Pick my lock, please
October 30, 2009 3:31 PM   Subscribe

Help me tear-apart, clean and reset my combination lock.

I have a slightly older version of this Master lock. It's a type where you can open it up and set the combination to whatever you want. Over the years, it has become very...sticky...in its operation. So much so that it sometimes takes quite a bit of force to make it work. So, I'd like to clean the works.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the instructions on how to disassemble and re-set the combination for this lock. MasterLock's website is a marvel of non-information for this, unfortunately. I know the end cap without the hasp can be pulled-off, but I'm not about to dive into dissection until I know how to set the combination.

Anyone have good lock-fu tonight?
posted by Thorzdad to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
My first try would be a padlock shim, though you may have to make the triangular end longer to get down past that plastic lip.

That sort of lock has a set of inner rings that have to be aligned to make it open - The numbered plastic outer rings slide onto them in your new combination order. With yours, you would open it, take the plastic cap off the end, then slide the plastic rings off and then back on in a new combination to set it to that combination.

This leads to a second way to open it: Many times the internal rings are marked so that you can line them up properly when the lock is disassembled. If you can peek between the edges of the outer rings by spreading them with a knife, you can see the markings and line them up that way.

I don't know if you can actually disassemble and reassemble this sort of lock - Most master locks are put together with rivets AFAIK. 'Sticky' usually implies a lot of wear, or somebody attempting to lubricate it with a grease or oil that has since broken down. Stripping off the external plastic, followed by a soak in solvent and manipulation, eventually following that with graphite, would be a possible solution, but probably a lot more expensive than buying a new one.
posted by Orb2069 at 4:00 PM on October 30, 2009

Response by poster: Well, in this case, "sticky" is the result of having had stuff spilled on it.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:17 PM on October 30, 2009

Best answer: Oh! In that case, Once the hasp is open, just pull the endcap off, remove the rings, and give the whole metal mess a blast down with WD-40 or some similar solvent-based lubricant, then work the inner wheels while flossing with a paper towel between them to get the crap out. Once the WD-40 dries, dust down between the wheels with graphite, and you should be golden.
posted by Orb2069 at 6:31 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

And: The WD-40 MIGHT take the markings off the internal rings. Be sure to line it up so it unlocks BEFORE you start spraying, Just in case. Put new align marks on them with a marker if it happens.
posted by Orb2069 at 6:33 PM on October 30, 2009

Response by poster: Cool! Forgot it was so simple. Thanks, Orb!
posted by Thorzdad at 8:18 AM on October 31, 2009

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