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!

B&K Mueller QuarterMaster frost free silcock detail - broken cartridge

I watched the video since I am also have an issue with my FF Quartermaster Spigot. My issue is normal pressure, but low volume.

I pulled the stem, but everything seemed to be intact. Could it be an internal failure causing this problem? Vacuum breaker?

This is a concern for me since it literally happened overnight, as I set up my sprinklers on a Friday and they ran perfect and now barely run at all.

Any help is appreciated.

Obviously there is a restriction somewhere along the water path. It could be in your house, in the spigot or (most likely) in the stem. What did you see when you pulled it? If you look close enough inside the cartridge, you will probably find a piece of dirt just large enough to restrict most water flow. Try to get it out and if you can not, replace the cartridge.

The valve broke for the second winter in a year. Customer service was incapable, belligerent, argumentative and refused to help me. They say you have to drain it and cover it. What's the point of buying such an expensive freeze proof valve if you have to do more to protect it than a plain jane old water valve? What happened to their guarantee and customer service? They claim it is a limited lifetime guarantee and requires proof of purchase. Guess they think I found this in an alley. Do not buy this product. It is cheaply made and not supported by the manufacturer. I still have the tag and this is going back to Home Depot. They can return it.

i have the quartermaster sillcock model number 104-559. i installed it last year now its leaking when the water is turned on. i took the stem out of the sillcock and the black rubber on the plastic white piece was broke off and the packing nut washer was chewed up. so i called the 1-800 number and they told me the sillcock has been discontinued and all they can send me is the cartridge. and i cant find the right washers at home depot or anywhere any ideas?

Their customer service and products stink. Suggest you return to the retailer and/or file a complaint with the retailer.

You have two options:
1. Take the QuarterMaster silcock out, return it to Home Depot and replace it with another brand of silcock that doesn't have so many problems.
2. Get that replacement cartridge from B&K Mueller. It will probably come with the washers you need - it has in the past.

The water in my hose won't turn off. I tried every combination with the handle in front and the metal knob on top but the water always runs. Can you advise me what this is?
Thank you,
Andrew

The metal knob on top must be hand tightened in normal operation. The handle on the front must be turned to its stop clockwise to turn the water off. If this doesn't do the trick, nothing else will until you follow instructions in the original post that tell you how to fix your silcock.

Brand new 104-619HC and the handle won't turn. Removed the handle and still can't get it to open. Suggestions?

What do you mean, you can't get it open? It doesn't turn or it does, but no water comes out? How would removing the handle help? Please be more specific. If you have not yet installed it, you may want to consider another brand.

Where did you buy your QuartertMaster silcock? Last time I was at a local HomeDepot a few days ago, their entire remaining dwindling inventory of B&K Mueller silcocks looked used. When I asked their plumbing associate if they had any more and in the length I needed, he told me to go for another brand. It is a couple of dollars more, but apparently infinitely more reliable.

Just replaced a threaded type sillcock (104-553HC), turned the valve and water comes out of the vacuum valve on the top of the faucet when connected to the hose. Any ideas? Thanks

There is suppose to be a cap covering the vacuum valve at the top. When you tighten it by hand, it prevents water from coming out. Are you experiencing a leak at the top with the cap completely off or with it properly tightened?

I installed a Quarter Master last year. When I turned my faucet on this year the water was at a trickle. When I run the water without the Quarter Master the pressure is fine. I called Mueller and they sent me a new cartridge. I replaced the cartridge and I still have the same problem. Any suggestions?

Physics tells us that if you experience a change in pressure from the input of your B&K Mueller QuarterMaster silcock to its output, there must be a constriction somewhere inside it. If the problem is not in the cartridge, it must be elsewhere in the silcock housing. That being pretty much just a pipe, any restriction should be rather plane to see - try shining a flashlight inside your silcock housing with the stem and cartridge out.

MY VALVE IN THE CLOSED POSITION JUST STARTED RUNNING. WE HEARD WATER RUNNING AND LOOK OUTSIDE TO SEE IT COMING OUT OF THE 104-561HC VALVE. ANY IDEAS? THE VALVE WAS STILL IN THE CLOSED POSITION.

