Garage Door Springs

I had a spring break on my extension spring garage door. I'm trying to figure out what weight replacement spring to get without being able to fully weigh it. Basically, I'm afraid to take the other spring off and lower it, because I don't think I can pull it back up on my own, and I want to order the parts today.
The springs that were on there were 180#. However, they were stretched about 50% more than their max stretch rating. So I am assuming they were slightly underpowered. OR - is it possible that springs would stretch out that much prior to breaking if they were very old? I have no idea what the age is, but the tags on them seemed fairly rusty and I think they are pretty old.
I used an online calculator, which told me a non insulated steel door that is 16' X 7' is about 220lbs usually. This is 40# more than the springs that were present. I'm wondering if the reason the springs were so stretched out is that they were underpowered. I was considering going up 10lbs to a 190# spring with the assumption that that was the problem. Will that be an issue if the door actually weighs 180? Wouldn't I be able to adjust the heavier springs (by increasing the pull cable distance) so that 190 would work on a 180 door? Or do you recommend sticking with 180# springs?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The distance the springs stretch is determined by the length of the door movement, not the weight of the door. No matter how heavy the door, it still moves over exactly the same distance from fully open to fully close.
Do you know if the door was properly balanced before the spring broke, ie if it was about mid way and you let go of it did it tend to stay put, or did it move one way or the other? If it was balanced and the springs were 180, then I'd go with that. Personally, I wouldn't order new ones without weighing the door. Also, I'd try to find them locally so that if you need to swap them, you can do it easily with no delay. HD has them.
When I replaced mine, I found the ones from HD to be undersized relative to my measured weight using a bathroom scale. I had to go 2 sizes higher to get the door balanced. So, I'd say if in doubt, a size higher is probably better.
Also, I don't know why, but the new ones are much smaller diameter than the old ones, I'd say better than 2X difference. Don't know if that has any implication for longevity. Also make sure you have safety cables installed. They came with my springs.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, it seemed fairly balanced before, but my feeling is that the previous owner had tightened the tension on the spring by shortening the length of the pull cable. I assumed that might cause the springs to pull harder, but maybe not.
I checked all the hardware stores around me, and the highest rated extension springs I could find were 160#. So, I had to order online. Right now my order is for 190#, so I guess I'm going to stick with that for now. I probably should try to weigh it, but I'm also pretty sure I'm close since the previous springs were 180 and working (tho probably tightened more than they should have been).
Thanks!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 09 Sep 2007 16:55:03 +0000, jeff37 wrote:

I had one of the door springs break on one side and found a pair at Home Depot that matched. I installed both springs because they are sold in sets. Lowes may also have them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
All the issues about door weight aside.... When you actually replace the spring(s), make damn sure that the door CANNOT move while you are working on it. Several sets of Vice-Grips or C-Clamps on the track is one way to do it. I found out the hard way when I was a kid. I didn't break or have anyrhing removed, but there sure was alot of blood.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OK guys, the perfectionist in me took over and I decided to weigh it. Fortunately, I was roughly correct on the weight so I did not kill myself. The door turns out to be 165lbs, although there is probably a margin of error since the scale was not completely flat. I think its safe to say the 180# springs that were already on there were correct. Though now I'm wondering if I should even drop down to 170. Safest is probably to go with what was there - it worked for many years from what I can tell.
And yea, I've checked Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace with no luck. Highest weight any of them have around me is 160#. Just shy of my needs.
By the way, I totally agree with securing everything while the door is up. I've replaced the pull cables on this door before, so I know the drill. I make sure I get it completely flat on the top and then throw 2 or 3 C-clamps on each side.
Thanks all!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I too have the same problems when I replaced the springs in my old house. The springs were color coded. I replaced heavier springs. I found that when the door moves upward, toward the end of travel it will spring back and hit the hanger track and bounce forward. I have to replace the original color coded springs. Further, it's almost impossible to adjust the doors that it will remain stationary at three feet from the garage floor or remain fully open (upward). I would not change the springs' size unless it was original wrongly size.

I believe the end of the spring is color coded, replace it with the same color.

To add further safety insurance, I include a ladder at the center of the garage door which I am working.
BTW, I moved and now sourcing for a complete garage door hardware's and track system less door and electrical openers. No one will sell me locally, so I went to the Internet and found Amarr and Holmes. I called them. Neither will sell me unless I buy their doors from a local garage door company. A local garage door companies, charge more than $800 for a 18' aluminum door, install complete including hauling all the garbage. For wooden door $1,600.
I am an experienced DIY home owner and had made and replace a wooden garage door (my old house in the Midwest). It cost me less than $20 for each panel (four panels for each door. Made from pine and hardboard, excluding hinges, paints and router bit, to make sure it look exactly the door I replaced). Anyone can help to find a supplier that will sell me a double track torsion spring, complete track and hardware in San Francisco or internet?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.