Garage door failure: How did this happen?

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Old 07-09-19, 12:01 PM
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Question Garage door failure: How did this happen?

I pushed the button to open the garage door and started walking away. A second later the door came crashing to the ground and, somehow, the header bracket and rail had dropped below the spring and the strut.

Now the header bracket is wedged so tightly against the door that I can't move it.

Sorry that the attached picture is so grainy.
 
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Old 07-09-19, 03:10 PM
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I don't recall ever seeing one come apart there, but my first guess would be that the door was bolted or that it is related to springs that are out of adjustment. For whatever reason it came undone there, it looks like instead of the door moving, the opener moved, so the first thing I would do, after unplugging the opener so that something doesn't move unexpectedly, is disconnect the arm between the door and trolley, loosen the bolts holding the opener in place, and slide it back to where it should be, which I assume is where the track aligns again with the header bracket. Once the track was back where it should be so that it's not in the way, I would try lifting the door manually. Be careful because doors are heavy and can hurt or kill you if they come down uncontrolled, but you should be able to raise a properly adjusted door by hand, and it should pretty much stay in place on its' own at about mid travel. If this is not the case, call a local door company and they can adjust the springs for you.
 
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Old 07-09-19, 04:44 PM
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My guess is that the bolts were never properly tightened and were getting loose as the door was being used, Finally they just let go.
 
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Old 07-10-19, 04:22 AM
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The two lag screws that hold the front of the opener to the header have pulled out. or the two bolts (or a pin) that hold the rails to the header bracket came loose.
 
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Old 07-10-19, 11:23 AM
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Sorry that I forgot to mention that the 2 lag bolts did pull out of the header--they were screwed into the very edge of the header.

Here are a few more pictures to show you what I mean by the rail pushing into the door with enough force that I can't move it up or down.
 
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Old 07-11-19, 04:18 AM
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Yep, did you try calling the company who installed it, they may warranty their installs? if not have a helper hold the front of the opener up, mark the bolt holes.... unhook the straight arm from the curved arm, get the opener rail back over the springs. you will need to find a way to better anchor the bracket to the wall. I would bolt the opener bracket with (2) 5/16th carriage bolts to (2) 2inch x 8 inch pieces of perforated angle iron, they bolt on vertically and span the bad spot where your lags ripped out... then lag the angle iron to the header with 4 lags
 
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Old 07-11-19, 06:29 AM
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I bought this building almost 20 years ago and the doors and openers were already installed. I'm not sure who installed them.

My concern is will the opener rail go over the strut and springs? It looks like the opener would need to pivot back so that there is room for the opener rail to be pulled back about 4 inches to go over the springs and strut.
 
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Old 07-11-19, 07:04 AM
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Right. That's why I mentioned earlier that you will need to loosen the bolts at the opener, where the motor is, so that you can then move it away from the door in order for the rail to move in that direction and clear the door and springs. Then you can lag the rail bracket back in place and secure the opener. Normally, when the trolley is in motion, the opener remains stationary and the door moves, but in your case, when things came undone, the door didn't move so the motion of the trolley pulled the opener toward the door.
 
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Old 07-11-19, 07:38 AM
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Normally, when the trolley is in motion, the opener remains stationary and the door moves, but in your case, when things came undone, the door didn't move so the motion of the trolley pulled the opener toward the door.
I understand that but I can't figure out why the brackets that mount the opener motor to the ceiling didn't bend.

I don't see how loosening any of the bolts at the opener motor will allow for it to move away from the door. It looks like loosening any of the bolts will only allow for the motor to pivot not move away from the door.
 
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Old 07-11-19, 09:52 AM
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As mentioned earlier, loosening the bolts, top and bottom of the vertical angles supporting the opener motor should give the opener assembly sufficient freedom to move the track back into place. First disconnect the quick disconnect arm or unbolt the quick disconnect arm from the door. After the track is anchored at the door end reconnect the quick disconnect arm The angle iron holding the opener motor only provides vertical support, no horizontal support. The only horizontal support came from the two lags anchoring the track above the door. Adding angled support brackets to the vertical angles holding the opener (anchored to the ceiling on the other end) would help.
 
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Old 07-11-19, 08:05 PM
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The angle iron at the opener motor side are to prevent lateral motion of the unit as the door is operated. The failure is at the door head of the service rail that separated from the secure mount to the garage wall above he springs. I see a 2x4 on the wall offset to the left. Assume that is where the arm was originally secured. Loosed motor bolts, release arm from door and reattach rail to the 2x4 of replace 2x4 with 2x6.
 
