Determining The Proper Cuts

June 1, 2006
DETERMINATORS are available for most years and models of domestic vehicles.

The DETERMINATOR system works by decoding automotive door locks equipped with wafer tumblers. DETERMINATORS are available for most years and models of domestic and “World” vehicles’ wafer tumbler lock mechanisms. The DETERMlNATOR has been developed for each lock mechanism, so be sure to thoroughly read and understand the instructions.

Each DETERMINATOR is comprised of a key blade with a modified tip whose original purpose is to enter the lock’s keyway being decoded, and a release tool. The DETERMINATOR has the space positions of the wafer tumblers stamped into the blade. The wafer tumbler positions are read at the projection that contacts the deeper depth wafer tumblers. The release tool, spring steel with a sloped tip, is designed to lift the trapped deep depth wafer tumblers out of the way so the DETERMINATOR can be removed.

The tip of each DETERMINATOR has been shaped to trap deeper depth wafer tumblers and to pass by shallower depth wafer tumblers. The length of the blade is grooved to accommodate the release tool. The DETERMINATOR’s basic design is to trap wafer tumblers with depths of three and greater, while not trapping wafer tumblers whose depths of cut are either a number one or number two. Knowing whether a wafer tumbler is a one or two, or three or greater; makes decoding the lock much easier.

The tip of each DETERMINATOR has a lowered surface area to raise the wafer tumblers. Behind this flat area is a drop area into which the deeper depth wafer tumblers move into in order to be in the rest position. The rest position is when the tumbler spring is as fully extended as possible. The shallow depth wafer tumblers (1 and 2) do not slide into the drop area. The drop area is large enough to trap the deeper wafer tumblers, and there is sufficient room to raise the deeper wafer tumblers using the release tool. The back of the drop area is sloped which enables the deeper wafer tumblers to raise up onto the full width blade as the DETERMINATOR is slid fully into the keyway.

To decode, the correct DETERMINATOR is first fully inserted into the vehicle’s least used door lock whenever possible. If the vehicle is equipped with a passenger door lock, decode this door lock. Note the numbers on the side of the DETERMINATOR.

NOTE: For lock mechanisms that have more than four depths of cut, a second DETERMINATOR is used. With two DETERMINATORS, the first one will trap wafer tumblers whose depths of cut are two or greater. The second DETERMINATOR then decodes the lock to identify the wafer tumblers with a depth of cut of four or greater.

Slowly slide the DETERMINATOR out of the door lock until a deeper depth wafer tumbler contacts the projection in the blade. Numbers on the side of the blade identify this space position. Write down this number. If the space position is smaller then the last number, you will know that any of the wafer tumblers that did not contact the projection are shallower depth wafer tumblers.

IMPORTANT: Keep the DETERMINATOR perpendicular to the face of the lock throughout the entire decoding procedure.

The release tool is inserted to raise this deeper depth wafer tumbler and is then pulled out of the drop area of the blade. The key is again slowly slid out of the door lock until the next deeper depth wafer tumbler contacts the key. Write down this number. Then insert the release tool to raise this deeper depth wafer tumbler. Slide the release tool out of the active portion of the blade. Repeat these steps until the key slides out of the door lock. Write down which wafer tumblers have shallower depths and which have deeper depths.

Note: When using a double sided DETERMINATOR, make sure you know if the door and the ignition locks are single or double throw. If the ignition lock is double throw, be sure to read both sides of the keyway.

Once the depths of the wafer tumblers are determined to be shallower or deeper, think about the lock mechanism. Does the lock mechanism follow any specific rules? Is the decoded lock following those rules?

The next step is to determine what each of the shallower depths of cut is; a one or a two. And what are the depths of cuts for the deeper depth wafer tumblers? This can be accomplished using several different methods.

One method is to cut a key using try-out key depths/ half cut depths. Cut the shallower depth wafer tumblers to a 1-1/2, and if the lock mechanism is only four depths, cut the deeper depth wafer tumblers to a 3-1/2. When the key is cut, try the key in the door lock and see if it will operate. You may have to jiggle the key slightly to get the wafer tumblers to align at the shearline in order to rotate the plug.

As an alternative, you can cut a key to the number one depths for the shallower depth of cut wafer tumblers, and a number three depth for the deeper depth of cut wafer tumblers in a four depth of cut lock mechanism. Then, impression the door lock, knowing if a wafer tumbler marks, the depth of cut is a deeper depth.

Once the depths of cut from the door lock have been decoded, the next step is to determine what must be done, if anything, to the key to operate the ignition lock.

Does this key have to be modified, as in determining additional depths of cut? Can they be determined by using progression? Can the additional cuts be impressioned?

Once the key operates the ignition lock, either remove and read the code, remove and decode the ignition lock, or (if the key operates smoothly), originate a key to the determined depths of cut.

For more information, contact Car Openers Inc., P. O. Box 895 Ocoee, FL 34761. Telephone: 800-561-0443. E-mail: [email protected].