Locksmithing/York model 400

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Question
Andy,  

I recently purchased a home built in 1940 and found an old wall safe set into the brick basement foundation wall.  It is heavily rusted, but the dial turned freely.

After some research, and after reading your response to earlier questions from others, I determined this is a York model 400 safe with a Yale 2421 lock.  

I have unlocked the safe successfully.  I figured out the combination and after entering all three numbers and turning the dial back right, I can feel the locking bolt slide and the dial stops rotating at about position 85.

I cannot, however, rotate the outer door wheel to retract the lugs and open the door.  I understand this should rotate right (clockwise), but it won't budge.  Not one hair.

Is there any way for me to determine whether the relockers have engaged, preventing me from opening this safe, or if it is the rusted door keeping it from rotating?  Any suggestions you have for curing either possibility would be welcome.

Answer
Hi Gordon,

So you have a model in the 400 line, Wheel type, lug door, and you are assuming that it has the yale 2421 lock.

I'll start with the "lug" issue.   The lugs do not "retract"!!!   They are part of the frame and body of the door (two sets).   In order to open the door, the door and lugs have to rotate to a free area, in between the opposing lugs, then the door can be pulled out of the cavity, to open.

If you cannot rotate the door, then either the door is rusted shut or the locking bolt is NOT fully retracted.   As the door will not budge, I would assume that it is rusted shut.   This is a very tight tolerance door, and the slightest amount of rust will jam it up.

Unless the safe has had a burglarious type attack, then the relockers are not fire off.

Course of action.

1.   Visually inspect the locking bolt to ensure that it is fully retracted.   If not then it must be retracted.

2.   If it is, then the door may need to be soaked in penetrating fluid, and "shocked" with a dead blow hammer, to loosen the rust.

Mechanical issues such as this require skilled hands on service by a trained safe technician.   This is not a DIY type job or for a locksmith - you will need a safe tech from a local safe company.

lastly, just as with the need to visually inspect the locking bolt to ensure it is retracted, the relock bolts can be visually inspected to see if they are active or not.   This will require drilling and a fiber optic inspection scope.

Sorry, I can't be of more help, but this IS going to be a hands on project.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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".

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

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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