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Old 07-12-19, 02:14 PM
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The only anchor to prevent horizontal motion of the door opener is the 2 bolts through the U bracket at the end of the track. Assuming they were correct size per installation instructions, I still think angled brackets at the motor mounting angles will help. The setup you have for the motor mount is like a pendulum and will pivot easily in either direction if anything in the U bracket mounting loosens.
 
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Old 07-12-19, 06:54 PM
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Well all I have to say is that you folks know what you're talking about. I was able to get the rail and header bracket reconnected to a new 2" x 8" with your advice and instruction.

My main question now is, how do I reconnect the arm to the angle iron on the door? There is about inches between them. (see attached pic)

Also, is there any maintenance that I should do since I have a scaffold? Does the chain get lubricated?
 
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Old 07-13-19, 02:02 AM
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It's just stopped mid-cycle. Even though it's very likely not necessary, I would remove the arm from the trolley, plug the opener back in, and push the button. I believe that the trolley will move back to the opener, and stop at the point where it did when everything was working. Once it stops, push the button again, the trolley should move toward the door, and stop at the point where it did before, within reach of the arm. Some may likely say that there is no reason to remove the arm to cycle it, and that is true, but it will take less than a minute from your day to do it so why risk any chance of it swinging and getting caught on something or whatever. Now, the root cause for this incident is very likely that the lag bolts were never tightened properly and vibrated out, so if you reconnect the arm everything will work fine. But, nevertheless, at this point I would not assume that everything was and is fine without checking the springs. So, as I mentioned before, you should be able to raise the door by hand with reasonably minimal effort, and it should pretty well stay in place on its' own at full down, full up, and mid-travel. If that works, fine, let the door back down, reconnect the arm, check the operation of the opener another time and you should be good to go. If the door does not pass that test, I would call a door company and have them adjust the springs before reconnecting the arm.
 
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Old 07-13-19, 09:03 AM
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I cycled the opener like you suggested. And now I'm very close. I'm only about a quarter inch off on the holes aligninging. Is there a way to adjust the trolly or do I have to do something else to get the holes to line up?
 
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Last edited by iowa; 07-13-19 at 09:10 AM. Reason: added photo
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Old 07-13-19, 09:46 AM
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If everything was as it should have been, before your incident, you will probably have to press the door down, have someone else hold it down, push it down yourself and put a clamp in the track, or whatever in order for the holes to line up. There is a seal along the bottom of the door that usually compresses a bit when the opener is adjusted to the correct down pressure, and that's probably holding it up just a bit right now.
 
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Old 07-13-19, 11:11 AM
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It looks as though it was connected to the hole above the bar, if so you might try loosening the bolts on the lower part of the bar to see if you can get what you need. If not you can take a screwdriver and put it into the hole and the bar to align it with the bracket then clamp it in place with vice grips or a clamp to be able to get the pin installed.
 
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Old 07-13-19, 11:52 AM
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You are correct that it was connected to the hole above on the bar, so it's closer to 1 inch off.

The door is fitting properly against the floor.

Should I try to get the bolt to fit in the original hole or get it to fit into the nearest hole?
 
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Old 07-13-19, 12:12 PM
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No. I had thought that your emergency release rope was not there, then remembered that I had seen it later, wrapped up around the arm. So what I would do is unwrap that rope, and pull down on it, which should unlock the trolley. Then you should be able to move the the part of the trolley with the arm attached to wherever you need it in order to bolt the bottom of the arm to the door. Once you have it bolted together, pull the lock release back to the position it is in now, and press the door button. The opener will run but the door won't go up, so when it shuts off, press the button a second time, and the door still will not move, but the trolley will return to that end and reengage.
 
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Old 07-13-19, 04:17 PM
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You can put the bar on either hole as long as you have clearence when opening and closing the door. You can adjust the door with the travel limit screws if it isn't closing quite where you want it to.
 
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Old 07-14-19, 07:04 AM
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Again, thank you for all of the great advice. I worked on the door until the last minute I could, yesterday, until I left on a trip.

I can see now that I didn't understand the design of the arm because when I pulled on the area of the arm that has the rope, the whole arm would come off the trolley. So I didn't unwind the rope because I didn't think it would have made a difference. I will unwind it as soon as I get home and see if I can finally get it connected to the door.

