EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Anyone know how to un-jam a lock on a Cargo box?
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Anyone know how to un-jam a lock on a Cargo box?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I have a Cargo box and my skis are locked inside! The issue is that the cylinder has failed/jammed. Though it is cold enough to freexe a lock, that isn't the issue. The key turns partially.

Wednesday night after skiing, we carpooled back to my vehichle, I unlocked the box, put my skis in, lock it, drove 5 minutes to my house, and the lock won't open.

I spent 45 minutes in the artic weather we're having now trying to free my skis last night.

I bought the box off a woman that had it on a Passat. Said she bought it from the Dealer new that way. The box itself has no brand/manufacturing markings on it.

Can't find anything at the Thule or Yakima site of much help.

I called a locksmith and he doesn't sound very interested in helping. Probably because it's so cold. He did give me a couple of things to try.

Anyone else have some ideas? I would like to do this without breaking anything as I want to be able to lock the box in the future. I will be getting a different lock cylinder for it though.

Thanks,
Ken
post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post
The key turns partially.
Sounds like something (ski bindings or such) are blocking the locking mechanism. Shake shake shake that box and try to unlock. Repeat.
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsproul View Post
Sounds like something (ski bindings or such) are blocking the locking mechanism. Shake shake shake that box and try to unlock. Repeat.
and if that doesn't work (drive it on a bumpy road, maybe?) I'd go get the new lock cylinder and then drill out the old one so you can do the replacement right away.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsproul View Post
Sounds like something (ski bindings or such) are blocking the locking mechanism. Shake shake shake that box and try to unlock. Repeat.
I'll try that some more but this box has the lock on the end (not the side) towards the top of the box. The latching mechanism is connected to the bottom of the box and the lock connects the latch lever to the top of the box. The hinge blocks the lock from everything inside the box, so I think something jamming is fairly slim; not impossible, just slim.

Looks like I'll be four wheeling on the way home tonight!
post #5 of 29
If the shaking trick doesn't work and it is indeed the lock cylinder, some graphite lube spray might do the trick.

What do your keys say on them? If it says Eurolock, chances are its a Yakima. If so, a Yakima gold key will be useful for pulling the lock cylinder
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dumpy View Post
If the shaking trick doesn't work and it is indeed the lock cylinder, some graphite lube spray might do the trick.

What do your keys say on them? If it says Eurolock, chances are its a Yakima. If so, a Yakima gold key will be useful for pulling the lock cylinder

The keys and lock have "L5" on them. I have tried both keys and have identical results. The keys have a black plastic top to them (where you would hold it to turn the key). I'm tempted to cut the plastic top off to see if there are more numbers hidden underneath.

I'm really wishing I had strapped my skis down before I closed the lid now. I don't think the skis are causing the problem; just don't like them bouncing around.

That's what I get for being lazy. It was literally a 5 minute drive. What could go wrong?!
post #7 of 29
happens on some of my Yakima locks. They just get corroded a bit (they aren't particularly complex locks). Just get a can of penetrating oil with the thin straw/tube -- put the key part way in, slide the straw into the lock and spray some oil in there. Work the key gently back and forth and it should eventually turn freely.
post #8 of 29
Same thing happened to me. It was not a ski as I first thought. It was a frozen lock. I took a heat gun and warmed the lock for a very long time. Around twenty min. more or less. I also kept moveing the key as much as it would move to try and losen it up. Then I took vise grips and truned the key...I was somewhat concerned I would break the key so I did that slowly and it worked. I then took w-d 40 and spray the lock and the "sliders" I don't know what they are called but they engage the clips down the box. It has not been a problem after that. All that said I have not tried it after this lastest cold snap it...it was -26 this AM. I hope it opens before tomorrow because I am going to Gore come heck or high water....I may use that chain saw after all.
post #9 of 29
It is my opinion that all the tools one needs in the world are a 3 pound hammer and a roll of duct tape...

