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I have been using my Rancilio Silvia for the past 5 years or so with little or no problem. Recently it has started to make a lot of noise, which appears to be as result of one of the reservoir water pipes bubbling in the tank immediately after the thermostat switches off. Around the same time It became nearly impossible to pour a shot with a reasonable amount of crema. The shots are OKish flavourwise but a little on the watery side. My first thought was to descale the machine as it had been a while since I had last done it. This made no difference. I then read about similar problems where someone suggested dismantling and cleaning the 3-way solenoid as a possible solution. I did this and again it made no significant difference. I should add I have been using the same freshly ground coffee long before this problem occurred. I have tweaked the grind (both coarser and finer) and although this makes a little difference the crema remains on the thin side whatever I do.

 

Some further observations:

  • Measuring the temperature of a cup of water (not at the brew head) I recorded 84˚C. I am not sure if this is a typical drop-off or whether this means it is running colder than it should.
  • The water in the reservoir seems hotter than I remember it being. I think in the past the water was tepid, as you'd expect with the proximity to the boiler. Now by contrast it seems quite hot. This could just be my memory though - I don't check this very regularly.
  • Now whether this is related I have also noticed the lid to the reservoir sticking more. I think this is down to condensation forming in the lid and creating a vacuum when I attempt to lift it.

Does anyone have any idea what may be causing this? If so is it something I could fix? something someone else should fix? and is it likely to be cost-effective or would I be better biting the bullet and getting a replacement?

 

Your thoughts are very welcome.

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It could well be the case. How repairable would this be? I mean I know I should be able to replace any broken parts but will doing so cost me more than a replacement machine?

I will have to do some further online research. Thanks for giving me a pointer as to what I may be looking for.

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The thermostats screw into the boiler case but do not pass through to the water jacket. Pull off two connections and unscrew the stat (if you have thermal paste you can apply a smear to the stat shoulder (aids conduction) if not just gently screw in new stat DO NOT overtighten refit two connections . The cost is approx £ 8 to £10. It would be worth changing steam and brew stats.

 

Do you normally run water through the brew head when first switching on ?? This ensures the boiler is full before heating, otherwise can lead to scaling.

Do you refill the boiler after steaming ?? if not this can also lead to scaling.

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Yes to both questions.

As it happens I have just taken the machine apart and I can see that the thermostats would be easy and cheap to replace. I suspect, judging by the ammount of scale that has leaked between the boiler and the group body, that the problem could be more serious. I am sure that scale build up in the boiler could cause the thermostat to overheat the water too.

Anyway I have to decide whether I want to attempt to take part the boiler and clean it with the strong possibility that it may need replacement along with a few other items that could do with a refurb or get a new machine. As I am virtually there already I will probably take the boiler apart to see what horrors lurks within.

 

EDIT:

Not as bad as I feared - yes there was lots of scale but it was all loose and sitting in the bottom of the boiler. I have now removed it and now attempting to remove the remaining stuck on scale. Hopefully (wishful thinking perhaps) once I get everything back together it will be working better.

Edited by liquidmonkey2000
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