door bottom closer - does not fully close

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  #1  
Old 10-03-16, 12:42 PM
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door bottom closer - does not fully close

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Hi,
this heavy wood door has a bottom closer attached, however is probably from the 1960's and we can only close the door if pulling hard from the inside. I took three photos but can not determine the make/model. Is there a way to deactivate the bottom closer entirely? Do we need to take the door off the hinges first?
thanks in advance.
Greg
 
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  #2  
Old 10-03-16, 01:07 PM
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I worked on one exactly like that a few years back... it just needed to be disassembled, cleaned, lubricated, and put back together.
 
  #3  
Old 10-03-16, 09:19 PM
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"Floor Checks" are used less frequently nowadays due to their higher cost and expertise required to install them, as compared to concealed overhead closers or surface applied closers, but they give decades of trouble-free service. I've not seen this particular stud arrangement (good pics!) but it is very similar to the Rixon offset pivot found on heavy commercial doors. Not closing all the way is due to various components loosening up, sometimes in combination, over the years. The most common and first suspect is the large set screw on the stud coming loose. Hard to tell from your photo if this is the case. This screw must be really tight to prevent movement between the stud and the door support bracket.

#2: The support bracket may be coming loose from the bottom of the door. Pretty much have to take the door down to check this.

#3: The cast iron floor check body may be coming loose in the floor pan; Typically, a metal pan, slightly larger than the closer body is grouted into the floor, and the body is fastened into the pan, with the ability to shim the body a little left or right to ensure the door closes all the way. If these shims , or even the pan become loose, the door won't be pulled all the way closed.

#4: The rack & pinion gearing may simply be wearing out, allowing more play in the gear train.

#5: May not be the closer at all. make sure that the door (it's wood, right?) hasn't warped over the years and is binding in the frame. Or rubbing the threshold.

And yes, your last question, it's usually less trouble and cheaper to de-activate it and install an inexpensive surface-applied closer overhead. Not being familiar with this particular arrangement, it APPEARS that by removing the set screw, the round binding pin will come out, thereby allowing the bracket to rotate freely on the stud, albeit with a little play. Squirt a little motor oil on it once it's free to lube the bearing surface. You may have to soak the set screw/binding pin with Liquid Wrench or similar for a few days if the years have rusted it in place.

Lastly, there used to be an aftermarket product to do the deactivation but I think it was for the more popular triangular-stud Rixon.

Anyway, just some ideas.
 
  #4  
Old 10-03-16, 09:28 PM
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One other little hint: The set screw is hard to get tight when the closer is "at rest" ie, at it's closed position. It's best to tighten this screw after opening the door, while it is closing, to ensure no torque on the stud. Remember, got to be tight; we use a 1/2" socket wrench with a cheater bar.
 
  #5  
Old 10-04-16, 10:39 AM
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wow, two great replies...
reply to #5: we removed more than enough of the door to eliminate door warping or binding; it's probably the bottom closer.

Since, we do want to use a surface closer at the top, we would love to just disable this bottom one. We (volunteer maintenance group) will try your idea of "removing the set screw, the round binding pin will come out, thereby allowing the bracket to rotate freely on the stud".

If we get to it tomorrow, I will give you guys some feedback. I would love to see a photo of the round binding pin you are talking about, I guess it in inside the bracket above the stud I can not see. I don't want to take the cover plate off unless necessary. thanks again.
 
  #6  
Old 10-04-16, 10:43 AM
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Oh, I think I see what you mean by the binding pin, it must be that approx. 3/8" pin with just the top showing, between the setscrew bolt and the bracket above the stud of the closer. maybe I can tap a screw in to the top of the "Pin" and pull it out of there.
 
  #7  
Old 10-04-16, 07:55 PM
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Forgot to mention another trick: this is standard procedure, especially if you foresee removing the door, but still useful to ensure there's no closing force on the door when tightening the set screw, or to more easily see play in the binding pin to determine it's looseness: one of the 2 or 3 slotted screws visible thru the access holes in the cover plate will control the closing speed of the door. By turning this screw (valve) clockwise, you can slow the speed down where it practically takes all day for the door to close. So when you open the door to 90 degrees, it'll stay put for a long time, giving you ample opportunity to work on it. (You can also remove the cover plate to better see what you're doing).
 
