Broken top panel on a 16 ft garage door

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  #1  
Old 11-19-15, 05:50 PM
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Broken top panel on a 16 ft garage door

Hi, I have a 16 feet garage door made of 4 section panels. Also I have a Torsion Spring and a Garage Door opener.

Almost a year ago, I left a chair in the way as the door was closing the Opener's sensitivity did NOT kick in and of course the 1 HP Door Opener did a lot of damage to my top section panel as it was determine to close no matter what is in the way.... The laser beam, at the bottom of the door (left to right) works well but the chair was not in it's path way.

I didn't know when I purchased the home that the sensitivity setting was not working well. After the incident I've tried different settings but I never managed to get it working, so I'm assuming that part is broken and that there was a reason why the previous owner left it "as is".

I fixed the top panel as best as I could and it worked for many months, i.e. the top panel is not straight anymore, I've put a wood support with bolts to attached the bracket from the Garage Door Opener.

Today, as the door was closing it stopped 3/4 of the way. I went back inside and noticed that the top panel had bended even more and the top brackets (with the rollers) as well to a point that I cannot close nor open the door with the Opener or the manual way....

I have ordered a new top (sectional) panel, 5 weeks ago, I should be getting it in a week or two.

I would like to open and close my Garage Door manually, so I was thinking of removing the top panel by disconnecting the bracket from the Garage Door Opener, unscrew the 2 top brackets (with the rollers), unscrew the hinges attached to the lower panel, so I can open and close my door (3 panels left) physically by lifting it manually.

And because, the weather is getting colder and probably snow before I get my new panel, I was going to put a tarp on the outside of the garage to stop the wind/rain/snow to come in where the top panel is missing. I cannot attach the tarp to the existing 3 panels as I still want the door to open and close.

My question:

1. I've read that the Torsion springs are very dangerous. In my case I see the 2 cables attached to the Torsion spring. One cable on the left of the door and the other on the right. The cables are attached at the lower panel, totally logical.

If I remove the last (top) panel as described above there will be less weight on the door, so is it DANGEROUS to operate the door with 3 panels (instead of 4) as the cables from the Torsion spring will still be connected ??

2. If you have any other temporary simple solution to cover the open space, instead of a fixed tarp on the outside, please let me know.

Sorry for the lengthy description, I thought that more info was better.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
M.B.
 
  #2  
Old 11-19-15, 07:17 PM
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Without the top section, the door will weigh 75% of what it did, or even less if top section had glass windows. The spring tension is set to handle the full door, so you will find it very easy going up, and quite hard to push down. It will not be balanced, so the door won't stay down of it's own weight and would need to be restrained to stay down. I don't think I'd say operating it this way is dangerous, although it may really fly up after you remove the top, and if you're not prepared for it you could get hurt.

You could get around this by unwinding the springs appropriately, but that is where the danger comes in. There's a lot of energy stored in the springs and if you don't know exactly what you're doing you can really get hurt. And of course, you will have to wind them back up when you replace the top section.
 
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Old 11-19-15, 09:29 PM
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Understood, thank you!

I won't touch the spring. Maybe I can find a way to add weight to the door for it to stay down (??)
This will only be temporary, until I get the new panel.

I know I have to put a new strut to the new top panel (which I have purchased as well).

1. Do you know if it is straight forward for adding the new panel ? Anything special ?

2. The 2 top brackets are bended, do you know if I should try to unbend them, if I do, will it weaken the metal, the case be I'd buy new ones (??)

3. I think the hinges are "okay", those are the ones attaching the last and before last panel together.

Thanks in advance,
MB
 
  #4  
Old 11-20-15, 08:13 AM
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Seeing the top panel is junk anyway could you have the lumber yard bring you a 16' 2x4, drill some holes through the panel and 2x4 and bolt it in place with some big washers? I would think that will straighten it enough for you to open/close it manually.

Picture would be nice.
 