When this issue first happened about six months ago I called a garage door professional to come over and I'm sure that they could have done it very quickly but none of them were interested in replacing the sheet metal that was covering the header. So I figured if I could find the sheet metal I would just try to finish the project myself and with your help it looks like I'm going to be able to get that done.

By the way, it was quite difficult for me to find the flat sheet metal that was covering the header. I went to numerous places & no one had anything like that. It is thicker than trim coil.
 
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Old 07-14-19, 11:11 AM
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Condition of sheet metal on header has no impact on the operation of the door opener unless that is all the U bracket was attached to initially.
 
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Old 07-14-19, 11:31 AM
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The rope is provided to release the trolley from the track, so that the door can be manually operated in the event of electrical outage or failure of the opener. The arm should not separate from the trolley when you pull the rope, so something is amiss there. What does that wire tag on the rope or trolley say? Someone has put that there post-installation, so maybe it can provide some insight.
 
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Old 07-15-19, 04:11 AM
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aka pedro... no the arm should separate from the trolley when you pull the rope. This opener is a Liftmaster commercial opener and that is the way they are designed. Residential the arm will remain connected but allow the door to move manually. The warning tag comes installed from the factory.
 
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Old 07-15-19, 05:46 AM
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Thank you Doorman. I learned something today. And now I know where the phrase "assume makes a you know what out of you and me" comes from; someone must have come up with it just for me!
 
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Old 07-20-19, 08:56 AM
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I am back from my trip and from what I understand is that since this is a Liftmaster commercial opener the arm should separate from the trolley.

When I disconnect the arm from the trolley the trolley doesn't move manually. Is there a way for me to move the trolley closer to the door so I can get the arm to line up with one of the holes on the angle bracket that is mounted to the door?
 
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Old 07-20-19, 09:20 AM
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If the trolley doesn't move, then move the door. Find some help and lift the door up to align the holes for the pin.
 
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Old 07-20-19, 09:30 AM
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If I lift the door to match the holes, will the door close all the way to the floor or will it only close to the height that it was lifted to get the holes to match?

EDIT: It looks like adjusting the length of the nut/bolt in the attached photo will allow the trolley to get closer to the door. Should I do that or will it cause other problems?
 
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Old 07-20-19, 09:51 AM
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Either way should work, you may still need to do some final adjustments to the travel limits once you get it connected and run the opener.
 
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Old 07-20-19, 10:59 AM
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Since the door doesn't have handles I'm going to have to adjust the nut/bolt.

I hope I can find the operator's manual for this type of opener online.
 
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Old 07-21-19, 04:38 AM
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That threaded rod is for chain tension, it will not move the car. The chain tension looks good, leave it alone.
 
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Old 07-21-19, 07:21 AM
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Okay. I'll leave it alone. What method do you recommend that I use to get the arm hole to align with the door bracket hole?
 
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Old 07-22-19, 04:19 AM
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Hook the arm to the door first then have someone help you...push the open button then hit the stop button to move the trolley towards the open position. Then slightly lift the door up then hook up the arm to the trolley
 
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Old 07-22-19, 11:39 AM
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How do I get the door to close all the way to the floor once I have lifted the door to the height where I hook the arm to the trolley? It really seems like the trolley should somehow come closer to the door so I can hook it up without lifting the door.
 
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Old 07-22-19, 02:48 PM
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That's when the high and low limit travel comes into play.
 
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Old 07-22-19, 03:00 PM
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Before worrying about adjusting it I would connect the arm as Doorman described and then see what you have. Between the tolerances and wear in the trolley, door hinges, etc. I would bet that it's closer to where it wants to be than what you're seeing with the arm just hanging there. I was obviously wrong before, in regard to the arm release, so could be again, and I'm not advocating forcing something that won't go, but have taken apart and put together enough things to know that things are going to change at least a little once everything is tensioned or whatever back to where it needs to be.
 
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Old 07-23-19, 11:37 AM
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I plan on trying Doorman's suggestion as soon as I have time on Thursday. My only fear is that after I get the arm connected to the trolley and the door bracket, then push the door opener button, that the door will travel too far in one of the directions and I'll ruin something.
 
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Old 07-25-19, 07:46 PM
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I think the attachment is for the model of powerhead that I have. Does anyone know if you have to take the case/cover off the powerhead to get to the limit switches shown?
 
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