Update of Ford Tibbe Instructions

The ford Tibbe lock is a rotary disc mechanism.  All of the discs need to be rotated to a correct position before the side bar can locate into the true gates allowing the lock to open.

There have been two designs of disc that have had distinct similarities. In both designs there has always been one true gate and two false gates. In the first ,early, design the false gates were shallow gates that imitated the true gates. In the second and current design the false gates are notches cut into the disc. The notches are wide enough to allow the side bar to catch into them when picking.


The Tibbe pick comes with a central wire that runs through the tool. This wire is required to achieve tension in order to pick the early locks. Tension is achieved by putting the wire to the back of the lock and into the drain hole at the locks base. The torque tube is then locked into place as it captures the wire.

The wire is not required for newer locks as the bottom of the lock is shaped the same as the tip of the pick.

Recommended picking procedure is as follows. Prior to inserting the tool use a blank key to align all of the discs. The tool will now easily enter the lock and seat at the bottom. Push the pick to the bottom of the lock and apply light tension in the opening direction. The opening direction is opposite to the spring pressure that can be felt. Now pick every disc into a gate. At this point it does not matter if it is a true gate or false gate, what we are trying to do is lower the side bar into the pack of discs so that the lock becomes more responsive. Some clicking and movement of the tension handle may be felt. When picking the discs it can be helpful to position each one at its start position and then pick it towards the opening direction. A number 4 disc will have no movement and there may well be more than one number 4 disc, but there will always be at least one.

Once all discs are in a gate test each one individually to try to determine its true gate position. Each one can be moved through its range of movement back and fourth until you find the gate. The true gate will either indicate with more pick movement when in that position or as the disc aligns to that true position movement in the opening direction will be felt in the tension handle.
When all discs are positioned correctly the lock will open.

When the lock is in the open position it can be decoded from the pick.
The procedure for decoding is as follows. Hold the lock in the open position and place the pick on a known number 4 disc. Undo the brass terminal screw on the
collet and position the line at one end in alignment with the long line on the graduated scale. Your number 4 disc is now indicating 4 against the 4th collet line against the graduated scale. Now read all other discs against the remaining 3 lines on the collet.

A better understanding of how this lock works can be gained by watching the animation and explanation on the Ford Tibbe Pick page in Automotive Tools.