OT: Frozen padlocks

Hi All,
The last couple of nights we have had heavy frosts and morning temps
around the 28-F mark. Padlocks on the sheds have been frozen and I
have had to warm them with my hands for a couple of minutes. Not a lot
of fun.
This is the first time in 10 years that they have frozen and it has
been a lot colder and damper than this.
Anyone suggest a good oil to use to keep the moisture out?
Thanks
Dave
Reply to
Dave, I can't do that
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"Dave, I can't do that"
Seems to me WD40 is the way to go. It's 'water displacement formula number 40' that finally worked as intended. Try it...... phil
Reply to
Phil Kangas
I'll second the silicone spray. I sprayed with BrakeClean first to totally remove all dirt. Works to -45 in MN.
WD40 will work for a while, then it will be even worse. It leaves a sticky gum behind.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
II use an old can of graphite suspended in oil and give the lock a squirt about once a year. Moisture doesn't seem to do much after that.
Paul
Reply to
KD7HB
Guys ......... ? I had to loosen one, and the only thing I could find handy was PB Blaster. It worked, but wonder if it was the right thing to use or not ???
Steve
Reply to
Steve B
Desperation causes action. As in the Army, DON'T SIT STILL! Even if you have to do something that later proves to be stupid, do not just sit there.
Steve
PS, I'll check the instruction panel tomorrow, but I figured I had more locks, a 4' bolt cutter, and I needed to get into my container now, and the two by four wasn't having any effect.
There's instructions?
Reply to
Steve B
There is several things low temperature and inclement weather does to padlocks.
First if they have been lubed with an oil that thickens in the cold that can gum things up a bit, then there is thermal contraction (usually not a big factor) and then there is water freezing on the inside.
What worked really good for padlocks that truck drivers use for there snow chain racks is to put a couple of nice O-rings on the shackle with a dab of crazy glue so that water can't leak into the shackle holes, and then cover the key hole with electricians tape.
The lock itself is lubricated with a Teflon spray like Tri-flow or dry powered graphite. I will note that graphite can be flushed out with water so keeping the guts dry is key.
Another suggestion for padlocks on sheds, is to make a little enclosure that will keep rain off the padlock,
Also a trick for a frozen lock is to heat up the key with a lighterand insert it int the key hole. The hot key usually will then have enough redidual heat to thaw the guts of the lock enough to open. If it doesn't then apply heat to the key that is inserted into the key hole.
In my experience, silicone lube is next to useless for locks (it is great as a mold release agent or for lubricating food machinery but in the cold and wet it does not wick into the mechanism where it needs to be. also be careful about spraying it anywhere near a car with an oxygen sensor. It takes only a small wiff of the stuff to kill an O2 sensor.
Reply to
RS at work
They thaw quicker if you warm them between your thighs or in your armpit. Maybe even quicker if you enlist more ample thighs that you promise to reheat later.
It's a shame to waste good alcohol on thawing a lock, eh?
Reply to
Don Foreman
Most common oils are adequate for locks, but they're most effective when the locks are clean and dry.. when new.
Applying some oil into the key passageway (padlock turned upside-down) and also applied to the locking and other shackle hole, will leave a coating of oil on all of the internal parts. Working the lock from locked/open numerous cycles will distribute the oil over the surfaces of the moving parts. With the parts oiled, water won't stick to the moving parts. Some of the oil will at least partially fill cavities that could trap water, preventing water from accumulating where it would cause problems. Oiled parts are less likely to be completely fouled by superglue vandals.
Padlocks that have been outdoors with no protection will generally be problematic eventually. Those locks would benefit from being flushed with solvent, blown out with compressed air, dried, then lubricated with oil. If excess oil comes out dark with dirt, repeat the flushing, etc.
For the best results, as suggested already, put a shield in place to deflect water and dirt, and prevent it from entering the lock. One of the cheapest and most effective shields I've seen, has been a rubber flap cut from an inner tube.
Mowing and trimming often kick up a lot of dirt, and it's likely that some of that dirt can find it's way into unprotected padlocks. The fine dirt particles will cause wear of the internal parts.. then the lock gets fiddly, and eventually it won't unlock.
