LockDown & Locks

Lockdown has given me the opportunity to fix one job that had been annoying me but had been put on the ‘to do’ list as I was not sure how the issue was to be fixed!

When I put my green MGB on the road a couple of years ago the ignition key would only operate in the ignition and glove box – it would not operate either the door or boot locks, and I had no key for these, as they came from different ‘parts cars’.

A search on Google and I was ready to attack the problem. First the locks had to come out of the car. The boot lock is easy, just unscrew the internal large locking ring holding the lock and handle to the boot lid and away it came. Door locks came out after removing the waist rail, window winder, door handle, door pull and the multitude of screws holding the door card to the door.

Mine is a pull handle car, and the lock is held in the door by a large clip on the inside, and after removing this the lock together with a connecting rod simply pulls out. (Push button handle cars have a slightly different system, but the cylinder and barrel operate in the same way).

The connecting rod is held onto the lock cylinder by a circlip, then another circlip holds the cylinder in the barrel. The boot lock has a small bolt holding an actuating lever onto the end of the lock cylinder, then again a circlip holds the cylinder in the barrel.

With the cylinders removed it is easy to see how the locks work when the key is inserted, and I found that two of the cylinders operated correctly with the ignition key, but a build-up of dirt was stopping the cylinder rotating in the barrel, so a quick clean fixed two of the three!

Picture 1 shows the cylinder without the key, and the five spring loaded ‘pins’ are extended and stop the cylinder rotating in the barrel.

Picture 2 shows the key inserted, and the five ‘pins’ should all be flush with the surface to allow the cylinder rotate in the barrel.

Picture 3 – After a quick grind to those ‘pins’ still extended and now the same key works all locks!

There is still enough length on the ‘pins’ to stop the cylinder rotating without the key, although it may make picking the lock easier – but who is to know!

Re-assembly and putting back in the car is the reverse of removing, but locating the connecting rods to the locking lever in the car is somewhat of a ‘fiddle’ as it has to be done by touch. It is important to put Loctite on the small bolt of the boot lock, as should this come unscrewed and the lever fall off there is no way to open the boot without causing expensive damage! (It is wise to check this bolt is tight on your car)

Now if only I could find a locking fuel cap with the same style of lock I would only need one key instead of the two I now need.

Greg Fereday

Thank you to MGCC Sydney and Greg Fereday for allowing us to replicate this article.