Old 09-09-01, 12:38 AM
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My husband woke me over an hour ago, because he could not get the garage door to open. I disengaged the "garage door opener" in attempts to manually open the door and could not. I noticed above the door itself, there's a double spring (middle) with a shaft extending to both sides of the door and at the ends of the shaft are "pully" type spindles that a "cable? wire?" feeds into. One of the "cables" had come out of the pully and was simply hanging. I tried to rethread the cable back onto the pully, and was successful, but I threaded it the opposite direction than the pully on the other side of the door. The opener still didn't work and my husband and I manually lifted the door, which was extremely heavy!!!! I'm not sure if this is a spring problem or what. The auto door opener appeared to work correctly, but did not have enough strength to lift the door. Please help!!!!!1
Old 09-09-01, 05:32 AM
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I suspect you will find that you have a broken spring.

Now the method to solve the problem and a severe warning !!!

Look at the top of you overhead door. You should find a round spring about 2 1/2' long running over that steel shaft you mentioned. Take a ladder and reach up to the spring and shake it up and down. You will probably notice a break in the spring.

This spring tends to break commonly about 20 years of use due to the constant stretching and loosening when the door opens and closes. This can happen within a month to 50 years. If your spring is more than 10 years old then I would just replace the spring. You should be able to find a replacement spring at you local lumber company. You should take off the old spring and take it in for an example for them to match. Should cost you from $25 to $35 for a new replacement.

If you find that the spring broke close to the end of the old spring you could just retighten that spring once you remove the short broken part. I would not waste my time doing this type repair. Commonly you will be repairing that broken spring anywhere from a day to six months later. The spring has experienced metal fatigue if 10 years old or older.

Now for the caution. This spring is very strong. You tighten the spring by loosening the two set screws and taking two harden 3/8" rods twisting the spring then inserting the second rod and twisting the spring more. The tighter the spring becomes the more you have a tiger by the tail. DO NOT HAVE ANY PART OF YOUR BODY IN LINE WITH THOSE RODS. If something goes wrong and this spring breaks loose of a rod then those rods become spears that will shoot out like a bullet at the speed of a bullet. One of those rods can have the power to pass completely through you body if an accident happens as you tighten that spring. BE VERY CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED TO REALIZE YOU HAVE A TIGER BY THE TAIL THAT CAN KILL IF SOMETHING BREAKS LOOSE AS YOU TIGHTEN THAT SPRING.

If you decide to do this job yourself you will have to bring the door back down to the closed position then loosen the two pulleys on the rod at the end of the rod by releasing the two set screws on each pully. Then you will need to slide the rod out longways until the spring can be removed. Unscrew backwards the two ends on the spring. Buy the new spring. screw the two ends back on the new spring and install the spring back on the rod the same way the other spring came off. Do not put the spring on backwards the spring is supposed to compress as the spring tightens and the door comes up. The spring is not supposed to expand while the door comes up.

Reinstall the rod and pulleys. Make sure the pulleys on the ends have room for the shaft to move horizontally both ways as the spring tightens and loosens.

Take a pair of vise grips and restring the cables on both ends using the vise grips on the shaft to hold them tight as you restring those cables.

Once the cables have been restrung and held in place by the vise grips, hold the shaft by hand and move the vise grips to the area where the spring is and reattach the vise grips at that location.

Those vise grips are essential to hold the cables tight and in place as you tighten the spring.

I use two long 3/8 extensions commonly used for a socket and ratchet as an extension tool to tighten the spring.

Insert one extension into the hole of the spring end and tighten in the direction that compresses that spring. Once you have turned to maximum that the extension will swing then insert the second extension in the next hole and again turn the maximum it will swing.

If you get tired you should be able to allow the extension to rest back against the wall a short time to regroup you strength then to continue.

I would make about 7 complete turns of the spring, then tighten the setscrews and carefully release the pressure on the last extension bar holding that spring.

Try the door and see if the spring tension is set about right.

If the door raises by itself more than a couple of inches then you have the door spring too tight. If you open the door all the way up and the cables become loose then you have the spring too loose. Adjust as needed.


Let us know how you come out.

Hope this helps

Old 09-09-01, 06:54 AM
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Wow, Wg, you are versatile. Expertise in electricity and garage door springs!

I agree that the spring is almost certainly broken. I'd advise to have it professionally changed. It's not a skill you need to learn since it will be a long time before it breaks again, and as Wg said, it is a very dangerous job.

As Wg, said it'll cost you $25-35 to do the job yourself, but perhaps only about $100-125 to have it done.
Old 09-09-01, 11:07 AM
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I can't agree with John more. This is a dangerous project to undertake. That spring is as deadly as a loaded gun.


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