  #8  
Old 10-04-16, 08:02 PM
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Oh, thanks for the standard procedure info. I will look for the set screws.
 
  #9  
Old 10-04-16, 10:18 PM
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Just to be clear, these are valve screws, not set screws. One of them is clearly visible in photo 2 right at the back edge of the door. There will probably be a second one nearby, maybe not visible under the door. Could possibly be a third one. Some experimenting will show that one of the adjustment screws will control the speed from full open to about 10 or 20 degrees from closed, (called the "sweep" valve), and this is the one you want to turn all the way clockwise to park the door open. Another screw will adjust the speed from the 10-20 degree position to fully closed (called the "latching" valve). There may or may not be a third valve, but if so, it will control the amount of "cushion" or resistance when the door is opened past 90 degrees or so, to prevent damage if the wind or a person whips the door open too rapidly, (called the "backcheck" valve).
 
  #10  
Old 10-05-16, 03:00 PM
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[ATTACH=CONFIG]71592[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]71593[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]71594[/ATTACH]
rstripe,
this morning we had time to remove the locking pin, we drilled it out as you can see in the new photos; we destroyed it.
Unfortunately, the bracket is still rusted solid to the stud coming up from the closer. We still have the same symptom as before.
When I left I filled that void with motor oil so we will just let it soak for a few days.
Any suggestions to free up the closer from the door?

Oh, and as you can see in the first photo, the closer cover says "Bommer". we did not have time to remove the closer cover today, but when I tried to turn the fast/slow valve screw it would not move.
Any advice is greatly appreciated, so please keep it coming.
 
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  #11  
Old 10-05-16, 09:03 PM
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Wow. Bommer stopped making floor checks like 30 -40 years ago. This will have to be a labor of love, as the stud has rusted on to the bracket. As I mentioned earlier, you really need to soak the stud with a penetrant like Liquid Wrench or similar. (The motor oil, or better, grease, would be applied later for long-term lube after it's been freed up). If you have the patience, apply penetrant twice a day for week or 2. Meanwhile, try to free up the speed adjustment valve(s). Dribble a little penetrant on them as well. They should not be frozen (rusted) but may be very hard to turn due to dirt and never having been turned for who knows how many years. Your task will be easier if you can "park" the door open as described before.

After a weeks soaking, if the sweep screw has freed up, park the door fully open and then wiggle the door back and forth, so as to apply a twisting force between the stud and bracket. If it's broken free, you may have to clear out some more metal remaining from the drilled out pin. If it starts to move just a little bit you may also at this point be able to lift the door off the stud with a pry bar (after removing the top pivot). Then you can further clean out & file smooth around the stud so it can now act as a simple pivot.

If the sweep screw never freed up, you'll have to be more vigorous in wiggling the door back and forth after the stud soaking, to try to free the stud/bracket connection.
 
  #12  
Old 10-05-16, 09:06 PM
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Might as well see if you can remove the cover plate so you can more easily apply penetrant to the adjustment screw threads. You'll also be able to see how the unit was installed.
 
  #13  
Old 10-06-16, 08:38 AM
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thanks rstripe! I will commence with your advice, I have patience. I will start with WD-40 and liquid wrench. I noticed the top pivot has a slotted head on one side, can you unscrew the two pieces without removing wood screws? I try to add a photo. Greg
 
  #14  
Old 10-06-16, 10:20 AM
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[ATTACH=CONFIG]71615[/ATTACH] here is the top pivot
 
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  #15  
Old 10-06-16, 02:36 PM
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The "slot" on the frame portion of the top pivot is just to remove a "cover cap". I seriously doubt it will help you drop the door. Removing the cover gives access access to a setscrew used to raise a bearing surface (sometimes a large ball bearing) allowing vertical adjustment of the door in the opening. Once the door is "loose" from the floor hinge (arm loose on the spindle) and opened to 90 degrees, you may be able to just lift the door straight up (assuming there is clearance). This is how the door is placed in the opening.

Even if the unit in the floor is just a spring hinge (no hydraulics), be very careful unloading the springs. The spring size and tension is determined by the width and weight of the door. Keep you fingers out of harms way.
 
