Rancilio Silvia V5 frame corrosion issues?

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
NicaDon

#1: Post by NicaDon » Oct 08, 2019, 1:57 pm

I am traveling to the US soon to buy a Silvia V5, mainly for its size and weight to fit in a carry on bag for the flight home and its reputation for durability. One thing I have noticed in reviews is frame rust but in V3 machines and earlier. Is rust still a problem in V4/V5 machines? On the older versions it seems to have shown up after a year so the new ones would have been affected by now.

hedonsmbot

#2: Post by hedonsmbot » Oct 08, 2019, 2:04 pm

I bought mine new in late 2016.
I have a small spot of rust under the drip tray where the paint chipped off from constant removing of the pan. I suspect it would never have developed if I'd not chipped the paint, but as it's under the drip tray and out of sight it's not a huge issue.

When I service the machine I plan to touch it up with a spot of automobile touch up paint.

baldheadracing
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by baldheadracing » Oct 08, 2019, 4:24 pm

You will be okay. There are two main causes of rust in Silvia's.

The first reason for rust is that water from the three-way valve splashes up behind the drip tray and gets between the drip tray and the frame. This is especially true when backflushing. Unfortunately this is near a frame joint and corrosion starts. The same spot rusts out. This is what you most commonly see.

The drip tray has been redesigned at least once, and the later version has an air-gap between the tray and the frame - this should promote drying. Also, at some point a plastic shield was placed around the bottom of the three-way to direct splashing away from the frame. (On older models, some people have put a little rubber hose extension on the three-way valve to prevent splashing.) I'd still check for water though ...

The second reason is people let the drip tray fill to over-flowing and just dump the tray out, again getting water in between the tray and the frame. (The drip tray doesn't have much capacity.)

Thus, regardless of version, the simplest way to avoid frame rust is to remove the drip tray after a session and associated backflushing, and then wipe the frame and drip tray dry. Mine has been maintained that way for over 13 years now and has no rust.

Good luck!
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

NicaDon

#4: Post by NicaDon » Oct 09, 2019, 9:24 am

Thanks. Looks like a little common sense goes a long way. I had visions of it being like a 1970s Alfa I had, devolving into a pile of dust.

Espresso_Junky

#5: Post by Espresso_Junky » Oct 09, 2019, 9:37 am

Mine is a V1 from 2005 that I got not quite 3 years ago. Thankfully it was really never used and stored, so nothing but a tiny bit of surface rust residue. What I did was install thin rubber bumpers on the bottom of the frame that the drip tray rests on. That gives an air gap as well as dampening vibration noise. Then with the drip tray in place I installed a piece of aluminum foil tape over that frame gap which seals the entire area. Next was to buy a 90 degree PEX brass fitting and mod it so it slips over the 3-way tube so it diverts the flow out into the drip tray instead of splashing all over. With it in place and the aluminum foil tape sealing the gap the drip tray can't be removed easily, but I keep a thick sponge in the tray and simply rinse/wring it out daily and the tray/sponge are like new all the time and when I do check the frame area periodically it's bone dry.

baldheadracing
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by baldheadracing » replying to Espresso_Junky » Oct 09, 2019, 2:52 pm

I have rubber installed as well, but this is no longer an issue with the mid-V2-and-up drip tray. The newer tray's design also makes permanent installation more fiddly as the corners are rounded.

OP: Given that you are coming to the USA, you might also want to pick up some other items:
- Some vendors will sell you a Silvia with a PID kit installed for an extra $300 or so; most USA vendors use the Auber kit ($150 at auberins.com). However, if you are considering a Silvia with a PID installed, then a better bet at about the same price could be a small E-61 machine like the LeLit Mara (which is, I believe, smaller than the Silvia).
- Some baskets. I personally do not like the stock Silvia baskets, especially the newer 'precision' ones supplied since about 2014. These items can be pricey to ship outside the USA for some unknown reason. (I live outside the USA.) However, shipping within the USA is either 'free' or very reasonable.
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

NicaDon

#7: Post by NicaDon » Oct 09, 2019, 4:44 pm

I've arranged to buy a Silvia V5 with PID for $500, supposedly had light office use and looks new. I'd of course love an E-61 machine but I think the Silvia should hold me for a while. I plan on buying a flush fitting shower screen, a bottomless PF and several baskets to play with here. Shipping anything here is out of the question with DHL charging about $100 for just a document but R/T to Miami can be done for under $200 for shopping trips

Nice to know of the design changes and workarounds for the drip tray issue. I've only recently started researching the Silvia after realizing it's the best I can do for now. I also found a video showing how to quiet it down using tape and adhesive insulating sheets and plan on experimenting with that.

Espresso_Junky

#8: Post by Espresso_Junky » Oct 09, 2019, 5:36 pm

FWIW I've done lots of espresso on many machines from home to commercial use and what I get out of my dialed-in Silvia is on par with the best I cranked out of any of them. Once brew pressure is dialed-in as well as you having the temp management covered you should be good to go. Pair it with a capable grinder, fresh coffee and balanced water then let it rip.

baldheadracing
Supporter ♡

#9: Post by baldheadracing » Oct 09, 2019, 6:04 pm

That's a good price these days for a V5 w/PID.
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann