In the Field: Flagpole Cam Lock Repair

June 2, 2023
A little bit of warm brake cleaner helped get the lock working like new

Today we’re servicing a CompX flagpole cam lock. The customer called and said he needed to get the lock serviced so he could lower the flag to half-mast.

Watch this procedure

We start out by some brake cleaner that was warmed up in the truck. The lock was full of ice, dirt and grit, preventing it from opening. The customer said that the lock worked randomly from time to time and they sprayed WD40 in it occasionally. That tells me that they gummed things up a bit and attracted more dirt and debris in the lock.

Examining the lock, we used a little screwdriver to depress each one of the wafers and discovered a stuck wafer in the lock. The second wafer from the back did not turn or spring back.

We needed to continue to clean this lock, rehydrate it and lubricate it. Notice I’ve put some Triflow into this lock in order to get it moving. This is a heavier-duty lubricant that will coat the brass and some of the other components and be more effective in the field. A lighter-duty lubricant may not hold up quite as long.

The main issue was that we needed it cleaned out so that open space doesn’t have any ice, dirt, debris or other nonsense in there locking the wafers up. This lock had been exposed to Colorado winter weather for some time.

Next, we had to put the lock back together.  We pulled the Phillips head screw off the backside. This let us pull the entire lock cylinder apart without needing to remove it from the actual little door on the flagpole.

Next, we simply put everything back together and we have a fully operational lock.

A little bit of warm brake cleaner was all it took to get this thing moving in the correct direction. It melted the ice and the snow so that we could begin to service this particular cam lock. All of this nasty stuff – ice, snow, leaves, pollen and dirt – can build up inside a lock that’s not properly maintained, not properly covered and exposed to the weather. It took a lot of cleaning

We could have replaced this lock; however, this lock actually works just fine.

One of the things that I was concerned about was perhaps maybe a tumbler got crushed, or one of the wafers was bent, or one of the springs had collapsed. If that was the case, we would have absolutely needed to replace it.

For more information, check out Wayne' and

Wayne Winton is the owner of Tri-County Locksmith Services, located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. 

About the Author

Wayne Winton

Wayne Winton is the owner of Tri-County Locksmith Services, located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.