Locksmithing/diebold 180-55


QUESTION: HI I just bought a diebold round door safe I think a tl-30 the door is open but I don't have the combo. I removed the lock it says its a group one UL.
There is a small hole where you can put a wire through to line up the gates but im not sure how many numbers you have to add or subtract to make the gates fall where the piece drops in. Maybe 25 or 30.  I know the newer lock combos can be changed with a change key, but this one only has the small hole which you can only put a piece of coat hanger through.
Please help!!!

ANSWER: Brandon,

First off, the "small hole" is NOT made to use a piece of wire, to line up the gates of the lock.  It is used with a special key to RESET the combination of the lock.   The 180-55 is NOT the type of lock to work on as a DIY project, for the same reason that I DO NOT recommend using locksmiths for.   Lack of training, Knowledge and tools CAN and WILL result in a very expensive lockout.   Cost to open, repair, and/or replace the lock (if necessary) could easily run $1500 to $2000 if you make a mistake.

This is one of those times where you DO NOT want to play around with this lock.   Contact a local safe company to have their trained safe technician change the combination for you.

This is one of those locks that even many trained locksmiths and safe technicians can make a mistake on.   The dialing sequence is NOT like a standard lock, and it is extremely unforgiving if you make a mistake.

Save your money and simply have a safe tech change the combination  --  and keep the coat hangers OUT OF THE LOCK!

I'm not trying to be "mean" or "rude" here, I'm trying to save you a lot of money by having you make the correct service choice.    Again, this is NOT a DIY type project lock!!!

Hope this helps, if you don't have a local service company, let me know where you are located (zipcode), and I'll see who I know in your area.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

And thanks for the quick response.
I have dealt with many safes before, either reseting combos or drilling them open. I am by far not an expert but I am good a taking direction from someone who is  :-)
That being said I just had 2 more questions:
1)Is this a group 1 Lock?
2)what is the dial sequence of the lock
Left 4
right 3
Left 2
Right 1
like the SG group 2???
If so I will just decode the numbers and then try the combination 5 times in a row to be sure before I close the door.
Thank you very much In advance


The "Diabolical" Diebold 180-55 is a unique Gr1 Locking system.   The biggest mistake that locksmiths and many safe technicians make is to "presume" that it dials similarly to other three wheel locks.   The general rule being that the dialing sequence is dictated by the final direction of the drive cam, during lock bolt retraction.   Not so in this case!

The Correct dialing sequence is:

4 times Right to the first number,
3 times Left to the second number,
2 times Right to the third number,
1 time Left, slowly to "0"  (you will feel the accelerator lever engage - slight click - as it engages the fence), then
1 time right to stop - bolt work retracted.

While you CAN dial this lock LRLR like a standard S&G lock, the accelerator "lobe" on the drive cam is out of position, and won't activate the accelerator lever correctly each time.   If you dial it as indicated above, the lobe will be in position to move the accelerator arm, and engage the lever each time the combination is dialed.

Again as I mentioned originally (and this is nothing against you and/or your experience), the majority of locksmiths and many safe technicians DO NOT understand the proper operation of this lock, and if it is not serviced correctly and/or the combination is not set correctly, it will result in an expensive lock out.

Hopefully these really basic instructions will give you a better idea of the operation of this lock.   It is worthy of spending time to understand its operation, especially if you are called on to solve a lockout.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 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. 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 Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

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 Expert 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 and Western Nevada)

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.