  #16  
Old 10-06-16, 05:44 PM
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ThisOldMan, ok, that answers my question about the top and middle pivot hinges.
I don't need to remove the door (I hope) as I just need to get the door "loose" from the floor hinge. I will continue to loosen the rusted floor hinge with penetrant and rocking the door on it's hinges until it breaks free.
 
  #17  
Old 10-06-16, 09:14 PM
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Having now seen the top pivot, ThisOldMan is correct, with the door open, it should just lift off.
 
  #18  
Old 10-06-16, 10:00 PM
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Hello All,

Greg Rogers, check your inbox, sent you a message about the closer, went to reply here and was a long one and computer/boards deleted it when I realized I was not signed into the forum, so here goes take 2,

ThisOldMan,

these closers such as the Rixson 20,25,27,28 30/40 Pariot, Shelby and the Bommer "big body" (400 600 and 700?) are NOT rack and pinion, they work with connecting rods and pistons in a cylinder block.

this best explains whats inside the closer, the closer shown in the photo is a series 27

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this is more then just a spring, there is oil in there, 32 fl ounces of oil to be exact in my case, back in July I had to change the oil in mine, it was getting slow and the oil looked like chocolate milk (water contamination into oil) and would build up pressure and leak from shaft under door and the one screw at edge of the spring tension disk, dumped and cleaned it out good I put transmission fluid in it and works better now.

back in 60s when the Bommer you have was made, Rixson, Shelby and Pariot were also competing with making the "big body" floor closer we see today only being made by Rixson,

rstripe, your advice may help with the penetration oil on the adjustment valves, they are only designed to be turned 3 and half times from fully down and closed to fully open (fastest speed) a special tool is required to remove the valve from the closer.

I know your helpful with valves, from seeing the pictures, this closer only has 1 single valve, there is no other valves on this closer other then the sweep/swing, in rixsons series, this is the #25, which only has a single valve screw located above the Bommer name on floor plate (under all that black grime).

the other 2 screws seen in the photo (near shaft at edge of plate) these are just the coverplate screws, and one looks like its missing.

now as for deactivation, this may be best done by a professional, as they have the special tools designed for working on these closers, (pin spanners, valve removal tools, I have a couple of times deactivated my own closer, I slowly unwound the spring after removing the screws that are at edge of the spring tension disk and then removed the disk, then lifted spring and turned it alittle (disconnected it from the linkage at bottom under spring) and reassembled, viola, freeswinging closer/lower pivot and didnt have to come up out of the floor.

well I hope this helps, anyone out there with door closer or floor closer problems?? please feel free to let me help you fix it, I am an expert in these things and I love answering questions on them!

-Jess the Door Closer Doctor
 

Last edited by PJmax; 10-12-16 at 11:54 PM. Reason: added pic from link
  #19  
Old 10-06-16, 10:39 PM
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All,
at this point, I'm not sure whether to remove the spring as Jess suggested
OR
remove rust between spindle and bottom arm (so it can spin freely) as rstripe mentioned.
 
  #20  
Old 10-06-16, 10:58 PM
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@DOORDOCTOR: That was my mistaken assumption about the rack & pinion. Thank you for the link showing the internal construction. And since you are the expert among us, why would the spring need to be unloaded? Am I not correct in assuming that by removing the binding pin (in this case he drilled it out) that the door bracket would then rotate freely around the spindle? (I was calling it a "stud"). Of course, it might have some play without the pin to bind it tightly, but if Greg was willing to tolerate a little rattle, it would be a lot less trouble than unloading the spring, no?
 
  #21  
Old 10-06-16, 11:02 PM
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@DOORDOCTOR (again): You mentioned Rixon being the only survivor, do they also make Reading's floor checks as well?
 
  #22  
Old 10-07-16, 09:55 AM
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40+ years ago I was surprised to encounter a non-hydraulic, spring-loaded floor hinge in a old church. I don't remember much about it except that the door was heavy. I missed the adjusting screw and agree with DoorDoctor, do not try taking it apart.

As far as breaking the arm free from the spindle and letting it "spin" on the spindle, you (and others) will probably end up thinking mean thoughts. Your best bet, since it's a wood opening, may be to install a pair (or 1 1/2 pair if weight requires) offset pivots and remove the arm. Looking at the edge of the door nearest the pivot, I wouldn't suggest hinges.
 
