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

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 8:12 pm
On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 13:07:22 -0600, Vic Smith wrote:

Hi Vic, Interesting. I see what you mean. Thanks for edifying me.
It's amazing what the folks on a.h.r know, and it's a blessing to be able to learn from you all!

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 10:36 pm
On 11/4/2012 2:12 PM, Danny D. wrote:

Many of us have busted knuckles from working on things. I like to share the pain. ^_^
TDD

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• posted on November 22, 2012, 4:57 pm
On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 13:07:22 -0600, Vic Smith wrote:

I must apologize for not understanding how you adjust a torsion spring earlier this month. You are correct.
What confused me is that you're not actually adjusting the spring, per se. What you're doing is adding or removing a quarter turn or two.
I had to do it myself (adjust the door) and only recently (belatedly) understood the math involved.
The 'math' is that the garage door is 7 feet tall and the 4-inch diameter cable drum is about 13 inches in circumference. That means that each revolution of the cable drum is about a foot of cable update - hence the garage door moves up by a foot, so it would take about 7 revolutions of the cable drum to lift the door all the way up.
Of course, the cable drum, the spring, and the hollow steel bar all spin together - so it takes about 7.5 revolutions of the entire apparatus to lift the garage door.
You add about a half turn to keep tension on the cables so that they don't slip off the cable drum - so - the net is that you need 7.5 turns, or 30 quarter turns.
What happened for me to make me learn what you were saying was that my door was moving up too fast with the 30 quarter turns. So I had to "adjust" the tension of the spring by reducing the turns to 29 turns.
So now I know what you mean by adjusting the tension of the spring! Sorry for being thick.
I also needed to adjust the cable lengths but that was via a different method.

Dan Musick uses the "never never never" triplet when discussing screwdrivers. IMHO, the \$8 cost for the winding bars was worth it - even if they can't be used for anything else realistically.

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 2:22 pm
"Danny D." wrote:

You can get new springs at your local Overhead Door branch or other commercial door place. You will not find then at the big box stores due to the safety concerns.
As for replacing them, it's a pain changing them out since you have to release the tension on the remaining spring, slide the shaft to one side so you can get the old springs off and the new on, making sure you put the correct one on each side since they are not the same, get the shaft centered up again and then tension each side the proper amount evenly. You'll need two 1/2" dia steel bars around 2'-3' long for the untensioning and tensioning.
The tensioning and untensioning are not fun procedures and would be best done with two people if possible. Ensure you are positioned to the side out of the path of the bars in case you loose your grip, something slips, etc. and the bar comes whizzing past. You need to count the number of turns or 1/4 turns you put on each spring to keep them even.
If you count the turns on the intact spring as you untension it, that will give you a target tension to aim for when tensioning the new ones. Test the door manually to determine if it is properly balanced at that point. If the door place will replace the springs for ~\$100 in labor it's probably worth it to avoid the hassle. When I replaced the springs on my garage door I had to do it over a couple days since the tensioning was doing a number on my carpal tunnel.

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 5:06 pm

TGhe OP siad there was only one spring, not a pair.

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 6:54 pm
On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 09:06:48 -0800, hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

Yes. And the original photo in the original post showed only one spring:

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 7:01 pm
news:e57abefd-d08d-438a-84ae- TGhe OP siad there was only one spring, not a pair.
It is best to replace "both" if one breaks.

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 6:48 pm
On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 09:22:23 -0500, Pete C. wrote:

There is no remaining spring. There is only one spring.

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 6:53 pm
On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 09:22:23 -0500, Pete C. wrote:

This is good advice ... but ... I fear ... the price out here, in Silicon Valley, may be appreciably higher than that. I'm guessing around \$200 but I need to make some calls on Monday (it's Sunday right now).
The problem with the pros is they'll put on 'whatever is on the truck' which isn't what I want. I know that from personal experience also. The high-school graduate who replaces my spring doesn't care WHAT he puts on as his primary concern is to get the spring off the truck and then on to the next job.
From the readings on Truetex, I can buy a higher-than-original quality spring (i.e., a thicker gauge) for about \$30 - so that's a prime reason for doing it myself - as 10,000 cycles is far too little for the use that I give out of my garage door (I'd like 30,000 cycles ... but I'll settle for 20,000 cycles).
I realized, belatedly, I need to mic the spring, as I only eyeballed it with a rule at 1/4 inch. It matters greatly what it is (yellow paint isn't standard for 1/4 inch so that's another indication I'm off on the gauge).

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 3:47 pm

I don't think there's a better "how to" on the topic than this one by Richard Kinch.
http://www.truetex.com/garage.htm

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 4:01 pm
Smitty Two wrote:

Hi, There are quite a few Youtube demo as well. After careful prep. I did it in one week end evening replacing springs and new set of cables. Now I spray Liquid wrench from now and then onto springs to extend the life of them.

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 8:07 pm
On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 09:01:13 -0700, Tony Hwang wrote:

Thanks Tony. I found a few YouTube videos which were helpful to understand what was a bit obscure in the canonical Truetex DIY (see below).
Perhaps the most interesting was this video which showed a spring breaking in front of our eyes and then repaired!

