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Old 08-28-11, 12:59 PM   #1
HopliteGrad
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Key Stuck in U-Lock

So, we have a u-lock, lightly used about 10 times, with the key stuck in it. Lubricating the lock hasn't seemed to help. Ideas?
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Old 08-28-11, 01:24 PM   #2
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what brand of u lock or style of keyway? traditional type i would jiggle the key up and down and pull while the key is lined up at the shear line. disc style, got to line up the plates. is the key bent?
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Old 08-28-11, 01:31 PM   #3
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If you have one of those keys which are basically a flat bar with notches cut out of both sides (On Guard and Krypronite both) You have to work it back and forth. The key passes a series of discs which need to be aligned for the Key to come out. Note that on both these locks the key cannot be removed in the open position. If you can still turn it or better yet open the lock, turn the key all the way to the open position, then all the way back to closed, then try to ease the key out.

If the issue is that the key is stiff to turn or jammed, lubricating the keyway won't help. The problem is in the sliding deadbolt which may be sticking or rusty. If you can open the lock, remove the U-bar and spray some WD-40, tri-flow, or other light oil onto the mechanism and work it back and forth with the key until is slides freely over the full range, then try bringing to the locked position to remove the key.
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Old 08-28-11, 08:51 PM   #4
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It is an On Guard lock, and the key style is indeed basically a flat bar with mirrored notches cut from each side. The key still turns smoothly in the keyway, and I can pull it out about 3mm, then it is stuck, but still rotates freely. Sounds like it is stuck on one of the lock plates?
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Old 08-28-11, 09:11 PM   #5
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It is an On Guard lock, and the key style is indeed basically a flat bar with mirrored notches cut from each side. The key still turns smoothly in the keyway, and I can pull it out about 3mm, then it is stuck, but still rotates freely. Sounds like it is stuck on one of the lock plates?
Yes that's exactly what happened. I was one of the largest Kryptonite distributors for many years, and was very dissapointed when they changed to this IMO lousy keyway system. See if you can line up the discs and get the key all the way in, then work it all the way to the right and back all the way to the left and see if that aligned the discs so you can withdraw it. Otherwise, bring it back to where you bought it and let them deal with this BS.
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Old 09-11-11, 03:57 PM   #6
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If you have one of those keys which are basically a flat bar with notches cut out of both sides (On Guard and Krypronite both) You have to work it back and forth. The key passes a series of discs which need to be aligned for the Key to come out. Note that on both these locks the key cannot be removed in the open position. If you can still turn it or better yet open the lock, turn the key all the way to the open position, then all the way back to closed, then try to ease the key out.

If the issue is that the key is stiff to turn or jammed, lubricating the keyway won't help. The problem is in the sliding deadbolt which may be sticking or rusty. If you can open the lock, remove the U-bar and spray some WD-40, tri-flow, or other light oil onto the mechanism and work it back and forth with the key until is slides freely over the full range, then try bringing to the locked position to remove the key.
Thanks for this.

My OnGuard Bulldog Mini stuck Friday. The key went in easily, and turned. I unlocked the lock but then when I tried to re-lock it, it wouldn't turn, so the key wouldn't come out. Tried repeatedly Friday and Saturday (had limited time though) to no avail.

Today I thought I'd take it out to the garage and tap on the lock body with a hammer while trying to turn it. I picked it up, decided to try it once first, and it turns and opens just fine. So I put graphite in the keyway, and turn it repeatedly without the shackle.

Then I did a search and read your post. I put the shackle on, and now it won't turn again. Turns without the shackle, but not with. I thought maybe I didn't have the shackle seated, but I did. So, I sprayed the crap out of the deadbolt mechanism with Teflon Multi-Lube, and cycled the lock repeatedly. Then I put the shackle on and so far it works just fine.

This was incredibly frustrating when it happened, and I'm still not sure I trust the lock anymore, but at least if failed while unlocked, I guess.
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Old 09-11-11, 04:04 PM   #7
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Thanks for this.

My OnGuard Bulldog Mini stuck Friday. The key went in easily, and turned. I unlocked the lock but then when I tried to re-lock it, it wouldn't turn, so the key wouldn't come out. Tried repeatedly Friday and Saturday (had limited time though) to no avail.

Today I thought I'd take it out to the garage and tap on the lock body with a hammer while trying to turn it. I picked it up, decided to try it once first, and it turns and opens just fine. So I put graphite in the keyway, and turn it repeatedly without the shackle.