Antique locks generally worked fine without lubricants, which I attribute to better choices of metals, better designs and more precise part manufacturing. More recent locks are generally made as cheaply as possible with rapidly produced parts, which aren't reflective of a precision, high reliability mechanism.
One of the PB Blaster penetrating oil products contains teflon, which I've found to be useful in lubricating locks and door latches/mechanisms/hardware.. it needs to be shaken well to suspend the teflon into the solvent. I've replaced the spray nozzle with a spray head that accepts an extension tube. This has been very effective at lubricating commercial entry/exit doors, exposed to the outdoor elements, and difficult to access locks/latches, without removing the locking mechanisms from the doors.
Reply to
Wild_Bill
I've found the best solution for padlocks is anti seize compound. We do enough of these that I filled a glue injector ( like a big oversized hypodermic without a needle) with the stuff. Makes it real easy to fill a padlock, lasts for years on locks that are totally exposed to the elements.
Reply to
DanG
No problem. It does require wiping off the excess when applied. I've not ever noticed any residual on keys, etc. If you have no interest in trying it, don't.
Reply to
DanG
You should see it when it's -28 F. The propane won't come out of the bottle unless you warm it up. Lighters are completely useless. The best I've found so far is to do preventative maintenance after beating the crap out of them and heating them how ever possible. I hang them open in the blower outlet of the wood stove all day , then oil with a light oil, and tie a plastic bag around the locked lock.
SW
Reply to
Sunworshipper
I think propane takes a bit colder than -28. I've lived through -45 and the propane heat still worked. Not that I want to try THAT again.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
I use LPS 2 on my disc locks on the sheds. Has water displacement features and sticks around, unlike LPS1 and WD40. On regular padlocks in subzero, sometimes you've got to boil out the moisture with a torch first, then lube. Heating a key with the torch works, once, if you've just gotta get in right now. There's usually still moisture in the lock that will refreeze later. Have used that method on car locks. They used to have a little pocket-sized gadget that had a hot probe you could stick in the keyway to warm the lock cylinder, used a AA battery. The disc locks seem to have pretty good weathering characteristics, barring hurricanes, flood and such. The shackle openings are pretty well shielded and opening it doesn't depend on a spring. I've had some out for 15-20 years and they still work like new, given lube once a year or so.
Stan
Reply to
stans4
Hold them up with a stick and hit 'em with a small deadblow hammer. This is the same method used by perps to open them, BTW. ;)
-- Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. -- Epictetus
Reply to
Larry Jaques
You know, I'm not sure what is in those little tanks about the size of a football, but they don't work for me. There where times that I had to run the vehicle just so the tank could set in the air flow of the heater and then wrap a flannel shirt around it just to heat the locks on my simi trailer.
Lighting a cigarette takes time cause you have to hold the bic lighter in your hand for awhile so that it will light. Ha, almost a year now of cold turkeying cigs.
-45, yeap been there done that. I almost positive that it doesn't get like that here anymore, use to back in the '70s & '80s only down to the low twenties so far. Back then I found out blow dryers don't work @ -45 and fingers stick to head bolts. Now that I think about it that was when I finished a truck in an unheated garage. Had two bad spark plugs and two leaking valves and had to pull the head back off and replace the plugs , not fun at all. Took forever to trouble shoot an engine that was completely rebuilt while , well you know, that desperation of trying to do something when it is that cold and telling yourself to THINK while running out of time before hypothermia sets in.
Hmmm, that's strange, to think I use to work in 120 + F. I wanted to move to TX or NC, but NOOOO.
SW
Reply to
Sunworshipper
Thanks to all,
I only have two of the suggested lubricants on hand. I think that prior to this last bout of cleaning and lubing I used wd40. I have a can of LPS 2 here so will give that a try. If that fails then I will start running down the Hardware Store list of suggestions.
The locks, all 7 of them, are keyed alike and are also on the front gate etc so building covers is not an option. I am not a member of the disgusting lung-killers-and-die-early brigade so I do not carry a lighter to heat the key, thus warming padlocks with my hands is the only option.
Thanks to everyone.
Dave
Reply to
Dave, I can't do that

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