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bike locker frozen, needs thawing

Old 12-11-13, 07:36 AM
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balto charlie
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bike locker frozen, needs thawing

Hey all: We are in the big chill in Baltimore/DC today. My bike locker at the Metro was frozen solid. Had to bus/walk for the final leg of my commute today. I was able to thaw the lock tumbler but seems the entire locking mechanism is frozen. Those using bike locker, how do you unfreeze them? Tumblers not a problem, the rest is another story. thoughts? I know alcohol thaws ice but this may need a bucket of alcohol.
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Old 12-11-13, 07:39 AM
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urination has worked well for me in the past with frozen equipment. it's relatively sterile as well.

not joking.
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Old 12-11-13, 07:43 AM
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yeah, but in the U.S. that probably means arrest, and will lead to corrosion. Go buy some coffee maybe?
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Old 12-11-13, 07:58 AM
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A small propane torch or a spray can of windshield deicer.
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Old 12-11-13, 08:02 AM
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You could try heating up the key with a lighter, then insert the key and let the lock warm up.
Put some hot water inside a plastic bag or other flexible container, press the container against the lock area, wait for a while for the heat to thaw the lock mechanism.
Spray lock defreeze in the keyhole.

Once you get it open, consider lubricating the lock mechanism with thin oil.

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Old 12-11-13, 08:54 AM
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Thanks for some tips:
Coffee, I hadn't had any at that time so I would have drunk it first I really don't want anymore water in the lock tumbler, it is going to be cold all week. Propane torch would do it for sure. Might melt the plastic surrounding the handle though. I'll check out our store room and see what I can find. I do have a high tech electric dryer for heating up our cold stages in the microscopes. Just need a outlet. I wonder if the Metro has one nearby?
Hot water in a bag, hmmm. If I can get a thermos to carry the water to the station might work. Heating the key might dissipate the enough heat to thaw the door handle but the handle is much larger mass than a key. I need the door handle to 'pop' out from the door in order to turn and open. I guess I'll try de-icer spry but the tumbler is not the problem anymore. Perhaps I'll spray the entire door handle with de-icer. I have a spray bottle at work. Perhaps some alcohol in it and spray the entire handle, door frame and tumbler??

Juha: you are correct that it all needs lubing. I was thinking about doing just that just before this storm hit.
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Old 12-11-13, 09:42 AM
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You can do this the same way as done with auto door locks. There are aerosol alcohol lock de-icers that inject directly into the lock. If warming, the best way to thaw the lock without damaging anything else is to warm a key with a cigarette lighter, and work it in, then continue gently warming the key while it's inside the lock while checking at intervals (I don't have to say "Warning- the key may be hot", do I?).

BTW- if this is a rented public locker, you shouldn't have to do anything. Whoever is the owner/operator has a responsibility for any malfunctions even weather related, and would have to send someone down to get it open for you.
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Old 12-11-13, 10:34 AM
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Did you try banging on the handle? When my car door handles freeze, that's what I do. They usually free up with a few hits.
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Old 12-11-13, 10:46 AM
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I would sometimes forget to take the padlock off my trailer doors and find the lock frozen at the receiving dock. Already being at an environmentally nasty location due to constant truck traffic that was cleaned only when rains wash the leaked fluids into the storm sewers, I put a shot glass of anti-freeze in the key hole and where the "shackle" goes into the body and wiggle. Five or ten seconds later I was into the trailer.

Not the green approach, but I've never worried about peeing in the ocean reducing the salinity.
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Old 12-11-13, 11:55 AM
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Banging it: I did try to kick it, hit it, wiggle it. All to no avail but you do raise a good point. I'm bringing a hammer when I return.

Antifreeze, should have borrow from some of the parked cars

public locker: DC metro, they have trouble maintaining their trains, I'm sure locker maintenance is low on their list. I don't mind fixing, just got

Current plan: I am armed with a quart of ethanol in a spray bottle, wd-40, Bosheild T-9, and a hammer. That door is going down
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Old 12-11-13, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
Current plan: I am armed with a quart of ethanol in a spray bottle, wd-40, Bosheild T-9, and a hammer. That door is going down
If all else fails:
http://beprepared.com/p-38-can-opener.html
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
p38.jpg (43.5 KB, 17 views)
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Old 12-11-13, 02:47 PM
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Once you get thawed out, if you can cover it somehow that would help. A good trick is to take a tennis ball and cut a hole in it to make a slip cover that is weather proof.
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Old 12-12-13, 07:12 AM
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Can opener, like the idea, small ultralite.
Tennis ball< can't picture it working. My locker has a key/tumbler in a handle. When closed the handle is pushed in and is flush with the door. Covering with tape might work. If I am organized that is what I will try.

