Rebuilding the Rancilio Silvia steam valve

I’ve had my excellent Rancilio Silvia (“Miss Silvia”) espresso machine for seven years now and the steam wand developed a dribbling leak.   Time to rebuild that sucker!

I ordered replacement o-rings and seals from 1st line and was happy to get the parts just the day after ordering them, despite just using ground shipping.  Most of the work in rebuilding the steam valve went as described here, though there were a few things worth pointing out.

It is important to back up the flare nut fitting when removing the steam valve from the solid copper tubing connecting it to the boiler, to avoid twisting and kinking the solid tubing.  Here’s a photo with blue-handled wrenches (the top one is out of focus):

I used a couple of cone wrenches that had previously seen service in rebuilding bicycle wheel hubs (a side benefit of having too many endeavours is having a bunch of related tools that could serve other uses).

The steam wand itself was stuck hard and it took a lot of force to remove it.  It has an odd plastic bit where I expected an o-ring.  This photo shows the degraded plastic bit alongside the o-ring I replaced it with:

I removed the degraded black plastic bit when I rebuilt it.

Here is a test before I re-assembled the housing.  The PID controller I’d added years ago for temperature control is resting at the bottom left – I had to pull it out to access the steam valve.  The boiler has wooly ceramic insulation installed to try and protect the electronics in the PID

No leaks!  Hopefully Miss Silvia will provide many more years of service.

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One Response to Rebuilding the Rancilio Silvia steam valve

  1. George Carcagno says:

    I had a similar problem. Ordered the parts. Before starting work I de-scaled the machine. Steam wand works fine, no long leaks. But the parts are not returnable. So de-scale before you purchase.

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