Replacing Gaggia Steam Wand with Silvia

Here's how a newbie did the deed on a Coffee Deluxe. (The description may be overkill, but I would have liked to have read something so anally-retentive as this before I started and thus be assured that I was not going to destroy my machine.)

1. I purchased a Rancilio Silvia steam wand and O-ring from 1st-Line. Other sources have the samewand at a similar price, ca. $25 for the wand, $2.50 per O-ring. (March 2009)
2. After unplugging the machine and removing the reservoir, I tilted the machine on its back to give a better view of the fitting.
3. I loosened the nut at top of the Gaggia steam wand with pair of needle-nosed pliers. It came off without the need to hold a second wrench to the companion brass connector on the tube coming from the boiler. I opened the machine cover to peer inside, just in case, but found it was unnecessary to deal with anything from the inside.
4. Nut loosened, the wand could be pulled gently out of the fitting. Gaggia O-ring stayed in place (for now).
5. I used a pair of regular pliers to bend (straighten) ever so slightly the crook in the Gaggia tube so that the connecting nut and metal washer could slide off the lower end. I padded the plier jaws with a hand towel so as not to mar the tube in case I totally messed up and had to refit it. It only took a minimal bend to open the curve up sufficiently to allow the nut to pass.
6. After unscrewing the nozzle tip of the Silvia wand, I pulled the rubber handle off the wand (with a bit of effort) and removed the large Silvia nut.
7. I then replaced the original metal washer and Gaggia nut on the new Silvia wand (washer above nut, against tube collar).
8. I tested the fit of the new wand in place, screwing the nut to finger tighten. The Silvia wand could perhaps work as-is, but the connection of the top of tube into fitting was fairly tight and thus would not permit the wand to swing back and forth as with the original. It would essentially be fixed in one position.
9. So, I Ioosened the nut and removed the wand. Then, I sanded both the top section of the tube and tube collar with 180-grit sandpaper to reduce their diameters. I periodically inserted the tube into the fitting to gauge the change in size. To keep surfaces smooth, I also polished the sanded parts with 320-grit paper.
10. When I felt I had a proper reduction in size, I put everything back in place and tightened the nut firmly. Probably tightened the nut a bit too firmly, because the easy movement disappeared, and swinging the arm back and forth created a mild friction sound. I noticed also that moving the arm back and forth had the ratcheting effect of loosening the nut. I took the wand back off again to sand a little more -- at that point the Gaggia O-ring fell out of the fitting. It had torn in two. Probably, that was the screeching friction sound I heard.
11. I sanded a bit more on the tube, regularly testing the fit without using the nut, until the new wand inserted about as easily as the old Gaggia arm. All in all, I think I probably sanded with light pressure for about 5-10 minutes, barely removing the chrome finish from the brass rod on the upper tip and collar. I had heard beforehand that I would need to sand or file the tube to reduce the size for a proper fit. Instead of blasting away at it from the outset, I was somewhat reticent to take off too much too quickly, so I proceeded slowly and incrementally. You probably do not have to be so conservative.
12. I placed the Silvia O-ring on the upper end of the tube, above the collar, and inserted all into the fitting. After tightening the nut and testing the swing of the arm, I decided to back off about a 1/4 turn.
13. I replaced the reservoir, powered on, primed the pump, and ran a little steam. It worked great, but appeared to have a tiny leak of water at the nut connection. So, I re-tightened it about 1/8 turn, which seems to have stopped the leak.
14. Finally, I slid the rubber handle back onto the tube up to the crook (easier to get on than off), replaced the nozzle tip, and steamed cold milk into a beautifully shiny and sweet microfroth.
Even with my stops and starts, the whole process took under 30 minutes. If I were to do it again, it might take about half that time.


Editor's Note:  There are a few pitfalls to avoid.  You might want to read this thread before continuing.

Adventures Adding Silvia v1 wand




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