The better DIY videos seem to be here:
DIYClinic - Garage Door Torsion Spring Replacement (Part 1)

DIYClinic - Garage Door Torsion Spring Replacement (Part 2)

How to install Garage Door Torsion Springs Part 1

How to install Garage Door Torsion Springs Part 2

Here is a Sears guy (apparently) installing a torsion spring: How To Install Garage Torsion Springs - Torsion Spring Replacement

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 7:52 pm
On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 07:47:46 -0800, Smitty Two wrote:

Thanks Smitty Two.
I see you're a regular here so you're a voice of wisdom.
I read the entire Kinch DIY - and it resonated with the engineer inside of me. I especially liked the part about paying an extra \$5 or \$10 for a muuuuuuuuch better - read thicker gauge - spring which would have triple the duty cycle of the cheap spring that I'll get with the drive-by installers.
In fact, I've had the torsion springs replaced before - and - my experience is that the uneducated but experienced guy who replaces them cares less about giving you the right spring than about moving on to his next paying job.
So, this is my main impetus: a) Better spring (30K cycles would be ideal) b) The satisfaction of learning how to do it myself c) Ameliorating the (appreciable) risk
Searching for DIYs, I find this is an 'easier read' than Kinch's engineering novella because this DIY reads exactly like a DIY should:
DDM Garage Doors: How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs http://ddmgaragedoors.com/diy-instructions/replace-garage-door-torsion-springs.php
On the opposite scale, these installation instructions read like, um, like installation instructions: http://www.clopaydoor.com/publicfiles/supplementtorsionspring.pdf
At least 'these' installation instructions are in color: http://www.youdoitstore.net/pdf/replacetorcable.pdf
This 2-part YouTube video covers the basics in real time: DIYClinic - Garage Door Torsion Spring Replacement (Part 1)

DIYClinic - Garage Door Torsion Spring Replacement (Part 2)

Interesting, this video shows a husband & wife team doing the job (gotta love propaganda!) http://www.diygaragerepair.com/Install-Garage-Door-Torsion-Springs-s/470.htm
And, this DIY reads like a regular DIY (better than Truetex does): http://www.youdoitstore.com/Garage_Door_Springs_Torsion_s/4.htm
As Kinch said, the suppliers of the torsion springs are all over the net nowadays (his DIY was written in 2002 or so, I believe), so it looks like I can get a 30K spring for under \$40 plus shipping.

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 7:09 pm

You've received good advice from most as well as found a good tutorial. Therefore, I haven't much more to add with exception to the painted line on the springs, which nobody mentioned. The painted line is straight on an non-tensioned spring. As you apply tension, the lines obviously separate and thus, space themselves apart. This aids in the tension of the spring. Take a look at your unbroken spring and count the line sections. If there are 7, for example, then you will know to turn the new spring up to roughly 7 line sections. Not sure if I explained that well, but I hope you get it.
The overall process is not difficult, IMO, but time consuming. Take your time and ensure everything is well tighten.

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• posted on November 5, 2012, 12:31 am
On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 14:09:45 -0500, Meanie wrote:

That's a great hint!
A count of coils seems to indicate a 0.2375 inch wire gauge: But, notice the last count seems oddly off (due to twist?) Large:
Small:

The twist lines are faded, but I count 9 of them, in toto for the 7 foot tall by 8 foot wide steel door, as shown below: Large:
Small:

Do you also count 9? (The last one is hard to tell.)

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• posted on November 5, 2012, 11:50 am

I know you said you had one spring, but for some reason I was still thinking two and one was broken.
Since that one spring is broken, the count could be less due to the retraction of the spring after it broke. Though, it's a good starting point to know about where it should be, the best option is to set tension and check the balance of the door. This may require a few times of resetting but it's best to ensure a balanced door.
Good luck. Let us know how everything works out.

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• posted on November 5, 2012, 1:02 pm
On Mon, 05 Nov 2012 06:50:15 -0500, Meanie wrote:

A assume that, say, there are 7 twists, when the spring breaks, it can sprong over to, say 9.

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• posted on November 5, 2012, 1:55 pm
Danny,
The engineer inside of you is definitely showing. You're really thinking this one through. I appreciate the link to the better written DIY sites.
You're right about getting the better quality spring for more cycles. After replacing my own I find myself trying to limit the number of times I open and close it. I've caught myself getting mildly irritated when my wife wastes cycles by needlessly using the garage door.
As far as sourcing the torsion spring it sounds like you don't have a Menards in your area. Even though many garage door shops will tell you on the phone they don't sell to the public, they will if you show up at their door with the broken spring and the cash.
I've bought things a couple of times from non-retail HVAC and plumbing outlets. All you need is the broken part, some green, and a boyish grin.
Make sure you tell us how this odyssey turns out.
Good luck.
dss

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• posted on November 5, 2012, 4:23 pm
On Mon, 05 Nov 2012 05:55:25 -0800, dss wrote:

Seems to me, the DIY advantage is we get BETTER springs.

I'm in California. The nearest Menards is Wyoming. http://www.menards.com/main/storeLocator.html

I understand. And I agree. I've been able to buy HVAC parts, for example, off the shelf - but they would never order the actual compressor for me.

Half the USENET is people asking questions; the other half are the answers to those questions! I will definitely try to inform as I learn.
For example, based on this wonderful video, it seems you do not measure the ID and the coil thickness directly.
'2s
In addition, it is good to know that every twist adds a coil of length, and, that, for a 7-foot tall door, you have in general 7 twists.

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• posted on November 4, 2012, 8:11 pm
On Sun, 04 Nov 2012 08:58:06 -0800, Oren wrote:

Hi Oren, I know you're a regular here so I appreciate the advice. The Truetex article is great but it's a difficult read. I prefer to read and understand everything in truetex, but, then to follow one of the simpler DIYs to follow.
Richard wrote an engineering novella - so he deserves credit - but what he doesn't really do is show a nice step-by-step DIY.
Luckily, those step-by-step DIYS seem to be all over the net, so I'll watch a few dozen so that I have all the steps memorized in sequence.
One thing to be aware of though, is that the color coding is useless according to the Truetex discussion - because they may not be following standards.
So, I'll just trust in my mic and calipers instead of colors! :)