Garage door torsion spring broken ... and ... I have no questions! :)

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On Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:32:45 -0700, Oren wrote:

This "color" is something else altogether. There are 5 uses of paint on a spring (only one of which is useful):
1. Color used to denote wire gauge (we covered this in the prior post). 2. Color (usually red) used to denote dangerous bolts (covered prior). 3. Color (usually red) used to denote the wind direction (covered prior). 4. Color (usually a line of #1 above) used to count turns. 5. Color (usually a line added by the homeowner) used to indicate slip.
Since we covered the first three uses of color in the prior post, let's explain the next two (of which, only the last one is useful).
Here is a picture of the new (larger wire gauge) springs:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7442/10578548715_01e0f14be0_b.jpg
Here is a picture of the old (smaller wire gauge) springs:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7329/10546499905_85e2064872_o.gif
Here is a picture of my spring that I put in a year ago on another door:
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5489/10564820884_2729d6a11e_o.gif
It's hard to see in the picture, but last year's spring has both #4 and #5 in my list painted in white paint on it. $4 was painted *before* the spring was installed (it shows up as 7 spirals); while #5 was painted *after* the spring was mounted (it shows up as a straight line but it's not really visible in the photo).
Regarding #4:
It's folly to use the spiral lines to count turns for a whole bunch of reasons, but, mainly because the better way to count turns is to count from 28 to 30 quarter turns (for a 7-foot door). You couldn't possibly make a full turn with the winding bars, so, counting quarter turns makes practical sense (as explained by Dan Musick in all his videos) since that's what you do.
The *reason* for 28 to 30 quarter turns isn't as obvious, but, it's simply because a drum is "about" a foot in circumference (it's actually about 13 inches, and the diameter actually changes as the wire winds, but, let's not get picky right now).
So, every full turn is a foot of cable, and since the door is 7 feet tall, it would take 7 full turns to raise the door the full 7 feet. Since you can't do full turns, that's 7x4 quarter turns, or 28 quarter turns.
Since you want a slight bit of tension on the door, that would be slightly more than 28 quarter turns, and, since the drum isn't exactly one foot, nor do you raise the door exactly 7 feet, you really need an extra quarter turn or two, so, the typical number of quarter turns is greater than 28, but, depending on balance, might be 29 or 30.
Regarding #5: The *only* color on the springs which, in the end, is useful, is a line painted straight on a spring *after* it has been mounted. Why? Because if that line isn't straight, then the spring has slipped. This generally happens over a long period of time, say, 5 years later, as the spring steel fatigues.
Of course, another way to know whether a spring is fatiguing is simply to measure (with your hands) the sprung weight of the door at the midpoint, but, for the price of painting a line, it's still an ok thing to visualize the slippage, over time, in the spring with that white line.
In summary, there are five uses of color in a torsion spring, and, only one of them has even the slightest amount of value.
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On Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:32:45 -0700, Oren wrote:

Hi Oren,
One more thing about color.
Often, people who do not understand torsion springs are the ones calling the garage door repairman who has to ask them questions to ascertain what springs he needs to load on the truck.
So, that guy, on the phone, asks about color.
Why does he ask about color?
Because, if he were to ask the little old lady reporting her garage door won't open what direction the spring was wound, she couldn't tell him.
But, for a single spring door, if he asks what color the cone was painted, she could tell him "red". That would indicate, to him, most of the time, that there is a good chance that this is a RHW spring. So he'd make sure that spring was on the truck.
Likewise, he'd have a hard time asking her to measure the wire gauge of the old spring. So, he might ask "What color is the line on the spring", and she could tell him "it's blue". That way, if the spring is similar to the brand he uses, he'd know to put a 'blue' spring on the truck.
Since the original springs are most likely the cheap 10,000 cycle "industry standard", for him, blue would equate to blue, and he'd know what to give her.
But he'd certainly check (by simply measuring ten or twenty coils and dividing to get the wire gauge) before installing the new blue spring. If the gauge was off, he'd put the right spring on (if it was on the truck).
So, color doesn't really matter. It only gives the guy an easy (but highly inaccurate) way to ask what the dimensions of the spring are of people who know nothing about springs.
Of course, that's most of the population; so, I guess, color matters, in that case.
But, to me, color is meaningless, and I don't rely on color for anything other than a quick doublecheck.
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On Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:32:45 -0700, Oren wrote:

Hi Oren, Given color is meaningless, what you were probably getting at is that almost everyone replaces the old spring with the same size wire gauge spring.
My problem was that the old spring had something like a 10,000 duty cycle rating. I wanted to replace it with a spring with something like a 40,000 cycle rating.
If I open the door 4 times a day for 365 days a year, the 10,000 cycle spring would last only about 7 years, while the 40,000 cycle spring would last about 27 years (within round-off errors).
These are the dimensions of the old springs: 2"ID, 0.225" wire gauge, 24-1/4" long, P/N SPB-225-24-25L/R
These are the dimensions of the new springs: 2"ID, 0.243" wire gauge, 35-1/4" long, P/N SPB-243-35-25L/R
All that matters for duty cycle is the thickness. You'll note that the old springs were 0.225" thick, while the new springs are 0.243" thick. This gives me the additional duty cycle rating.
Of course, the new springs are therefore about a foot longer and a few pounds heavier than the old springs were, and they cost about 15% more; but, the benefit is that I get four times the use out of something that is exactly the same effort to install.
BTW, the spring calculators on Dan Musick's DDM Garage Doors web site makes all these calculations a breeze. http://ddmgaragedoors.com/springs/garage-door-springs.php
PS: I wouldn't recommend anyone *other* than Dan if you need to replace your springs. He's a great guy. He's helpful. He'll talk to you on the phone. He'll fix his videos if you see a problem with them. And, he will even cut you a break when you need it (he gave me free stuff, for example, when I ran into bearing problems).
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On Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:32:45 -0700, Oren wrote:

Dan Musick personally told me NOT to measure the number of turns of the painted stripe in the spring, because it's much more logical (and intuitive) to just count quarter turns.
He also suggested, last time, I paint an additional stripe AFTER the spring is installed.
The results show here, where you can see residual tension on the spring when the door is all the way up (i.e., the spring is unwound):
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2813/10615955516_2b498d8525_o.gif
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On Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:32:45 -0700, Oren wrote:

I just belatedly realized another reason why I wouldn't trust a count of spirals on a torsion spring.
Notice in this photo of my old & new springs, the painted blue line doesn't even extend the full length of the spring.
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5522/10616215013_2abce8c588_h.jpg
So, any count of spirals would be off.
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On Tue, 29 Oct 2013 00:38:17 +0000, Danny D'Amico wrote:

BTW, did you guys notice that the spring, which I oiled a year ago when I did my other garage door, must have broken violently, since you can see the spattered oil in those two pictures above, at exactly the point where the spring broke.
It's interesting that that indicates that the circumferential forces must have been greatest at the site of the breakage.
Where is DDK_Bob when we need him to make astute engineering sense out of this observation! :)
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On Tue, 29 Oct 2013 00:38:17 +0000, Danny D'Amico wrote:

UPDATE:
The deed is done. 1. I replaced the old 24 inch 112# lift springs with 35 112# lift springs. 2. The duty cycle rose from 12K cycles (7 years) to 41K cycles (28 years). 3. I replaced the old plastic center bearing with a heavy duty bearing. 4. I replaced the old metal end plate bearings with heavy duty bearings.
The only problem I had was that I made a noob mistake when I took all the bearings out to snap this picture for you guys:
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5522/10616215013_2abce8c588_h.jpg
When I put those bearings back, I put them in BACKWARD! (auuuurgggh!)
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3732/10615895745_6a33ea9a7d_b.jpg
I didn't realize this, until I noticed the door opening kind'a funny (as the bearings were pushed OUT of their seating location!).
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7443/10616008696_f77f8c2437_b.jpg
Anyway, it's all good now (I'll write to Dan Musick and ask him to beef up the tutorials, since they don't actually say which direction the bearings are supposed to go). That way, the NEXT person following in our footsteps doesn't make that idiotic mistake (slaps head!):
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2813/10615955516_54cd689400_b.jpg
BTW, Since the new spring is 10 inches longer than the old spring, I did get to see how deeply my indents went, as shown below:
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5547/10616201963_c15b1c1ac1_b.jpg
Notice the quarter inch markings, which is described in Dan's videos at his DDM Garage Doors website.
Also notice the spackle on the torsion rod.
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5517/10615968584_3c93bec751_b.jpg
Given that, I think the springs I replaced were the originals.
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On Tue, 29 Oct 2013 00:38:17 +0000, Danny D'Amico wrote:

