Locksmithing/fort knox safe


We have a 2003 protector 6031 with s&g mechanical combo lock , it opens smoothly, in closing it it has a very loud mechanical clunk at the end of the lock cycle, is that normal?


Sorry, but without actually seeing or feeling what "you" are describing as a "clunk", this is going to be a hard one to answer.

During the "end" of the lock cycle as the bolt is extended to the locked position, as you rotate the dial, the lever is pushed out of the drive wheel, and the lock bolt extended.  It has a detent ball that captures and holds the bolt in a predetermined position to aid in the unlocking of the lock during the next opening.   Without this detent the bolt and lever could be placed in a position where the lock will not unlock.

However, I would not describe this action as a "clunk", though some locks may show this feeling more than others, especially if the lock is installed in a vertical down or vertical up position.

This would lead me to believe that what you are hearing and/or feeling may be something else in relationship to the actual door locking bolt work, and not the lock itself.   If the door bolt work has a detent mechanism, which holds the bolt work retracted while the door is open, when the door is closed the detent is moved to release the bolt work, which may have a return spring which assists the bolt work in fully extending.    Depending on the manufacturer and the system, this may appear as a fairly loud "clunk" as the bolt work is fully extended when the door closes.

So while "yes" some of the noises which you may be hearing, are possibly normal, if your safe was not, or has not been making these noises until recently, then it may be due for a service call, inspection and repair.

NOTE:   I never recommend closing and locking a safe door, if the bolt work and/or lock are not operating normally.   If you have any doubts about its operation, it is MUCH, MUCH cheaper to have it inspected and repaired while the door is open, than to have to have someone open it because something has come loose and caused the door to lock you out.

In general, we recommend annual maintenance, yearly, at a minimum for commercial safe usage.   Possibly more frequently under harsh usage conditions.   
For residential use or light duty use, we recommend at least once every three to five years.   The caveat to both of these frequencies, would be:   Or when ever you start to notice a problem!

Chances are you have never had your 2003 model safe serviced, so it is probably due (or overdue).    Contact a local safe company to have their trained service technician (not a locksmith), inspect and service your safe before you have a problem.  
If you don't have a local safe company, then let me know where you are located (zipcode), and I'll see who I might know in your area that I would recommend.

Hope this helps, but generally mechanical issues, require hands on diagnostics and solutions.


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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)

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