  #23  
Old 10-07-16, 10:33 AM
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we are willing to tolerate a little rattle, as rstripe brings up.
 
  #24  
Old 10-07-16, 10:45 AM
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ThisOldMan,
is it true the entire weight of the door is normally sitting on the lower arm and thus is transferred to the spindle?
if we installed a lower pivot, wouldn't the spindle be in the way? would we remove the entire closer?
As you said the bottom of the door is in bad shape but I believe it is strong enough for a pivot.
So many questions, but am appreciating your help and I am listening.
 
  #25  
Old 10-07-16, 03:10 PM
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rstripe: not heard of reading floor closers, but there is a brand NEAR reading, called Dorma, yes, they make floor closers (well actually sell them here as dorma north america, but the actual closer is assembled in Germany) maybe they did make one bearing the name Reading but was not for long, then Dorma bought the company out.

Reading closers was located in Reamstown PA, Oscar C. Rixson company/Rixson Firemark is located in Franklin Park, IL, (after ASSA ABLOY bought Rixson they have been moved to Monroe NC to ASSA ABLOY North America's door cloesr production factory (Norton closers factory)

now as for the springs being unloaded, its the spring that does the closing action, if you unload it or index it wrong (purposefully misalign the pin on bottom of spring in the bottom of the closer with the spring linkage in bottom) it will make the floor closer freeswing the door but it will have a dampening effect.

with the strong bond the closer arm has to the closer spindle I'm thinking it may be best to unload spring and it still remain silent instead of any rattle of the arm rattling against the spindle, if anything, I would first deal with the abrupt stopping at an inch or 2 from frame, this can indicate a mechanical problem inside the closer.

for cosmetic reasons, (holes in frame and door) I would say as a last resort to using a surface mount closer, you have to remove the door anyway to get to the closer body so I highly suggest to get the closer repaired at a service facility that works on this type of closer.

when you finally get the coverplate off the closer, the date code will be stamped on either side of the shaft, on left side (facing the spindle) will be month and right side will show the year.

Greg Rogers: you are correct about door weight on closer spindle, yes, most of the weight of the door is on the spindle

ThisOldMan: pretty cool you come across many old closers/floor mounted door springs in places such as old schools and churches, I know of a man in the UK who has a passion for the old vintage floor closers, google midlandsfloorsprings and read the blog, some of them things are JAW DROPPERS!!

hope this helps answers everyone's questions,

-Jess The Door Closer Doctor
 
  #26  
Old 10-07-16, 09:28 PM
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@DOORDOCTOR: And I stand corrected again, what I've been seeing lately are Dorma floor checks, not Reading.

So I agree that the ideal solution would be to unload the spring, but in examining Greg's 1st photos, it appears that the hole in the arm (bracket) goes at least 2/3 the way around the spindle, and fits onto the spindle with a pretty close tolerance, so with the binding pin removed (drilled out, in this case) once the penetrant has softened up the years of rust and with some to & fro persuasion to break it free, seems like the door will swing freely with practically no rattle at all. It sounds like the only alternative is to call a service company to come unload the spring, but to do that, the bracket has to break free from the spindle anyway, to slip over the spindle in taking the door off. It may also be a little difficult finding a company willing to service the old closer, depending on the size of city Greg lives in.

So just trying to keep solution cheap and simple. (He's already done the hard work in drilling the pin out).
 
  #27  
Old 10-07-16, 10:06 PM
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I started the penetrant treatment today with CRC Freezeoff. I will let you guys know when it frees up, i'm hoping it works as rstripe described and I think it will be a fine solution for us. the location is one where the door does not operate continuously, perhaps twice a day on average. We already have a surface closer installed on top of this door, but have it's arm removed right now.
 
  #28  
Old 10-12-16, 05:41 PM
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Here are two photos of the current situation. I have been spraying CRC Freezeoff twice a day for about 5 days now. Unfortunately, the lower arm bracket is still rusted to the spindle. We have tried the to and fro persuasion to break it free, but no luck yet.
Standing inside the door, I can open the door and close it fully, however with much resistance the last two inches of closing. The top of the bracket/spindle looks shiny as we used a rotary wire brush on it. Any more ideas to break it free?
 