So yesterday, armed with all of the aforementioned supplies, I took on the door. Due to mother nature thawing the lock, handle and door all worked flawlessly. I think it knew what I had in mind(especially the hammer) so it surrendered my bike. Since I was armed to the hilt I liberally sprayed the lock and handle with ethanol, waited for it to evaporate the applied the Boeshield T-9 and WD-40 to the various moving parts, tumbled, and handle components. This morning it moved like silk.
MORAL OF THE STORY: preventive maintenance goes a long way. Plus I am now carrying a small bottle of ethanol and a large friggin' hammer
Thanks for all the advice folks. Stay warm, things are rather chilly these days
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Old 12-12-13, 08:09 AM
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[QUOTE=balto charlie;16323522]Can opener, like the idea, small ultralite.
Tennis ball< can't picture it working. My locker has a key/tumbler in a handle. When closed the handle is pushed in and is flush with the door. Covering with tape might work. If I am organized that is what I will try.

Thought it was a padlock.
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Old 12-12-13, 10:43 AM
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anti-freeze? Should be cheap and easy to find.
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Old 12-12-13, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
Can opener, like the idea, small ultralite.
Tennis ball< can't picture it working. My locker has a key/tumbler in a handle. When closed the handle is pushed in and is flush with the door. Covering with tape might work. If I am organized that is what I will try.

So yesterday, armed with all of the aforementioned supplies, I took on the door. Due to mother nature thawing the lock, handle and door all worked flawlessly. I think it knew what I had in mind(especially the hammer) so it surrendered my bike. Since I was armed to the hilt I liberally sprayed the lock and handle with ethanol, waited for it to evaporate the applied the Boeshield T-9 and WD-40 to the various moving parts, tumbled, and handle components. This morning it moved like silk.
MORAL OF THE STORY: preventive maintenance goes a long way. Plus I am now carrying a small bottle of ethanol and a large friggin' hammer
Thanks for all the advice folks. Stay warm, things are rather chilly these days

Three comments:

1. If it moves and it shouldn't, fix it with duct tape.

2. If it doesn't move and it should, fix it with WD40.

3. If, after that, you can't fix it with a hammer, the problem is electrical.


J.

Last edited by JohnJ80; 12-15-13 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 12-12-13, 12:38 PM
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pee is warm, a convenient source of a fluid .
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Old 12-12-13, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
pee is warm, a convenient source of a fluid .
Location, location, location!
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Old 12-13-13, 08:05 AM
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Pee Back in the day I pissed on my iced over RD while mnt biking in snow. Kinda gross but did the trick. At least enough to get out of the woods.
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Old 12-15-13, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
I would sometimes forget to take the padlock off my trailer doors and find the lock frozen at the receiving dock. Already being at an environmentally nasty location due to constant truck traffic that was cleaned only when rains wash the leaked fluids into the storm sewers, I put a shot glass of anti-freeze in the key hole and where the "shackle" goes into the body and wiggle. Five or ten seconds later I was into the trailer.

Not the green approach, but I've never worried about peeing in the ocean reducing the salinity.
Urine isn't toxic. Antifreeze can be. If you're going to do something like this, make sure to get antifreeze based on propylene glycol, not the common ethylene glycol. A few licks of the latter can kill a pet.
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Old 12-18-13, 10:51 AM
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I've had my bike locker handle freeze up many times just like the OP. I always carry a small container of WD40 and a flat head screwdriver in the winter. I can work the screwdriver into the gap between the handle and the rest of the metal around it to wiggle the handle some and squirt the WD40 in there. Between that and kicking the hell out of it with my boot, it has always come free.

I have had a tougher time with frozen u-locks. I've tried the heated key technique and various lubes, but sometimes those locks just freeze solid if there was any moisture in them.
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