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Rancilio Silvia V3 - A journey to PID and beyond!

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  • Rancilio Silvia V3 - A journey to PID and beyond!

    Hi Everyone,

    Such a wealth of knowledge on here - but i thought i'd create a thread to document my travels, issues, and as a reference for myself (otherwise i forget things! haha).

    Today i picked up a bargain price Rancilio Silvia V3, for ~$170.
    Included in the sale were the following:
    - Rancilio 40-100-102 Double-shot Basket
    - Rancilio 20-112-210 Portafiller with twin-spout
    - Cafelat 58mm Pillar Tamper with base
    - Cafelat Large Tamping Mat
    - Cafelat Knocking-tube

    Overall condition of the machine is in fantastic condition upon first inspection. Outer-casing is in great condition with very minimal markings.
    Very minor built-up on the steam-wand, with minimal coffee oils/remains in the spout of the portafiller.

    At a guess, i would say this machine probably came from a small office - where people rarely used. On top of the water reservoir is a sticker saying "filtered water only", which looks to be added by a third-party.
    On the back, is the original place of sale sticker - Supreme Coffee Machines, which is local to me here in Perth.

    The only negative i can see so far, it's missing the steam control knob. I am yet to crack it open, and see what her insides look like
    Suggestions on what i should be looking for, and seals/parts that may need replacing before i turn her on for the first time?

    I have a PID sitting here, that i may end up installing after i've confirmed working and had a test.


  • #2
    Wow what a bargain! I'm assuming this was a gumtree/ebay thing?

    You can get most spare parts from coffeeparts and probably some of the sponsors have lots too.

    It's quite possible that the steam knob was removed so it couldn't be used in the office, perhaps to due safety concerns and have did milk another way. If thats the case, the its likely the boiler hasn't been abused.
    On that note, make sure you prime the boiler straight away in case it is empty.

    Depending on the age, you'll probably want to replace the grouphead gasket, and possibly the shower screen if its in real bad shape when you remove it.

    You should unscrew the top panel and get a look inside to see if anything looks really bad before you turn it on and mess around with any wiring.

    The PID install is quite straight forward, obviously you need the SSR and TC in addition to the control unit. I would definitely recommend making sure the machine works as expected before doing the PID, including setting up the OPV, might way way too low even from factory!

    Also worth doing a good backflush and descale prior to putting to use. Might be worthwhile doing a big descale to clean it out really nice. If they have truly been using only filter water, then the descale should be pretty straight forward and not too much gunk


    • #3
      Last I checked the steam nob was $7 at supreme?

      Damn good buy though


      • #4
        Ahh, i hadn't thought about the steam-knob being removed on purpose - that could certainly be the case.
        Have pulled the top off, and it's pretty spotless inside! (better than i was expecting).

        Next on my list, pull the shower screen off and give a clean up/soaking - check group head seal.
        Have found a knob locally for ~$15 from a coffee supply place, although it's not from the V3. I'll go pickup one this arvo, and then place an order from CoffeeParts for the correct one, along with some seals.

        Here's a few quick snaps:

        Last edited by Javaphile; 23 July 2013, 01:35 PM. Reason: commercial link removed


        • #5
          Eh, the internals should be pretty clean regardless, if they aren't somebody's doing it *really* wrong, there's a little bit of rust on the clips for the top panel but that's to be expected, you'll probably also find a bit of surface rust in the frame around the drip tray, it's a "typical" Silvia issue but nothing to be greatly concerned about.

          All the covers on the spade lugs look to be in good nick, discolouration of them can be an indication of electrical issues.

          In an office environment I could see the knob being removed because steaming isn't exactly a quiet process... Alternatively it may have been removed after somebody left steam on without re-priming and burnt out an element

          I suggest soaking the jetbreaker, shower screen, shower screen bolt and the chunk of brass behind it in coffee machine cleaner as your next step, be careful not to over tighten the screw when you put it back in though, should be snug, so finger tight plus about 1/4 turn.


          • #6
            Thanks Jbrewester! Already on it

            Have the shower screen, bolt, brass water dispersion disk, and the stainless dispersion disk all soaking in cleaner as we speak.
            Have cleaned out the group head, and given a clean/polish for the outer casing.


            • #7
              Just went to my local coffee supply store (Supreme), and grabbed a steam-valve knob, D-clip, and a replacement foot (was missing one).
              Unfortunately, they only had a V1/V2 knob available - but it was cheap, so it'll do until i place an order from CoffeeParts

              Now, to see if she turns on! Fill the boiler, and then begin the descale.


              • #8
                I really wish you luck. Wonderful thread and pictures. I wish I can too find a nice rancilio


                • #9
                  So, great news - she powers up! haha

                  Water has gone out at my apartment complex, so i only had minimal filtered water available - but hopefully will be restored soon and i can get the descale started.
                  Initial water coming out of the group head is brown in colour, so there might be some build-up/dirt in the boiler perhaps? Once i get water back, i'll flush some through and see if it improves.

                  Until then, here's a picture for your viewing pleasure!

                  Which is replacing this:
                  Last edited by Javaphile; 23 July 2013, 01:33 PM. Reason: commercial link removed


                  • #10
                    Dirt? I don't think so. Maybe some old grounds in the group.. Otherwise, personally, I'd crack open the boiler to see what you're working with...

                    Btw, great buy, and it looks to be in really good nic!


                    • #11
                      haha by "dirt" i did mean old grinds I would hope someone wasn't trying to extract espresso from dirt! Unsure how successful that would be.

                      She's in fantastic condition - much better than i was expecting! (buying virtually blind)
                      Thanks Bowds1122!


                      • #12
                        mmmm... perty..... I see that you buffed up the old Macap too shiiinneeeey....


                        • #13
                          Damn, it stayed at $170. Should have watched it more closely.

                          Nice pickup!


                          • #14
                            I'm glad you didn't! Haha. My winning bid was actually $149, but then GraysOnline adds their own fee on top.

                            So, updates! My water is finally back on (some rookie hit a pipe down the street and we all lost it), and machine has been back flushed and is nearly competed de scaling now.
                            Popped over to Okitoki's tonight and he shared some more wisdom with me, and best practices also picked up a Naked PF and new shower screen - thanks!

                            Going to do some test shots tonight, but true test will be tomorrow mornings coffee. Excited!

                            Edit: Appears that the group head seal might need replacing, there's some water leaking from under the portafiller when making a shot. Will investigate further tomorrow during daytime hours
                            Last edited by bodyboardingbum; 19 July 2013, 12:52 AM.


                            • #15
                              Okay, so further more - with the standard portafiller and dual-basket, the leaking is much much less (or none on some shots).
                              I have been reading into adjusting pressure from the OVP? Perhaps this could be it?

                              Shall continue to see what i can find, i have ordered a group-head gasket anyway, so i'll replace just to rule that out