  #29  
Old 10-12-16, 06:51 PM
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Unless it's still "frozen", there may be something else going on here. Your new photos reveal more detail. Looking very closely around the circumference of the spindle do I detect splines? The shaft appears to be finely-splined, or maybe it's just dirt? The second thing that stands out now is the brass-looking pin in the center, that appears to have been peened over. I wonder if that's a screw that's been peened or staked to prevent it from loosening. But surely not a soft brass screw....Nevertheless, that pin/screw may hold the key to releasing the spindle from the bracket.

DOORDOCTOR?
 
  #30  
Old 10-12-16, 07:40 PM
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rstripe,

the shafts on these are NOT splined like the surface mounted closers, it may be still the bond of rust holding the shaft to the arm/bracket on the bottom of the door.

Greg Rogers:

open door to 90 degrees, undo the screws that hold the top hinge to the frame (or door) then undo the hex head bolt on the arm, and using a puller (like a car mechanic uses for splitting ball joints (Pitman arm puller) or a even a long crowbar may work to pry the door off the shaft,

if puller don't work, use a heating torch to heat up the arm at bottom of the door on top of the shaft then tap it with a hammer then pull it off with the puller, do not use the heat for too long since there is a hard black o-ring where the shaft enters the floor closer body,

as for that bump on middle of the shaft, for as long as I known and seen this series bommer (this is Bommer's equivalent of the Rixson 25) that is just where they parted off this one's shaft from the next shaft during machining process, and looks brass from the angle in the pic,

I know many may not like to read it, but I still feel that its best to get the door off the closer, get it rebuilt and reuse it, as you did mention that the door does not close past a certain point, that can indicate a clogged passageway or something internally wrong with the floor closer, and the surface mount closer may not be able to overpower the floor closer and force it shut.

if you choose to get it repaired, there is a place in Clackamas OR (Universal door controls) that rebuilds closers such as the Rixson, I will ask my friend who works there if they can work on the Bommer version!

hope this helps!!

-Jess the door closer doctor

I am sure by time snow starts to fall we will have this closer working again
 
  #31  
Old 10-13-16, 02:30 PM
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DoorDoctor and rstripe,
I agree the shaft is NOT splined as far as I can tell.
I have a mechanics arm puller that should work (the arms are hinged)!
After I take off the screws holding the top hinge as you said, where is that hex head bolt you mentioned, perhaps if I take the cover off the pivot/hinge it is under there?
It does appear to be a brass pin going through the center of the spindle shaft, I will just ignore it for now.
OK, I'll bring my propane torch and fire extinguisher also. I also have a brass hammer that I will try tapping with.

I need to do an electrical job at the same place (church) next week, so it may be two weeks before I can attempt this door lift.
thanks for sticking with me guys, let me know when it snows there in NJ or TX!
Greg (Los Angeles)
 
  #32  
Old 10-13-16, 02:55 PM
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Greg Rogers:

hope it finally lifts off,

the bolt I speak of, is the bolt that used to hold that pin in place on the shaft that you drilled the pin from on the bottom arm of the door (where top of closer goes into door arm) under the coverplate is nothing but the spring tension adjustment disk and date code and the 1 valve that is accessable from the hole in coverplate, the only other screws that are on the closer body are 3 hex screws (do not remove those, they are what hold the closer's cylinder block inside closer) or the 4 brass or stainless steel screws at the corners (they hold the closer in the floor box) the other screws you will see are the spring tension disk screws, on a the rixson 25 (not sure what bommer's series was) there are 5 screws, if it is the smaller 20, there will be 4 around the disk.

hope this clears stuff up about the mysterious world of floor closers,

as for snow in NJ, probably wont see the first storm until late november or mid december (almost never on Christmas!)

hows weather like in Calif??

