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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

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.

Thanks for the info just called the 800 # to get my 6in quarter master replaced. They said I have to wait 1 month then they will send out the newly designed one that is a "brass on brass" design that will hopefully fix the breaking problem with these things. The original is brass and some other material i forget what he said.

My silcock outside the garage is leaking somewhere in the wall. we did not disconect the hose in the winter and I think the frost caused the problem. I replaced the stem( I saw cracks on the old stem). It was still leaking inside the wall when the hose was folded and the water was pushed back into the silcock. I am wondering if the frost broke the connectors inside the wall. The silcock is installed in the drywall. I have to cut the wall if I decide to replace the whole unit. I am wondering if anybody can tell me what is the problem and I should cut the wall and replace the whole unit.

Thanks

If you do not properly install your frost-free silcock, do not winterize it by draining per manufacturers instructions, or leave the garden hose attached through the cold of winter, you may develop a problem, like the one you are describing. If your frost-free leaks water inside the wall every time you open the faucet and replacing the stem did not help, it is very likely that the problem is the cracked silcock housing.

Frost-free silcocks shut off water deep inside, close to the point of silcock's connection to the the house piping. This design attempts to keep frost away from this connection and it does a fine job at it. However, it also creates another problem - that of required maintenance.

If you don't follow the easy steps to drain the silcock and especially do not disconnect the hose over a cold winter, remaining water will have no place to go and it will freeze and expand first in the garden hose and then in the outside part of the silcock. Eventually, the weakest part gives - the metal outside silcock housing bulges and develops a crack necessitating replacement of the entire unit.

If this is what happened to you, don't feel bad. How could you expect a frost-free to succumb to exactly the problem it was designed to avoid - freezing?! (And it is not like they are sold with instructions attached.) The only reason I know about this issue, is because I had it happen to me a few years ago.

My anti siphon plastic cap is leaking, what do I do?

Give B&K Mueller a call at 800-782-2385 and tell them exactly what your problem is. They should help you identify the part that you need to replace and send it to you at no charge.

I am so glad that I found your site!!
The repair kit is on the way.
Thank you!!

Hello, I just discovered that my B&K Mueller frost free silcock has been leaking, so I removed the stem and seat assembly and found that the threads on the seat assembly were cracked so I tried several hardware stores to get a replacement stem and seat assembly to no avail so I had to purchase a complete silcock assembly from menards home store.I see that the silcock has a lifetime guarantee would you please advise me on how I could get a replacement stem and seat assembly for my mod#104-559HC 1/2x12" silcock? thank you for any effort put forth, chris grimm ph.815-227-9403

Chris, Why don't you give B&K Mueller a call at 800-782-2385? They are usually very good about sending replacement parts at no charge (not even for shipping).

Apparently not anymore. Customer service tells me they do not sell/ship to the public and I have to order from Lowes or Home Depot.

I had a problem with the QuarterMaster frost free silcock. One call to the 1800 number and they sent a replacement part at no charge. It is great to have customer support like that. I am impressed with the service and willingness to take care of their customers.

I replaced the internals of this 1/4 turn silcock this weekend. Mine was broken in the same place as the picture shows, but where the silcock attached to the copper pipe was in a finished basement with dry walled ceilings. As a result, I thought hard about getting the broken piece out without ripping drywall out. I ended up straightening a wire coat hanger and putting a small hook at the end and using it to fish through the hole to hook on the piece that was logged inside until it came out. It took about 20 tries before the piece came out, however, but it sure beat cutting into finished drywall and the follow up repair.

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