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Old 11-20-15, 09:44 AM
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Thanks Baldwin, it's a great idea and I would have gone that way if I had longer to wait for my ordered new panel. Since I will get my new panel in 1 or 2 week(s) I rather remove it instead. I have physical restrictions and to execute your plan would take me a few hours, I rather put my energy in the new panel... appreciated it's an excellent idea...

as "CarbideTipped" mentioned... removing the top panel will get the door to move up and I guess staying up because of the new light weight... if so then maybe I can attach a tarp on the lower panel section going down to the floor. The last bottom panel would now be higher and not touching the ground anymore.

Please see 3 pictures below:

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  #6  
Old 11-20-15, 11:42 AM
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Yep, that's toast all right. The hinges and roller brackets are probably OK, may need to be bent back into shape a little. And you can usually get replacements at the big box if you find one is too bent to straighten.

The doors I've installed recently call for reinforcing the place where the GD opener attaches beyond the little plate that comes with the opener. Usually they call for a piece of perforated angle iron that runs vertically the whole height of the top section. Looks like you did something similar on the old one.

Good luck and be careful!
 
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Old 11-20-15, 02:58 PM
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Thank you! Yes, you are correct I have an angle iron, but in addition to solidify the door I've put a piece of wood in between the door panel and angle iron, also another piece of wood on the outdoor side bolted thru the door as the aluminum (door panel) was getting weaker and all bended, I had to reinforced it.. this worked for a few months, until yesterday when the rollers and more bending occurred... but this time there was no objects in the way.... not sure what happen.

Apparently my current angle iron is shorter that what I need, it should be longer per the Installation manual that the previous home owner kindly left when we purchased the home. Please see picture below, the red square should be my setup as my door is 16 footer with a strut.

Thank you again, I will update post later, after I'm done with the work to share with other members.

1 picture: angle iron installation under Strut and under Hinge for reinforcement:

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  #8  
Old 11-23-15, 05:54 PM
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Lower the OP once you make the repairs.
 
  #9  
Old 11-29-15, 11:58 PM
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Hi, I removed the Garage Broken Top Panel and expecting the new one this week (hopefully).

As mentioned by "CarbideTipped" (earlier) the garage door doesn't close fully anymore as I have a Torsion Sprint setup with a top panel missing therefore less weight to carry and the bottom of the door doesn't touch the ground when closed.

The new Top Panel will not have the 4 windows as I had in the broken one. There was a considerable price difference. I decided to keep the windows from the old broken top panel to use them in the new Top Panel. I will have to create the new openings.

It's getting very cold now here, so for this year I just plan on installing the new top panel without the windows. I will probably do the openings for the windows only 6 months from now.

As my new Top Panel will be lighter as it doesn't have the windows like my old one, I suspect after installing it, that the door will not go fully to the ground (with torsion spring) when using the manual system (as oppose to a Garage Door Opener).

Question:

1. Instead of adjusting the Torsion Spring to get the door to close fully down to the ground, can I let the Garage Door Opener do the job of bringing the door fully down ?

If so, will this damage the Garage Door Opener ? the Door ? or the Torsion Spring ?

This setup would be in use for about 6 months, then I would do the window openings for me to insert the older top panel windows into the new panel.

Sorry for my ignorance but does "OP" mean, in previous thread ?
Lower the OP once you make the repairs.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Michel.
 
  #10  
Old 11-30-15, 06:39 PM
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I would wait and see how hard it is to manually close/open the door once you've swapped the top panel. The opener would probably be able to handle the difference, but the problem is that they are designed to sense increased resistance when going down as an obstruction and reverse automatically. And the last thing you want to do is buckle your new top section because the GD had to push too hard to overcome the springs.

After you've changed the top section, open and close it manually a few times. If it moves smoothly and is fairly closely balanced, then you can try the opener. But if it's really hard to either close it all the way, or open it all the way, I wouldn't try the opener.

If you do end up connecting the opener, you will probably need to go through the adjustment procedure listed in the manual. Good luck!
 
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Old 11-30-15, 07:33 PM
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That makes a lot of sense, the fact that sensitivity mechanism will kick in if the door is not fully closing because it's lighter than before and that it will take some force to close.