I would say, please make sure that the valve is really off. Can you turn it more than 1/4 turn in either direction or does it stop as it is designed to do? If not, the handle probably wore off at the point of attachment to the stem and needs to be replaced. If this is not the problem, then you most likely have a broken cartridge. In either case you should contact B&K Mueller at the number provided in the original post to request a replacement part.

I've read through all the posts and see that several others are having the same problem, water leaks out of the knob screw hole. I replaced two cartridges today and they both have the same leak. I've tightened the outer nut but that doesn't seem to help. I have not seen anyone give a good answer for the repair yet, are you aware of one? I've called BK but got the answer machine, hope they are good about calling back?

Unfortunately, I can't think of any way that this could happen with the outer nut tightened. If you do get a solution to this problem, please post it here for the benefit of everyone else.

I have a 8" quarter master outside my house that comes out under my deck. The sillcock, the outside chrome part is all the same diameter, but I noticed very end of the new ones flare out. This isn't an problem when replacing the insides! :)

I pulled the insides out of a new Mueller 8", where the outside of the sillcock is flared. It fit perfect inside my old non-flared sillcock, and I didn't need to replace the whole thing, just the internals/stem. I also just called Mueller, and they said there is no problem with that, the newer outside sillcock that flares out, is just from a new company and doesn't effect performance, etc. The inside diamter is the same, it's just thicker walled on the end....

My QM was leaking and when I pulled out the stem, I found the cone washer was broken. None of the hardware stores around me have anything similar to it. Does anybody know if the repair kit that BK Mueller sends you will include the cone washer?

Dave,

BK Mueller has been very accommodating every time I have called. The cone washer was included in all the repair packages I have received, even without me asking for it. However, it couldn't hurt to specifically ask for it to be included.

Good luck,
Jake

Jake, allow me to add my own gratitude to the pile of other such replies here. While I did find some other information on the web about the QuarterMaster, your video and commentary were substantially better than all other sources combined. Thank you for taking the time to share what you learned.

My Faucet has started leaking. Called the 800 number and they sent me a repair kit which is only a brass Sillcock Cartridge.
The faucet I have is about 10 years old. Will this part replace the old part and stop the leak? Does the instructions given by JAKE on this site work. Does the length of my faucet have any bearing on removing the stem and replacing the cartridge?

Al, I have created an instructional video and added it to the original post. I believe it answers all of your questions - please take a look. Since, you will be attaching the new cartridge to your old stem, the length of your frost-free silcock does not matter.

Jake, Watched the video again after I replied to you and noticed there is a washer on the cartridge. I noticed when
I was taking the old cartridge off the stem, there was a washer assembly that was broken. There was not a washer
assembly with the cartridge I received. What are my options?

Al, you need that flexible beveled washer between the cartridge and the stem. (That is the one you are talking about, right?) If you don't, I am sure you will experience a leak, when the faucet is turned on. I suggest that you call B&K Mueller and ask them for a replacement washer. It is highly unlikely that you local hardware store would carry anything that would work to replace it.

P.S. If the video helped you, please rate it on youtube, so that others needing help may find it easier.

Jake, The Video was great. I followed the steps and got the stem out and the new brass cartridge on with not problem. Got the repaired stem back in and turned the water on. When the handle is on off, the water leak is gone. When the handle is on, I have a continuous stream that appears to be coming out of the steam. Is this because of a bad washer that is on the hose end of the faucet? Can not find a washer to replace the bad one. Any Suggestions?

I purchased an 8" Frost Proof 1/4 turn Quartermaster by B&K 2 years ago and I'm on my fourth one. In my case it is NOT a freezing problem. I replaced the last one 2 months ago and came home tonight to find it leaking again from behind the faucet handle or so that is how it appears. It has not been anywhere near freezing. I have taken the whole unit out and returned it to the hardware store I purchased it from and thankfully they have continued to carry the same one and allow me to exchange it, but I'm tired of replacing this thing! I think I will try to get my money back. The guy at the hardware store said he's seen others have the same problem as mine and others with a anti-siphon problem. I think something is wrong with B&K's design. I will try the customer service number I guess.

