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Antique Safes/Old Diebold TL-30 mini vault/safe


There is a Diebold TL-30 mini vault/safe for sale near me which I am considering buying.

What sort of maintenance does something like this need and how often would it need to be serviced?  Any best guess on what maintenance/servicing would cost?

I'm wondering if parts/servicing would be very problematic down the road. I'm guessing the safe could be upwards of 40 years old.

Dimensions are reportedly: L26 x W25 x H26

Here are some photos:

Thank you!

Hi Matt,

These old round, lug door chests (this is NOT a vault), were great in their day, problem is they are obsolete.

Consumers don't like the round lug doors and they limit access to the interior of the safe.

As for your questions concerning service.    While one which is kept in good working order, regularly serviced should work very smoothly, these can be maintenance pigs for a number of reasons.

1.   The Diebold 180-55 series lock on the door.  Unfortunately the majority of safe techs in the business today simply have not had a lot of exposure to them.   While most "think" they understand the operation of the lock, I have the opportunity to follow behind many of them - and they really don't have a clue.    Even back in the day, this lock was referred to as the "Diabolical Diebold 180-55" for good reason.

2.  second item - again the lock - these locks are getting harder to get, and one of these days Diebold is no longer going to make this lock.   Costs for replacement parts (for a lock & dial) can be in the $750 to $1000 range.

3.  These doors not only require maintenance of the lock and bolt work, but also of the hinges and the door rotational face.   Disassembly can require special tools and equipment to lift or move the door.    Though it can be serviced on the safe a typical annual service can easily run 2-4 hours.
If this lock has ANY issues at all with the lock, the bolt work, the hinges or the door alignment, initial maintenance costs could be fairly high to get it fully operational.

As shop rates vary throughout the country I would recommend that you contact a local, reputable safe company - NOT a locksmith shop, to discuss what their fees are.    Using standard shop rates for most of the larger safe companies throughout the US, you can figure on about $125 per hour plus a mobile service fee (trip charge) of about $100 - PLUS any necessary parts.     

So if you are a commercial business, you should figure on around $600 per year plus parts, just to keep it operational.    Home owners or residential use, maintenance should be every 3-5 years, however the caveat to both schedules would be OR as soon as any problem is noticed.

Unscrupulous safe companies MAY try to tell you the lock isn't operating correctly because they want to jack the cost of the bill up by hundreds of dollars.   And as they don't actually understand the operation of the lock, they aren't actually lying about this.

4.   Repairs after a break in attempt.    Generally we charge PER LOCK on TL-30's and above to open a safe.    As this safe has up to six separate relocking type devices, in the event of a burglary, you could easily be spending way more than the safe is worth to have it opened and repaired.    On the good side these safes offer a lot more security than some of the newer TL-30's on the market.

Ok, so I've gone over the basics.    While I think these are great safes, they definitely have their drawbacks.    I haven't even gone over moving and installation costs, as this is a separate issue.    Now you have to decide if this is a good buy for you.   It would have been a better buy if it was a TRTL-30 safe instead, as that model has torch resistance as well.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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