And of course I could play with the setting for the "Sensitivity" but I rather not and I do not recommend it to anyone as this is why in the first place that I am replacing my top panel, i.e. the "sensitivity" mechanism is not working well on my existing GD opener.

I will give this a try soon, i.e. when I get the top panel. I will update then the post accordingly for sharing with members. Thanks for the info, appreciated. Michel.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 06:13 PM
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Assuming it really is lighter than it was before you could attach a piece of angle iron or something similar to the bottom of the door to help balance it out. I really don't think there is that much difference in weight between a panel with 4 windows and one without however.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 08:18 PM
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Yes, the angle iron addition for weight is a great idea... thank you.

Thought, I weighted the windows which are double panes and I get 13.5 lbs each (with plastic frame) for a total of 54 lbs. I have to subtract a few pounds i.e the thin aluminum and insulation-Styrofoam taking the place of the windows on the new window-less panel, estimating 7 pounds for the 4 openings. So (54-7=) 47 lbs less weight on the panel and I'm guessing the full panel must be around 75 to 100 lbs. This means the weight could be 50% less, having said that I have a feeling the gap (door closed not touching the ground) might be greater than I thought.

I will update the post with the results, when done... thanks again for the idea...
 
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Old 12-07-15, 08:54 PM
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OkÖ My new top panel was delivered and Iím almost done with the installation. I had to replace one of the five hinges as it broke during the original incident. The new one is wider that the original ones, it is the Hinge # 1 as they are numbered for various purposes. I also screwed the new strut as the original one was bended badly and cut in the middle, from the original incident. I still have to install the 2 top brackets (with rollers) but I have a question before I continue.

2 years ago, I had my driveway and garage floor, re-asphalted as they were in a poor state. After the job, I noticed that the folks who did the work elevated the grade at the entrance of the garage and now as you probably guessed it, my garage door (top panel) doesnít fully close, i.e. the bottom panel touches the ground as it should, but the top panel is NOT resting on the wall vertically, itís actually on an angle. As the ground is more elevated the top panel rollers (when door fully closed) are still in curb area of the tracks (left/right), the reason why the top panel is on an angle and not closing.

I knew about this problem as I have been living with it for 2 years. The door was working without a problem except that bugs/summer and cool air in the winter are coming in and it is noticeable (the look) from the outside. I know that the solution is to elevate my 2 tracks (left/right), if I do so then the top panel should rest perfectly vertical on the garage wall when the door is fully close as the rollers will fully pass the curb area and be parallel to the wall (in the tracks).

I do not plan on elevating my left and right tracks this year. So, with my new top panel installation I could screw back the 2 top brackets with rollers in the same area as before on the top panel but I will still have that same gap as I had before.

Question: Instead of screwing the 2 top brackets (left/right) on the top panel at the same exact area as before, if I lowered them then the left and right rollers would now be lower in the track and parallel to the wall when the top panel fully closes.

Picture 1: Is where the top bracket should go but roller will still be in the trackís curb therefore the panel wonít fully close and NOT rest on the wall. The top of the bracket is 3 inches from the top of the top panel. The picture shows with the roller outside the track and leaning on it as the garage door is too high for the trackís system since the elevation of the ground (new asphalt).

Picture 2: If I screw the bracket lower than the original setup, then the roller will not be in the trackís curb anymore and the top panel will fully close i.e. become parallel with the garage wall. The top of the bracket would now be 5.25 inches from the top of the top panel. The panel height is 21 inches.

Will this change with the top brackets location explained in Picture 2, negatively impact the system ?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Picture 1 and 2:

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  #15  
Old 12-08-15, 08:00 AM
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Your top brackets should be adjustable. I see the adjustment slots on your brackets. There should be a bolt or two that holds the roller to the bracket. If you loosen those and slide the roller back away from the door you should be able to get the panel to close fully. You kind of need three hands so you can push the panel tight against the opening, then pull the roller tight against the far side of the track, and then tighten the bolts.

If your brackets aren't adjustable, and you can't locate ones that are, I'd be more inclined to space the brackets off the door a bit with blocks of wood (using longer screws to attach) than I would be to lower the position.
 
