Dealing With Pin Retainers

Most locksmiths would rather deal with ten active retainers than one pin retainer. You generally have to fight, curse, and dig the pin retainers out their sockets with drills, ice-picks, Dremel® and tools.


Most modern ignition locks fall into two broad categories: pin-retained locks and locks that are held in place by an “active retainer.” Active retainer locks have a retainer that is usually spring-loaded, and can generally be released only after the lock has been turned from the Locked position...


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Photo 17 shows the same pin as we saw in photo 6, but now I’ve ground away the edges of the pin at the top and the bottom using a Dremel tool and a cut-off wheel. A little careful prying with a small screwdriver as shown in photo eighteen will usually pull the pin through the face of the lock, and leave enough metal for you to stake the pin back in place when you reassemble the lock. Tapping the pin in the center with a sharp punch can also help you free up the pin from the face of the lock. Photo 19 shows the face cap after it’s been successfully removed from the lock.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with pins is to take your time and don’t force anything. Think about what you’re going to do, develop a plan of attack and then work carefully to solve the problem. And whenever you’re drilling or grinding on one of these locks, wear your safety glasses. I once had a hot piece of metal burn its way into the white part of my eye while I was under the dash of an antique Desoto. I thought I got it out, but I was mistaken. When I woke up the next morning, it felt as if my eye was on fire. Fortunately, the doctor was able to pluck the piece of debris out without permanent damage, but after that close call, I have become a real believer in safety glasses.

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