Friday, December 26, 2014

Mercedes Ignition Tip

Sometimes, as a locksmith technician when you get called for a job, it can develop to an extra job as well. I got a call the other day for a car lockout in a church. The vehicle was an early 90's Buick Regal. Apparently, the customer locked the keys inside the trunk of the vehicle. Luckily, I had a special GM pick tool that I usually use on most GM models to unlock them. Once I got the trunk of the Buick opened, the church minister informed me about an issue he had with his Mercedes that I may be able to help him with.

According to him, the problem with the Mercedes was that the key did not function well with the ignition by being inconsistent turning the ignition. However, he did mention the key was operating the doors with no issues. Since I've serviced the ignition on these Mercedes models before, I informed him that the issue was very common. Because the key is made of steel material and the wafers in the ignition are brass, the ignition tend to wear out thus the key was inconsistent operating the ignition.

Since the issue was not new for me, I let him know that I could probably be able to fix it. When I told him that, he mentioned that he went to dealer to get the problem fixed and they gave him an expensive estimate which is the reason why the car was seating for so long as he did not want to spend too much to repair the problem. I then told him since I'm not the dealer, I would probably charge him a lot less.

To begin tackle the problem, I started by decoding the vehicle's key and make a new one. However, for some reason the key didn't work. I figured it might be since the wafers in the ignition were worn out as i suspected, so I made a another key, but this time I used higher cuts. To my surprise, it didn't work as well!

Since I didn't have any other option to get the ignition cylinder out I was about to cut the face off of the ignition, so I could get to the roll pin that was holding the ignition. When I went to grab my tools, I had the GM picking tool with me and I had an idea all of a sudden. I inserted the key back in the ignition, and placed my GM vibrating picking tool against it and turned it on. As the tool was doing its thing, I used a little force turning the key and it worked! It then let me easily remove the ignition lock and put a new one instead. The customer was happy, and I was able to make pretty penny that day.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Ford Ignition Fix

One of the most common problems I ran into while working on Ford ignitions during my years as a locksmith technician is when the ears on the ignition or collar will turn even when there is no key inserted into the cylinder. This problem usually caused by the fact that the color will come loose and spin around the ignition. Normally, this type of ignition problem will result in a new ignition type solution. However, I came up with a way that will save the customer some money by fixing the issue instead of replacing the ignition.

There is a product called WonderLocking which is a commercial type superglue that can be found on most hardware stores. It is usually used to repair broken furniture such as tables or chairs, but I discover it does a great job repairing the collars on the Ford ignition. The first step is obviously will be to remove the ignition from the steering column and line up the color, so it will be possible to insert a key to stabilize it. I then direct the face of the ignition down to prevent the liquid from penetrating the ignition's internals. Now putting few drops of the WonderLocking liquid on the back of the collar which goes over the ignition and that will conclude the initial repair.

It usually takes about a minute for the liquid to dry, but it is important only to use it on the areas that needs the repair. Once it dries, I test the cylinder operation with a key to make sure it is turning properly. If the ignition seem to function properly, this is the time to reassemble it back and finish the job.

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Commercial Key-Less Entry Lock System

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Astro Van Lockout Tip

Lockout jobs is the most common type of jobs a typical locksmith would do most of the time. During my years as a locksmith technician probably 70% of my work were lockouts. Out of those 70%  most of them were car lockout. From all the car lockouts I had to do in the past there are several vehicles that I found to be very tricky. Out of those vehicles is a 1989 Chevy Astro Van. Even though in the locksmith books they mention to use a specific type of tool for this vehicle, I still found it difficult to open.

As my personal preference, when I ran into these type of vehicles where I can't open with the tool as mentioned in the books, I would usually turn to use the wedges. the way that I would do that is stick the wedge on the siding door glass just enough to be able to stick a Slim Jim inside and pop the window's lock clamp in the front followed by the back of the window. Once that is done, the window should open at about 4 inches which will give enough access to reach through the window in order to unlock the door.

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Automotive Lockout Service in Seattle

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Striking Door Jambs

The following is something I've learned during my years as a locksmith technicians. It will make this particular job to look more professional then other what other locksmith technicians usually do when they install a deadbolt or a door knob strike plate. The procedure starts by screwing the plate onto the jamb at the beginning followed by using a knife blade around the edges of the strike plate instead of marking it with a pen.

The next step starts by unscrewing the strike plate and digging out the wood in between the cuts that were made. This process seemed to help getting sharper edges for the strike installation particularly in aging houses which probably have multiple coats of paint on the door jamb the will fall apart if an attempt digging through them will be made. I am fully aware that there are many strike tools around the industry, but even those will cause a mess if the door jams has been painted many times in the past.

