Question about Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

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No water coming through the pump

I've had my rancilio for just a smidge over two years. It's been great. My husband cleaned the machine with the recommended cleaner last week and since then, the machine makes an awful noise when turned on and no water ever makes it through, thus no espresso. The steamer does work, however. Can these machines be sent back for repair or is there something I should check first? Thanks, Meaganbz

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  • sloespresso Nov 19, 2007

    i have the exact same problem, also after cleaning it with the cleaner provided by a rancilio dealer. my sense is that i left the cleaner in too long and it dryed up and silvia is now clogged in some way. i am far from urban areas and would like to try fixing it myself before shipping it off. any ideas are appreciated!

  • Jakob Larsen Dec 22, 2007

    I have exactly the same problem. Thought it was because of chalk in the water and I have "de-chalked" it several times, but even shortly after having done so, I experience the problem. I suspect some kind of "air-plug" (??) in the system to be causing the troubles, but it's hard to find a pattern in the way it appears. ANyone with a good advise?

  • demas Dec 30, 2007

    I also cleaned my machine recently, had about 10 days of problem-free usage then yesterday I noticed the water was only dribbling through. I first thought an air blockage, so I used a blind plate (one with no holes) that I normally use for cleaning to see if that made a difference. It didn't. I then had the (as it turns out bad) idea to let the reservoir run dry (briefly) then to start water through afresh. Didn't work. I then had the water pump going and opened and closed the steam valve (not using the middle water pump button). Plenty of water and pressure in the steam arm. However, at this point the water flow came to a halt, and then a faint burning smell started to come from my Silvia. Everything switched off now. Another search found this link: which suggests that the cleaning powder may have been left in too long -- I certainly left it in longer this time that usual, maybe half an hour with some flushing during that time. Also, it says I should NEVER let the reservoir run dry. I didn't try the thermostat reset yet, but any help would be appreciated, though I tend to think I just need a new pump.

  • romster Feb 13, 2008

    same problem as the others are describing following a cleaning session. pump sounds but no water flow from the group head or steam wand if i try activating the hot water switch. Has the pump died even though i can clearly hear it?Or would you suggest taking a look at the three way valve for a blockage?

    Any help would be appreciated


  • Anonymous May 01, 2008

    I have the same problem. I have had it just over two years. After the last time I cleaned it, (a couple of months ago), it took much longer to make a shot. After cleaning it last night, it doesn't work.



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Ok, We got a solution. We have hard water from a well. We disassembled the 3-way valve and removed the brass valve receiver. The outlet going to the coffee was plugged up solid with gunk (technical term). I used a tiny piece of wire from a wire tie and cleaned out the gunk, then soaked all the brass parts in descaler. The whole effort only took about half an hour. We used a crescent wrench, phillips screwdriver, and a 3mm allen wrench. We found the directions for the process at I think that descaling loosened a bunch of gunk from the tank and it got jammed in the tiiny hole.

Posted on May 02, 2008

  • needespresso Feb 01, 2011

    This may have been written three years ago, but it should be put at the top of the list
    for any roncilio silvia less than two years old, once the group head is cleaned, and the machine
    has been descaled, this suggestion saved me time and money (avoiding buying a new 3-way valve). The blockage was at the brass valve receiver and it looked like descaled material. Machine
    producing great espresso once again.

  • GriffinJim Jul 28, 2011

    This is an excellent piece of advice, and the link to clean the solenoid valve was invaluable. Just did this to my 6 year old Silvia and it solved the water-flow problem. Would only add that you should insert the 3mm allen wrench up into thefitting above the receive to clean it out, and then run some water thru before re-assembly. Got quite a bit if residue from that operation. Thanks for the help - was getting ready to purchase a new pump....... JGriffin 7/28/2011


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I had exactly the same problem, solved by following the link in plangley's advice above. In my case there was a tiny (2mm) flake of pink paint that had flaked off from inside the hole marked '2' in the brass valve receiver, which was partially blocking the hole. Once the flake was removed, and the whole thing reassembled, Silvia was working like a dream again and my 8am anxiety attack came to an end.

I cleaned my machine with descaler a few months before - perhaps the descaler caused the pink lining paint inside hole 2 to flake off?

Posted on Feb 15, 2009


Had the same problem, and on my machine it was the solenoid part of the solenoid valve that was faulty. My Rancilio retailer had this in stock, and changing it was easy. See for details on how to disassemble the Silvia in order to get to the Solenoid. (Note that the article does not cover how to actually change the solenoid. It is easy but if you are in doubt please contact an authorized service center).

Posted on May 29, 2008

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I needed to replace the solenoid, but got it to work!

Posted on Feb 08, 2016

I have had what seemed to be a air bubble in the line on and off for months and finally found a solution that seems to fix the problem when it happens:

Turn the machine on and pump on (bottom switch). Heat machine up. Turn on water switch (middle switch) then open steam valve at the same time. This seems to clear the air bubble and then the water enters the group head like normal.

This problem was occurring almost daily but since I have done the above, it has only happened a couple of times in the last month. Good luck!

Posted on Jan 22, 2008

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In my case, I consulted with the service agent and took the machine in. It wasn't the pump, as that was obviously still working (both audibly and in pumping water from the steam wand). I tried descaling but that didn't help. The likely culprit is the solenoid valve which as I understand it directs water between the group head for espresso and the steam wand for hot water. That certainly explains why in my case there seemed no difference between operating the first or the second button.

Posted on Jan 08, 2008

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All could be different problems, I will only tackle the first here.

I sound like when he took the group head apart, he put the nozzle block in backwards. This will block the hole that the water comes out. Take the screw out of the group. The nozzle is under the screen. Make sure the gap under the holes is pointing up.
Also, try backflushing a few times.
There may be a service company in your area. Look under resteraunt service.

Posted on Jan 08, 2008

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