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How to "rekey" VW door handles. A picture tutorial
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Keith
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:14 pm    Post subject: How to "rekey" VW door handles. A picture tutorial Reply with quote

When I bought my '65 bug it came with one key. That key only did the ignition and not the door handles, so I have never been able to lock my doors and I wanted one key for the ignition and the handles. I've been meaning to "rekey" my handles for awhile now and I finally did them today. I searched to see if there was a topic on this and theres really not a detailed how-to for the guys that want to do this, so I decided to get the camera out and document this.

This is really easy even for you guys that arent too mechanically inclined and only took me about 15 minutes each handle. The same theory applies to different handles, some are just assembled differently. So this will work on your bug, ghia, thing, bus or whatever.

This is an easy and cheap way of "rekeying" your handles. Yes, its not true rekeying like a locksmith would do. And yes this will work with two keys then..the old one thats lost and now the one for your ignition. But this will make your handles work with your ignition key and you will have one key.

If you were to do this the locksmith way, either send the handles off to Gabriel with your ignition key number to have them rekeyed or change each of your tumblers that needs to get changed (which is a real time consuming pain)

Though if you have spare handles laying around (I dont) and you could rob tumblers out of them that would be the way to go. All the same rules apply but instead of grinding down the tumblers that stick up you simply remove the tumblers that are sticking up and replace them with the correct tumbler (again it can be time consuming trial and error and you have to watch those microscopic springs that are under the tumblers they like to go flying). On some handles you could simply remove the tumblers that are sticking up and save them but it isn't always possible depending on how many are sticking up.


For my daily driver this is fine for me

Tools needed:

-Hammer
-Punch or old drill bit
-Flat head screw driver
-Small "jewelers" flat head screw driver
-File
-Dremel with cutoff disk
-Rags
-Graphite (powdered or lube)
-magnetic tray

Open your door. Next to the striker behind the door seal are two phillips head screws. Remove the screws and push the handle assemble towards the front of the car:
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Pull the handle out carefully and bring it to your workbench or kitchen table:
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Here is the assembly out of the car:
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With the paddle side facing you, you will see a screw. Remove the screw:
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Pull up on the metal housing:
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Remove the spring:
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Grab the paddle and pull the assembly up and out of the handle:

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Set the handle, spring and metal bracket aside:
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There is a pin holding the paddle to the tumbler assembly. This needs to come out. Use a small punch or an old drill bit to tap out the pin:

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Grab the paddle and pull it off:

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This spring needs to come off now. Take note of how the legs sit on the tumbler assembly. Pop one side off and pull the spring off and set aside:

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With the large pin facing to the left you will see a very small grub screw on the tumbler housing:

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Grab a file and lightly go across the hole. They peen this at the factory and the rough edge makes pulling the screw out a little difficult:

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Grab a good jewelers screwdriver (or make one out of a pocket screwdriver like I did.) You need a nice strong screwdriver that will give you leverage and not mess up the face of the screw. Lightly tap it into the slot with a hammer to make sure its seated nice and remove the grub screw. You may need to go in and out a little at a time while you back it out to clean up the threads. Take your time so the screw doesnt get damaged:

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That grub screw is about the size of a grain of rice so do this over something that will allow you to see it if it falls. If you lose the screw your, well........ screwed!:

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Push the tumbler assembly out of the housing. Now you will see all of the tumblers that pop out when there is no key in it to keep the tumbler assembly from turning:

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Put your key in and you will see some tumblers have sunken in and some have stayed up. The ones that stayed up need to get ground down:

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LEAVE THE KEY IN FOR THIS PART. Grab your dremel and lightly grind down the tumblers that are sticking out. Let the bit do the work and dont push against the tumblers or they will sink in. Thats why you cant use a file for this part:

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When your done with the dremel, grab your file and take away any rough edges:

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Clean off the tumbler assembly and put the tumbler assembly back in the housing and make sure it turns nice both ways. If it doesnt turn or hangs up take it out and see what tumbler is sticking up and grind it down more. Keep doing this until it turns freely in the housing:

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If everything is nice then get the graphite and lube the tumblers (I had moly lube and I use this stuff for everything):

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Put the tumbler assembly back in the housing:

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Put the spring back on:

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Put the paddle back on making sure the finger goes inbeween the spring:

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Seat the paddle and put the pin back in and drive it in. It should go in pretty easily. If its fighting you make sure the paddle is seated correctly and the holes are lined up.

