Even though most of us are likely used to seeing this small spring in place on our garage door, we don’t often think too much about it, and we simply count on it working when we need it to. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever and will eventually need to be replaced. It’s best to be proactive and notice when it begins to look worn down before it actually breaks. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to open the garage door to drive to work one morning, only to find that the door won’t open because the spring is broken.
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• Extension springs: Garage door extension springs stretch to provide lifting power for the door. These springs are typically made of steel and mounted above the horizontal track of the garage door. A safety cable should run through your extension springs to prevent possible injuries or property damage. Extension springs are the most common type of garage door spring for residential use and can break after excessive usage.
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Widths - in addition to doors coming in a range of styles, they can be found as double-width and single-width styles. There are some serious considerations when opting for one over the other. For example, if a homeowner decides to use a single door that covers the entire opening of a two-car garage they will have to make serious structural modifications to the entry way;
Align the upper roller tracks by carefully lifting the door halfway. Lock it in place with two locking pliers, and install the supporting brackets on the back of the rails using 1-1/4 in. perforated angle iron (available at home centers and hardware stores). Install 1-1/2 x 1/4 in. stop bolts, with the threads to the inside of the track, at the end of each upper track.
Automatic doors require not only the installation of a heavy door, but the motor and cables as well. Automatic doors are much more common now because of their convenience, but in a case such as the heavy wood door, they are a necessity. A strong motor is required to pull up a heavy door. However, automatic doors are not without their faults -- they quickly become a manual door when the power goes out.
7.3 Slide both torsion springs out above the top of the garage door toward the cable drums. Notice that there is only one bushing or bearing between the cones. Sometimes a single bearing is pressed into the bracket; other brackets have a single bearing or bushing that fits in either cone. Do not try to install a bushing or bearing in both of the stationary cones. You will risk breaking a cone. The purpose of the bushing is to keep the shaft from wearing against the spring anchor bracket. Only one bushing is needed to accomplish this.
These instructions were first posted in 2005, and they were updated in August of 2008. I have been frank about the hazards of garage door repairs and about my own accidents incurred while replacing torsion springs. For what it's worth, you might be surprised to know that I, too, have benefitted from producing these instructions. I have not had any garage door accidents since we first published these on the web in 2005. And, in as much as I have helped keep other DIY-ers out of the emergency room, I consider myself somewhat of a medical practitioner.
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Squealing, screeching, or grinding noises from your garage door are usually indicative of a lack of lubricant or an accumulation of dirt or debris in the tracks. When removing debris, do not use harsh chemicals to clean the tracks. Once the track is clean, coat it with lubricant designed especially for garage doors, if possible. If you do not have access to this special type of lubricant, you can use WD-40 on the tracks and hardware. http://youtube.com/embed/Z_eZc-kh40c
Safe automatic door openers. All automatic openers must now have an auto-reversing mechanism and photoelectric eyes located near the floor on both sides of the door (see photo). If the door is closing and the beam between the eyes is interrupted, the door will automatically reverse. If the eyes aren’t connected, the door won’t operate. For instructions on how to install a new garage door opener, see How to Install a Garage Door Opener.
Maybe the battery died or a spring broke, but you can't get into the garage to even see what the problem is. If the garage door is the only way in or out, or if you can't find the key to the door, you'll have to either find a way to break in or call a locksmith. As a preventative measure, it's smart to keep a spare key or install an emergency key release that would allow you to release the emergency disconnect to the operator so you can manually raise the door.
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Measure the length of the relaxed spring. Unfortunately, you can’t measure the springs while they’re installed as the tension on them would provide you with the wrong measurement. Now that you’ve removed the springs, use a tape measure to find the length of the entire spring, from one end to the other. You’ll need this information in inches to order replacement springs.
The winding and unwinding is done at a metal fitting, called a winding cone, attached to the outside end of the spring. You stick a winding bar into one of the four holes in the cone and use the bar as a lever to turn the cone. Once you've completed a quarter turn, insert the other bar into a different hole in the cone and let the bar lever against the closed garage door to hold the spring tension. This allows you to move the original bar to repeat the process, alternating the bars with each quarter-turn. It takes about 30 quarter-turns to fully tension a standard torsion spring.
If your garage door goes up and down in a jerky motion, you might have one broken spring on a two spring system. Some garage door openers are strong enough to lift a door with only one good spring. The “herky jerky” motion is especially common with garage doors equipped with extension springs. It might be something as simple as lubricating your garage door pulleys, hinges, and rollers. When in doubt or if something doesn’t feel right about your door, call a service company to have it serviced.
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Clean the photoelectric safety eyes at the bottom of the door track with a clean rag if the opener did not operate with the push button. Sometimes dirt and moisture will keep the eyes from making a good connection. Push the wall button again to see if the opener operates. If the opener does not operate, call a door professional to troubleshoot your door opener. Meanwhile, you can still open and close your door manually.
NEVER use screwdrivers, pin punches or pliers handles to wind or unwind a torsion spring. Trust us: This is the best way to wind up in the hospital. Don't even think about doing this job without a proper set of winding bars. You can buy a set of professional hardened-steel winding bars for about $25 from online suppliers. (Garagedoorpartsusa.com and stardoorparts.com are two online sources that sell winding bars, springs and other parts.) Professional winding bars work with 1/2-in. and 7/16-in. winding cones. If your winding cones have 1/2-in. openings, you can make your own winding bars by cutting a 36-in. length of 1/2-in.-diameter round bar stock in half (buy round bar stock from any hardware or home center). Just file a smooth bevel on each end so it slides into the winding cone holes easier.