Garage Door Torsion Springs do wear out

peakbagger Posted By peakbagger, Feb 20, 2019 at 11:47 AM

  1. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Northern NH
    I built my garage in 1991 and installed the overhead doors myself including twisting up the torsion springs. I went to open the door with the garage door opener the other day and it would keep stalling. I got the key out to the side door which rarely gets used and found that the torsion spring had snapped. I expect it was an impressive bang when it let loose but I didn't hear it. I had heard that there is fatigue life to torsion springs usually in the 10,000 cycle range. Well 28 years that's right around 1 cycle a day so I guess it was getting time. Why do I think my "new house" that I built long ago is slowly turning into an old house ;).

    I measured everything up and got two on order as I have two doors and figured might as well have one in stock for when the other one goes. Only thing I need to do is get some new wind up rods and dig out the instructions. The opener is about the same vintage Stanley unit. It had some design flaws that became apparent 5 or 6 years after I installed it. I did some temporary fixes to keep it running for a few more years and have gotten close to another 20 years on it.

    I just wish it had failed in warm weather.
     
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  2. xman23

    xman23
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    Oct 7, 2008
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    Oh you did it before. For others, winding the springs up can be deadly. I told a friend this before he started his. His wife called to say, no spring issue but he was going to the hospital because he fell off the ladder and had a gash on his head.
     
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  3. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Jul 11, 2008
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    I have done it couple of times over the years. My friend had some drill rod for winding the springs, this time I will need to use standard rod stock. The big thing is never ever get the body or the head in the same plane as the rods. A lot of folks who get hurt do not cut the winding rods long enough and have to lean in to get enough torque. Dumb idea.
     
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  4. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    Aug 8, 2011
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    Garage springs of all types are no joke. I had one let go a few years ago and was there to hear it. Impressive. Like everything these days they don't seem to be built to the same spec as in the past. Designs might be better but materials are always just good enough.
     
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  5. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Well got the old spring replaced. I ordered an exact replacement and had a heck of a time. I replaced everything exactly as it was before but strange things started happening. It would not wind up right. I called the help line from the company I bought the springs from and despite sending pictures I didnt get lot of help except that it sounded like I bought the wrong hand spring. I gave it a week and tried again. This time I took a good look and came to the conclusion that the old spring had been the wrong hand but worked since 1991. By swapping some parts around I got the draw pulleys to reverse direction and rewound the spring in the correct direction. I bought a 3' foot 1/2" diameter steel rod from Tractor Supply and cut it in half to wind the spring. There was less force required than I remembered.

    I thought I was done but this door has a garage door opener on it with a sensor to keep it from crushing someone. I had a lot of fiddling to do with spring tension, travel stops and closing force to get it fully working. There are two doors in the garage and the other one is also would wrong but I will wait until it fails and have a new spring for when it goes and will swap things around when I replace it.
     
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  6. lml999

    lml999
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    Oct 25, 2013
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    My doors have the helper springs (versus the torsion). I heard one go as well. Pretty impressive. Glad that the safety cables were in place to retain the two spring pieces. Bit of a PITA to identify the correct replacement spring, given faded 20 year old marking paint and partial color blindness. :) Had to take a couple of sets back and forth between the house and HD before I got it right...and I think I still could have gone one size larger.

    Replacing these springs seems so complicated in the instructions. First one took an hour, second took maybe ten minutes, including time to crack open the beer. :)
     
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