-Jess the door closer doctor
 
  #33  
Old 10-13-16, 08:34 PM
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Jess, Boy I feel stupid about the Hex bolt, in my mind I thought of an Allen head.
The weather here is great, highs in the upper 70's everyday, playing golf, etc.
Another clarification, if I was to remove the entire closer for repair, would I remove those 4 brass or stainless steel screws at the corners (they hold the closer in the floor box) ?
Greg
 
  #34  
Old 10-14-16, 06:39 PM
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Greg,

if they used an allen head you probably wont be able to get enough torque on the bolt and may end up rounding off the allen key tool.

as for the screws to remove when removing the closer, yes, the large flat head brass screws that will be at the corners of the closer (near the screw holes the coverplate screws screw in) after all have been renoved, with a screwdriver pry on the end furthest from the shaft and pull it up and away from the jamb of door (due to how the closer is made, the end with shaft is partially under the ground)

when pulling it out of the box, best to grip it by the corners by leading edge, also they are heavy (about 20 lbs) so be careful when moving it into and out of the hole in floor.

now as far as splines and knurls (rstrike's comment from earlier) now that I have my hands on a Rixson 25 version of the Bommer, (sorry, it's not for sale) the only thing with teeth in the area of the shaft is the pin that was drilled out, it has knurls that grip the shaft of the closer.

as for the guys at Universal door controls, I have not yet heard back from the guy, will try asking him again if they service/repair the Bommer version of the 20-25 Rixson.

to edit a previous comment (about use of heat torch) with the older Rixaons and Bommer versions of Rixson, there is NO black plastic o-ring at bottom of shaft on top of closer, just the top of bearing (it is safe to use heat on it in hopes to get the arm to break bond with shaft and let you remove door to get to closer)

hope this helps,

-Jess the door closer doctor
 
  #35  
Old 10-17-16, 09:49 AM
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Jess,
wow, again you have really come through and provided a plethora of information that I needed.
I feel much better about using heat on the shaft now.
regards, Greg
 
  #36  
Old 10-17-16, 03:50 PM
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Greg,

I just heard from my friend that I been trying to contact about this closer, he says best to call universal door controls at 503-908-1453, the person who answers the phone may be a secretary (I do not know their name) or Nate, (the guy I communicate with) please feel free to let him know I sent you to him, as I told him about the Bommer in this post and sent him a link to the boards so he can read your post.

he also added that if it's the small body version of the Rixson 25, he can make it into a "dummy" where it will just be a pivot and not dampen or close,

if it's the larger body (on the Rixsons it will show "Size III") or the II they said it could be repaired, but if it's the smallest of them (stamped "Size I) they can only do is turn it into a dummy,

when you get a chance, please post a photo of the closer in the floor with coverplate removed so we could see if there is any Bommer series numbers??

-Jess the door closer doctor
 
  #37  
Old 10-20-16, 04:00 PM
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Doctor,
OK, this is great information. this coming Wednesday I plan to be there working on the door and will start by taking off the cover plate and posting photos.
Hopefully by taking off the top hinge I can lift the door up about an inch and break it free from the closer shaft. I will assume the middle pivot will allow this lifting of the door. Greg
 
  #38  
Old 10-27-16, 11:58 PM
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here is a modernized version of the bottom door closer. This closer fits to the door with the pivot (offset too) on the floor. The closer is adjustable for speed and latching. They sell here for about $250.

Serrature Meroni
 
  #39  
Old 11-02-16, 04:45 PM
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GlobalLocky - thanks for the Meroni closer link.
others - I could not get back to work on this as I thought as the Preschool using this building/room where the door is, won't allow it until Winter break. I did purchase a Pitman arm puller that I will try after the top pivot is removed.
thanks, more info later.
 
  #40  
Old 11-03-16, 10:05 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: nj
Posts: 94
Exclamation not all floor closers are made the same!

Greg Rogers and GlobalLocky,

the Meroni closer, this is more meant for a light to medium duty half inch thick glass door up to 220 lbs this will not work for your application, the reasons are width of door and pivot type, the Bommer/Rixson closer in the post is an offset hung, the patch fitting is central hung (door hinges not seen, pivot is hidden beneath the door)

GlobalLocky, the explanation is in your private messages, but will say here as well, the inside of the hydraulic patch fitting on-the-floor type closer, its needle bearings only, much like a surface closer, I feel that the Bommer or a Rixson or even the Dorma BTS 75/80 is more suited to bearing the full weight of a door,

inside the 3 floor closers I mentioned, at the bottom under the spindle shaft is ball bearings, this hydraulic patch fitting only uses needle bearings and will wear out quick, I keep in touch with China/India where these are made, a few of them actually have in the past asked for my help with THEIR problems, they have been known to LEAK or slam the door.

again, I don't mean to bust any bubbles, but this may not be best option for the church/preschool door.

-Jess The Door Closer Doctor
 
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