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Old 12-08-15, 10:20 AM
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You are right... I've loosen the bolts on the slider part and moved it away from the door. As per picture below you can tell that the roller (wheel) is now in the track and that the top bracket is exactly where is should be screwed, i.e. 3 inches from the top of the panel for my type of door.

As you said, it's important to push the top panel against the wall before installing the top brackets as I noticed that the top panel doesn't stay close fully on it's own. In the middle of the door it touches (closes) to the wall perfectly i.e. the top panel is fully vertical with the wall, but at each end of the top panel there is gap (opening) which I feel the cold air coming into the garage.

I'm really glad, since the grade (asphalt) as been elevated I always thought that I had to move up my 2 tracks (left/right) but it looks like this will do the trick and that I won't have to.

Thanks! Will update later when done.

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Old 12-08-15, 09:59 PM
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I managed to get the top panel in place with all of the hinges in place and also the top brackets. Please see the first picture below, showing the top bracket in place. You will see that the slider part (holding the roller) is set almost to its maximum, i.e. the farthest from the door so the roller would fit into the track. As mentioned before, it is because the new asphalt floor/ground has been elevated.

I still have a little gap (top panel and wall opening) so I will retry to adjust the slider again. I noticed it's worst on one side.

1. Setting the slider differently created a concerned when I saw the door sit differently when opened. When the door is fully open (done manually, without a GD Opener) I see that the door top and the second panel from the top have a different angle, please see the 2nd picture below.

Previously, before the original incident, the door top panel and others would be parallel to the horizontal track, and not anymore since I moved the slider farthest from the door panel.

I verified the top of the door (in the open position) using a stepladder, as I wanted to verify the joint in between the top and 2nd panel. I was worried it'd put an unwanted stress on it and that a mid or long-term usage would damage the panels. Please see picture 2, below, can you please advice.


2. In a previous entry (this post), there was mentioned about the weight of the new panel being different from the old one as the new one doesn't have windows anymore. I thought that the door wouldn't be closing fully to the ground due to the Torsion Spring and the 45 to 47 lbs difference (being the weight of the 4 double pane windows) but to my surprise it closed normally, to the ground. Does it make any sense ? or do you think my Torsion Spring is not set properly ?

I have kept my windows from the old panel as next year I will create the openings and install them in the new window-less panel. I did save $350 in buying a window-less panel.

3a. Another concerned is the force needed to close and open the GD manually. I find it hard to move up and down please note that this is not because of the new installation as it was like before the original incident. I'm wondering if this is the Torsion Spring not set properly or could it be an unwanted stress on the roller or hinges ?


I've never had something to compare the door open/close force but I will try to see if I can try one of my neighbours' GD, to have somehow something to compare to.

3b. Having said that, I have cleaned the Top Panel brackets, rollers and hinges with WD-40, it made a difference as they are now moving more freely. I did not oil them and I know WD-40 is not meant to oil, what do you suggest for oiling ? I have been using "Fluid-Film" for other lubricating purposes, it has a non-drying property and is a Superior Lubricant, non corrosive properties

I'm hoping that after cleaning and oiling all of the components it'd help with the movement of the door. Also, a few months ago, I decreased the tracks as I think the previous owner had put a bit of grease in certain places. To my knowledge, I think no grease should be used but only oil. I use the garage as my workshop in the summer and I will have sawdust, etc... also when I clean I use the leaf blower making a lot of dust flying around and unfortunately this must be going into the hinges, rollers, etc... Can you advice on what to lubricate i.e. pin inside roller at the wheel, pin of the roller inside the metal sleeve, hinges (the part that turns), etc...



4. Torsion Spring: The instructions say as an "Annual Maintenance" to lubricate it with light household oil. "Full lenght of torsion spring to reduce friction between coils"

I have never done that since I owned the house (2010) and the spring was put in 2005
(previous owner).

The fact that I find the door hard to close and open, do you think the lubrication would help ?


I still have to install the new GD Opener and install the reinforcement angle iron on the top panel.

