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Locksmithing/Fire Fyter safe, how to reset combination


Hi Andy, sure hope you can help me. I have a Fire Fyter safe that the door is open! the safe was given to me an upon inspection someone had previously taken the 3 plastic wheel combination assembly apart. I printed out directions on how to remove the plastic wheels, spacers and snap ring out...I did this and reassembled them resetting the code...I used numbers that were suggested. not lower than 10 for the first etc..
I did notice that the indents should be lined up with the mechanism plastic pin...I still can not get the combination to work and open the safe...of course I am doing this with the door open so as to not lock myself out of the safe!
what am I missing?? what is the trick to this? thanks bonnie

Hi Bonnie,

The "trick" is knowledge and training.

First let me start off with my obligatory warning - I never recommend lock disassembly as a DIY project for the same reason that I never recommend using locksmiths for safe work.   Lack of training, knowledge and/or tools can result in expensive lockouts.

As you've already attempted to change the combination, the worst that can happen is that you eventually have to take it to a local safe company to have them reset it correctly.

First item - dialing sequence.   The lock should dial to the following sequence:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right until the drive wheel engages the lever and comes to a stop.

Note:   Left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise (when looking at the dial - NOT the lock).   Do not count the revolutions of the dial, count the INDIVIDUAL number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

So if your first number is 25, you would turn the dial counter clockwise (left), stopping the fourth time the number 25 arrives at the index mark.

Assuming that you reset the hub and wheels correctly, and correctly identified the number that each wheel and hub are aligned to, if the lock still will not dial up correctly, then I would have to assume that you have replaced one or more of the wheels out of their correct position.

Look at the gate position of each wheel.   Either two of them will be at the 50 position and one at the 0 position, or two will be at the 0 position and one at the 50 position.   The odd wheel is the center or number two wheel.

If they are in the correct positions, then you may have misidentified the wheels and numbers that you obtained.    The number one wheel (first number in your combination), is the wheel FURTHEST from the drive wheel.   The number three wheel (3rd number of the combo) is the wheel closest to the drive wheel.

The "basic rules" for picking numbers to use is as follows:
Wheel #1:     0-100
Wheel #2:     0-100
Wheel #3:     not within 10 numbers of the number on the dial where the nose of the fence/lever engages the drive wheel.    If the nose of the lever engages the drive wheel at "0" (or 100), then you can use numbers between 10-90.   If the nose engages the drive wheel at "5", then you can use numbers between 15-95.

Numbers should be AT LEAST 5 numbers apart on adjacent wheels.   So if you first wheel is set on 27, you would NOT set the number on your second wheel between 22-32.   While combinations WILL work with numbers set on adjacent numbers, the possibility of dialing errors increases, by giving yourself this "buffer zone", it is harder to make mistakes.

Ok, that's about as much info as I can give you, without having you attend a training class which is about a week long.   If you still can't figure it out, or get it to work, then take it to a local safe company to have their safe technician figure out what the problem is, fix it and set the combo correctly.

Hope this helps,  


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

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 - 2014 - 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)

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