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If what you are calling the portafilter is actually the shower filter,( portafilter is what you put the coffee in, shower filter is the one in the group head which is held in by a single screw) then when that second screw fell out it sounds like one or two other things may have fallen out also. To stop water/ steam leaking out the boiler, a small rubber seal and spring seat up in the hole where the water comes out. You need to find them or get new items and fit them to the machine. If not sure, get a parts diagram and you will see what I mean. They are easy to replace.
"leaks noisily from what appears to be the contact between the grouphead and portafilter"
* Leaks from top of portafilter and group head are caused by poor sealing at head gasket.
* wipe top lip of portafilter before inserting into group.
* check if group is clear of coffee grounds, paper bits, tissue, dry crud. Use a head cleaning brush (tooth brush works) and wipe group clean (do not use screwdriver to scrape!)
* Make sure when inserting portafilter it is seated properly. (check your manual for procedure) Note the position of the portafilter handle if it's in the right position AFTER you tighten it. Is it far to the left? or stuck and barely hangs on to group?
* Barely hanging on to group? Check if pod is too big. Note; you can't double shot or use 2 pods in a single pod basket! Make two separate shots for a double.
* Handle tightens but slips off group or still leaks when pulling shot? Worn out or missing gasket. Gaskets are made of rubber and can crack, drop out, or pit. You will need to have the gasket replaced. Check with vendor or MFR for service/parts.
* Make sure you have the correct portafilter. Many look the same and may even fit but when making fine adjustments or critical shots they don't work right. Check manual or vendor for confirmation.
* Make sure you have the correct basket. The portafilters may have different baskets or cups that can be inserted. Many have special uses that can affect the pull of a shot. Fewer holes causes slower flow and longer brew time. Many holes gives a weaker shot but smoother less bitter taste. There is a blank basket that has no holes which is used for backflushing and cleaning of the group. Check your manual or vendor for which basket you should be using. Odds are that you have a standard basket ment for ground coffee and not pods. (you can remove the coffee from the pod but it will be messy.) Ask for the optional 'POD' basket insert.
* Finally if everything checks out and your still having leaks then your machine needs service as the group head or valve needs replacement. Call your vendor or MFR direct.
Aloha! ukeboy57 (youtube)
P.S. Looking back at my service with pod conversions, I've found that most if not all pro-machines don't really like the pod adapters. Sure it will work but shots are weak and poor. Pods really like a very tight fit with a very small portafilter basket(chamber) I mean like the size of a soup spoon! They like very slow and very hot water pumped with a vibration type pump to extract all the essence from the paper filtered coffee. Illy is an excellent coffee pod with a very rich aroma and good creme. The best for them (pods) are the dedicated pod machines (won't do ground coffee, only pods). If you must use a pro semi-automatic machine then I would suggest adding a port constrictor to the portafilter output. There may be a third party supplier that has a compatible adapter for your brand. I've come across some of these very extreme tools for the elites coffee affectionato. It restricts the flow at the output thus causing the hot water to brew longer and at a higher pressure to force the hot water and steam into each coffee grain. (think pressure cooker) Some of the better ones are adjustable. But note that these will need daily or cleaning after each use as these restrictors have very tiny holes which clog unless flushed after each use. Good luck 9on your pursuit of the perfect cup!)
It definitely needs preventive maintenance once a year. There could be a couple of issues causing watery espresso. You could have a clogged shower screen or cracked porta-filter basket. They bypass valve from the pump could be leaking causing low pressure (check this by pulling a shot and seeing if water continually flows back into the tank via one of the water hoses).
HI You need to change the group head gasket. They only last about 1 year and then should be changed. Get 2 because they usually fail on Friday and you have a party on Saturday. The gaskets get hard from the heat and don't form to the filter any more so they leak. When you get the new gasket. Empty everything out of the machine (water tank, drip tray, etc.) Turn the machine upside down on a towel. This way you can see what your are doing. Remove the filter screen and diffuser from the brew head. The black O-ring is your gasket. Carefully pry it out. Clean the opening good before you install the new gasket. Insert the gasket with the beveled side down (on the inside edge of the O-ring is the bevel). Once you have the gasket in place, use the portafilter to finish seating the gasket.
I had this happen about 6 months ago. It was the heating element. I had to have it replace - about $225. Ugh. But it works great now. Good luck. If you have an espresso repair shop you can take it to, they can hook it up to an electrical tester and let you know if it the element.
Hi ensure that the group head has heated up before using I tend to screw the head in and place the porta filter on top of the machine to allow it to heat up (heat the machine up for at least and with regards to the tamping ensure that you tamp firmly and twist at the end to smooth the surface.You could try tampind the cofee in the portafilter before placing it in the group head then after you have placed the porta filter back in give it another quick tamp remembering to twist at the end to help smooth the surface.
Then pull a shot. I get great crema like this.Also ensure the cups are warm.
You can heat the brew head and cups by running hot water through them before using as well this method is called cheating the Silvia
there are two class of expresso coffée: one produce crema and the other none. A 9 sec shot, means you are putting ground coffee that are way too coarse. The Silvia requires coffee grounf extremely fine, near powder texture.
Hope this help
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 http://memweb.newsguy.com/~jenkins/silvia/. I think that descaling loosened a bunch of gunk from the tank and it got jammed in the tiiny hole.