LESSONS LEARNED:
The only really new lesson learned was to CHECK the direction of the bearings before winding the springs!
I had to take my entire setup apart TWICE, simply because I took all the bearings out (to photograph them), and FORGOT what direction to put them back! (mea culpa)
LESSONS LEARNED:
Here is a shot of the old parts, and all the tools used:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3705/10615937585_f851b2867e_b.jpg
1. 18" long 1/2 inch round soft steel winding bars (from DDM garage doors) 2. 7/16 open-end wrench (for all set screws) 3. Two 9/16" open-ended wrenches (for the center support bolts) 4. 10" vise grip (to lock the torsion bar when winding) 5. Safety glasses 6. Marker (to mark initial pulley position & spring extra quarter inch) 7. Tape measure (to measure old spring coil thickness) 8. Plastic pipe (to push out the old bearings from the end plates) 9. Mallet (to push new spring out 1/4 inch from initial stop point) 10. Oil can (to oil the new springs to minimize friction & binding) 11. Flashlight (to see whether the cable is coiling properly) 12. Spray paint (to paint a straight line when all is wound)
Note: I threw away the spray-paint can as it was out of paint, so, unfortunately, it's not in the DIY tools list photo above.
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On Fri, 1 Nov 2013 22:11:47 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Good stuff, Danny. I had a new steel door put up last year. 2 spring. Didn't cost much, and I didn't want to deal with getting rid of the old wood door. Anyway it works smooth as silk, and is dead quiet going up and down. Thing is, when the opener is detached, it seems heavy to lift. Maybe like lifting 40-50 lbs. In the past I tightened my springs so the door could be lifted with one finger. Less work for the motor. Don't recall you mentioning the "correct" tension. Any advice on that?
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On Fri, 01 Nov 2013 18:29:42 -0500, Vic Smith wrote:

The main thing I fault the new door installers with (and so does Richard Kinch) is that they save a few bucks giving you a 7-year spring, while it only costs you a few bucks to upgrade that to 28 years if you choose the spring yourself.

That's way way way too much. It should be almost weightless. There's no sense in making the GDO do all that work (plus, they have cheap plastic gears, I'm told).
If the spring is the correct spring and it is wound the correct number of quarter turns, the door shouldn't weigh more than about a half a pound or so (i.e., just enough to keep it from springing up when you detach the GDO and open the door half way and then let it go).
Mine I could open with my pinky almost. Certainly just a couple of fingers lifted the door once I adjusted the quarter turns properly.
Go to the DDM site and read the part about adjusting the doors. http://ddmgaragedoors.com/diy-instructions/troubleshooting.php

Yup. Last time, I helped a friend with his door which was too heavy when we tested it after replacing cables. So, we simply added a quarter turn or two to adjust the door until it was weightless again.
The rule of thumb is to multiply quarter turns by the number of feet (assuming normal homeowner garage door geometries) and add two.
So, for my 7' tall door, that's (4x7)+20 quarter turns.
If 30 quarter turns works out for you when you do the weightless test, then you're done. If not, you add or subtract quarter turns just like you did in the past.
In my case this time, I didn't need to. Last time I did. Different doors though, so, each one will be different in that respect.
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On Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:31:14 -0700, Oren wrote:

Yup!
I wrote to Dan (and to Richard Kinch) to ask them to update their tutorials with this information.
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On Tue, 29 Oct 2013 00:38:17 +0000, Danny D'Amico wrote:

I was just checking this thread to see if anyone updated it, and noticed this prediction of mine.
In a perfect world, replacing both springs would take about an hour; but it took me, oh, about 3 hours, I'd say, in toto.
Of course, that's because I had to take time to review the videos on the DDM Garage Doors site, and, unfortunately, because I made the mistake of putting the bearings on backward (hence, I actually did the job three times).
Hmmm mmmm... I guess, since I did the job 3 times, and it took me 3 hours, that averages out to about an hour ... in the end.
:)
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