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Rekeying Porsche Locks
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rekeying Porsche Locks

Time:

90 minutes90 mins

Tab:

$100

Talent:

**

Tools:

screwdriver, pliers, wrenches, lock re-keying kit

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911/356/914

Parts Required:

lock tumbler

Hot Tip:

Take your time.

Performance Gain:

Same key for all locks

Very often the locks on older cars do not match the original keys. This could be for a variety of reasons: the locks get broken and replaced, the keys get lost or worn, or the tumblers in the locks become worn. Either way, having more than one key for the car can be a pain, especially if different doors use different keys. This Pelican Technical Article shows you the easy way to rekey your locks. Whether you have a 356, 911, 914 or other Porsche, the principle of re-keying the locks are the same.

The first step is to remove the lock from the car. This may vary depending upon which car you have. This article uses the 914 door handle as an example to follow. For more information on removing and replacing 914 door handles, please see our technical article, "Replacing & Repairing 914 Door Handles."  Figure 1 shows a typical 914 door handle. This one has actually been anodized black by the previous owner of the car.

Once you have the door handle, trunk lock, or other lock removed from the car, you begin by removing the inner tumbler. Figure 2 shows the back of the 914 door handle. Here you can see that there is a small screw that holds the end cam to the door handle. Remove this screw, the cam, and the inner spring as shown in Figure 3.

Once the cam, screw and spring are removed, then you can remove the inner tumbler from the door handle. This is most easily done by inserting a key into the tumbler. The key that you use does not have to match the tumbler in order to pull it out. Inserting the key helps to reduce the amount of pressure that the tumbler pins are placing on the walls of the lock cylinder. With the key inserted into the tumbler, it should easily push out from the rear, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 5 shows the tumbler with the key inserted. If you look carefully, you can see the tumbler pins sticking up out of the lock. These get stuck in a groove inside the lock cylinder and prevent the tumbler from turning. Your goal is to swap or replace the tumbler keys with ones that will not stick up out of the tumbler when the key is inserted.

This next step is one primarily of trial and error. With your fingers or a pair of needle-nose pliers, remove one of the tumbler pins, as shown in Figure 6. Be careful not to lose the small tumbler springs that push the pins outward. These are very small and have a tendency to fall out when you least expect it. In order to perform the lock rekeying properly, you need a set of replacement tumbler pins. These pins come in four different sizes, and are labeled 1-4. Figure 7 shows a typical lock rekeying key complete with a bunch of tumbler pins and replacement springs. Figure 8 shows a typical Porsche tumbler pin. The arrow points to where the pin is marked with a number.

Now, replace the pin that you just removed with a pin that has a different number. Unfortunately, some of the pins aren't always marked, so you might have to guess at the right one. Replace the pin in the tumbler, and then insert the key. The pin should be flush with the top of the tumbler. If it isn't, then pull out the pin and try a different one. Repeat this process until all of the tumbler pins are flush with the top of the tumbler on both sides. Both sides of the tumbler with the pins flush at the surface are shown in Figure 9 and Figure 10.

When you think that all the pins are correct, check the tumbler in the lock cylinder. Sometimes the pins can be worn, and look like they will work, but in reality, they don't. When the lock turns smoothly, then reassemble the cylinder, and reinstall the door handle.

Well, that's about it. Unfortunately, as mentioned previously, you need a set of tumbler pins in order to be sure that you will have the correct pins. Remember, that your continued support of Pelican Parts assures that these tech articles will remain on the web, and that development of other articles will continue. If you have any questions or comments about rekeying locks, please drop us a line.


Robert Waple (robertwaple@home.com) adds:

While you have the tumbler apart, it is a perfect time to clean the tumbler and the housing that the tumbler fits into. I've found that on older Porsches, and even my 944, that the grease used at the factory tends to harden a bit. This causes the tumbler to be hard to turn when locking/unlocking the door from the exterior of the vehicle. The trick is to use some type of sovent to break that grease up. Personally I use rubbing alcohol, not too harsh and dries fairly quickly. Use a small bowl and do all your work in there. The springs that push the pins out of the tumbler when the key is removed, thus preventing the tumbler from turning in the housing, are small and have an uncanny ability to blend with any surrounding that they're dropped onto. You think finding a dropped contact lense is difficult, drop one of these springs on the kitchen counter and you may spend ten minutes looking for it! Be smart, use a bowl, as the solvent breaks up the old grease, the springs will fall out of the tumbler. If your re-keying your locks, after cleaning is when you want to perform that particular step. Afterward you figure out which pins need to go into which notches on the tumbler, pull them all (keep them in order!!) and apply a small amount of new grease to the tumbler. Work a small amount into each hole where the springs reside. This helps keep them there while you re-assemble the mechanism. Also coat the outside of the tumbler and the part of the door handle that the tumbler fits into. Personally I use white lithium grease. You don't want to apply too much, or you'll be wiping it off your key every time you use it for the next six months. Slide the tumbler back into the door handle and reassembly everything. Insert your key and make sure everything works before installing on the vehicle.

