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Locksmithing/Eagle floor safe combo

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QUESTION: There is a floor safe with the door open in the garage floor of our new (1957) home.  

It is an Eagle Safe, put in in 1957 by out of business Eagle Safe Corporation, San Marcos, CA.

The combo mechanism is Sergeant Greenleaf Group 2 R 6700 Series.

The original home owners are deceased and the former owner never knew the combination.  There is no change key that I have found.

Can the combination be changed, or is this the time to maybe put in an electronic mechanism, or new door, if that can be done, with this model.


I have removed the door so as not to have the kids lock it. (they would never do that)

ANSWER: Hi Mary,

Generally combination changing tools or change keys are never left with or provided to the customer for safety reasons.    We never recommend combination changing as a DIY project for the same reason that we never recommend using locksmiths for safe work.   Even a simple mistake can result in a VERY expensive lockout.    And if you have an untrained locksmith try to open the safe it may very well result in a ruined or destroyed safe.   Cost to replace or repair the safe could easily be between $500 to $1000 depending on the safe and the amount of damage.

This doesn't mean that many REAL locksmith shops don't have a trained safe technician on staff, however most mobile only, locksmiths do not have the training, and they generally learn IN THE FIELD, at your expense!

Good news is that as long as the safe door is open, it is a relatively easy job for a trained safe technician to change or recover the combination.
Good job on removing the door - locked up safes like this one potentially was, are what keep us in business.   we have to open 3-5 safes a day, every day!

You basically have three choices:

1.   You can have a safe technician (not a locksmith) from a local safe company, come to you to reset the combination, reinstall the door and ensure that every thing operates correctly.

2.   You can TAKE the door to a local safe company or locksmith shop that has a safe tech on staff, to have the combination recovered or reset.   They can check out the lock and bolt work to ensure proper operation, but as YOU are going to reinstall it, they can't guarantee that will be done right.

3.   You can take the DIY route to attempt to change the combination and ensure that everything works correctly!    I don't have a problem selling you a changing tool and instructions, however I do have a hold harmless form which I require you to sign, indicating that you assume full responsibility for the use of and/or misinterpretation of the instructions and tool.    There are no guarantees and it is not our job to teach you the information, we are only providing you with the tool and instructions.
If the safe gets locked up you would assume any and all responsibility including costs to have it opened and repaired.


Ok, now its not all that bad, and you can do this yourself, as long as you follow one simple rule - NEVER, EVER, EVER close and lock the door until you have fully verified that it operates correctly.    worst case if you make a mistake, and the door is still open, you can use option #1!  :)


Last option - maybe its time to upgrade to an electronic lock!    Electronic locks are basically designed so that "YOU" can change the combination any time that you wish.    If you are on vacation and have an emergency and have to give the neighbor or worse - your kids - the combination to the safe, you can easily change the combination upon your arrival home.
If you even think that someone has your code, you can easily change it at your convenience.

while the upgrade costs may seam a little "much' up front, you save the money in the long run, by not having to pay to have the combo changed.

Next question is usually about reliability.    while mechanical locks will generally ALWAYS be more reliable in the long run, they ALSO require more maintenance to keep them working smoothly.    For residential applications this means service every 3-5 years OR when ever you start to notice a problem.
Digital locks on the other hand, are basically maintenance free - HOWEVER  (there is always a however!)   Just like any other electronic device - cell phones, laptops, tablets, calculators, etc. etc. etc.    they only last so long!    Meaning that in order to keep your safe operating, at some point replacement IS inevitable!   Luckily for many of the electronic locks on the market, the biggest problem that you are going to have is changing the batteries.

While mechanical locks basically offer only ONE option - digital locks are a smorgasbord of options.    You can have basic models which ONLY offer single user access, to more sophisticated models which have multiple users, audit trails, time lock and time delay periods, duress and alarm activations, biometric features and even redundant locks which will guarantee that you will never get locked out of your safe.    Obviously the more options you order, the more sophisticated the lock and the more expensive it gets.

Ok, well I've given you a little to mull over.   You indicated you are in California, but no other info.    If you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you are located (zipcode) and I'll see who I know in your area that I would recommend.

If you elect to upgrade the safe, I would recommend doing some more homework on the different models so that "YOU" can make an educated decision about what lock you would like, rather than having some trained monkey in a lock shop simply indicate that this is what they have and this is what you get.    You wouldn't buy a car that way, and so you shouldn't settle for this type of locksmith.

Appology:
While I always offend some of the locksmiths out there - if you HAVE the training, then YOU shouldn't be offended, and if you don't have the training, then rather than get upset by me pointing this out to your potential customers - GO get the training!


Ok, Mary - I've given you several options, hopefully one of them will work for you.   if you have any specific questions let me know, I'll see if I can answer them for you.    As far as "mechanical questions" concerning your safe - these are generally regarded as "HANDS ON" issues.    If you are having a problem with the safe, then it needs to be addressed - hands on - by a trained safe tech, on site, not in an email.

Hopefully I've provided some answers and info for you.


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

QUESTION: I would if possible like to reset the combo myself (my husband), so what ever tool or help you may provide...

So far it isn't broken until we can't fix it, and it appears we have a little more to go before we break it.  Then we'll have something worthwhile to take in for repair or replacement.  (This is what my electrical contractor husband has learned from his clients, who insist on really mixing things up before they are willing to call and part with a hard earned dollar, which then becomes two.)

We are in Escondido CA 92025

This is some great info.  Many thanks.

Answer
Hi Mary,

send an email request to me tomorrow, I will send you the form I need signed.   I will also need to know exactly what lock you have installed so we can get the correct tool and instructions.

Send the request to me at  andy@securitysafeusa.com  

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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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