"Jim McLaughlin" <jim.mclaughlin> wrote in message
My dad once tried to replace one. It somehow let go from whatever he was
holding the end with. It almost took off the side of his face. I don't
recall whether he made a mistake in his approach, or what, but you might
want to think about paying a pro to do it.
Let me second that. That's a big DDD! (Don't Do Dat!) The spring has
lot of tension and you'll wind up with whatever you're using to tighten
it firmly imbedded in your head.
When the guy that comes says, "as long as I'm here, should I replace
both of them?", say yes. They're like glassware, when one breaks, the
other one will soon.
Replacement springs are available at home centers, like Home Depot.
They are sold by the weight of the door they are suited for. Newer
ones are supposed to be color coded, with paint marking near the end
that indicates the weight. If it's an old one and unmarked, you will
need to weigh the door. You can do that with a bathroom scale.
With the door fully raised, use C clamps in the tracks to keep it
there. Remove the remaining spring, then have someone help you lower
the door onto the scale. Be careful, as a big door can weigh 150lbs or
more. You install the new springs with the door again fully in the up
postion and kept there with C clamps. Replace the other spring too.
The springs should have just a bit of tension on them with the door
fully open. Remove the clamps and carefully lower the door. It should
be balanced so that it takes little force up or down to move it. When
closed, it should just stay there, not pull back up. You may need to
adjust the tension again to get it right, or switch to a different
weight spring to get it right.
When you're done, install safety cables, that should come with the new
springs. These go throught the center of the spring and are secured to
the track at either end. That way if the spring breaks again, it can't
fly off and do damage.
I had similar experience. Could've lost a finger.
I learned how to do it first with proper tool. IMO,
it's not worth for DIY'er. Let a pro handle it.
And soak the springs with oil to prevent premature
metal fatigue and failure.
Raise the door to its full height and wedge it open. A screwdriver
wedged behind one of the wheels or a pair of vise-grips on the track
should do it. That will relieve most of the pressure on the remaining
spring. There should not be much tension with the door raised.
Pull off the remaining spring and take it with you to buy two new
springs (they need to match). When you replace them make sure you feed
a safety cable through the springs in case they ever fail.
If it seems unsafe to remove the spring with the door raised then call
Don't mess with this fix, call a garage-door mechanic. Both springs
will be replaced. BTW, I know a guy who lost his thumb when
attempting to replace a garage-door spring. Cost should be under
$200. Garage door springs will typically last about 8 to 15 years,
and the new ones probably closer to 8 years.
On Mon, 8 May 2006 11:44:56 -0700, "Jim McLaughlin" <jim.mclaughlin>
I'm a little confused here. I read many posts where people ask about
installing sub-panels or installing DWV pipe or moving a giant shed and
all sorts of advice is offered. But someone asks about replacing a
garage door spring and the OP gets responses like "call a professional,
it is too dangerous"
You are more likely to get hurt messing around in an electrical box
than installing a garage door spring, and an improperly installed
plumbing system can cause serious illness or property damage. I would
also think it is more dangerous to move a shed than install a spring
that will lift 150 pounds.
What gives? Is it the immediacy of a pinched finger that has people
leery of this repair as opposed to the long term damage from poorly
installed DWV system?
More likely that some of us know what where talking about because we've
done it, and others don't. I agree with Ray, that changing extension
springs on a garage door is far less dangerous than screwing around
with electricity, or climbing on a roof to fix a leak. Yet, people
tell folks on here how to do the latter two all the time, without
feeling the need to tell them they shouldn't even think about doing it.
I've read of plenty of people being electrocuted or falling off roofs
and getting injured. And I've yet to read a news report of anyone
getting injured changing a spring. I'm sure it's happened, but it's
less dangerous than many other home repairs that people do all the time.
I've made a hobby of collecting such tales, and in almost (almost) every
case that is not just a friend-of-a-friend myth, it is due to utter
ignorance of the most basic technique. Typically, somebody just stupidly
loosens the setscrew on a winding cone, without engaging winding bars.
(This is like jumping off a roof, thinking it will get you down on the
ground.) This results in a maiming injury, after which all who hear of it
conclude that the activity is death-defying, when in fact it is the
ignorance of technique that is the chief component of the hazard.
Yet even the guys in the biz tell me that they get hurt now and then,
despite knowing everything there is to know about what they do. So it is
not without its inherent hazards that are to some degree unavoidable.
I used his instructions [the web page above]with good results and saved
money, have all of my fingers and toes and now have the tools to do it
again should the need arise. Well written, thought out and made a job
that heretofore was taboo a simple DIY task.
Somebody had to teach the "professionals" didn't they??
Reminds me of guy I used to work with many years ago. He was a nice
guy, but always had a cloud of doom following him around. Most of it
was his own doing. He had an old Dodge Diplomat and it was always in
need of repair. One day he starts telling me how he's gonna replace
the front suspension torsion bar. Sounds like it could be one of those
jobs that is a lot easier if you have the right eqpt, a shop, and have
done it before or at least have a service manual. This guy was
living in an apartment at the time, so he was gonna do it out in the
parking lot, with no other car available, minimal tools, etc.
He comes in Monday morning with his arm in a sling. Seems the torsion
bar wrenched it and nearly broke it. So, then he starts telling me
how he's gonna do the alignment next. Now, I do a lot of work on my
own cars, but how the hell can you do this? I mean you need to be able
to accurately measure toe in/out, caster, camber, etc. I try to tell
him to take it to a shop and get it done for $75, but to no avail. Two
months later, he's bitching that he needs new tires cause they're all
bald on one side!
On 8 May 2006 14:40:23 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Actually, you can do a pretty precise alignment if you know how to measure and
have time on your hands, rather than cash to pay someone else. String and paint
cans are a help. Now days it's even easier, because you can buy little laser
pointers very cheaply. Once you have done it once, it becomes pretty easy.
Terry & Skipper, Clearlake Texas
On 9 May 2006 01:19:48 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
It's been done this way since the dawn of alignment. Ask a real mechanic, rather
than a young, book- taught, "parts changer" and they can describe it more fully
for you. It's a little more than JUST paint cans and string, but not much.
Terry & Skipper, Clearlake Texas
You can eyeball toe in. I once worked at a place and that the only way we
did it. As for the caster, it's not the angle that's important, it's the
fact that both sides are the same. If it pulls one way with the camber and
toe correct, then adjust the caster to remove the pull. Simple.
< firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
Have you seen the tolerance specifications on a modern car? You cannot eyeball
any of these readings. Geez some of the German cars specify that you put
sandbags in the seats before making the adjustments.
People don't read. There are two types of springs common to garage doors.
Torsion wound springs and coil springs. The OP has the latter, a very
simple 15 minute job. Torsion springs have some inherent danger unless done
properly. The doom and gloom guys that said to call a pro either don't
know about coil springs or did not take the time to figure out what is 26"
Depends a lot on the type of spring. You're probably thinking of extension
springs, which any idiot can replace without much danger. Sounds to me like
the OP has torsion springs (an extension spring would likely be more than 26"
long), and those can be *very* dangerous.
The danger with torsion springs isn't pinched fingers -- it's *amputated*
fingers and broken bones.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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