My experience re-keying a door lock without the old key

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  #1  
Old 08-03-10, 12:06 PM
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My experience re-keying a door lock without the old key

On the garage door of our newly bought house, there is a deadbolt that didn't have a key. I didn't like the thought that someone might have a key to it, and decided to replace it. But the hole on the door was 1.5" and I couldn't find any lock at Homedepot that could fit the hole. So I was stuck with rekeying the deadbolt (a Weiser) without the old key.

I took off the lock and got the cylinder out. The first thing I thought of was to remove the little flat metal cover that holds all the tiny springs in place, to get all the top pins out and reassemble them after rekeying. But the tiny cover was held in place very well and couldn't be removed without damaging it.

After that I realized the only way was to pick the lock cylinder, and regretted taking the lock off as I thought it would be easier to pick the lock while it's on the door. But I wanted to give it a try anyway. This article How to Pick a Lock - wikiHow was very helpful. Being tired of running to homedepot 4 times already that day, I decided to first try with whatever tool I had at hand, and that was paper clips.

I bent two paper clips, into a "pick" and a "tension wrench" and followed the technique in the article. After trying for a minute I thought it indeed was a mistake to take the lock off (and not have a vise), as I couldn't hold the tension wrench and the cylinder in one hand securely while using the other hand to finesse with the pins. With frustration, I bent the "pick" straight, turned the cylinder up side down, applied the tension wrench as tight as I could with my left hand, and with the straight "pick" in my right hand pressed all the bottom pins downward (i.e. upward in the locks normal position, toward the top pins) at the same time. Then I let go of the "pick" and eased ever so slightly on the "tension wrench", and felt the cylinder turn. I didn't realize I had picked the lock for at least two seconds, and thought one of the paper clips broke. After that, rekeying was straightforward.

So there you have it, if you need to pick a lock, turn the door up side down. Just kidding. But it's a good trick to know if you need to rekey a lock but don't have the old key. You may be able to do it with the cylinder right side up, but I felt turn it over made it easier to control.
 
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Old 08-04-10, 06:47 PM
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well done. arguably the reason you were able to pick such an old style weiser lock, upside down, more than likely was because the springs had become depressed over the years and the driver pins (top pins) were likely worn too. I would suggest that in all likelihood each pin chamber is worn too, adding to the ease at novice picking.

I understand why some people choose to pick their own locks instead of getting a professional to do so, but more often than not, some damage can be likely, which could be more expensive for a professional to repair.
 
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Old 08-06-10, 10:24 AM
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I think you're right. I had to pick two more Weiser locks from the garage side door, and it took me 10x the time because those locks were rarely used and everything was tighter together.

A question: I made a mistake picking the Wiser door knob and turned in the wrong direction. I tensioned it clockwise, but after picking it could only turn less than 1/4 of the way. I understand it needs to be picked before I could take the door knob apart to rekey. Any way to slavage the situation, or do I need to pick it again in the other direction?
 
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Old 08-07-10, 12:17 AM
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To remove the cylinder for rekeying on a Weiser, you need to remove the lock from the door and pull the thin spindle at the back. It is tensioned with a spring, so you need to hold it "pulled" while you pick the keyhole. Turn the key clockwise to about 5 o'clock to enable the cylinder to separate from the assembly.
 
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Old 08-07-10, 12:24 AM
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Most (if not all) Weiser door knobs will only pick or key turn clockwise because the locking spindle at the back is designed to release the inside knob only.

To lock a weiser knob (at least he older ones), you push the inside knob in and turn it slightly clockwise. This is why the keyhole on the outside will only turn clockwise.

It is also a known problem (on older locks) for the top pin/s to sometimes drop into chambers completely, effectively leaving only the spring in the upper (driver) chamber.

If this has occurred, it might explain why you were only able to turn the keyhole partially.

But I suggest that the reason you cannot get the cylinder out is because the locking spindle has not pulled far enough away from the barrel to allow the barrel to turn further.
 
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Old 08-07-10, 07:53 PM
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Been 20 yrs plus since I've messed with Weiser, so my memory is a little rusty, but if your lock dates from the 50's thru the early 70's, the cylinder does not come out---the knob was stamped together, permanantly housing the cylinder. It was re-keyed by first removing the plug spindle and cap (as described by Global), then picking it either right or left, then pushing the plug out with a follower. A poor man's follower can be made from a wooden dowel. (Try not to let the driver pins fall out, gotta have good eyes & steady hands to get 'em back in...)
 
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Old 08-07-10, 09:57 PM
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@rstripe The lock should be from 1996 or so when the house was built. I'm pretty comfortable with the rekeying part as I did 4 locks already. 2 with keys and 2 without.

@GlobalLocky I saw a YouTube video that said the same thing you described about pulling the long spindle out and holding it with a vice grip, and turning the key to about 4 o'clock. The video didn't say clockwise, and didn't say I had to pull the spindle in order to turn the key. It all makes more sense now. Thanks for clearing that up for me. The inside knob works just like you described.

Sad part is, before you replied, I went ahead and tried a plug turning technique, which of course failed because as you said the cylinder wouldn't turn counter clockwise at all. Now I have to pick it again. Well pracice makes perfect.
 
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Old 08-10-10, 11:13 AM
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Still no go after re-picking the lock. I might have missed something: Do I pull the spindle out (and keep it "pulled out") before starting to pick the lock? If so that's what I missed. I picked the lock first then tried to pull the spindle and turn the plug clockwise, still couldn't turn past 1/4 turn.
 
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Old 08-11-10, 05:39 PM
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take lock off door.

put thin spindle in vice, after pulling (to hold it pulled)

Pick lock clockwise to 5 o'clock.

Pull cylinder out
 
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