These are just my observations as a consumer; I am not on a crusade to change the garage door industry. But I will observe that the Web is the innovation that can finally give intelligent consumers the advantage in these commercial games. Trade restraints work only when all sellers in the market collude in and agree to the scheme. If anyone, anywhere is selling freely, then the Web can help you find them. In the years since I have first published this information, a number of reputable Web-based merchants have appeared to supply the parts you need to repair your garage door as a do-it-yourselfer (and I have linked many of them below).
Next, the torsion shaft is reassembled with the new springs, the drums repositioned loosely on the shaft, this whole assembly slid back into the end bearings, and the drum set-screws tightened down. I tightened the set-screws about 1/2 or 3/4 of a turn after contact with the shaft, which provides a good grip, but does not distort the shaft. The drums can be set on their old positions, if they were correctly installed, which is snug up against the end bearings to remove any longitudinal play in the torsion shaft. Now the lift cable can be reattached to the drums, and a slight temporary torque applied to the shaft to keep the cable taut while the first spring is wound. This temporary torque is conveniently applied with a pair of locking pliers clamped on the shaft, positioned such that they hold the torque by pressing lightly against the wall above the door, before you start the spring winding, The locking pliers stay on the torsion shaft until you have finished the spring winding locked down the spring cone(s) with the setscrew(s), and removed the winding bars. Then you simply remove them with the release on the wrench handle. I feel that any job that doesn't require a trick manipulation with either locking pliers or duct tape (or in the ultimate case, both!) is just too boring. My trusty pliers look a trifle rusty ever since I used them to clamp something on my outdoor TV antenna "temporarily" and left them out in the weather for, oh, several years. The white stuff on the drum is paint overspray from the original painting of the garage interior.
In the photo, you can see an extra lag screw on the bottom of the plate, reinforcing weak anchoring from the original two screws (hidden behind the springs). This extra screw was applied by a professional garage door technician on a previous repair visit. I have since replaced the backing with a sound plywood panel anchored into the concrete door header. Since these bolts clamp all the opposing torsion to the wall, the attachment must be sturdy.
The most common grade of torsion springs have an expected life of about 10,000 cycles. The hardened and tempered steel experiences tremendous forces each time the door opens or closes. Gradually, the steel fatigues with each flexure, and eventually cracks and breaks, usually releasing its stored energy in an instant with a horrific "sproing" noise or bang. If you average about two car trips per day, opening and closing the door a total of 4 times daily when you come and go, then that expected life becomes 2500 days, or only about 7 years. If you have an automatic opener, then if you're like me, you tend to cycle the door even more frequently, and can expect the need for spring replacement even sooner. Moreover, my three-car garage has three doors, so on average I can expect a repair job every few years. Over a lifetime, it is very economical to do these repairs myself.
Single panel doors are constructed from one monolithic panel. From the closed position a single panel door swings up and overhead with a hinge on each side (known as jamb type hardware) to the fully open position. A disadvantage of monolithic panel doors is that the swing up arc of the door occurs partially outside the garage. This means a vehicle must stop and park several feet in front of the door to avoid being hit by the garage door when it is opened.
(The Wahl correction factor accounts for additional stress in the material due to shear forces, although these forces do not contribute to the spring's torque. These shear forces become significant in designs using a low spring index, which is to say, a relatively thick wire for the coil diameter. The correction factor is applied to scale up the stress S to better predict the fatigue lifetime of the spring.)
All measurements should be in feet and inches. Step 1, measure across the existing door or desired space for the width, then up and down for the height. The rough opening of your space should be the same size as the door. Step 2, measure the sideroom, which is the space beside your door. Measure the width of the left side, and then the width of the right side. Step 3, measure the space above the door, which is called the headroom. Measure the height of the distance between the top of the door opening and the ceiling. Step 4, measure the ceiling, which is called the backroom. You’ll need to measure the distance of the garage door opening toward the back wall of your garage. You should have 6 total measurements in all once you’ve finished measuring the space. Keep in mind that having an automatic garage door opener installed might call for additional backroom or ceiling space.
Leveling the door: Before commencing the spring winding, to check that you have the door properly leveled on the cables, considering all the factors above that make this a tricky adjustment, apply the winding cone setscrew lightly to lock the (unwound) spring cone temporarily on the torsion shaft, and momentarily lift the door slightly off the floor. Adjust the drum set as needed to level the door, repeating this slight lift test. Loosen the cone setscrew before winding the spring(s).
Using your drill, add tension to the torsion spring. This system uses a single spring for a double door, but many manufacturers use two springs for a double door. The painted line on the spring acts as a gauge for the number of turns you put on the spring. To keep the bar from turning while you’re adding tension, attach a locking pliers to the bar on both ends of the spring. Apply lubricant for garage doors to the spring.
Hello Scott and thank you for the very nice 5 star review. John, our Tech, will be very happy too. I will review our on-phone quoting system after listening to your call and see if we can get better at more accurate pricing. It is just so tough to know exactly what is going on at the site and the extent of the repair until we set eyes on it. We will try to get better at it...I promise. Thanks again.
Here is what a winding cone looks like without the spring. The threads that grip the inside of the spring coils are ambidextrous, so you can use the same part on either right- or left-hand-wound springs. The cone size is specific for a certain inner diameter of springs, so if you have the wrong size, the cone will slip inside the spring (cone too small), or not fit (cone too big).
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