Sticky Lock

I've got an outdoor iron gate with a rather expensive commercial grade Schlage doorknob and lockset on it. Only a few years old. When it rains, it's a bummer trying to turn the key. Do I need to dissasemble it & bath the thing in gasoline to fix this? Will alcohol work? That's what I have handy. It's suitable for outdoor use. I tried the graphite powder once and WD40 with zero results last year. It was fine all summer (no rain) but is unbearable again.
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Gasoline and oils are non-polar substances, alcohols and water are polar. In general it is not likely that a polar substance will dissolve in a non-polar solvent and vice versa.
I have had Schlage locksets outside in the snow and ice for more than 10 years with no problem.
The lock cylinder is brass and turns in a brass socket. There may be dirt or corrosion there that is making the turning difficult.
Has this lock ever been re-pinned (re-keyed?) If so the person who did it may not have used Schlage pins, or may have used the wrong combinations of top and bottom pin lengths. This can contribute to binding. My recollection is that Schlage pins need to be held to within 0.005" in length. The pin lengths move in 0.015" steps.
If you are contemplating removing the lock cylinder be very careful or you will end up with a hand full of loose pins and springs. At a minimum get a "follower" which for Schlage is a 0.495 inch diameter cylinder that is inserted as the cylinder is removed to retain the top pins and springs in the socket. They're inexpensive but essential. http://www.keymart.com/followers.htm
Good luck
Boden
Paul Furman wrote:

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Dear Boden, He said it was working fine in the summer, so I doubt it's a pinning issue. (I've been in the locksmith biz since 1985).
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Christopher A. Young
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gasoline: Good for gasoline engines not locks. It will leave a residue.
alcohol: Not too bad for some things, but as noted it will only work with some materials.
graphite powder: This is the proper lube, but it is not a cleaner.
WD40: This is not good for the same reason as gasoline, it leaves behind some heavy hydrocarbons (heavy oils) that gum up the works and provide a glue for dust and grit.
I think I would try some zero residue electronic spray cleaner (Radio Shack may have some). Use it several times, be generous with it. It if gets things working, follow up with the graphite. However I suspect from all you said, you will need the help of a pro, to remove the lock, clean and replace any corroded parts.
Joseph E. Meehan Dia 's Muire duit
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is your lock upside down? the serrated edge of the key should be facing upward.
if not...........it is upside down. which is why you can not get the key into it.
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This thread has gone on too long. take it from a locksmith, wd 40 will not damage your lock, and if the problem is occuring while it is raining, wd 40 will work incedibly well for solving this. Yes, it does leave a residue, but just give it a tiny squirt and work the key in and out a little. if you want to get technical, post a question for this on the locksmith ng and you will hear from every locksmith from austrailla to CA. IMO, wd 40 works fine, if you have access to super lube dri - film, even better. Wd40 you can pick up in any store and will solve this.
Gasoline or alcohol is great for your car and your drink, not for you locks.
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When my locks are sluggish I stick the red tube on the Wd40 can in the lock and flush it good. People get dirt on their keys and its transfered into the lock . You have a buildup of crud in the lock.
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The gasoline bath sounds like a good idea. And also spraying it out with ether. Yes, both are terribly dangerous.
I've heard people say they like transmission fluid (Dexron or Mercron) in locks on car doors. Car door locks (and sounds like your gate lock) are one of the very very few applications I use 10W30 or 5W30 motor oil.
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Look about for some Tri-flow. Sold in spray or bottle. Take the lock apart and clean out the WD40. WD attracts dirt. Tri flow does not. I have been using it for years on exterior locks and hinges. It is a bit pricey but it works for me
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Wow, lots of different opinions.
I've drenched it repeatedly by spraying WD40 thru the red tube last year with maybe 10% improvement, maybe none. A good hour of spraying and twiddling... incredibly trying work.
It works smooth as silk during the dry season.
Ill see if I can get it off & soak in gasoline then check some of the lubricants. I think when I asked about this last year I was advised to use a heavy grease rather than a thin oil. The hardware shop says I can just use a 1/2" wood dowel for the "follower" to hold it together when removed. If it falls apart I'll obviously take it to a locksmith <g>.
Heading down to the gate to make a mess...
Paul Furman wrote:

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Hi, WD40 is solvent which will purge all the lubricant and induce rust. Try graphite based lubricant drops. Usually car parts store has it as a car door lock lubricant. Tony
Paul Furman wrote:

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I found the Tri-Flow in a spray can mentioned above and that cleaned it up good as new. I don't know why the WD-40 wasn't working last year but it's smoother than I've seen in years. I did also saw graphite in a spray can. Should I apply that after the tri-flow has time to dry or the powder graphite or?
Anyways it's fixed now. I'll spray with tri-flow again if it gumms up.
Tony Hwang wrote:

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The locksmith that installed medeco deadbolts when I bought my house recommended tri-flow to keep them working properly. When they get a bit sticky, I give them a squirt, followed by working the key in/out and turning. Works great to keep the lock smooth.
The "teeth" of the key should be on top when sticking the key in. Otherwise crap gets into the lock more easily.
One thing I notice is some of my doors swell a little throughout the year and the locks are harder to operate at times. This goes away if the door is open when I use the lock. However a steel gate probably doesn't have this problem...
I vote for tri-flow.
Jeff Dantzler
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