Skip to content

Rancilio Silvia ULKA Pump EX5/EP5 Replacement Procedure

November 8, 2012
7

I have had the joy of owning a Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine and Rocky Grinder since back in 2003. Over the past year I have found the quality of the coffee deteriorating and have been playing about with beans, grinder settings etc to try to improve the coffee. I have fitted new grinder burrs, replaced the shower screen and always use still mineral water in the machine to avoid the scourge of hard water found here in London.

I then started to suspect a weak performing pump so set about researching the options. The Rancilio Silvia, like many other espresso machines, uses the ULKA EP5 or EX5 pump unit. The only difference between these two part numbers is the EP5 uses a plastic outlet and the EX5 is brass. The parts are interchangeable and in my case I used an EX5 to swap out the Silvia’s EP5 and it didn’t cause any problems.

You can source either pumps through eBay and in the UK at time of writing the EP5 is about £22 shipped to a UK address. I bought the EX5 from a parts supplier Charles Hyde & Son and paid £20.36 inc shipping, again to a UK address.

Let’s go ahead and dismantle the Silvia to replace the pump.

Please note this is a DIY guide, you follow this guide by your own choice and no liability accepted for any damage you may cause. If you are still under warranty you should contact your Rancilio dealer for service.

Step 1: Remove the plastic lid and water tank and run the water pump for a few moments to drain the piping. Be careful not to let any water dribble over the electrics as it is all at full voltage down in there! NOW UNPLUG FROM THE MAINS!

Step 2: Remove the four screws that hold the top cover and place to one side.

Step 3: Remove both screws at the top that secure the back panel to the black centre frame.

Step 4: Now look down to the bottom of where the water tank sits and you will see a small gap. Put your cross head screw driver down in to there and loosen the screw a few turns. You do not need to remove it fully.

Step 5: Slide the back panel back slightly and it will slide of the small screw shafts at the bottom of the centre frame. These screws are just used as guides and there is nothing you need to loosen down there. You can see the screw shaft at the bottom of the gap in this next image. Once slid back just work it from around the pump cover plate.

Step 6: Unscrew the 2 screws holding on the pump cover plate and place to one side.

You will now see the pump assembly ready for removal.

And a closer shot of the pump:

It sure gets dusty down in there! Lets now remove the pump.

Step 7: Use a small spanner/wrench to loosen and remove the brass nut as seen on the left hand side with the nylon pipe coming out of it. The brass right angle should be left in the pump outlet at this point. The water inlet on the right is just a push fit so give it a tug and it will pop off.

Step 8: Remove the pump easily by pulling the foam support off from the right side (inlet) first and then work the outlet side on the left through the foam support.

Step 9: Disconnect the wiring from the pump. Note what goes where. The small resistor is held down in the moulded gap so it is held securely.

Step 9: Unscrew the brass right angle from the end of the outlet pump. Note the flat indents on the outlet pipe should you need to grip it to get some leverage.

You should now have the fittings removed and be ready to fit the new pump.

Screw the outlet brass right angle to the new pump. It looks like it had some amalgamating tape on the thread to give a water tight fit. I did not fit any new tape but just ensured it was screwed on tightly. Fit the electrical leads back on the pump and fit back in to the foam support. Push the water inlet hose back on and ensure the metal clip is back over the inlet nipple and secure.

UPDATE: After fitting the new pump I was getting a small leak from the pump outlet due to not using the amalgamating tape. This got worse so I had to refit the pump with tape fitted. I picked up a roll for around £1 on eBay so order some at the same time as ordering a new pump.

After fitting I put the water inlet pipe in to a glass of water and ran the pump to check there were no leaks. Be VERY careful if you do this without re-assembling the casing as you are playing with water AND electricity. Not a good mix.

Re-assemble the casing as a reverse of the above and job done.

My espresso corner all ready to go. I should have wiped the front before the picture! Also I have just powered it up and after running the pump test the PID controller still needs to settle down to the 110c it is set to:

It has transformed my espresso and I am back to great quality shots with a good head of crema!

Let me know if you have any questions or why not pop a comment below.

About these ads

From → Coffee

17 Comments
  1. Torkel Bylund permalink

    I’ve got 2 (don’t ask) Silvias, model V1 and V2. The group head broke on V2 so the V1 became a spare part machine. My V2 has a PID, so that’s why I needed to fix that one.

    Anyways, both machines have old pumps, EP5 (plastic ends) and both are quite noisy. By that I mean that regular speech drowns while the pump is running (ie pulling a shot).

    How loud is a new brass pump (model EX-EAX)? Would apprecciate if you could make a simple test:
    Either measure dB via any loudness app on your phone, and compare to speaking levels. Both sound sources need to be equally far away from the phone.
    Or just have someone speak while you pull a shot and check if the pump noise is a non, quite or very disturbing factor.

    Great guide in all. Wish I’d seen it a before I took mine apart the first time. :)

    Regards,
    Torkel

    • Thanks for the post. I will try to test the sound but at the moment the pump has got noisier, possibly due to Lime Scale getting in to the pump so I am going to have to pull the Silvia apart and strip down the pump. It makes a screech noise when it runs as if something is making the pump partially seize. I could order another pump for £20 but I am curious as to what has happened.