You'll love the smooth operation of your door locks every time you unlock your Porsche!

Typical 914 Door Lock Front
Figure 1

Typical 914 Door Lock Front

914 Door Lock Rear
Figure 2

914 Door Lock Rear

Tumbler Restraining Screw, Spring and Cam
Figure 3

Tumbler Restraining Screw, Spring and Cam

Removing Tumbler with Key
Figure 4

Removing Tumbler with Key

Tumbler Incorrectly Keyed
Figure 5

Tumbler Incorrectly Keyed

Inserting Tumbler Pin into Tumbler
Figure 6

Inserting Tumbler Pin into Tumbler

Lock Rekeying Kit
Figure 7

Lock Rekeying Kit

Tumbler Pin
Figure 8

Tumbler Pin

Correct Tumbler Pins in Tumbler
Figure 9

Correct Tumbler Pins in Tumbler

Correct Tumbler Pins in Tumbler
Figure 10

Correct Tumbler Pins in Tumbler

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Comments and Suggestions:
914 cuda Comments: can you take the lock out of broken door handle and put it in a new one ?
July 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Porsche lover Comments: Is there a section on how to program the key to open your trunk on a 1999 Porsche Boxster
May 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If it works on the doors, you may have other issues. To program:
1. Clear the transponder by putting in the battery in upside down and pushing the buttons, then put it back in correctly 2. Put the key in the ignition, turn it on then off, push any of the fob buttons within 6 seconds of removing the key 3. Manually lock and unlock the doors with the key. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
\\Pilot Comments: HI
Where can I bay.
Lock Rekeying Kit
May 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Joe M Comments: the key lock from a 1999 911 looks very different from the one shown here. It does not have the screw at the back. Or do I have to remove the rod and round things that look like washers and the spring before I see the screw that holds the tumbler?
March 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Try this article:
http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Porsche-996-997-Carrera/86-ELEC-Replacing_Your_Ignition_Switch_Steering_Lock/86-ELEC-Replacing_Your_Ignition_Switch_Steering_Lock.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jose Comments: i have a 1999 911 Carrera and the remote lock was working fine. One day I parked at the bank and the remote wouldn't unlock anymore. What did I do and how do I fix it?
February 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Do you have a second key to try? Could just be the battery or transmitter failed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
stumped Comments: I own 1990n 911 locked the internal trunk release and now it wont unlock with any key I have..... is there a secret?
November 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is a lock solenoid that hold the lever locked. You will have to unlock with the key or using the remote keyless entry. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
boot Comments: The hatch lock won't turn with the key that operates both door locks and ignition. The electric release is not functioning on my new to me 1987 944. Suggestions for getting it working?
August 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If both ways of opening the hatch have failed, you are going to have to try to open it from inside. Remove trim panels to access the lock linkage. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bernie Comments: I am looking for the key to these wheel locks!!!

