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Locksmithing/safe door will not open, stuck...


I have a Mosler class 5 map plan safe, and the combination dial works as I entered the combo, then I turn the handle fully but the door will not swing open.

I tried putting a paper to determine if it is a bolt work problem, but can't get the paper through.

I also tried inserting screw drivers, and chisels on the top and swinging side to see if the bolts are just barely clinging, but it still won't budge open.

Do you have any recommendations?  I heard that there is a bar below the dial that has been known to come off...

Hope you have some time to help me.  Thank you.

Hi Phil,

There are a number of potential reasons that the container won't open including:

1.  The lock not retracting fully,
2.  lock bolt extension coming loose - if the container is fitted with one,
3.  handle drive cam disconnected or broken drive pin,
4.  broken or disconnected bolt work or connecting rods.

If the lock is working correctly and if the handle is turning fully, then I would assume a disconnected handle cam, broken drive pin, broken or disconnected bolt work or connecting rods.

I generally don't put any faith into "things I've heard", I concentrate on the items I can actually determine on the container.    Wasting time on conjecture based on unsubstantiated problems with YOUR container is a waste of time.   That being said what was it Sherlock Holmes  (Arthur Conan Doyle) said - "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

Now for the big problem, as this is a GSA container, if it is to continue being a GSA container, for whatever reason, then it MUST be opened and repaired IAW FEDSTD 809B.   You don't have a choice.

If you don't need it as a GSA container, and you open and repair the container with ANY method other than those listed in FEDSTD 809B, then the GSA labels MUST be removed as it no longer meets the container standards.

If you are not familiar with GSA containers and FEDSTD 809B, then I would recommend that you contact a local safe company who either has the training or is very familiar with opening and repairing these containers.

Hope this helps,


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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

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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