Garage door dilemma (longish)

Our 20 ft garage door is on a 25 year old townhouse located in So Calif. Been here 2 years.
Recently it appears the alignment in the door itself may be out of whack. A few months back, it would not close completely at one of the lower corners. Had to open it and close it several times until it finally righted itself.
The past few days it has rained unusually heavily, and the door gets stuck halfway up. Water logged is my guess. I disconnect the track and yep, it's heavy, and wants to close rather faster than I feel safe. It's no guillotine, but watch those toes. It's also too heavy for my S.O. to lift without assistance.
When examining the track, I found a thread of plastic- maybe nylon 'cos it is white (ish)- hanging at the end of the track, at the end closest to the door. Is there a wheel/gear/guide inside that could be slowly unraveling due to the extra strain?
When I hold the door in the open position I can feel it move laterally just a bit- and this is noticeable. In fact this is how I was able to get it to finally open completely tonight, although the next try it was back to half mast.
To sum up I suspect we might have a couple of things happening here. The poor state of the door (although cosmetically it appears no worse than anyone else's in the complex), due to age and weathering, might be putting strain on the springs and the mechanism. Which in turn might be doing the same to the opener. The S.O. has called Sears (it's a Craftsman 1/2 HP). They charge $65 for the service call, plus in addition whatever they might find, and that is applicable to the price of a replacement, should it come to that..
Should I concentrate my limited time and resources at the moment on finding a solution to what's wrong with the door, or the opener?
If it's the door, what should I look for? Can the springs be worn/fatigued/terminal? Would the material of the door suddenly have increased porosity to soak up more water than ever before (it worked fine for the last 2 years)? Is the 'apparent' rubbing of the door to the frame something I might be able to correct myself?
If it is the opener, should I get inside and look for what could be worn? I am somewhat mechanically inclined, so once I take the unit down and get inside, I can do what Sears wants to charge me for (and if the door is borked, then hell, the opener is not the issue here, although it might be a bit more worn since we've discovered the issue somewhat down the line.
Any advice, suggestions etc. appreciated, TIA.
--
Meck

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From your description it sounds like most of the problem is in the door & that you have extension springs (stretch along the sides of the track) since it closes unevenly sometimes. Extension springs will stretch out & lose strength over time & wood doors will gain weight. The extension springs should be replaced once they have lost their strength.
However the weight gain could be from the door being painted a number of times & not necessarily (although possible) from absorbing water. Wood doors usually need to be painted more frequently then steel doors & therefore the weight gain can be significant after a number of paintings. It is very likely the door was painted just before the unit was sold to you.
The movement in the door could also be from worn pulleys that are on the end of the springs & on the track up near the header. If they wobble on the bearings these should also be replaced.
Until you get the door working properly (open the door half way by hand & let go, the door should stay where it is & neither close or open on it's own) it may be hard to tell if the opener needs any repairs or not. When you say nylon hanging at the end of the track by the door I am assuming you are referring to the opener. If so I would have to assume that you have a screw drive opener & it could be part of the nylon bushing that runs the full length of the rail between the screw & the screw rail. If that is the case some wear on this part probably will not effect the operation of the opener at all.
Let me know if I totally miss read the type of products you have, but it appears that if the door was working properly the opener would not have any problems at all.
Doordoc www.DoorsAndOpeners.com
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Yeah I've seen the springs at Homeless Depot. Will make a closer inspection of item and installation. Need to find out if this is a job which I can tackle.

Last time it rained this steadily was some months back, less than a year, and there was no real problem before which I can recall. I spose this could explain, with the springs being sprung plus the added weight, the effort for the opener would increase beyond it's set limitation.

I will check.

Yes.
I don't know, the S.O. is gathering up the warantee/instruction info.

Yeah you were spot on. Thanks for the help!
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There are to many things to look at, but first things first. Check your neighbors doors and see if there is anything different, and or similar to yours. Check the tracks, the springs, the mounting, etc. Garage doors without the proper spring tension are heavy, very heavy. There are three groups of springs, one each on the cable at the top end of the track overhead which compress as the door is lifted, and a spring that gets wound up, it's visible over the top of the door when it is closed. My first guess would be that the coiled spring right above the closed door, may have slipped, thus uncoiling the tension. They can be tightened with a couple bars in the piece used for this. It's in the middle of the springs, looks sort of like a u joint on a car driveshaft. But you must be very, very careful. The springs are strong and you can really get hurt if you're not careful. Those might be the places to look first, but like I said be careful.
Dave
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may
very
Yes, will do this very carefully, now that I know what to look for.

Double check.
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Just wanted to point out that garage doors can be very dangerous to screw around with if you don't know what you are doing. Be careful. Also some of the repair guys are crooks. There is a nationwide chain of crooks that put fullpage ads in the yellow pages with a $29 special and then they come to your house with a ridiculous song and dance about how every part needs to be change on the old door and they charge you more than what a brand new door would cost. So watch out for them too.
One legit outfit is Wayne Dalton. They make great doors and openers and at least in my area repair all brands.
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Abso.
I got my b.s. detector switched on now, thanks for the tip.

This community has an outfit they use, will take a look at them first, since all work has to be approved by the Central Committee Meddling and Overseeing All Things to do with Your Home.
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I agree with the other posts, and would like to add these thoughts KISS, no offence intended Have you ever lubed the door? Mine gets bounded up if I do not once a year. get some wd-40 or my favorite tri-flow lube every moving part that you can find. One shot and then operate the door. Repeat but not more than 3 times. Do the chain or drive every couple of feet as well. If this helps then the problem is in the rolling parts. If the problem goes away then all you have to do is lube the parts every once and a while and your good to go. If not please follow the other posts. I hate working on garage doors and usually hire the pros. The springs can be killers for the novice.
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None taken.

No.
I hear you brother.
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Quite honestly, if you never lubed the door and didn't consider the need you should not start tinkering with it. You have no idea how dangerous they are. I almost cut my head off with one not knowing what I was doing. No joke.
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Art Begun spake thusly: :Quite honestly, if you never lubed the door and didn't consider the :need you should not start tinkering with it. You have no idea how :dangerous they are. I almost cut my head off with one not knowing :what I was doing. No joke.
Not something worth losing my head over. Definitely. Fair warning, thanks.
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1. Counterbalance the door first.
2. If the door is not on a plane and because of this will not shut properly then it probably was closed on some ones car. You'll have to flex it back on plane the best way you can.
3. Inspect for overly worn parts.
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?!? Seriously, it does not appear to be 'bowed,' in that direction. The door gets hung up on one corner which she pulls down using the metal rod at the bottom to lock into place at night.

Drive the car back into it? ;^O
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