About seven years ago I purchased a Suncast Side Tracker STA100 hose reel. For the first two years it worked wonderfully and leak free. Since then it’s leaked like crazy, showering the wall and wasting lots of water. Clearly something needed to be fixed. Here’s how I fixed it.
I don’t really use my hose reel too often. After all, being in Toronto, Canada, garden hoses are really only used in the summer, particularly when the kids want to cool off by running in the sprinkler. In the fall, before winter returns, I take the hose reel off the wall and store the reel and hose in the garage.
Though no one else really notices, wasting water annoys be. Here in Toronto, all water that comes out of the tap is potable, meaning that it has been filtered, cleaned, disinfected, and fluoridated. To simply waste water is to waste all the energy and technology used to make it safe to drink.
So it took me five more years to get around to fixing it. Yes, after a couple of years I did begin to research what could be wrong, but really a hose reel is not high on my priority list. Of course, all the retailers that sell Suncast products do not sell their parts. As a customer you buy, and if anything breaks, you deal with the manufacturer. My search begins.
Going to the Suncast site I notice that the Side Tracker model has been discontinued, though parts are still available in a well hidden cranny of their site. Clearly maintenance is not a priority for them either. I suppose they expect people to throw their leaky hose reel out and buy a new one. Do I really want Chinese workers to pump me out yet another one and pay $30CAD, when my hose reel leaks? No, that is not the answer as I will not waste the world’s resources in such a frivolous manner.
Parts Diagram of the Suncast Side Tracker STA100 hose reel
After 2 years my Suncast Side Tracker hose reel leaked badly.
After finding the parts diagram for my hose reel, it was clear that two o-rings needed replacing: part #11 “O-ring For In-tube #209, 260040″ and part #12 “O-ring For In-tube #208 0260029″. Why there are two differently numbered o-rings I do not know, as they are the same dimensions.
Suncast will sell me these two o-rings, one costing $0.10US, the other costing $0.96US, and charge me $0.39US for shipping and $2.50US for handling, for a grand total of $3.95US. All for two o-rings.
So I scoured the internet and some documentation said that I could find these o-ring locally at “better plumbing and auto parts stores”. After visiting 3 local plumbing stores they all said the same thing: It’s cheaper to spend the $3.95US on the internet and don’t bother looking locally. Thankfully the Pickering Partsource store had what I was looking for: 2 o-rings with dimensions 5/8″ ID 7/8″ OD 1/8″ thick, in black, $0.51CAD each.
With a small screwdriver and some care I mounted them onto my reel, and added some automotive axle grease. In under a minute, Voila! My leaky Suncast is cured for at least another 2 years. At least this time I know where to get replacement o-rings locally.
Is it not possible to repair products that break or wear out? Do we always have to throw out broken products and buy new? Certainly Suncast should know that the only wear items in their hose reel were these two o-rings, and that they’d leak after a couple of years. Putting the dimensions of the o-rings into the instructions would have been a better customer service initiative, rather than shipping 2 rubber o-ring over international borders. While I appreciate the power of the internet, sometimes fixing locally beats ordering parts internationally.