Do I need a new garage door opener?


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Old 12-11-02, 07:29 AM
J
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Do I need a new garage door opener?

This morning I went out to run some errands. Upon returning, I noticed that my garage door was open about 12 inches. My opener would not work.

It is a 1/2 hp Craftsman chain drive that is at least seven years old.

I manually (with some difficulty) raised the door. Here is what's happening:

When the button is pressed, the motor hums; the noise is similar to the noise made when it was working. The drive chain does not move. When I manually 'help' the chain, it moves a bit, but only with me tugging on it. There is some movement from the motor, but not much.

Once free of the opener, the garage door raises and lowers smoothly by hand.

I am thinking the motor is on its last legs and I need to replace the whole unit.

Any thoughts?

Is a 1/2 hp adequate for a 16 ft. steel panel door?

Thanks,

Jon
 

Last edited by Jonre; 12-11-02 at 08:15 AM.
  #2  
Old 12-11-02, 02:35 PM
Tn...Andy
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Horsepower on a garage door opener is baloney. All doors that are properly sprung and running in their tracks correctly require the same amount of force to open.....a 1/4 hp opener will do the same as a 1/2hp opener, but Sears likes to use door size as a sales pitch. Sometimes you get an extra feature or two with a higher hp "delux" opener, but that's about it.

On your opener, you probably need a main drive gear. Sears uses a plastic gear that gets chewed up after about that many years, they make a nice little replacement kit that even includes a tube of grease for it If the motor is running, but nothing is happening, that is the sign of the main gear.......last one I bought I think was about $20.
 
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Old 12-11-02, 03:02 PM
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Jonre,

Tn...Andy doesn't realize that there is more to an opener than a plastic gear, especially after what you described. You may have a burned out capacitor and after 7 years, I would recommenda new opener unless the unit is or has been functioning well. Simple fix can save you some money but you be the judge.

I agree with Tn...Andy that you don't need anything bigger than a 1/2 HP because your garage door springs, extension or torsion should be adjusted so that basically one finger should move your door up or down with ease. It's in how your door is adjusted and maintained. Rollers oiled, tracks properly set, no excessive slack in chain.

I have attached a link for some info;

http://www.residential-openers.com/troubfaq.html

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 12-11-02, 03:49 PM
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Thanks, guys, for the quick responses.

I ended up biting the bullet and picked up a new (chain drive 1/2 hp) Craftsman opener. I've got it half-installed, will finish the job tomorrow.

Any tips with regard to maintenance?

Thanks again,

Jon
 
  #5  
Old 12-11-02, 03:54 PM
Tn...Andy
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Hey Doug......he said the motor is running....if the start capcitor is shot, the motor won't start.....so the motor is running, it just isn't turning the gear because it is probably chewed up.

Yes....you can replace it.....but it is a LOT more cost effective to take the cover off and LOOK AT THE GEAR, then replace it for 1/10 of the price of a new one. One thing about Sears, for all their faults, they DO have a pretty dang good parts service....online even.....
 
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Old 12-11-02, 04:00 PM
Tn...Andy
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Jonre,

Well, looks like this is a moot arguement, huh ??

I just hate to see a servicable pc of equipment go to the landfill in this day and age when SO much of what is made REALLY isn't made to be repaired ( take most of the electronics industry for example)


Out of curiousity, look at the main gear and see if it's chewed up before you chuck it and tell us.

Maintenance ? yeah.....lube that gear once a year or so
 
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Old 12-11-02, 04:10 PM
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Tn...Andy,

Last I heard,

"When the button is pressed, the motor hums; the noise is similar to the noise made when it was working. The drive chain does not move. When I manually 'help' the chain, it moves a bit, but only with me tugging on it. There is some movement from the motor, but not much.

Once free of the opener, the garage door raises and lowers smoothly by hand."

in other words, the motor did not run, it HUMS only!!

Please read his post again. I don't think I need glasses yet but I agree, check the gear, but you will probably find it ok.

Hope this ends the debate...
 
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Old 12-11-02, 06:47 PM
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Geez, this is getting interesting.

Tell me exactly what I am looking for/at - drive gear-wise - , and I will post back with my findings.

Jon
 
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Old 12-11-02, 07:52 PM
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Jonre,

What we'd like you to do is to look at the plastic gear that is seen inside the old garage door opener. Look to see if gears are stripped.

As I said, I assume that the capacitor was burned out since you said the motor DID NOT RUN but it did HUM only. Tn...Andy assumes that it was a stripped gear. I think the capacitor, just need you to check because I don't like being wrong. This forum needs right answers to questions whether it is from a member or Moderator. I have many years of experience but if I am wrong, I will apologize to Tn...Andy. As long as what you mentioned in your first post was totally accurate in description, your unbiased review of your opener is desired.

My assumption is that your opener has been operating properly, no jumping of chain or severe noise prior to the incident that you mentioned. True or False?

I do think that occassionally, there might had been hesitation in the operation of the door opener but nothing else unusual. True or False?

Here is a link at what it should look like - the smallest gear toward you is the one located on top of the opener that is for the chain intself;

http://www.bearcatco.com/images/liftpart15.html

Thanks for helping!
 