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Check to make sure the spring pin isnt loose. If it is it will cause problems. Tap it in and make sure its seated nicely and doesnt move at all:

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Put the button back in the door handle:

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Put the spring back on:

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Put the bracket back on and tighten the screw. You may need to push in on the button while your tightening the screw to make sure the pin goes through the hole in the bracket:

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Test to make sure the button and key works fine one last time. A note to anyone that doesnt know how these handles work. Even when locked the button still pushes in. The key simply allows the paddle to move and operate the mechanism in the door .

If all is good put the door handle back in:


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Push the handle towards the rear of the car and put your screws back in. You may need a punch to line the holes back up.

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Push the weather strip back, close the door and enjoy doors that lock and a key thats the same as your ignition!!!

And for you guys that want to get another key or have one made. The number for your particlular key is stamped on the handle and your key.These ones start with "SV"

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Last edited by Keith on Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:33 pm; edited 18 times in total
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stale air
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice! Great play by play. Thanks for posting. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, great tutorial, but Rolling Eyes dont file the wafers or tumblers down. You can remove the tumblers and usually just swap them around until they all are flush with the key in. I keep all my tumblers for this very reason, plus the local locksmiths dont carry tumblers that old. Only file as a last resort. You never know you may need a tumbler later on.
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Last edited by VOLKSWAGNUT on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a lock expert but it seems to me that if you grind down the tumblers that are sticking up, you aren't really re-keying, you're setting it up so that both the old key and the one you want to use will now open the lock. Volkswagnut has a good suggestion: find some extra tumblers from junk handles so you have extra ones to make the new key fit perfectly.

Very nice tutorial, by the way. The photos are very clear.
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Keith
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.............This is an easy and cheap way of rekeying your handles. Yes, its not true rekeying like a locksmith would do. And yes this will work with two keys then..the old one thats lost and now the one for your ignition. But this will make your handles work with your ignition key and you will have one key.

If you were to do this the locksmith way, either send the handles off to Gabriel with your ignition key number to have them rekeyed or change each of your tumblers that needs to get changed (which is a real time consuming pain). I've done it many times.

Though if you have spare handles laying around (I dont) and you could rob tumblers out of them that would be the way to go. All the same rules apply but instead of grinding down the tumblers that stick up you simply remove the tumblers that are sticking up and replace them with the correct tumbler (again it can be time consuming trial and error and you have to watch those microscopic springs that are under the tumblers they like to go flying)

For my daily driver this is fine for me.
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"If you do anything to your car someone will hate on you for it. People absolutely love to complain and find fault with others. Don't let it bother you. Just live and have fun."- Lind


Last edited by Keith on Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bill may
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

why not just remove the wafers? Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bill may wrote:
why not just remove the wafers? Crying or Very sad


x2 if your only goal is to do this on the cheap, and to get your key to work
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fantastic post. i went out and did my 65 -a little different only had to remove the small screw
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciated your effort on a tutorial to rekey a lock

however as with everyone else who posted in this thread the wafers should be removed and swapped with others to get your key to fit correctly.

shaving your wafers is purely a HACK, NO OFFENSE hopefully taken, but someone else here went out and shaved their wafers after reading this.

can you please post an article on how to read a key code, the proper number wafer in each position for that key code and do a tutorial reassembly that way?

ANOTHER TIP- shoot powdered graphite on the key ONLY and work it in and out of the tumbler. NEVER USE GREASE IN A LOCK TUMBLER- dust will only gum it up and make the tumblers stick.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VOLKSWAGNUT wrote:
I agree, great tutorial, but dont file them down, you can remove the tumblers and usually just swap them around until they all are flush with the key in.


This.

Good tutorial but filing them down is a bad way to do it, you'll find that a crap load of VW keys with the same profile can unlock them now.

As the others said if you have the patience rearranging the wafers to sit flush is the best way to do it.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did this same thing to the original door locks on my 74sb today. Very Happy
I changed around the tumblers and only had to file off one on each side.
Beats the crap out of the JC Whitney Handle I had on the car.It was sticking and pitted after a couple of years.The original still looks brand new.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guteandtite wrote:
I appreciated your effort on a tutorial to rekey a lock

however as with everyone else who posted in this thread the wafers should be removed and swapped with others to get your key to fit correctly.

shaving your wafers is purely a HACK, NO OFFENSE hopefully taken, but someone else here went out and shaved their wafers after reading this.

can you please post an article on how to read a key code, the proper number wafer in each position for that key code and do a tutorial reassembly that way?