All:

I also ordered the replacement cartridge. My problem was that the faucet would leak badly at the handle when turned on, even when the hose was running freely.

Replaced cartridge, but did not solve the problem. When in on position, water flows down the center of the hollow stem and then out the handle, even though all seals are intact and tight.

Before I call the company again, any thoughts or suggestions?

I believe I have the same problem (my faucet leaks at the handle when turned on).
Can I ask you how you fixed it ?
Thanks
J-P

There is a rubber gasket that is embedded into the piece that keeps the stem in place. If it gets damaged, you will see water seemingly coming out of the stem. Keep in mind that the stem is not hollow, so the water is not really coming out of the stem, but around it. Also, please make sure that you have the small brass washer in place to make sure that the stem is seated correctly.

I believe that the problem you describe can manifest itself under heavy use without the additional stress of freezing temperatures and that freezing temperatures only exacerbate the problem, making it appear much sooner.

However, I do not believe that this is a design problem. I am guessing that manufacturing quality control of materials is the real culprit.

B&K Mueller representative I spoke to assured me that the problem has been fixed perhaps a year ago in the new version of the Quartermaster, which may look slightly different. It is possible that your store is continuing to work off its old stock, though.

I went back to the store and the one they have on the shelf looks a little different now. I am wondering if I should do the exchange again at the store. The new ones look like I will have to drill a larger hole through my wall. Or will the repair parts that B&K would presumably send me fit into my "old" (only a few months old) faucet and fix the problem? I guess I will try customer service first and see what they say. Thanks for the insight.

My understanding from speaking to the B&K customer service is that the "new insides" will not fit the "old outsides."

I called B&K and they sent me (free) the new internals consisting of an all brass cartridge. It appears the old inside had some ceramic parts. The install was slightly different than what Jake has described but close enough that I figured it out...just pay attention to how the old one comes apart. It seemed like it was not going to go into the "old outsides" at first. I had to monkey around sliding it in then back out to get it to fit right, but it did eventually work. So far it appears to have cured the problem. I don't like having problems with something that I assumed was going to last a long time, but at least B&K is serving their customers well.

I see multiple complaints/comments about user induced and manufacturing induced failures. Nowhere can I find comment on the life / reliability of the ceramic cartridge - nor any praise or complaints about full open flow delivery. I will be connecting to an automatic water make up system ( with auto-drain down provisions) that needs 10 GPM. I can give up about 20-30 PSI drop to the valve. A normal washer & seat type hose bib or frost free instinctively should do that. I guess I just suspect / distrust the passage sizes in a ceramic cartridge that small. Have you ever seen any tests that would be informative? Thanks

Your application sounds rather unique - most people would not be interested in flow rates above 5 gpm through a frost-free silcock like this.

The silcock's cartridge is brass with a ceramic shut off sealed inside. The cartridge's brass casing is exactly the part that was breaking. When you turn on the water with this silcock, the ceramic shut off within the cartridge twists to open the valve. The size of the opening appears to be considerably smaller than the free area in a more traditional washer & seat type silcock. However, this is not the only consideration for determining maximum water flow through it - materials can make a big difference.

I suggest you give a call directly to the manufacturer at the number provided in the article and ask them for their design curves, as well as loaded testing results - they may well have them. If they do, please share back what you find with the rest of us - it may help somebody else later on.

Hope someone is still reading this list.

My 12 inch silcock started to leak badly. I replaced all the o-rings and one packing nut, lubricating them with Vaseline. I did not replace the cone shaped flexible ring at the end of the assembly where the long rod attaches, which seems in good condition. Leak continues, and curiously, through the center of the rad where the screw attaches the handle.

Before I read the exchange here, I did not think to inspect the whole assembly for a crack to allow water in. Could this be the same problem that others have reported, and that this is just the beginning of an eventual break in the rod?

Thanks.

HCB

It certainly sounds like the same problem that everyone else experienced and there really is no other way I can think of for these symptoms to appear. However, if it is the same problem and you took the long rod out, you would have most likely noticed the crack at the end of it. Could you take it out again and inspect it more carefully?