HELP

Bernie
September 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: DO you know what brand the wheel locks are? if so, our parts specialist may be able to help. 1-888-280-7799
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
bear310 Comments: I have a 2002 boxter convertable. owned it about 2 months. It is sitting in my garage locked with the top up. all 3 key fobs wont work and key wont open door lock. the car sits a lot, how am i supposed to get in the car. please help.
August 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the battery dead? If so, there is an emergency trunk release outside the car under the left fender. Once open, you can apply jumper cables so you can get the vehicle open. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
andre Comments: Is there another source for a door lock cylinder for a 2000 996 Boxter other than from a Porsche dealer?
July 10, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Drew Comments: Does this work on the 928 locks?
April 26, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The tumbler will be similar but not the exactly the same. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jonrok Comments: I've done this on several different locks, and on a couple different makes of cars as well. I love seeing this article up. Thought I was the only one who bothered rekeying locks myself instead of using a locksmith.
One thing I've done when no spare tumblers were around, is to first remove any tumblers that stick out excessively with the key inserted make sure you take the spring out too, or it'll fall out with the lock installed and jam the mechanism up. Then I try to swap the tumblers into different slots till I find one that lays flush wiht thelock cylinder with the key inserted. Most importantly- especially when I don't have time to go through several trial'n'error finding tumblers that fir with the key inserted - I will just take the lock withkey inserted, to the bench grinder or any other tool that will cut down the tumblers, then I grind down the offending tumblers that won't lay flush with the lock body. This must be done very carefully so as to avoid smearing the tumbler metal over the lock and causing the tumblers to jam.
With this method, you can get the lock tumblers flush with the lock when the key is inserted. There's a small risk of making lock easier to pick, but with modern Slim-Jim kits and those cool air bladders that AAA and the cops use, the chances of a thief trying to pick your lock are negligible.
I do happen to have several Porsche and BMW locks, with spare tumblers from previous lock projects, so if anyone needs some lock parts lemme know, I'll get fellow Pelicans a very good price.
Good luck with all y'alls projects!
-Jon
October 18, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Will_S_944 Comments: lock cylinder replacement.. when I bought my 44 last Oct and it had some heinkie locks.. one could open the drvrs with any key and the Pass side just wouldn't move.. Finally got off my butt and gave it a shot.. With a little gentle coaxing after dislodging the locking actuator rod one can maneuver the door handle so that the screw is exposed and allows the cylinder to be pushed out...
October 14, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
A930Rocket Comments: Thanks Wayne. I ended up getting a new cylinder from the dealer keyed to my VIN.
March 19, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
A930Rocket Comments: Not for my 911, but my BMW 318is.

Anybody know how to rekey a 1991 BMW 318is ignition switch vs removing the door and trunk locks? The ignition switch cylinder is easy to get out in a few seconds.
March 14, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I've got a few articles on pulling the door locks and handles from the E36, but I haven't tried rekeying a lockset quite yet. Someone did mention to me that it was pretty straightforward though and similar to most other locks. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Whatha Comments: Followup from the Pelican Staff: There's a screw on the back of the tumbler that can come loose and cause this. The fix is typically very easy - remove the door panel, remove the door handle and lock, and then tighten the screw back down. I suggest using some red Loctite on this screw too, in order to make sure it stays in place. - Wayne at Pelican Parts ---------------

Will this work with a 1998 Boxster driver side door lock too? I'm having the same issue. Thanks Wayne!
January 26, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I've got a separate article here specifically on the Boxster door lock mechanism: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/78-BODY-Door_Handle_and_Lock/78-BODY-Door_Handle_and_Lock.htm - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Bob Comments: To cbb911, I meant knowing the KEY CODE would help big time.
November 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can have Porsche check your VIN< They may be able to determine the key code this way. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bob Comments: To cbb911, go to a good locksmith in your area and he can decode the key and cut you a factory fresh key that will work like new. Knowing the key would help them big time. And the big plus is it's way cheaper then go to Porsche.
November 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bob Comments: Anyone know how to take apart a 1972 911S glovebox lock?
November 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can have Porsche check your VIN< They may be able to determine the key code this way. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Brett Comments: My driver door lock just turns back and forth with the key and doesn't feel like its engaging anything, could the tumblers just be worn out, or something may have came disconnected, I have a 84 911 targa.
September 11, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There's a screw on the back of the tumbler that can come loose and cause this. The fix is typically very easy - remove the door panel, remove the door handle and lock, and then tighten the screw back down. I suggest using some red Loctite on this screw too, in order to make sure it stays in place. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
5String43 Comments: My problem concerns the trunk lock on my '82 Targa. Can you tell me how to remove the tumbler? I find a small set screw on the shaft of the handle, visible when the handle is extended a bit out of its casting; but loosening that seems to not release the tumbler. I'd be grateful for any advice.
August 12, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I haven't done this on your particular car, but removing the set screw on other cars must be combined with also putting in the key too and turning to remove? - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Joe Comments: Hey, where can i get extra tumbler pins from. Thanks
June 22, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good question. We used to sell kits with these in them, but it was too difficult to find them. I recommend buying some used / broken locks on eBay and then removing the pins from them. All of the early Porsches and even VWs used locks with similar tumbler pins. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
cbb911 Comments: I love Pelican parts and this site has made my experience of owning and maintaining them enjoyable..kudos!!!
I would have an 86 911 and the only original key is really worn out. I see this article to replace the tumbler but I want to replace the key as well make make the cut like the original key. How does ones do it? Many thanks to all for your help.
April 17, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have to order a new key using your VIN and a tumbler to go with it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JD Comments: this won't work with 356 doorlocks

June 1, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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