ANOTHER TIP- shoot powdered graphite on the key ONLY and work it in and out of the tumbler. NEVER USE GREASE IN A LOCK TUMBLER- dust will only gum it up and make the tumblers stick.


I agree a nice tutorial and a great way to re-key. but why would anyone want to do this? I email VW in Germany with the key code and they happily cut me keys from code on the year correct VW blanks from '49 up less than $25 shipped in two days.............. Unless $25 is too much
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ovalteen,thanks for taking the time and posting it up.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I agree a nice tutorial and a great way to re-key. but why would anyone want to do this? I email VW in Germany with the key code and they happily cut me keys from code on the year correct VW blanks from '49 up less than $25 shipped in two days.............. Unless $25 is too much



Would you mind sharing German e-mail address? Thanks.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

branston wrote:
guteandtite wrote:
I appreciated your effort on a tutorial to rekey a lock

however as with everyone else who posted in this thread the wafers should be removed and swapped with others to get your key to fit correctly.

shaving your wafers is purely a HACK, NO OFFENSE hopefully taken, but someone else here went out and shaved their wafers after reading this.

can you please post an article on how to read a key code, the proper number wafer in each position for that key code and do a tutorial reassembly that way?

ANOTHER TIP- shoot powdered graphite on the key ONLY and work it in and out of the tumbler. NEVER USE GREASE IN A LOCK TUMBLER- dust will only gum it up and make the tumblers stick.


I agree a nice tutorial and a great way to re-key. but why would anyone want to do this? I email VW in Germany with the key code and they happily cut me keys from code on the year correct VW blanks from '49 up less than $25 shipped in two days.............. Unless $25 is too much


can you tell me where to call or write to get keys like this? do they stamp them with the key code? are the keys chromed metal or chromed brass? thanks- Bret
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ovalteen, I appreciate the post and the creative way you dealt with the issue.
guteandtite,
Quote:
shaving your wafers is purely a HACK, NO OFFENSE hopefully taken, but someone else here went out and shaved their wafers after reading this.shaving your wafers is purely a HACK, NO OFFENSE hopefully taken, but someone else here went out and shaved their wafers after reading this.

Of course offense should be taken. You just called him a hack because he chose of file some metal wafers. Just because you or I don't chose to do it this way doesn't mean it's wrong or hack. If you don't have access to more handles or don't have $25 bucks plus shipping to Gabriel, It's a great way to cure a problem. So what if someone read this and went out and filed their wafers.
Quote:
can you please post an article on how to read a key code, the proper number wafer in each position for that key code and do a tutorial reassembly that way?

Why don't you post the proper way to read a key code? That wasn't the intent of his post.
Joel,
Quote:
you'll find that a crap load of VW keys with the same profile can unlock them now.

That would mean there are a crap load of keys that will fit his ignition too. I keyed my old 69s doors to my ignition. It wouldn't have mattered whether I filed the wafers or Gabriel put in different wafers.

The guy spent a lot of time taking pictures and showing what he did. My guess is that he knows about all the options and chose this way for a reason.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Need the email address to get the keys made by VW in germany for 25 bucks...first I heard of that...
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

X2 on the german keys
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johneliot wrote:

Joel,
Quote:
you'll find that a crap load of VW keys with the same profile can unlock them now.

That would mean there are a crap load of keys that will fit his ignition too. I keyed my old 69s doors to my ignition. It wouldn't have mattered whether I filed the wafers or Gabriel put in different wafers.


John, you're missing the point.

By filing down the wafers it makes the barrels less sensitive to what key is in them and there are 1000s and 1000s of VWs out there, various models with very similiar key codes, VW ran the same key profile for several years at a time.

A good example is 2 '74 beetles I owned were only 1 month apart and had very similar key codes that only had 1 digit different,

10 years ago when I was younger and lazy I did the same method and just filed the wafers when i swapped an ignition barrel over so the keys matched.
Both cars keys now worked in the door when they didnt prior

The wafers only need to pull in enough so they dont stick out into the groove anymore, if the go in past that it doenst matter if its been filed.

The only way it would be a problem with the ignition switch is if it too had been opened up and the wafers filed.
I dunno if thats actually possible with early ignitions, it is with later column mounted ones though.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joel,
I can see what would happen if you cut the wafer too low, but if you have the key in the barrel and you cut flush as it looks like ovalteen did, then it would seem that its length would be the same as a "normal" wafer.
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