thinking of buying a spacer + a spare seal in case I break this one whilst trying to take it out.

                      Should I consider taking apart the group head? Is there a place I can bring it in for calibration/servicing of this nature?

                      Sigh...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

                        Originally posted by 7E657A68706D7E761F0 link=1327195828/10#10 date=1328000619
                        Ill do what you suggest once I get some time in the weekend but Im not sure if Ill damage this seal with my attempt of prying it out again (its really tight I can barely get anything between the rubber).

                        Will a spacer help? What does it do? I heard itll help old machines with leaky group head seals.
                        The Silvia I replaced the seal on needed 2 goes > Due to me not being careful enough... I didnt have a great deal of trouble getting the "new" seal back out. It was a snug fit, but it came out easy enough.

                        The spacer just makes the seal thicker. So it only really helps if youve got the PF handle going "all the way round" and not locking up tight. Now, Im not an espresso mechanic but it seems to me that if the PF handle isnt worn then you shouldnt need one and the fault lies elsewhere..

                        Personally Im betting on a tiny bit of crud!

                        Hope you lick it!
                        /Kevin

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

                          JWL, It sounds like a sealing problem, but nevertheless, I thought I should ask...do you know if the overpressure valve is working? If it isnt, then you may be getting much too high pressure at the portafilter. My instincts say that the OPV is more likely to fail in the open position, but you never know...

                          With you blind basket in, just check if the water is coming out the OPV relief pipe into the water tank when you run the pump.

                          Gonzo

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

                            Alright Kevin, Ill put an order through for an additional seal and go with your diagnosis. Even if I have to stab the current new one to get it out and scrub its innards Ill do it with a spare one at hand. Maybe I should get a new screw and screen to go with it. Can you point me to the screw that doesnt leave an impression on silvia shower heads?

                            Cheers,
                            Jackson

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Help! Silvia Leaking Grouphead Seal?

                              OMG GONZO. Ive just checked what youve told me to check. I think theres something seriously wrong with my OPV. I turn on my water whilst the valve is closed on the steam wand and water recirculates.

                              However when I turn on the brew with my blind filter on the water does not recirculate back into my water tank! Looks like youve hit this one on the head!

                              Now.... What do I have to do to fix this and perhaps get it to the proper adjusted pressure?

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