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Old 12-12-02, 04:48 PM
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Doug,

My opener was behaving properly before it died. No chain jumping at all, though it was fairly noisy in operation. Nothing like gnashing gears, just normal opener noises.

"Hum" may have not been the best choice of words for me to describe the noise it was making after it quit working. The noise was louder than a hum, I think. As described in my original post, the noise was very similar to the noise the opener made before it went kaput.

As for a hesitation in the operation, yes, now that you mention it. I noticed a while ago that the door would always 'catch' at the same point - just for a split second - every time.

I won't get a chance to open up the unit until some time this weekend; I will surely let you know what's happening.

In any case, I got the new opener installed - except for the downward force adjustments - and it's working nicely. Is it just me, or are the force adjustments extremely touchy? As much as I played with it, I couldn't get the door to hit my hand and reverse itself. Either it continued forcefully, or it reversed itself before even getting to my hand. I was making what I thought were very small adjustments either way.

Are the adjustment levels "fixed"? What I mean is, it seems like, during the process of me adjusting the downward force, at one point on the dial (say, '5'), the door would continue down forcefully. After many further adjustments up and down, at some time I would be back at the previous dial point (5, in this example) and now, the door would reverse itself without even hitting an obstruction. In other words, at one point in time the door behaved differently at 'X' adjustment than it would at a later time but at the same 'X' level.

Let me know if this makes any kind of sense at all.

Of course, the unit overheated and shut itself off before I could come close to finding proper adjustment. At that point I called it a night.

$40 seems kind of steep for that sprocket assembly; I'm glad I bought a new unit.

Thanks again for all the help,

Jon
 
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Old 12-13-02, 02:20 PM
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I opened up the old unit and found just what Tn...Andy described: a chewed-up plastic main gear.

I'm still glad I sprung for the new opener; works much more smoothly and quietly than the old. Plus I now have more features than before.

I'd still like to hear some tips on adjusting the downward force, though.

Thanks for all the help,

Jon
 
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Old 12-13-02, 02:55 PM
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Tn...Andy,

I apologize for suggesting that the unit was just a bad capacitor. Always something to learn and everthing to gain. Based on what was said I assumed it had nothing to do with the gear. I appreciate the good debate though and am always willing to learn more. This was a great learning experience but I and Jonre appreciate the great insight.

With regards to adjustments and I know that Tn..Andy may have something to say here is that it is atrial and error. Nothing is set in stone as to where. You just have to get it close to where you need it set.

Thanks for helping us out on what it was and allowing others to gain experience on their own units.

Thanks to Tn..Andy as well!
 
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Old 12-14-02, 06:37 AM
Tn...Andy
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Doug:

Apology not required.....I was venturing a guess and you were too......based on what our experiences have been with them....heck, that's all you CAN do without being on site to actually see the unit......

It could have very well been what you suggested, as you took it from Jonre's intial post that the motor was "humming", as in not starting, but trying too ( capacitor ), and I took it the motor was running, ( "the noise is similar to the noise made when it was working") but not connected to the chain sproket anymore since the gear was chewed up....

No hard feelings here, hope I didn't offend you either......


andy
 
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Old 12-14-02, 12:27 PM
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Hey Doug...I just noticed that you're in Royal Oak (I'm in Livonia).

Thanks again, guys.

Jon
 
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Old 12-14-02, 12:47 PM
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Jonre,

Nice to know a neighbor! I want to thank you for helping me and Tn..Andy out and to again thank Tn..Andy for his kind words.

Heck, you should have called me up and I could have seen what you had or even gave you hand at putting up the new one.

You must have seen my web site since it hase my address and numbers, call if you need anything!

Glad you got the new opener in and hope all is working well. Hope you got it adjusted as you needed it.

Have a great holiday season!
 
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Old 12-17-02, 08:54 PM
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Hay guys I still think Jonre has a problem. It has been my experience that when a gear goes out that it is a sign the door is not adjusted right. Gears in a Sears GDO are made to last more then seven years. The new GDO should last 15 to 20 years if the door is adjust correctly and lubed and the gears in the GDO are lubed about ever 5 years. If the new GDO is acting up going down I would say the door is binding some place. The fact that the gear went out when the door was going down and got a foot from being closed is also a sign the door is binding on the way down.
Jonre if you want this new GDO to last longer then seven years you need to get that door adjusted.
 
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Old 12-18-02, 04:06 PM
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Good Point !!
 
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Old 12-18-02, 08:18 PM
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Thanks, rogerh, for the info.

However, I really don't think it applies to me:

*My old GDH, as it turns out, was at least 10 years old (more likely closer to 15 years old). I thought I had been in this house just 7 years, but the boss (Mrs. jonre) has corrected me; we've actually been in this house 9+ years. Also, the garage itself was just five years old when we moved in. The old GDH may have been installed with the new garage.

*My garage door opens and closes very smoothly and easily when manually operated.

*One of the springs broke around 2 or 3 years ago, at which time we had both springs replaced by a pro.

*As for the GDH crapping out when it was a foot from the ground, I figure that's just where the door happened to be when the gears got mangled beyond repair. I mean, the door had to be somewhere when it clonked out, didn't it?

Anyway, thanks for the thoughts, rogerh.

Jon
 
 

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