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balancing 1 pc trackless garage door on pivot hinge - extension spring position?

balancing 1 pc trackless garage door on pivot hinge - extension spring position?

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  #1  
Old 09-28-11, 11:10 AM
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Question balancing 1 pc trackless garage door on pivot hinge - extension spring position?

Have to balance the door before installing automatic lift after last one disintegrated and wish to make sure that we don't aid in the demise of the new one since I suspect that the reason the old one got mushed is because my hubby adjusted the springs to attempt to get the door to open all the way horizontal to clear the antenna of the car.

I think that the reason it didn't clear was not related tothe springs at all but because the track was too short - but I don't remember how the springs were positioned previously. The only info I could get on the this type of door mounting was about one single picture and in that one the springs connect to the lower arm while ours connect to the upper ones (now).

from Popular Mechanics - [img=http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/514/pivotm.th.jpg]


Sketch of ours[img=http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/514/pivotm.th.jpg]
[img=http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/1739/garagein.th.jpg]

Also the door opener was installed incorrectly in general from all appearances compared to the manual instructions - they might have put the bracket in the wrong place on purpose to correct the issue of the track being to short or they might just not have noticed that there were seperate instructions for different types of doors and followed the procedure for a sectional instead, but I wish to undo the badly done at this point. We have an extension kit for the track should that be necessary, but the first issue is to balance the door properly. ... Any help on these types of hinges which bolt directly to the wall on either side of the door?
 

Last edited by Voxleo; 09-28-11 at 11:18 AM. Reason: image additions
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  #2  
Old 09-28-11, 12:24 PM
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I sincerely recommend you get a garage door technician in there to help you. I would personally replace the entire door. I believe someone has installed the wrong springs on that door possibly because they couldn't find the correct springs. The picture from popular mechanics is correct. Believe me that entire set up is dangerous.
 
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Old 09-28-11, 01:19 PM
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heh-you're welcome to try telling that to my husband, but I doubt he will respond well. anyway the pros were the ones that didn't do it correctly the first time according to the records =) We can't change the door as it is the property of the condominiums where our friend is living otherwise we would start with a sectional made of aluminum instead of a 1 piece wood door. But its the automatic opener that was added later that appears to be poorly installed - the door itself is just old and they have been there forever. Besides I don't believe the springs are wrong themselves, but I think they are just misplaced since my husbands first adjustment in the attempt to get the door horizontal in opening. Its from around the same era as the popular mechanics article as its been the same way since I was a child 30years ago.

Even The opener that broke was already 12 years old and the gears made of plastic, so it maybe was just time to replace it.. Hubby means to do it himself and I have learned that no one can tell him anything... I'll be lucky if I can get some info before he just jumps in with trial and error and ends up taking 5x as long than if he would wait for a minute while I look it up and solve it without the hassle. I'm pretty convinced that the extender kit will fix the level of the door he was trying to fix, but he seems skeptical of that theory too. - since all the ones I had seen before were the jamb style I just wondered where the spring usually sits along this type of arm (which is about a third of the way down the bottom arm, then, yes?)
so maybe I can preventhours of frustratioh as he tries his idea that moving them is the answer... Thanks!
 
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Old 09-28-11, 02:48 PM
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Maybe you could have your husband check with some of the neighbors and see how their springs are fastened to the door. Sounds like there should be many to compare with. The fact the door isn't even opening as far as it should is a pretty good indication there is something wrong. Be sure to get the extra heavy duty opener.
 
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Old 09-29-11, 04:17 AM
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If You got 12 years out of a Liftmaster, You did ok. Try something with better gears.
 
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Old 10-10-11, 05:31 AM
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well - just an update on the situation now that we've got it sorted out:

The other doors in the condo are all mounted the same way as my drawing: the spring attaches on the top arm of the hinge bracket. Turns out the reason we were having such difficulty with balancing the doors was that one of the springs was broken. This wasn't immediately apparent though, since it was the inner safety cable which was broken and not the outer spring! I've never seen that happen before, but its a good thing we caught it, because had that spring broken without the safety cable intact, it could have been very dangerous and destructive. Could also be that they were not a matched set since we took the broken one in to find a replacement and the 2 replacements were different than the other spring.

The new springs had a max extension of 18 inches, and the other old spring a max of 21 inches, which means that either the guys at the store gave us the wrong replacements or that the other spring was mis-matched to begin with. This is entirely possible, since they were clearly two different brands with different marking methods, but I haven't looked closely at the details of the old ones to be sure. If there was one 18 inch and one 21 inch spring then it does make sense though since it would have been the 18 inch spring that overextended and broke the inner cable.

Balancing the door was pretty straightforward after that and we were able to adjust it almost immediately and much more easily once the new springs were in place. Even if they were not the correct replacements, the fact that they were the same made it much easier to balance properly.

We had a bit of difficulty because the opener that we bought to replace the old one (selected specifically becuase of its purported ability to function with the remote accessories that we already had) was not well suited to the low clearance of the headroom in the garage. From what I saw, all other people with properly opening doors all had genie models, and there is one genie model that I have noted was good for low clearance installations so that is probably what we would have gone with if we had known that in the beginning. We ended up reframing the front supports in the garage to accomodate the installation of the new craftsman replacement and improvised the reversal of the door bracket to reduce the extreme angle that resulted from having to hang the opener much higher than it should have been for proper operation of the door, only to discover once we had that the accessories didn't actually communciate with the new model! We solved THAT by switching out the control board from the old opener to the new motor unit and now we do finally have it working well enough that it opens all the way.

It would have been a great deal less trouble, though, to have just purchased a different brand of opener in the beginning that was better suited for a space with such low headroom. The extended track was unnecessary, but might have helped back the unit up enough to lower it to the proper height above the door had we used that also. The extra foot of track length would have given us a few more inches of drop to put the opener in such a position that we could have left the door arm bracket in the right way round without the back of the door being so much lower than the opener at the fully open position, but since we had gotten what we needed with that adjustment, we left well enough alone that we got it working without the extension. What should have taken an afternoon ended up taking a few of them, but at least its working now even though we had to improvise. It opens to almost the maximum horizontal level and clears the top of the antenna with room to spare. Reportedly much smoother than the orginal install, too.

Thanks all!
 
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