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.