Safes & Security Containers/WARDS 9041 1,6 CUBIC FOOT SAFE

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Question
QUESTION: HI I HAVE A WARDS 9041 SAFE...HAVVE HAD IT ABOUT 20 YRS...THE LAST YEAR OR SO,I HAVE TO TRY THE COBMO ABOUT 10-12 TIMES BEFORE THE SAFE WILL OPEN. IT IS OPEN NOW,IS THE ANY MAINTENANCE THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO AVOID THE PROBLEM IN THE FUTURE ?? ANY SUGGESTIONS WILL BE APPRECIATED !!          THANKS  BOB

ANSWER: Bob,

Montgomery Wards did not manufacture or have safes manufactured for them.   They simply purchased safes from several companies, and paid to have their name put on these safes.   Generally these were fairly cheap quality safes.   I'm surprised your has lasted 20 years.

Yes ALL safe locks require maintenance to stay operational.   Just like a watch occasionally needs to be reset to maintain accuracy, so too does a safe lock need to be cleaned, serviced and reset to maintain its reliability.

I do NOT recommend this as a DIY project, for the same reason that I do not recommend using locksmiths for safe work.   General lack of knowledge, training and tools can result in an expensive lockout.

I recommend that you have the door and lock serviced by a trained safe technician from a local safe company.    However, the cost of the service MAY be more than the safe is worth.   Obviously if you can take it into their shop, the cost will be less than if you have them make a house call.   For instance if you brought the safe or door into my shop for service, you would be looking at around $125   Field service about $230     probably more than the safe is worth.

Your other option (my opinion), would be to save the money, and replace the safe.   If you originally paid $300 for the safe, and have had 20 years worth of use, the actual cost of the safe was around $1.25 per month.   Probably some of the cheapest insurance you've ever had.

Hope this helps,


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

QUESTION: HI THE MANUFACTURER WAS MEILINK...THE WEBSITE SAYS IF THE DIAL HAS BEEN RAPIDLY SPUN THE PROBLEM COULD BE TUMBLER DRIFT...ANYTHING I CAN DO ABOUT THAT  ??

Answer
Bob,

Yes the Meilink Safe Company was one of the companies supplying Wards with safes.   Generally these safes used locks with plastic wheels.   Rapidly spinning the dial can cause damage to the wheels, resulting in the need to offset (+/-) the required combination in order for it to work accurately.   The offset WILL need to be determined by observation of the lock during dialing operations.
Damage is probably minor if any at all, however as mentioned before locks need to be cleaned, serviced, correctly lubricated and reset to ensure accuracy.

While it may look like a simple operation, I NEVER recommend this as a DIY project for the same reason I NEVER recommend using locksmiths.    If locksmiths who work on locks for a living generally don't have the training to work on safe locks, then it isn't a DIY project.

As long as the safe door is open, simply remove it from the hinges, (door open), and take it in for service.    If there is any damage to the lock the safe tech should be able to spot it and possibly repair it.
NOTE:   The lock installed on this safe is now obsolete and no longer available.   I might have a couple left in stock, but they are becoming harder and harder to find.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 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. NOTE: I also answer safe related questions in the Locksmith and Antique Safe Categories sections.

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 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 Experts 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, including western Nevada

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