Repairing Hose Quick Disconnects

waltrrrApril 29, 2007

Hi, everyone. ItÂs the Annual Replacement of Hose-End Washers Festival for six 3/4" garden hoses at our house, and IÂve just been exercising my arthritic hands in a vain effort to introduce a male, solid brass quick disconnect into its female counterpart.

For those of you who understand what IÂm talking about, I know you share my pain. On the other hand, despite my advanced age it occurs to me that there must be still be something about the mating process that I canÂt comprehend, i.e., how in the #$@& can this be made the simple, straightforward performance that all mammals know and love?

Consider the mating procedure for real quick disconnects. (I mean REAL QDs made of solid brass, not the mewling, slack-jawed, limp-wristed, plastic / piddly brass pot metal masterpieces of contemporary American engineering design.) In these, the male nozzle enters the female port and, before it can be snapped into place by the three spring-tensioned ball bearings which engage the recess at its far end, the muzzle of the nozzle encounters the rubber washer which provides the water seal for the female QD at its hose-end.

Now, if I understand correctly, that washer also provides a water seal for the muzzle end of the male nozzle. In an ideal world, that washer is designed by Goldilocks: not too thick, nor too thin, nor too loose, nor too firm, but J-U-S-T right. It expands and deforms by just the right amount to accept, yet effectively seal, the muzzle of the male nozzle, when "click," a watertight junction is made.

So why, after a dutiful application of the 3 Ps (Patience, Persistence, and Profanity), do I have such a hard time getting the little darlings to mate? IÂm guessing the washers and/or o-rings commonly available at our friendly neighborhood building super-suppliers are not of the correct dimensions. Can this be? Or is there something IÂm missing? In short, how do yÂall git Âer done?

(You M60 and Abrams tankers need not reply with the "If it doesn't fit, force it" routine. BTDT.)

Best regards, Walt

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buford(7 NE GA)

Walt, I share your pain. And I am going to recommend some pansy plastic connects. They are available at Pikes or on Amazon. They are made by Gardena. They work well and don't seem to wear our or crack like some of the cheap metal or other plastic connects. Over the years I've replaced all of our connects with these. The only other connects I have are on/off valves for the hose end that these work quite well with.

go on Amazon and search for this:

Gardena Quick Connect Starter Set #36004

The link is too big to put here.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 6:23AM
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Twinkle(7 GA)

I use the blue-and-yellow Nelson brand brass ones found at Wal-mart. They last forever and go together without any cursing involved. They also sell washers there which, I assume, are appropriately sized for the Nelson QD's because I have never had a problem using those.

Maybe try that brand of washers?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 8:48AM
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I bought my first garden hose size quick connect last summer and it broke last month. I t was a plastic one made by Gilmore. Usually Gilmore has a no quibble guarantee on their stuff as does Lowes who takes anything back but it's probably more trouble than it's worth to take it back so I have one that lasts another year. Most of the time I left it connected anyway.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 9:21AM
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Sorry, foax â thanks for trying, but IÂm not prepared to exchange my solid brass, Tim Taylor-approved, 3/4" quick-disconnects for anything less, especially as it took almost three months to locate a sufficient quantity. And there are other reasons: first, our home requires the maximum flow of water over a significant distance, and second, here in coastal Georgia, sand, heat indices exceeding 112º, and high levels of UV radiation make short work of anything that is or resembles plastic, meaning metal is the material of necessity for quick-disconnects.

The Nelson company makes both plastic and metal QDs, but these are rarely if ever available in anything other than 1/2"- to 5/8". Moreover, a close examination of NelsonÂs male QD discloses that the water flow is squeezed to a fraction of the hose diameter, significantly reducing the flow rate (just the sort of thing I meant when I referred to "masterpieces of American engineering design" Â IÂm perfectly capable of kinking my own hoses, thank you very much.) Judging from the appearance of the companyÂs new, all-metal hose repair fixtures, Nelson seems to be improving, but as itÂs almost the only game in town, clearly the companyÂs in no hurry.

What IÂm actually looking for is guidance regarding suitably flexible, or suitably sized, washer or o-ring replacements for standard hose-end fittings, whether male or female, so that they will more easily accommodate the male quick disconnect. The usual black o-rings available in most garden sections are too thick, and the usual rust-red washers appear too "wide" (i.e., they have a too-small interior diameter), both circumstances which make pressing the male QD into its final position painfully difficult and frequently impossible.

Maybe IÂve simply been too quick to dismiss the "If it doesnÂt fit, force it" concept. If anyoneÂs devised a black-powder stuffed squeeze machine; a rotating male QD with a ceramic-toothed muzzle; an in-line, water-operated, interior diameter extruder; or even a high pressure KY injector-expander, IÂm up for a demo.

On the hose, of course.

Regards, Walt

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 6:16PM
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Hi Walt,

You're right, the washer you need is a special Quick Connect Seal. One side looks like a regular washer and the other side has a thin flexible rim that seals against the male part of the disconnect. I've seen 5/8" seals here:

And I've seen them at ACE Hardware. I haven't seen 3/4" seals. You might call them and ask.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 5:17PM
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I certainly enjoyed Walt's wondering humor and postings. Thanks Jim for the info on washers. I agree with Walt--metal lasts as I tried plastics including Gardena with sun damage over time. I also learned from trial and error the need for the exact washer. I, too, have difficulty with the "mating" of the quick connect parts. I am in a high calcium water content area. The little round metal balls that are supposed to move and snap back when the collar is slid back don't--frozen from calcium, I suppose. I have tried channel lock pliers to force them back and that seems to work. I am now trying a soak in vinegar. I have found that if any debris gets caught in the collar and its round spring, then it won't work. So I let a little flow of water through and it clears it most of the time. My problem today is the collar goes back the female slips onto the male, but the collar won't go back on. So now what? What is the problem here? Why won't the collar slide back on? HELP!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 11:00AM
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I still have stuck round metal balls, but I learned something today. If the collar won't go forward after the male is stuck into it, you rotate the cuff a little and it will snap in place.

Now I am trying to find a long-lasting water hose shut-off with large handles for arthritic hands. With plastic, the little on/off handles break off and are hard to rotate. Why don't they make one for a hose that they make for pressurized uses, i.e., large long handles! G-r-r-r-r. The brass ones are too hard to turn on and off as well.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 5:30PM
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