Garage door - can you soft-start them?


My few-months-old Sears 3/4HP garage door opener, lifts a double door up nice and smooth. However, when it goes down again, its like the motor is instantly up to speed and the door knocks its way down for a few seconds, jolting everything hard.
As far as I know there are two adjusters that determine where the upmost and downmost points are, but I am not sure if there is any way to adjust the descent start. Put in a spring between the arm and the door?
Thanks for any tips!
DeanB
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dean wrote:

May be you need an adjustment for the springs? How does it work(open/close) manually? When properly adjusted it should not need much effort to open or close.
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dean writes:

Too much spring already. You need a damper.
The opener just has the wrong characteristic, I assume because they use a cheap AC motor that has no low-torque capabilities.
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As Tony suggested, start by making sure the main springs are correctly adjusted and the tracks are also ok. Disconnect the door from the opener and make sure it moves easily up and down and will stay up and stay down without help.
If that does not do it, then I would guess some sort of dampened would be called for, but I don't know what to suggest, I have never seen one for a garage door. A spring would likely be a problem not a cure.
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dean wrote:

Your spring(s) need to be adjusted. The door is binding because of unequal tension.
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Do the following test with the door in the down position... Disconnect the door from the opener, if my theory is correct your door will be difficult to lift and will not stay in any up position. If this is true your torsion springs need adjustment. When your springs are correctly adjusted the door should be fairly easy to lift and will reach a balance point when it is about 4' to 6' from the floor. Adjusting torsion springs can be a bit dangerous, I suggest you read the info from this web page, then make a decision if you want to DIY or use the yellow pages. http://truetex.com/garage.htm
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Trajen wrote:

Ok thanks everyone, I will take a look at the balance tonight. If I have to adjust the sprints, what's involved with that? The springs do have a wire cable through the middles for safety.
Do you think there is too little tension on the springs?
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dean wrote:

Disclaimer: If you are at all concerned about getting hurt or causing damage the anything within 50' of the door do not attempt to adjust the springs. That said adjusting side mounted springs it is pretty easy.
Pull the disconnect to release the door from the opener
Raise the door as high as it will go
Block the door from falling (vise grips on the track or a c-clamp work well)
The springs should now have little or no tension (verify this)
Adjust the cable running through the pulley on both sides so the springs have just enough tension that they are not loose. This is not rocket science you just want enough tension so the cable can't come off the pulley. Sometimes the cables are threaded through a bracket several times other times they have a loop and bolted swag. You want the tension to be equal on both sides.
Unblock the door and try raising and lowering it from the center of the door. The door should stay level all the time and should stay closed when all they way down.
Reconnect it to the opener by resetting the release mechanism. Open & close using the opener.
Have a Gimlet and tell your wife how great you are and how lucky she is to have a man like you.
If you have the torsion springs mounted to the wall above the door it is probably a good idea to leave them alone and call someone. These can hurt you but it doesn't sound like you have this setup since you said there were safety cables running through the springs.
http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infgar/infgar1b.shtm
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RayV wrote:

Thanks Ray, I will give it a shot. We're talking about a couple of pounds force (tension) in the springs, right?
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dean wrote:

Yes, with the door fully raised. Just enough tension to keep the spring from sagging and keep the door raising cable from jumping off of the pulley.
When the door is down the springs have _A LOT_ of tension on them. That is the reason for the safety cables. If they snap when the door is down the springs can go right through a garage door, windshield, soft tissue, etc.
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RayV wrote:

I understand. I'll get back on this when I've had a look at the springs.
Cheers!
Dean
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