Bam! Garage door over-the-door torsion spring snapped! How to replace?

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My wife heard a big snap, and when I looked, I see what happened:

I counted 111 coils of what seems to be 1/4 inch steel, with a set length of 28.5 inches (but a broken untensioned total spring length of 26.75 inches).
Any suggestions for how to locate & install a new spring will be welcome.
I'm sure most will say "just pay someone" (i.e, too dangerous, too difficult, too expensive, etc.); but that's not what this group is about.
I'll research what I can and report back but if you've actually done it (I realize most people have NOT) ... it would be useful to get your advice.
Note: I realize a torsion garage door spring DIY endeavor is like DIY car alignment or like putting in automotive struts where most of the people say it's just not worth it but almost all of those who say it's not worth it actually have never even thought about what it really takes - nor have they tried - and neither have they actually done it. So, their advice, while well meant, is next to useless unless they've actually done it.
What I'm looking for is advice from someone who actually replaced their own garage door torsion spring.
As I said, I'll do some research also - but I figured I'd try to connect with someone who has done this already (I already know what all the rest will say).
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On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 01:14:17 +0000, Danny D. wrote:

Searching alt.home.repair, I find these of import: 2/14/04 by DIY Klutz, 117 posts Why would a garage door torsion spring break & is two better than one?
7/30/97 by David Buxton, 7 posts garage door spring broken, is that DIY?
6/19/97 by md, 7 posts Broken Garage Door Spring
7/13/99, by Neil W., 9 posts Help Replace Garage Door Spring
9/6/99, by Fred and Jan Berman, 4 posts Cost to replace garage door spring
I'll report back what I find when I read these.
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On Sun, 4 Nov 2012 01:25:27 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

I have done it twice and lived.
Hardest part these days is finding replacements. You used to be able to buy at any HW store or even the Borg, but no longer, at least around here. (N. Ohio) And the garage repair places I called wouldn't sell to a non-pro. I ended up ordering online, and they took a week to get. Wasn't a show stopper for me but would be for many.
You should replace both. Get new springs that are the same length, diameter, and wire gauge. Count how many turns it takes to unwind the unbroken spring. Wind the new ones up a few turns less and check balance, adjust if needed. Wind them both the same.
Get proper winding bars, wear full face protection, and don't place yourself where you will be injured if something slips and a bar gets thrown. Always have one bar fully engaged and go slow. Make sure the locking bolts on the non-winding side are really tight.
Check the wire ropes and pulleys, if they need replacing, now's the time to do it. Make sure to check the end of the wire ropes that slip over the pin at the bottom of the door. If it's going to rust through, that's usually where it will happen.
Coat the new springs with oil every year or two to keep them from rusting.
Good luck and be careful.
Paul F.
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wrote:

Do you have only 1 big spring, or do you have a pair, and only 1 of the two has broken, your description was not clear.
First, find the manufacturer of the door and go to their web site to see what information you can get.
Then tell us approximately where you live and maybe someone on the group knows of a spring source near to where you live.
You will need sturdy bars to wind the new spring up to the right tension. Get ones that fit the holes in the winder easily, but not so small that they aren't strong enuf.
Glad to see you want to try it yourself, just be careful, and get the car way away from the garage. If something goes wrong, the winding bars can get thrown at least 100 feet.
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On Sat, 03 Nov 2012 19:55:46 -0700, hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

Only 1 spring.
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On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 01:25:27 +0000, Danny D. wrote:

These threads are 90% old wives tales and only 10% real data, so here's the real data I found in the aforementioned threads.
Critical dimensions: http://www.glasscityspring.com/criticaldims.aspx - Spring length = 28.5 inches - Wire diameter = 0.250 inch - Helix direction = right hand spring - Spring ID = 2.0 inches - Spring OD = 2 1/2 inches - Torsion rod diameter = 1 inch OD - Cable drum OK = 4"
Here is a DIY recommended in one of the alt.home.repair posts: http://truetex.com/garage.htm How I Replaced Deadly Garage Door Torsion Springs And lived to tell the tale. snipped-for-privacy@truetex.com < Richard J. Kinc >
Torsion spring formulas: http://www.srl.gatech.edu/education/ME3110/primer/torsion.htm
Larger wire diameter lasts longer (aim is 10K cycles). http://www.smihq.org/public/publications/encyclopedia.html
Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association DASMA color code chart: http://www.glasscityspring.com/dasmacolorchart.aspx
Recommended springs: http://diygaragerepair.com/sectionalsprings.htm
Torsion springs: http://www.garagedooropeners.net/door_springs.html http://www.aaaremotes.com/garagedoorsprings.html http://www.overheaddoorparts.com/Spring_chart.htm (800)829-6002 http://www.garage-door.com/SecSpring.htm http://www.hurleyspring.com/quote/quote4.htm http://www.jwsgaragedoor.com/springpage.htm http://www.newcombspring.com/torsn.html http://www.generalwirespring.com / http://www.steelbuilding.com/doors/garage_doors.htm http://centuryspringmfg.com/Springs/torsion_springs.html
How to stretch the life of a torsion spring: http://www.dasma.com/articles/tech/tips38.asp
How to measure a torsion spring: http://www.dasma.com/articles/tech/tips25.asp
Special attention for single torsion spring systems: http://www.dasma.com/articles/tech/tips33.asp
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On 11/3/2012 11:52 PM, Danny D. wrote:

In my previous house I had 2 springs on a very heavy 2 car door. In the 36 years there, I can't even count the number of times the springs broke. The 1st 3 or 4 times, I got someone to replace them. However, for the majority of breaks, I did the replacement. I always was able to get the springs from, of all places, Ace. The last one broke about 5 or 6 years ago and I had no problem, at that time, getting the spring at one of the Ace stores. They are usually color coded. One of the ends always had a spray splotch of a colored paint. I remember mine was white. The other thing you need to know is CW or CCW winding. The 1s time I did it it took 3 or 4 hours as I was discovering how to do it safely. However, I think the last one took only about an hour ... it took more time to find the spring. I would check Ace and if they don't have them on the shelf, maybe they could order it.
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On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 08:19:08 -0500, Art Todesco wrote:

We have to differentiate between the torsion springs and the extension springs.
You can get the springs that line up along the line of travel of the door (parallel to the car) at hardware stores - but I seriously doubt you can get the over-the-doorway torsion springs (which are perpendicular to the line of travel of the door) at ACE.
I'm so sure of that, I won't even look at ACE - but that's only because I've read all that I could find on this topic.
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Danny D.
Looks like you've done the research. The write-up at truetex.com is the same one I used and it covers the process well.
I took the broken spring to a local garage door shop and they sold me a couple over the counter. If you have a Menards in your area they now carry a good selection of springs. You can get the right spring by taking measurements, bringing the spring in to compare or just weigh the door.
They also have a new system that allows you to adjust the tension with a drill. It's expensive to convert a door, but it takes much of the worry out of the process.
It's not rocket science, but it is dangerous. Make sure you have the right tools and a sturdy step ladder. Think ahead, go slow, and keep your body parts away from the plane of the rods. Inspect all the other parts and replace as needed so you only have to do it once.
In my case I had a 16-foot redwood door that weighed in at several hundred pounds. I had to dismantle the whole door just to get one of my cars out of the garage to go get the new springs. My neighbor once broke a spring and a guy was there an hour later to fix it.
I'm adding a new garage on to my house this month and will be reusing my current door. Regulations prohibit anyone other than the owner from reinstalling an old door so I'll be doing it again soon. I'm retired so my time is cheap.
Good luck and be careful.
dss
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On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 04:31:49 -0800, dss wrote:

Thanks. I've been reading up on this and the truetex writeup seems to be the best out there.
As the author said, it's no more dangerous than any other dangerous home repair job - so I will make sure I know ALL the steps first.
It's interesting that the 20K duty cycle springs aren't appreciably more expensive than the 10K so ... it seems ... I'll get lousy parts if I have a professional do it (as they'll just use what's on their truck).
That's the best argument of all for doing it yourself (better quality results)!
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On 11/3/12 9:14 PM, Danny D. wrote:

If you know so little about replacing a set of garage door springs and the dangers thereof that you're seeking advice in a newsgroup, you and your family would definitely be better served by hiring a guy who knows what he's doing.
However, if you're still of a mind to try it yourself, first make sure you have very good health insurance that includes coverage for prostheses and extended rehab. You'll also want to have a comprehensive long term disability policy that covers loss of limb/eye-- and maybe brain damage;-)
And finally, if you really screw the pooch while up on your rickety ladder--have enough life insurance so that good lookin' widow of yours-- and the kids-- can survive long enough until she finds some other dude to haul her ashes and take care of your family...
--
Don't forget to change your clocks on Saturday-- and your President on
Tuesday.
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On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 07:33:41 -0500, Douglas C. Neidermeyer wrote:

This was just the kind of useless banter that most of the other threads I've read contained tons of.
It helps not to write well-intentioned warnings from people who have never done the job themselves (and who would never consider doing it).
For example, the first two times I had struts replaced on my vehicles, I heeded the warnings - and ended up with substandard struts done by professionals - at twice the cost - all in the name of 'safety'.
Then, when I did it myself (borrowing TWO SETS of the tools from two different Autozones because of all the dire tool-bending stories) ... I was shocked at how simple, quick, and easy it was to compress the springs.
The moral of 'that' story is that I'd certainly recommend anyone who felt competent to replace struts as the springs, when compressed ARE DANGEROUS ... but the danger can be managed.
The result is BETTER STRUTS at half the cost!
I'm looking for the same thing on this garage door - hence I'm reading up on the procedure - and - I fully understood before I asked that I'd end up having to wade through 90% of the well-meaning safety advice coming from people who never would even contemplate doing it - and who therefore are of a wholly different mindset.
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Such an upbeat and positive statement. You must be a motivational speaker. (sarcasm off)
As it's stated, "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything"
Perhaps you're a weak and timid consumer who pays to have all work performed on your home, but there are many of us who have general common sense and logic, along with patience to do work ourselves. Many people, including myself, have taken on the heavy and/or more riskier task of repairs and have turned out fine along with gaining a new experience.
Your negative comment about the OP hurting/killing himself is moronically presumptuously ascertain. Perhaps it's an invidious conclusion on your part, but don't be an ass to someone who can most likely tackle the job just because you can't.
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On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 13:59:40 -0500, Meanie wrote:

Thanks Meanie for the backup, especially since I read scores of similar admonishments in the other threads (e.g., that poster's un-clever joke about needing health insurance was in all the threads so it's old hat by now - even if it might have been funny the first few times it was said).
However ...
This isn't an insurance group - this is alt.home.repair - where somewhat dangerous jobs abound (e.g., electricity, roof climbing, tree cutting, lawnmower repair, etc.).
They just have to be approached with an open mind, an inquisitive mind, and we have to give back to the community when we're done.
Thanks to all who contributed. It's my turn now to add value - which I can only do once I get the parts and tools and get the job started!
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On Sun, 4 Nov 2012 20:26:06 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Sometimes the old farts here hire everything out, and they forgot about when they did it themselves. Or it makes them tired just thinking about it. They aren't excited about doing a job. No energy except to post here. I'm "almost" in that category. Sometimes they parrot what they heard elsewhere. Sometimes they just don't want somebody getting hurt from their advice. Sometimes they know the cost of DIY isn't worth their time. Car exhaust work is one for me. I just don't do it. I pay up. Roofing is another, and whole house tuckpointing. I was going to replace my garage door myself, until I priced it out. Glad I paid up instead of DIY. I would NOT have enjoyed DIY. Years ago I would have relished it. With all that in mind, good luck to you. YOU CAN DO IT!!
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On 11/4/12 1:59 PM, Meanie wrote:

No, I do most of my own repairs and maintenance and no I'm not a motivational speaker.
But I am a physician who-- thanks to the federal government's absurdly low reimbursement schedules and the coming of obamacare-- needs to work a few extra shifts to make enough money to make required payments on med school loans. Most hospitals are always looking for game guys to staff their ERs-- so it's easy to pick up a few extra well-paying shifts per month.
I can't tell you how many serious injuries I've seen, set, surgeried, sewn up, twice amputated...and once pulled the sheet up over the face of a self-styled garage door installer with the spring installation instructions still crumpled up in his back pocket....
But hey big guy, knock yourself out!
--
Don't forget to change your clocks on Saturday-- and your President on
Tuesday.
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...and those who can't, yet try and fail are the ones who provide you with job security. Those of us big guys who can, will knock ourselves out and succeed, yet don't provide you with the burden. You choose that profession, you don't like it, get out and become a lawyer.
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Yeah, I'd call a door guy out and maybe a couple more if I didn't like the prices. I've adjusted them, and it's all common sense, but finding the right replacement spring could be a hassle. Then there's your time doing it right and safe. Just as one data point, I had my old wood door (16' x 7', 4 section) replaced with a metal one a few months ago. $900. 2 remotes, keypad and push button. 2 guys, maybe an hour and a half, old door hauled away. Pow, pow, pow. New door is smooth as silk.
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On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 07:23:29 -0600, Vic Smith wrote:

Hmmm... In all my googling, I've never heard of 'adjusting' torsion springs (the ones perpendicular to the travel of the door and directly overhead as you drive into the doorway).
Are you 'sure' you adjusted a torsion spring?
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On Sun, 4 Nov 2012 18:38:48 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Yep. It goes like this, but slower.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asYaG1-CcN0

You '"adjust" because of layers of door paint adding weight, or the springs weakening. I've done it on both garages I've owned. I'm thinking of adjusting my brand new door. I lifted it with the opener detached, and think it's way too heavy Too much strain on the opener. Maybe they want repeat opener business, or maybe they just know more than me. Anyway, if I do it I'll do it like I've done it before. Tighten each spring a quarter turn until the door lifts off the floor, then back off until the door goes back on the floor. Worked for me. You should get winding bars if you do it. I used big screwdrivers, but I'm real strong. And careful.
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