As far as Vaseline petroleum jelly goes, I am not sure that it was a great idea to use it inside the silcock.

Hello, I installed a Mueller Frost Free 1/4 turn Sillcock. Sweated it, inside and turned on the water. no leaks, but when U turn on the faucet outside, it only comes out a little, not full blast like it should. does anyone know what this issue may be?
Thank you.

Did you remove the cartridge mechanism inside the unit prior to sweating it? If not, the heat most likely damaged it. If that's what happened, you may still be able to take insides out, clean out the outside casing and replace the cartridge with a new one. This may be easier (and more economical) than unsoldering the frost free and soldering a new one.

i replaced an old outdoor silcock on my neighbor's house with a "quartar master frost free" .. it worked great until the middle of winter .. it was about 10 degrees outside .. my dogs were barking about 3am .. i looked out and saw water running full blast out of the quarter master .... there was no hose attached and the thing was properly drained for the winter ... water and ice were everywhere .. i tried my best to divert the water because it was directly going down beside the foundation.. no telling how long it was running but there was a lot of ice and water ..we had to pound on the neighbors doors and windows to wake them up .. fortunately i had installed an inside shut off valve .. so other than terrifying the neighbors we were able to stop further damage .. the valve would not shut off or do anything .. i figured it must be frozen but its not supposed to do that .. we just left it shut off for the winter and now that its needed am trying to repair it .. this site was the nicest thing that's happened today .. thanks

Gooding Rubber sells various types of industrial fittings. They may be able to help.

I called B & K and they sent me a new stem in the mail (no instructions though). But when I took it apart, the thin copper pipe that the sleeve fits over goes way back into the house, instead of being a few inches long, and the new part doesn't look anything like the old one. I don't want to pull the pipe out of the house!

Am I just being dense or have they sent me the wrong part?

Thanks

Robert

They have sent the entire stem to me and to the other posters on this blog. The part should be the same length as the "sleeve" (or housing). It's possible that they sent you a stem for a shorter QuarterMaster silcock or that they only sent you the end-piece that broke. In either case, you could just take out the old broken stem, detach the broken end-piece and replace it with the end-piece that you received in the package from B&K.

It is also possible that they sent you some other wrong part in the package. The first time I called them for a broken stem, I received a whole bunch of brass 90 degree elbows and had to call them again, of course.

I received a repair kit from Mueller. Followed instructions above. It now turns on and off, but water comes directed out of the screw hole in the stem when its on. Any ideas?

Did you ever fix this problem? I see that I am missing the brass washer.

Water coming out of the screw hole in the silcock stem makes me think that you didn't tighten the nut holding the stem in the housing. It wouldn't really come out of the screw hole, but it would look like it is.

Thanks for the information. I have two of these quarter turn sillcocks that just broke and won't turn off. I went to the local Home Depot and they don't sell them anymore (maybe because they break regularly??). I was searching the internet to find somewhere where I could buy another couple online, and I saw blog with this info. Awesome! Thanks. I'll be phoning to get replacement parts.

From: Chris, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

I had an older QM frost free silcock but had to replace it with a longer one when we had some work done to our house several years ago. The old one had a nice heavy cast Iron knob (similar to the red ones seen on regular house faucets). The new ones have larger, all plastic knobs. The plastic over time gets brittle and I have now replaced the knobs on 2 of the 3 units. QM has of course been very helpful with sending free replacements (they actually sent 2 when I requested one, so I didn't have to call them when the second one broke...) but I really wish they would make a cast iron one that would not have this problem. I just spoke to the customer service number and they are sending me another one, as one has broken again this year (probably from my kids being a little rough with the faucet) and they say that there is now a metal insert in the center (and warning me that if the breakage was caused by over-torquing that with the new handles, over torquing will now cause internal damage to the unit) but from my looking at the previous handles, it would not take anywhere near the amount of force to break the plastic as it would to do any internal damage. Let's just hope the new model holds up better. I have to think they made the metal insert for just this reason.

And thanks a LOT for keeping this number posted, it made it MUCH easier to find than last time.

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