Then I did a search and read your post. I put the shackle on, and now it won't turn again. Turns without the shackle, but not with. I thought maybe I didn't have the shackle seated, but I did. So, I sprayed the crap out of the deadbolt mechanism with Teflon Multi-Lube, and cycled the lock repeatedly. Then I put the shackle on and so far it works just fine.

This was incredibly frustrating when it happened, and I'm still not sure I trust the lock anymore, but at least if failed while unlocked, I guess.
These locks all have steel deadbolts for security, but this leaves them vulnerable to water wicking and the resulting rust. It's important to keep the sliding bole and it's track well lubed, otherwise they're prone to jamming.
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Old 09-11-11, 04:09 PM   #8
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These locks all have steel deadbolts for security, but this leaves them vulnerable to water wicking and the resulting rust. It's important to keep the sliding bole and it's track well lubed, otherwise they're prone to jamming.
Thanks. Now I need to lube my other two. I have the Onguard Bulldog Mini (mentioned), Onguard Beast, and a Kryptonite Series 2. I suspect they all operate about the same way, and are prone to the same failures.
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Old 09-12-11, 09:31 AM   #9
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From what I can tell by reading on-line reviews, the On-Guard is prone for this failure. When it fails closed while locking a bike a $100 locksmith fee is typical, they have to use an angle grinder....
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Old 09-12-11, 12:05 PM   #10
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I think I would buy an angle grinder, if I could get to an outlet. The cordless ones are expensive, but the corded versions aren't too bad.
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Old 09-12-11, 12:25 PM   #11
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I think I would buy an angle grinder, if I could get to an outlet. The cordless ones are expensive, but the corded versions aren't too bad.
Might be cheaper and easier to avoid on-guard locks, but if that's the only way you can justify a tool purchase. I don't have much use for an electric angle so the expense would lost on me.
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Old 09-12-11, 12:26 PM   #12
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I think I would buy an angle grinder, if I could get to an outlet. The cordless ones are expensive, but the corded versions aren't too bad.
"Yes Officer, it is my bike".............return to grinding.............
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Old 09-12-11, 02:13 PM   #13
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"Yes Officer, it is my bike".............return to grinding.............
Check this video out, they use a grinder in broad daylight at 2:45, nobody does anything. At 4:30 a concerned citizen helps break the lock:

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Old 09-12-11, 02:33 PM   #14
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Might be cheaper and easier to avoid on-guard locks, but if that's the only way you can justify a tool purchase. I don't have much use for an electric angle so the expense would lost on me.
I'm just saying, the tool would probably cost less than the $100 locksmith. A quick search shows one on Amazon for $25. Heck, you could even sell the tool afterward. Again, this is all assuming you don't need cordless.

I'm pretty certain I've read at least one thread where a Kryptonite got stuck too. But if not, then I definitely agree.
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Old 09-12-11, 02:35 PM   #15
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I've seen that video. Pretty eye-opening.
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Old 09-12-11, 03:31 PM   #16
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...Again, this is all assuming you don't need cordless....
In the video, the thief plugs his angle grinder into an outlet behind a street lamp's base panel. Who knew there was an outlet there, bums can charge their i Phones! I can cut ANY 1/2" or smaller cables in less than 30 seconds using a $15 pair of Craftsman lineman's pliers. They're slightly larger than a pair of standard pliers. U-lock or heavy chain stops punks with lineman's pliers, no way to stop a pro, if they want your bike it's gone.
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Old 09-12-11, 04:34 PM   #17
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In the video, the thief plugs his angle grinder into an outlet behind a street lamp's base panel. Who knew there was an outlet there, bums can charge their i Phones!...
I know! The first time I saw that, I couldn't believe it either.
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Old 09-12-11, 08:36 PM   #18
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I had trouble with an OnGuard Pitbull mini because the yellow rubber boot around the shackle ends was preventing the U from completely seating against the locking part. When I lined it up correctly, locking turned out to be as smooth as can be. I have had a lot of success with them in the past, but the two I recently bought both had this annoying rubber boot problem.
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Old 09-12-11, 08:52 PM   #19
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I had trouble with an OnGuard Pitbull mini because the yellow rubber boot around the shackle ends was preventing the U from completely seating against the locking part. When I lined it up correctly, locking turned out to be as smooth as can be. I have had a lot of success with them in the past, but the two I recently bought both had this annoying rubber boot problem.
Mine doesn't have a yellow boot. It's an older model. Bought it around 2006, but only have really used it in the past couple years. And the shackle was definitely seated - I even dropped it on the shackle to make sure it was up all the way. Mine also initially wouldn't turn even without the shackle.

Your story doesn't inspire confidence in the newer models either, though, which is disappointing.
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