Rancilio Silvia Leaking?

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
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krotor1

#1: Post by krotor1 »

Does anyone know how to clean a 3way solenoid Valve. I've been told that is most likely the cause of the leaking. It drips out the spout into the drip tray when I turn it on for warm-up in the morning. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Ken

krotor1(at)hotmail(dot)com

BradS

#2: Post by BradS » replying to krotor1 »

I would try backflushing first, and if not , then disassemble the 3-way and clean it out. I believe Randy G's website details both at http://www.espressomyespresso.com. If not, a google should find the procedure, but it's fairly obvious once you get started.

Good luck!

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jesawdy

#3: Post by jesawdy »

As suggested, first backflush a few times... (you'll need Cafiza, JoeGlo or another similar espresso machine detergent and a blind basket)

For some particulars on how the 3-way solenoid valve works and how to backflush, see 3-Way Valve Hows and Whys (part of the aforementioned site).

It is possible that you have a filing or grit or otherwise impeded the solenoid valve from closing properly, for some disassembly pictures and help, see this site, Fixing a Leaky Solenoid on a Rancilio Silvia.
Jeff Sawdy

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HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

krotor1 wrote:It drips out the spout into the drip tray when I turn it on for warm-up in the morning.
Do you mean drip drip drip and then stop from the grouphead? Or do you mean from the solenoid that exhausts into the driptray? If it's a few drops from the grouphead and then nothing during warmup, it's the boiler water expanding and no reason for concern.

Either way, regular backflushing should be part of your cleaning regime (discussion).
Dan Kehn

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krotor1

#5: Post by krotor1 »

Thanks to all very much I don't feel so bad about the problem, I thought it might be more serious.

DaveC

#6: Post by DaveC »

If backflushing with cleaner doesn't solve it....try backflushing with descaler.

Either run some fairly strong descaler through the machine to do a general descale and backflush the group a few times....

or something else to try (if you don't want to do a full descale): Really strong descaler solution in the basket with the blind filter (fill it up and place in the group carefully)....then backflush to pass it thru the solenoid valve, wait a few minutes and do it again, wait and once more.

In both cases, finish off with a normal cleaning backflush, puly or joglow etc..(normal backflush)

If it's not gunged up coffee oils, then it can often be scale, sometimes they're scaled so bad you have to remove em and dunk them in descaler.

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krotor1

#7: Post by krotor1 »

I back flushed about six times for the first time since I bought the Rancilio and it still leaks. I removed the assembly all the way including the valve receiver, inspected, cleaned and re-assembled. Everything is brand new with no defects and it still leaks. Any ideas as to what to do next ?
It started leaking shortly after I descaled.

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erics
Supporter ◈

#8: Post by erics »

After you remove the plunger and barrel again (yea, I know), carefully remove the brass adaptor that is held onto the grouphead. Set the brass adaptor with the two O-rings aside for a bit.

There is a ruby seal on both ends of the plunger portion of the 3-way valve which, itself, is spring loaded by a relatively stiff spring internal to the plunger. The top ruby seal "seals off" the boiler and, obviously, this is what is leaking in your case.

You should be able to depress both of these ruby seals, the top maybe a 1/32", the bottom substantially more. They both should snap back into position after depressing them with a small wooden dowel. If this checks out, soak the plunger, the barrel, and the brass adaptor portion of the three-way in a small container of white vinegar for a couple of hours. This will rapidly dissolve any scale buildup on the face of the ruby seals.

Rinse all parts thoroughly (watch those O-rings) and hopefully you should be "good -to-go."
Skål,

Eric S.
http://users.rcn.com/erics/
E-mail: erics at rcn dot com

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krotor1

#9: Post by krotor1 »

I removed everything and checked and cleaned the two ruby ends. They are brand new and in great shape, both springs depress as you said. They aren't kinked or anything. I re-assembled and it still leaks the same.
It starts leaking as soon as it reaches temperature and the light goes out.

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erics
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#10: Post by erics »

Disconnect one of the leads to the heating element - this will take temperature out of the equation.

With everything back together with the exception of the white wire w/ red stripe on the 3-way and with no portafilter loaded, turn the machine on and activate the brew switch for a few seconds. Does the valve leak under these conditions?

If there is no leakage, then the only thing that comes to mind is a crack in the brass adaptor that is opening up under temperature.

If the leakage is much greater than your warmed up leakage, then momentarily make contact with the wire you left disconnected a few times. With the brew switch "on", this powers the 3-way solenoid, closes off the drain port, and sends water to the brew head maybe flushing out something you missed.
Skål,

Eric S.
http://users.rcn.com/erics/
E-mail: erics at rcn dot com