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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

So on my 1987 I have two keys - one for the ignition, one for the gas filler and helmet lock. I'm assuming this means the previous owner, way back in the early nineties, bought a new ignition cylinder.

Tonight I went to re-key the cylinders for the gas tank and the helmet lock, but I couldn't do it at all. The "channels" on the key were incorrect - the opposite of where I needed them to be to even insert the ignition key into the other cylinders. To illustrate, if on my ignition key the offset channels looked like this:

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\
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Then on my gas tank they looked like this:

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/
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I hope any of that makes sense. All I can guess is that this is another 87 specific type of thing, and that if I pick up a newer gas filler and helmet lock, I'll be able to re-key them.

Does anyone have any experience with this issue?

Thanks in advance,
-Craig
 

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there are at least 4 different keys for the T-dub. you need to make sure and get the right blank, and they are mirror images of each other and different width grooves.

don't ask me how i know. ;)
 

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I don't have a good solution to your problem short of swapping tumblers, but if it makes you feel any better it isn't an '87 thing. As Joe has said there are four blanks for the TW, and probably soon to be 5. Simple case of luck of the draw when the P.O. ordered the replacement switch.

The blanks started out the same until all the possible cut patterns were exhausted, then sometime in the '90's the blanks were reversed and the same cut patterns recycled. Sometime around 2001 a completely different blank was introduced, then recycled in reverse, and so on (Hey, it's 2 a.m. here and the only comfort I can provide is an utterly useless factoid. Lol). At any rate it's a fairly common industry practice with most O.E.M.'s.

The switches weren't exclusive to Tw's. Possible switch donors include mid-'80's XT225's, XT350's, XT600's, among others. As long as their tumblers match your Lefty Loosey key blank orientation a good locksmith can match them to your key or even install their tumblers into your existing key switch.

Personally I'd just live with needing two keys. My own TW needs two keys and in order to make it a bit less maddening at the gas pumps I drilled a couple of small holes into the fat end of the ignition key so I could readily identify it from the helmet lock/gas cap key which lives on the same key ring.

I still get them confused, but drilling the holes was fun and therapeutic and filled me with a temporary sense of empowerment for having taken such a demonstrative and proactive step toward preventing said confusion...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info guys, very appreciated.

Someone is selling a matching set in the classifieds right now so I'm going to try to buy that. Then I'll sell my mismatched set and try to recoup some of the loss. I had a really horrible experience a few years ago in the backwoods of Wisconsin due to the mismatched keys so this has been high on my priority list for a while. I know I probably won't ever have a real problem again, but running out of gas and then walking the bike 7 miles home because I can't unlock the gas tank is not something I ever want to repeat.
 
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