Your help is really appreciated, thanks.

Picture # 1 and # 2:

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  #18  
Old 12-10-15, 04:52 PM
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The tilting of the first and second panel is, as you said, due to the adjusted top bracket. Mine looks like this too, maybe not quite as much, but similar. I don't think it will be a problem. If you eventually do get around to lifting the tracks a bit it will reduce this.

The way usually used to judge if the torsion spring is set right is to open the door about half way and gingerly let go. If spring is set just right the door should stay put or move only slowly. But it's not exact. The spring tension is not constant over travel, and of course, as the door goes up most of weight is being supported by the track.

For lube, I use the stuff sold specifically for garage doors with the surprising name of "Garage Door Lube". You spray it on and it dries non-oily so it doesn't attract dust and dirt. You can use the same stuff on the spring(s), but I usually just use oil for that. Hardly anyone oils the springs, but it's a good idea and may reduce the friction. Plus it helps keep it from rusting which can help it last longer.

As far as open/close force, it could be the spring tension or the rollers or both. But even a perfectly set up door is heavy. Checking with a neighbor is a good idea. Lubing the hinges and roller bushings should take care of problems there, although you should check each roller to make sure they aren't worn out or frozen. You can check them in place usually by trying to spin with your finger while pushing on the door so the roller isn't touching the track. It won't spin like a top, but it should move freely. And bad rollers often have play in them so the wheel will wobble on the axle.

Good luck!
 
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Old 12-21-15, 08:08 PM
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The way usually used to judge if the torsion spring is set right is to open the door about half way and gingerly let go. If spring is set just right the door should stay put or move only slowly. But it's not exact. The spring tension is not constant over travel, and of course, as the door goes up most of weight is being supported by the track.
As I have tried the traveling of the door, it seems to do what you are mentioning: I tried to stop the door at different places and see the behavior of it. Depending where the rollers were i.e. near the curbed track, it would either move a few inches (2" or 3") up or down. Only when the bottom panel was near the ground, it closed on it's own, it makes sense as it went down based on the weight of the full door. So it looks like the tension of the springs are right despite the new window-less panel with roughly 45-47 lbs less.

Next year, when I will be adding the windows to that same panel, I will re-test the traveling of the door but I have a feeling, despite the weight difference, it won't much differ.

For lube, I use the stuff sold specifically for garage doors with the surprising name of "Garage Door Lube".
We do not have the product near my area but I will probably order it on-line if the S&H is not too high.

I have one more question:

From now on, I will clean and lubricate more often the hinges and the rollers/wheels. When I removed the broken top panel I had the chance to better clean the top brackets and hinges as I had them off the panel, from there I noticed it's a lot easier and I did a better job at it. Having said that, I would like, probably once a year, remove all the door hinges and brackets to clean and lubricate them BUT I find that the aluminum is so thin and I'm worried that if I undo/redo the shelf-treading screws often that it would enlarge or weaken the holes and compromise the door's holding structure.

Can you please advice ? Thanks...
 
  #20  
Old 12-21-15, 08:29 PM
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I think you're right, I wouldn't want to keep removing and replacing those hinges and rollers for the reason you state; the metal is thin and the threads would eventually give out. I think the best you can do is keep them lubricated.

I think you will find that manufacturers generally don't recommend lubing the actual roller, just its shaft where it slides into the hinge. I think this is so the roller doesn't pick up a lot of dirt from the track.

Hope your door is at least usable for now.
 
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Old 12-22-15, 09:33 AM
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Excellent, thanks for confirming.... Yes, the door is usable (manually) it works well but I still have to install my new Garage Door Opener (didn't have a chance yet, with Christmas coming). I cannot wait to do so as normally in a day I'd open the Garage Door a few times. I have a bad back so as it is manual for now, I just open it when I really need it to.

I'd say that concludes this post. Thanks a million as all this info has been very valuable/useful with this project of mine. I hope other members can gain from it too.

Merry Christmas!
 
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Old 12-22-15, 10:06 AM
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Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!
 
 

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