New boiler system for Silvia
It appears Rancilio have finally accepted their quality problem with the Silvia boiler elements (probably based on the commercial designs), but the have chosen what I think is an odd approach. They have replaced the brazed in copper heating element in the top part of the brass boiler with a stainless steel version which is then bolted to the boiler. Great, but both terminals are potted into a single brass fitting. I have already been told of one which is leaking - see photo below - (luckily still under warranty), This new element configuration requires a new boiler - so you will still be paying out ot the better part of a £100 -£150 or more for the OEM repair parts (do I suspect marketing were involved? err yes). I call this the "markIII" configuration.
Why not DIY it and save a full kilogram of brass from the scrap merchant? What a waste!- see above - if you get stuck, just contact me, it is almost full proof. I say "almost" since the day many years ago I told a Texan that my components were "bullet proof" (english parlance not US) and he took my samples outside and put a .38 through them and tossed them back at me - lesson learned, but to this day, what was he doing with a hand gun in a major electronics facility?
See info here
I do think a bolt in element is best for these machines, yes stainless steel is more resiliant but with the correct filling procedures, copper really should not be a problem with the temperatures involved. See converted boiler below, both the markI (shown below) and the markII boiler can be easily converted
Rancilio Silvia Repairs
These are good machines, with good quality parts and a solenoid operated 3 way valve controlling water delivery to the group. IMHO, it is probably the best machine in this price range
I will service them for a fixed price of £59.99 plus parts. This will include replacement as required of the group seal, steam tap o rings and seal. 3 way valve strip down and inspection, Citric acid boiler descale and group backflush. General check for leaks, Thermocouple check of the brew thermostat/water delivery temperature and thermal cut-out operation. Electrical safety check carried out before return ("markII" boiler shown below)
I offer an exchange boiler replacement service if you have burnt out your element. I replace the element by drilling out the old element and fitting a bolt in element for £39.99 if you have a service as well (and TBH they usually do by the time they get to needing new element). I always try to keep a converted boiler in stock Fit it yourself (all you require is a hacksaw, a nail punch, hammer and a 10mm HSS drill) I can email you the link to a instruction manual - before you decide to buy, or send me your boiler or complete machine. You will have to budget for a new boiler seal at £2.99. I also recommend replacing the 6 black steel boiler flange bolts with stainless steel (£2.49 for 6).
Base of boiler with silicone o ring seal.
1) Leave one connector to the element disconnected after refitting, Allow the boiler to refill until water is ejected from the group before connecting the element (disconnect from the mains first!)
2) An easy way to reinstall the OPV (Over Pressure Valve, AKA pressure relief valve) when replacing the boiler/element is to remove the copper crush washer(s) and replace with a teflon equivalent (you can make your own). The teflon will deform much more than copper and it means you will be able to angle the OPV correctly with very little effort and no juggling of thick and thin crush washers, (if you have them that is). Couple this with some 150 Deg C Teflon thread sealant and you will have a reliable joint. If you are replacing the same boliler with a replacement element more than likely your OPV will position correctly with the same combination of copper crush washer(s) that were previously installed. Do anneal the washers by heating till dull red on a gas ring or similar before refitting.
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