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Rancilio Silvia ULKA Pump EX5/EP5 Replacement Procedure

November 8, 2012

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.


From → Coffee

  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. 🙂


    • 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 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:

  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. Andrew permalink

    Thanks Richard.
    Miss Silvia 1 up and running again

  8. 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.


  9. 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!

  10. Jennifer permalink

    So I found this page because my pump (I think is broken) but I’m stuck at Step 4. That photo does not help me. I undid the first four screws. I undid the next two screws and now what? I don’t see how this progresses.

  11. Jennifer permalink

    Nevermind, I got the cover off. However, you must have a different model, because I had to undo two more additional screws (the cover did not just slide off) that were rather tricky to a) have access to with enough leverage to unscrew the b) rather tight screws. No simple feat here.

  12. Patrick permalink

    Just a quick note – replaced my pump today, and the guide was a big help!

  13. Is it possible to swap out the brass outlet from the old pump and use it to replace the plastic outlet on the new? Brass seems better/stronger.

  14. Just an Idea, If one is changing the pump maybe you should descale as a matter of course before changing it.
    Great post

  15. Jeff permalink

    Thank you very much! Mine stopped working today after 6 or 7 years, and I just ordered a replacement pump, hoping it will do the trick. I tested the existing pump with the back of the unit off like you did and it didn’t draw any water through the tube, so it appears the pump is definitely bad. Hopefully nothing else is bad…. Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks again for the help. Love this machine.

    • romi permalink

      can you actually hear the pump trying to work. I ask because over a year ago mine stopped pumping water through to but I could hear the pump so Instead of changing the pump which I was gong to . I descaled it using citric acid powder and after doing that it worked and has worked fine ever since

  16. Tom permalink

    Thank you so much for this detailed description. It helped fix my issue entirely, including the fix for the leak! Tom

  17. Maximum Recovery permalink

    I’m in the US so it’s 110/120 V. There appear to be 2 versions of the pump available. One, the standard one, is 41 W. The other, much less widely available, is Ulka EAX5 rated 53 W. Does anyone know if there is an advantage to using the 53W model?

  18. Finn permalink

    Thanks for sharing this. It has made my shots so much better!

  19. Tony Williams permalink

    Hi Richard, just replacing the pump on my Silvia, haven’t fitted the new one yet but with your instructions it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Thanks so much for this.


    • Hey did you manage to swap out the pump? Let me know if you have any questions.


      • I’m on my third pump now. Original one lasted maybe five years. My replacement EP5 lasted a little over a year and I just replaced it again last month.

        Your instructions are perfect.

      • That wasn’t very long? What were the symptoms? Are you descaling regularly?


      • Yeah. I descale every six months. I think I might have wrecked the last pump. Took the espresso machine on the family vacation and all the switches were flipped-on during transport. When we returned home, I put the machine back in its place on the counter and plugged it into the timed outlet (which was off at the time). Woke up in the morning to a VERY hot machine. Turned it off and let it cool down but after cooling it would click and only make a very quiet sound when the espresso switch was flipped. Volt meter said there was current going to the pump. Dropped a new one into the machine and everything was fine again.

        – J

  20. Thank you! Today is one of those days where I love the internet, waiting for my new pump to arrive so I can put it to work. 7 year old heavily used (home, anyway) Rancilio so considering pretty lucky to have made this far without replacing. It’s konking out on every other shot right now, and I’m sure is hurting on the ones that are coming out 🙂 Thanks again for the post.

    • Thanks! Give it a descale while you are at it if you have hard water. And make sure to get some teflon wrap for the threads!

      • ohequet604 permalink

        Second that re Teflon tape. Mine was leaking badly at the plastic to metal elbow joint. Mine was leaking big time.
        I always thought it was the flushing dripping out the back of the machine but it was the pump connection in plastic leaking non stop

  21. Done! Thanks again, the whole process was very smooth except for those hard to get at screws that hold the back to the front. Where can I send the bottle of wine? Or at least, if you’re ever in Ashland Oregon you’ve got free capuccinos at my place.

  22. Wes S permalink

    You’re a complete stud for putting this up — thanks. Just used it to install a new pump in my Silvia without much trouble.

    The only tricky bit was that screw in the recessed gap. In my case it had been there for ten years and was rusted and stuck tight and just would not turn, and it’s not possible to get a good angle on it because of the limited space. So I had no leverage to work with.

    So, realizing that the screw was just holding the back from sliding off, I decided to jam a butter knife in the gap between the back and the front casing (on the sides of the Silvia) and then push it down, to apply force to the area where the screw held the back. By doing this on both sides, was able to work the back casing off anyway, screw be damned.

  23. mostundudelike permalink

    Awesome instructions, and thanks for the reminder on the tape. Tomorrow is going to be a much better day.

  24. Thanks for the excellent post. Tip: have a 13 mm open-ended wrench handy for unscrewing the hose fitting from the elbow joint. And you’ll need a long-shaft X-head screwdriver to reach the screw mentioned in step 4. Push the black panel (that holds the water tank in place) down to reveal more of that screw head. It’s dead center at the back.

  25. Doram Gaunt permalink

    Thank you for this useful tutorial.
    If you arrive at this page because no water is coming out of the brew head, but you hear the pump and get water/steam out of the steam wand – the problem might not be the pump. It is possible that you have a mechanical block in the 3-way Solenoid valve, or you can have a problem with the coil that operates the valve.
    Information about cleaning the 3-way valve can be found here:
    And if the valve itself is fine, you might have a burnt coil, see here:
    Here is a description of the symptoms of a bad coil (exactly what I have!):
    And even more information about three-way solenoids:

  26. Doram Gaunt permalink

    Before ordering a new pump, make sure the problem isn’t in the 3-way solenoid valve or the coil that operates it. If you hear the pump and can see water moving back to the tank through the second silicon tube + you get steam from the steam wand, then it’s probably the solenoid. You can easily disconnect and clean the valve, or maybe you just need to replace the coil (this is what fixed my machine). Google and you will find the information and instructions.

  27. Espresso Con permalink

    Followed this procedure and I was able to replace the pump in my Silvia. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing.

  28. Thomas Suender permalink

    Thank you very much. This helped me and it works now.

    • You are welcome! Good to keep these classic machines working. Mine must be about 18yrs old now!

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