I disassembled this old outdoor spigot to replace the stem seal and stop the slow spout drip. I can't see any markings on it. But the seal refused to slide out and from pulling, popped off inside the unit! I can reinsert the stem and the screwhead will go into the seal again, but not pull it out. It leaks more now, of course. Old Sillcock, cannot see any markings.

The stem looks to be 14" long. Have no idea yet whether it is sweated or threaded to the copper pipe. Old stem, looks to be 14-16" long.

Close-up of the old stem seal, minus the seal... Old stem seal, minus the seal... What are the options here? I have no idea which make or model sillcock this is or even how old it is. Will the whole thing need replacing?

Edit: Well I tried getting the seal out using the water pressure itself, thinking it might blow it right out. That didn't work, but I did get shards of the old, deteriorated seal as it fell apart. Given where this seal is, even getting a replacement in there would be challenging. I'm not convinced it can even be removed externally. Tomorrow it's supposed to be very cold so the whole faucet must be replaced now.

Looking in the crawl, it was a 3/4" threaded fitting to 1/2" copper. I went to the local home improvement store and boggled at how few "wall hydrants" they had in this (apparently 12") size with 3/4" threads. The only frost-free faucet close to this was an inch shorter: New vs. Old "wall hydrant" aka "spigot", "frost-free faucet"

It took a lot longer than an hour. My propane torch was 20 miles away, so a proper copper alteration wasn't possible. A red brass 3/4" FIP to 3/4" close was used, making the whole thing about an inch longer than the original. The exterior mounting holes were also different, and I don't own a hammer drill and assorted carbide bits. I expanding-foamed the gaps and insulated the union. So yes, it's working and drip-free, but is not flush with the exterior brick. Now I have to go back down there in the spring and trim the 1/2" pipe so the faucet is flush outside.

Moral of this story: Just because you can do-it-yourself, doesn't always mean that you should. Yes, I saved money by doing it myself, but now I have to essentially re-do the job in the spring because I didn't have the proper tools.

  • How deep in the unit is the gasket/seal when it pops off? Have you tried turning on the water while the stem is removed to see if the gasket blows out? Dec 4, 2016 at 20:03
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    It's at least 12" inside when it pops off, so probably is getting hung up on the stem threads. I have tried flushing it out to no avail. But this gives an idea - try loosing the stem while under pressure. Perhaps the water pressure will blow the seal out with the stem? Will have to try that tomorrow.
    – rdtsc
    Dec 4, 2016 at 22:48
  • Sounds like a good plan. If that doesn't work, I'd try looking for a really long lag screw that you can use to grab and extract the gasket. Dec 5, 2016 at 3:36
  • Naah that didn't work. Thought it might, but no luck. Under the crawlspace I go.
    – rdtsc
    Dec 12, 2016 at 20:09
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    I just said I would charge a guy $80 to install $46 in parts on a job. I had to buy a bit that was $25 to do this. Including the initial change, in the end it is near break even on our end because of the tool. BUT, we WILL use that tool again because we are a contractor. Hence why it CAN be economical to call someone in when you factor in needing the proper tools to do a job. If you do most your plumbing work for something like the next 10 years, it is probably more economical to buy the tools, if not, call it in.
    – Damon
    Dec 13, 2016 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


I would not try to find parts if you have acces to the connections. I would convert to pex then install a new frost free faucet.

Replacement if you know EXACTLY what parts to buy, with the proper tools on hand, and a single trip to the parts store should take around an hour.

Fixing your existing frostfree, locating parts, turning the main on and off, ect could take days if you have to wait on parts after you spend hours trying to find them. Further at the end of it all you STILL might need to replace the faucet.

Your time has to be worth something right?

Without knowing what to buy and without the proper tools, you are probably looking double to triple the time for either option.

If the connections are not accessible; everything might change.

If you don't like to do what it takes to get to the connections (to dirty, to cramped, etc), pay someone else to and make money to pay them doing something more preferable.

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