I can stop by bring my tool kit if you like.....
post #10 of 29
If you can get to an auto parts store, specifically try PB Blaster as a penetrating oil, at least to deal with any corrosion. The stuff works.....fast. Presume that you've tried some heat? Can you get it inside, and get some heat on that cylinder? That often helps it along. I've had a number of roof boxes{6-8}, going back to when they first made them. Haven't had a lock actually fail or break, but I've had them freeze. As you know, though, it's easy to break a key in this cold. I have had even tiny amounts of moisture freeze solid inside them. Once it's fixed, I keep mine lubrication with a marine or avaiation water-resistant lubricant and corrosion protectant. Good luck.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_j View Post
It is my opinion that all the tools one needs in the world are a 3 pound hammer and a roll of duct tape...
10 years ago, I drove cross country with a friend in his '73 Super Beetle convertible. our toolkit consisted of a 13mm ratchet, lots of duct tape and a hammer. We used all three, and actually didn't need anything more than that.

when the engine melted down in the middle of the night (road debris jammed the cooling fan, shook the alternator off its pedestal, overheated the engine and melted the spark plugs into the engine block) and he needed to get a partial engine rebuild in New Mexico, we did decided to get more tools. never used them though.
post #12 of 29
X 2 on the PB blaster- incredible stuff!
post #13 of 29
wd-40.

also you can try turning the key with a pair of pliers. Managed to unstick my car's ignition that way once. (just be careful not to break the key)
post #14 of 29
Chain lube (like White Lightning) also works well. Squirt some inside the lock and also on the key.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

I'm really wishing I had strapped my skis down before I closed the lid now. I don't think the skis are causing the problem; just don't like them bouncing around.

Although said before, I have seen this scenario a few times where unstrapped items get in the way of the latch mechanism. Don't discount it quite yet. From my experience, locks don't usually partially corrode. The fact that you can wiggle the mechanism sounds like it isn't corroded.

Good luck.
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_j View Post
It is my opinion that all the tools one needs in the world are a 3 pound hammer and a roll of duct tape...

I can stop by bring my tool kit if you like.....
Then I'll have to put a ladder strap on it for it to close. Or wait. Maybe a Booster Strap would be better
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post
Although said before, I have seen this scenario a few times where unstrapped items get in the way of the latch mechanism. Don't discount it quite yet. From my experience, locks don't usually partially corrode. The fact that you can wiggle the mechanism sounds like it isn't corroded.

Good luck.
The way this box is designed, even if the rails and latches were welded shut/together, I should still be able to unlock the lock. The lock doesn't penetrate to inside the box. It simply locks the latch to the box so it can't move to unlatch the lid.

I'll try the silicone or graphite lube tonight after work. I'll see if I can find the PB blaster and look at what's in it.

I've used WD-40 in the past on different locks and though it freed the lock of whatever was jamming it, it then started freezing shut.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post
Then I'll have to put a ladder strap on it for it to close. Or wait. Maybe a Booster Strap would be better
drinking the cool aid again i see.
post #19 of 29
Lock antifreeze.
post #20 of 29
It could just be the cold and tight tolerances inside the cylinder.
I had a combination lock stop working in the cold - it spun fine, but wouldn't unlock. After hitting it for a few seconds with a propane torch it worked again.

Long ago as a desparation move on a stuck key lock I remember putting the key in and heating the fat part of the key with a lighter. It rarely worked, but sometimes it did.
post #21 of 29
Saturate with WD 40.

WD 40 is a penetrating oil, and will remove all the lubrication and then dry out, so don't forget to re-lubricate with a lock lubricant later (or keep spraying it often with wd40)
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

And the culprit is...?

A little piece of plastic that was wedged between the outside of the cylinder and the housing for the cylinder preventling it from turning. That's what I get for putting a 10 year old cargo box on my 11 year old jeep.

My skis and poles are now defrosting in the basement, lock is re lubed and housing cleaned of all fragments, so all is good with the world again.

The final tactic that worked was a big effin screw driver that pried the lock free as I turned the key. It was much easier to work on today as it was up to 7 degrees outside with no wind.

Thanks for all the responces and suggestions.
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post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post
The final tactic that worked was a big effin screw driver .
sounds like an addtion to my tool kit is in order

3 pound hammer
duct tape
BIG effin screwdriver

check!
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Don't forget the WD-40.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post
Don't forget the WD-40.
Don't need that if you've got a torch, every tool man needs a torch!
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jag View Post
Don't need that if you've got a torch, every tool man needs a torch!
Hey, its my took kit! I get to say whats in it

I learned minimilist thinking in the navy---if it moves tie it down, if it doesn't, paint it gray.
post #27 of 29
My Grand pappy always told me; if the puzzle piece doesn't fit - force it.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jag View Post
My Grand pappy always told me; if the puzzle piece doesn't fit - force it.

See!

hammer.

next!
post #29 of 29
We have a saying at work:
"Don't force it, get a bigger hammer."
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Anyone know how to un-jam a lock on a Cargo box?