  2. Romi permalink

    do you know which pump is used in a mk 1 model of the Silva ( the old one) as I’m looking to buy a replacement for mi Silva?

    • My article is based on the V1 Silvia so this is the pump you want. However I would imagine all the models use the same pump. If you are going to replace or overhaul the pump order some PTFE tape off eBay. I had to strip down to the pump and refit it as I was getting a small leak when I ran the pump as I hadn’t used the tape when rebuilding the Silvia with the new pump.

  3. Romi permalink

    Hi Aerotec73 one minor observation is that My silva looks slightly different to the one in your picuture the steam wand on mine is one continuous pice and does not have the rubber seperator which is shown in yours.Im sure its only a cosmetic thing and that the EP5 will still be suitable for my machine. i take it the PTFE tape which you have mentioned is to seal the inlet and outlet tubes of the pump …yes? sorry for the silly question

    • Hi Romi,

      The rubber is just a sleeve over the corner of the pipe bend. It can be removed. It is to rest the milk jug against while frothing the milk.

      You will just need the PTFE tape on the pressure side of the pump. Put it on the threads before screwing on the brass retaining nut or screwing the brass right angle in to the pump outlet.I got a roll for £1 ($1.5) shipped on eBay.

      • Romi permalink

        update.my isue was that the water was starting to dribble out with no force hence why I thought it may be the pump which had failed. I could still here the pump working so turned my trouble shooting to other areas. I gave my machine a goot clean with puly soap and backflushed it. then filled the boiler 12oz with water which had acetic acid mixed into it.After leaving that in the boiler overnight I cleared out the acetic acid water from the resevoir and fluxhed it through thoroughly with clean water. The machine is now bnack and working better than ever. lesson lesarned ensure you clean the silva out fsairly regulsarly if you live in hard water areas.

  4. Romi permalink

    thank you

    • Romi, that’s great to hear. I never de-scaled my unit in 9 years as I lived in Scotland with lovely soft water. Now I live in London so I use bottled water to try to avoid the risk of lime scale. I stripped down my old pump a few days ago and it was in great condition inside but I noticed the intake tube from the tank had evidence of limescale on the last 10cm where it attaches to the end of the pump.

      I would like to do a decent descale (having only run the puly descaler through it over the past few months). What percentage mix of acetic acid did you use? Where did you get it? I haven’t used anything else as I am worried about damaging the brass or seals or introducing something that could leave an after taste. If this worked for you I would love to try it myself.

      • Romi permalink

        hi aerotec, Im in london too and our water sucks asin its very hard water here. Acetic acid is widely available as its used for many puposes including baking brewing etc. I bought mine from fleabay. acetic acid isnt very very strong.and for my clean i used roughly 2 Tablespoons of the granuals into the water resevoir. i premixed mine in warm water first as it just helps it disolve and mix in better.
        there’s a good video on youtube about how to descale the silva and it mentions a commersially available product: http://youtu.be/bxpOBZyK9MA

  5. Jorge permalink

    Great post. Swapped out the pump for the first time. Really helped. Thanks

    • Glad it helped. Did you use PTFE tape to seal the screw threads on the new pump? Keep a check at the back for any pooling of water as I had to strip it down and reseal it as I hadn’t used enough tape the first time.

  6. Thanks for finally writing about >Rancilio Silvia ULKA Pump EX5/EP5
    Replacement Procedure | Richards Ramblings <Loved it!

  7. How did you know it was time to replace the pump?

    I’m having intermittent issues with priming more frequently these days on my 7 year old Silvia that’s used daily for 4-6 doubles. When this happens to my machine, while pulling a shot the pump suddenly goes very quiet (about 1/8 of the normal operating volume) and stops pouring water (and continues to not pour water even when the portafilter is no longer seated in the group head / no back pressure). I then have to re-prime the pump by flexing the submerged water supply hose within the tank, jiggling and squeezing the air bubbles out of the supply line, followed by running the water (middle switch) out the open steam wand valve. This of course ruins the shot and takes several minutes to recover from. After I go through all this, the machine may run fine for another 20 shots before it happens again. This happens despite never letting the tank go dry and I wonder if it could be a symptom of a failing pump.

    Can anyone describe the symptoms of a failing pump in more detail for me so I know whether to consider replacing the pump?

    • Hi Jay,

      In my case there was just a reduced pump pressure as shots needed the grind to be quite coarse or the basket not loaded fully so this implied time to replace the pump. I think it was more a case of limescale in the pipes and pump and a pump strip down might have been enough but for £20/$30 I was happy to swap out a 10yr old pump.

      In your case if the shots extract ok when it all works then I would suggest you check all your tubes from the tank to the pump then up to the boiler as it sounds more like air is getting in to the system. Maybe the 3-way pressure relief valve is failing and letting air in to the pump??

      Maybe others can comment.

      Rich

  8. Mario permalink

    Owner of a v1 Silvia and have had poor shots for the last 6 months. Thought it was the grind or my tamp pressure. I have had the machine since 2001. Found this site, ordered a new pump from Amazon ($50 USD cheapest I found), replaced it in 30 minutes.

    I am now back to pulling shots as if I were in a cafe in Napoli!

    Thanks for the fantastic walk through. I used Teflon tape on the threads!

    • That’s great to hear! Nothing beats getting back those lovely creamy espresso shots! Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: