Question I have a "Protectall" safe with a "mosler" lock, I believe (4l,3r,2l,r to 0 left to stop). Can I lube the tumblers? and with what? (graphite lock fluid or something else). The bottom door hinge has some play in it. Can I repair the hinge? If, I can, how? I would also like to lube the hinges...again how, and with what?
Thanks in advance for your help and expertise. Sincerely, Bill
Answer Hi Bill,
In order to correctly clean and lubricate the lock it will need to be completely disassembled.
I NEVER recommend lock disassembly as a DIY project for the same reason that I don't recommend using locksmiths for safe work. Lack of training, knowledge and tools can result in a very expensive lockout!
Lubricants are made for different purposes - using the wrong type is worse than not using any at all. Combination locks require clean, dry surfaces to operate correctly. There are a number of independently moving parts involved. Too much or the wrong type of lubricant can act as a "fluid friction" surface, causing parts to move in tandem rather than independently.
In general the lock wheels and components should be cleaned and lubricated with a liquid Teflon or Silicone lubricant and then wiped dry. The material that most combination lock wheels are made from are fairly porous materials which will hold all the lubricant they need, even after wiping dry. HOWEVER some areas of the wheel pack have bearing surfaces which need a slightly thicker lubricant, like a silicone or lithium grease. Again, only tiny amounts of grease are necessary. Too much will run into areas where it isn't needed causing the lock to have problems. Also, the wet surface of most lubricants tend to be little more than dust or dirt magnets, becoming more of a grinding compound over a period of time.
Lubricant also has a time limit - that's why automakers tell you that your oil should be changed every 3 months or so. In general safes in commercial use should have the locks cleaned and relubricated on an ANNUAL basis. Safes in residential use should have serviced performed every 3-5 years maximum.
The hinges are a bit different. They should be disassembled, cleaned and lubricated with a bearing grease every three years.
Hinges that are worn need repair or replacement. In many cases hinges that are "attached" to the safe aren't replaceable. If the hinge pin is removable, you may be able to ream out the hole to return it to a round hole. You can use a larger pin or install a bushing to bring it back to its original size. Problem with your safe, is the cost to repair the hinges may out way its value. As this container doesn't meet ANY current standards for fire protection and as it isn't a burglary resistive safe, its doubtful that this would be worth while.
Again my recommendation would be for you to have the safe actually looked at by a trained safe technician to give you an honest assessment as to the repairs or servicing of your safe.
Hope this helps,
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Thanks for the prompt, knowledgeable, response. Will follow your advice and consult a safe tech. Thanks again, Bill.
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