Recovering the Combination for the Master 4 Digit Resetable Combination Padlock (Model 175 and Its Family) and Similar Thumbwheel Locks

Picture above: Left, Model 175. Right, two Model 177 locks, thumbwheels visible on one of the locks. Model 177 has an extended body to guard its shackle; model 175 does not. Also, the thumbwheel combination padlock marketed under the brand name "First Watch" appears to be very similar (see below.)

We thought that the Master resetable combination padlocks were more secure than the single dial padlocks, for several reasons. First, they are about 4 times as expensive* and we would expect higher security for the higher cost. Second, the locks have a shackle that is 1/32" larger in diameter and a body thats appears (our opinion) to be more solidly built than the single dial padlocks. The model 177 above goes further by having extra protection for its shackle. Third, we were not able to develop methods to manipulate the dials, find the combination, and open the lock, as we were for the single dial padlock. (We acknowledged that there might be an easy way, and we just didn't know how to do it.) Fourth, but not least, Master Lock's own rating system shows 3 filled in padlocks for the 175, but only 1 1/2 for the 1500 single dial family.

Since then, web visitors have provided us with two methods of opening these locks. Both methods require tools that are readily available. The preferred method is a non destructive method using a feeler gauge, available at automobile parts stores. This method requires developing a little skill with using the feeler gauge. The second method is a destructive method requiring less skill, which requires prying out the bottom plate.

Click here for the non destructive method (preferred.)

Click here for the destructive method.

For applications where the lock is suitable, please click here for our recommendations on choosing a combination.

For those who have misplaced the combination change tool, please click here for instructions on how to change the combination.

Opening the Master Key Storage Lock

Opening the Sesamee lock (see picture below.)

Return to "success" page.

*Home Depot prices: $14.93 for model 175, Target price $2.99 for model 1500 (single dial padlock.) Best retail prices that we found: $11.85 everyday price for model 175, $2.50 on sale at Target for model 1500.
The "First Watch" thumbwheel combination padlock pictured on the left here appears to be very similar to the Master Lock Model 175 padlock, possibly even manufactured by Master Lock Company. It is available on the internet for $3.99 plus shipping. The web site which sells it claims a list price of $9.99. We located one of these locks, but it didn't belong to us and it was being used to lock up something, so we didn't try to open it. We haven't ordered any samples for testing, but the lock we observed is so similar to the Master model 175 that we feel confident that it would open using the same techniques.

The Sesamee thumbwheel lock, from CCL Security Products, is pictured on the right. The combination change tool is pictured to the right of the lock. With the lock open, the tool is inserted into a small hole at the bottom of the well where the shackle inserts into the lock.
Similar Thumbwheel Padlocks