How to: Repair a common QuarterMaster frost-free silcock problem for free
B&K Mueller manufactures the QuarterMaster series of ubiquitous Anti-Siphon Frost-Free Silcocks. I have also seen people call them Frost-Proof Wall Hydrants, outside water faucets, taps, valves and spigots.
Quartermaster silcocks come in lengths from 6" to 14" in 2" increments. When I needed to replace one of my old outside faucets, I decided to use the 12" quartermaster, which was conveniently available from my local Home Depot.
My first quartermaster lasted one season, but when I turned to open it the following spring, it would not fully close again. When I attempted to take the silcock apart, only part of the stem came out, the other part was broken and jammed inside. So, I yanked the whole thing out and replaced it with another QuarterMaster. However the new replacement silcock started leaking again only a couple months later. This time I decided to contact the manufacturer, B&K Mueller.
(B&K Mueller has a lifetime guarantee on these units and a toll free number for customer support: 800-782-2385. When you call the number, you will be transfered to a representative depending on your place of purchase.)
I spoke to B&K Mueller's Home Depot representative, a very nice gentleman, who immediately offered to send me a frost free repair kit for my QuarterMaster free of charge. (He told that they get a substantial number of requests for these frost free repair kits mostly in the spring, because people don't completely drain them over the winter.) About a week later a box arrived. Unfortunately, while the pack slip inside was right, the part did not correspond. I called back and got the right part another week later.
Replacement part did not come with any instructions, but it was rather easy to replace and only took a few minutes. Here is all the tools you will need: #2 Phillips screwdriver, regular pliers and a Crescent wrench.
UPDATED INSTRUCTIONS ARE IN THE FOLLOWING YOUTUBE VIDEO:
Here is all you have to do:
1. Shut off water supply to the silcock.
2. Open the silcock to drain water remaining in the line.
3. Detach the handle by unscrewing the Phillips screw with your screwdriver. Save the handle and the screw.
4. Adjust the Crescent wrench and use it to unscrew the outside sleeve. Save the sleeve.
5. Adjust the Crescent wrench and use it to unscrew the nut, which holds the stem. Save the nut.
6. Remove the small brass washer from the end and save it.
7. Use your pliers to carefully pullout the old stem.
8. Carefully slide in the replacement stem (the frost free repair kit, you received from B&K Mueller) and tap on it lightly with your Crescent wrench to get it in place.
9. Put the brass washer that you took off the old stem, back on the end of your new stem.
10. Use the Crescent wrench to screw the nut back on - do not over tighten.
11. Adjust the Crescent wrench and use it to screw the sleeve back on - do not over tighten.
12. Replace the handle and secure it in place with the Phillips screw.
13. Close your silcock.
14. Turn your water supply back on.
Pretty simple, though there is one caveat... You have to be able to get the entire old stem out, before you can get the new one in. If the old stem comes apart completely inside the unit (as my first QuarterMaster did), I doubt that you will be able to get the broken off part of the stem out (see picture). In this case, you will have to call B&K Mueller back up for further instructions, or just run back to Home Depot for a replacement silcock.
Of course, I would you rather have a silcock that you don't have to fix every few months, but B&K Mueller is the only branded manufacturer of the frost-free quarter turn spigots I could find. Any of the off brands are likely manufactured by the same quality Chinese factory and will likely break just as fast. At least with B&K Mueller you can get your replacement parts at no additional cost!