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Key-Less Entry Lock System

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

280Z Key Extraction

Recently I got a job from a locksmith company I am working with for an ignition key extraction off of Nissan 280Z. The customer said that a co-worker had entered her car by mistake, inserted his key in her vehicle's ignition , turned the ignition to the ON position and resulted in the key being stuck. When I arrived at the job-site, I found out that his car was the same make, model, and color as the customer's. What are the chances?

I had experience with similar situations such as that before and came up with a trick to remove these stuck keys. The process goes like this, I used my impressioning pliers on the stuck key to lock on it and begin to "impression" the key in counter-clockwise direction. A steady turning pressure on the pliers would need to be applied while rocking the key up and down as if I was trying to obtain impression marks. With a little patient, the waffers that locked up will move just enough allowing the key to return to the "OFF" position.In all the similar situations I've been through, this little trick saved me every time. It is important to keep in mind that not to try to force the lock, but try to "impression" it.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Buick LaSabre Trunk Key

I got a call recently from a customer to make a trunk key for an 88 Buick LaSabre. It seemed that neither the dealer or another locksmith company the customer had called, was able to originate any codes prior to 1990 models. I started to remove the glove-box lock so I could retrieve four of my six cuts and progress the other two.

I was surprised to find that the glove box lock on this vehicle had all six wafers and a side-bar. The side bar glove box lock could be recognized immediately because it does not turn with the key but slides to the left to lock and the right to unlock. Since I was lucky to find the glove box unlocked, I was able to obtain a key doing the following.

I removed the two screws that hold the entire lock mechanism in the glove box door. The front of the lock is held onto the back of the case by two pressed through, plastic clips which open in four directions. If an attempt would be made to close the clip with needle-nose pliers, the tip might break and only two of the four legs would be closed.

A solution would be to get a key blank that has a small hole in the head that will not fit down over the end of the retainer. Next step would be to slide the hole of the key over the four- pronged clip and as the legs come together, continue pushing downward until the retainer enters the back of the lock case. The same process would need to be repeated with the other three retainers.
Now the cylinder would need to be removed. Rake the wafers while depressing the slide bar, decode the cylinder and cut a new key. As the lock is reassembled, it is important to remember pulling down on the latch so you can insert the cylinder. As the lock slides back into the lock, the undamaged clips will snap back into place retaining the lock as intended.

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Automotive Key Origination in Seattle, WA

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Master Key System

Many people tend to think of master keying as a magical way that a particular key is able to open any lock as its name suggests. The system is widely used by locksmith technicians providing residential and commercial services. In reality however, mastering will most likely increase the level of security as a system increases in size. When you examine the concept as you see it, Master Keying really has only two components: convenience and strength. It is definitely much  easier for a maintenance figure to carry one sole key rather than a hundred keys, right?

Then there is also the school janitor who might have one "master key" and has an easy access to any door within the school to make it easy on him to do his job. What a great patent it is to have; to be able to use a simple piece of metal that unlocks such significant purpose! To be the only person that has such authority that allow him unlimited entry at any time for any purpose. The real question then needs to be addressed: Why does someone needs to have 24 hours access to everything? Usually, there is no particular reason, other than the ones just mentioned. Unless the key holder is the business owner, it's really not that necessary.

On the other hand, one must consider what would be if these master keys fall into the wrong hands and most likely will cause chaos due to the newly acquired "instant access". Many business Institutions would need to carefully rethink the advantages and disadvantages of a master key system. Planning a system using various levels of master keying would need to be done in a way so that all aspects of security will not be compromised by one minor mistake.

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Residential Locksmith Service in Seattle

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mortise Lock Cylinder Removal

Mortise cylinder locks are held in place by a set screw in die edge of the door. From my previous experience as a locksmith technicians, sometimes, it's hard to get at this set screw unless the door is open. If the set screw is to be removed, the cylinder can be unscrewed from the outside by using a pair of slip joint pliers. 

There is usually a thin ring between the cylinder and the door that can be easily pried off with a screwdriver that will give you a better hold on the cylinder. With the pliers, you will have to get a good grip on the cylinder and turn it counter clockwise. The cylinder will screw out and with a screwdriver you can access and push the latch bolt back. 

Unfortunately, removing the cylinder with this method will strip the threads, and a new cylinder would need to be installed. Sometimes if the crack in the door is wide enough, like many older doors designs, a small piece of spring steel can be used and bent on the right angle of approximately 1/8" on one end, and use it to loosen the retainer screw. This will prevent from the threads on the cylinder to be stripped.

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