Garage spring broken

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2 car garage. Very heavy door, supported by two torsion springs. One spring broke today. I could barely lift the garage door, right now it is fixed in the up position with a C clamp on the rail.
I am relatively handy when it comes to say making fuel tanks, fixing boats or repairing diesel generators etc, meaning that I can figure out problems and address them, often with the help of these newsgroups.
My weakness is lack of hand-eye coordination. So I am afraid that I could somehow improperly insert some tool into the spring while winding, and break my arm or teeth.
So, if possible I would like to do this repair myself, this Sunday. The weather is turning for snow and both keeping the garage open with cars inside, and closed with cars outside, are bad solutions.
So...
0. How much could it cost to hire a pro to replace one spring, vs. DIY.
1. Are all garage springs the same? If not, how can I find out what kind I need?
2. Are there some modern thingamagiggys for winding springs that are safe?
3. How unsafe is the process of winding springs
4. Is it a wise idea to replace both springs at the same time?
5. Are these different quality springs, is it the kind of business where you get what you pay for?
I need some input for making a decision. (pro vs. DIY and 1 vs 2 springs) If I decide to do it myself, I will ask for more help but will consult google first.
Thanks!
i
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This is a very dangerous job, and many people have been hurt winding up those springs !! I would call around and get 2 or 3 estimates, and have a garage door expert do it. Also, I would replace both springs at the same time.
I cannot recall the expense, sorry. I do know that it is important to get several estimates.
--James--
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Thanks James, this goes along with my current thinking also. I had tonsillitis recently and have no desire to spend 1-2 days messing around in darkness in freezing weather.
i

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Had mine replaced two yrs ago $159.00.
Tom

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Not bad. Thanks for the data point.
i

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Ignoramus11573 wrote:

Check out Clopay EZ-Set Spring Systems. Replace them both
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no all springs r not the same. if you do it yourself , take 1 w/ you. 1 is a right hand wound and 1 is left hand wound. there is a gadget you can get that u attatch to your drill and it supposedly will turn the spring
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On 26 Dec 2004 02:10:52 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Playintennis5274) wrote:

Here in the suburbs of Portland, there are a bunch of guys in the phone book who do this work excusively. I was fortunate to pick an honest company. All major US cities have garage door spring replacement guys listed in the phone book.
They charged me $85.00 to replace both springs (parts and labor). Like others have said in this post, it can be dangerous to do this yourself. There is a very definite point by point procedure. In addition the tension has to be set properly. I watched they guy do this and decided that this job was definitely left to the "experts".
The purpose of the springs is to, in effect, make the weight of a closed door "lighter" so that a small 1/4 or 1/2 hp. garage door opener has no problem in lifting the door.
All springs wear out eventually. The bitter cold snap that we are having right now in some parts of the country makes the springs even more brittle and this is usually when they break.
Beachcomber
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Be carefull you don't contract a fly-by-night outfit out of the phone book. Sure sign is if they ask for the pagenum when you call -- means that they have several names that they use as a front.
Look for an outfit that's been around at least 5 years.
AVOID ANY COMPANY WHOSE NAME STARTS WITH A AA OR AAA! AA Garage Company is sure to be a ripoff outfit that will be gone next year.
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Be careful of one with the word "Precision" in the name, at least in my experience. Had a full page ad and wanted to refurbish the door for $800. I thru them out.

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Don't do it yourself. Very dangerous job. Probably less than $150 for both springs replaced. Watch out for a large yellow page ad about $29.95 garage door service. There is a national rip off chain with a low come on price and then they tell you you need $800 of hinges and ball bearings. FOrget it. If there is a Wayne Dalton store near you call them. They repair all brands near me and are reasonable. Also they make really neat doors and openers. http://www.wayne-dalton.com/idrive_Torsion.asp

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What is that chain?

Thanks, will check it out. Looks like there are no stores of theirs in my area. (N Ill)
i

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You can do it if you choose, easy enough to get a couple of the right sized rods to wind it. And if you were able to get the door up without having to use a car jack or ratchet hoist, it's probably not as heavy as my 500+ pound one. But in view of the weather, and your inexperience, I suggest you have it done, and get both of them replaced at the same time. Call around, but it would be nice if you already knew the weight of the door. But to do that, you need to release the intact spring, and you'd need a couple of winding rods to do it. After lowering the door. By that time, you'd have realized you could do it yourself. But that door likely weighs just under 300 pounds, and an accident can be merely serious, or lethal.

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It is probably just as heavy, but remember, I still had one spring left.

yep.
I figure that they will have a few proper springs in their van when they come out. One of them would probably work.
i

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With a little common sence you can easily do it yourself, once you have obtained the proper spring, or springs. All the hype about the safty issue around this seems very discouraging, but I am a novice and did the change myself using a couple 18" peices of 1/2" rebar to turn the springs. Beside the proper wrenches little else is needed unless you need to grind down some of the torsion bar to get the old spring off or new one on. Find out how many turns of the circular stripes on the spring you need, that is probably the same as are already on the remaining spring. If you have the extra $50 to $60 bucks for a second spring you could easily put it on when you do the broken one, but I am frugle and will wait for the second one to give up before spending that money. It has been two years and the good spring still is working fine on mine. No biggie, just be carefull. JMO
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how long did it take you? Thanks!
i

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For a first timer, it'll take quite a while, because you have to learn what's there first. Best way to do it is to go ahead and carefully lower the door. Then release the remaining spring. See the winding cone? That's the part at the end of the spring closest to the outer part of the door. There are two holes in it, and the winding bars MUST be all the way in before you do anything. Have your ladder positioned so that your head and body are distanced from the winding cone. The spring is wound, you hold it in place with the bars as you loosen the two bolts holding cone to shaft. Then, after you've loosened them and the tension is on the winding bars, you loosen the pressure a quarter turn at a time by holding one of the bars in as you take the other one out and put it into the next hole. Check the size of the holes, get a 4' bar of the same size, cut it in half, and use the two as winding bars. Put a wrap of electrical tape at the point that the bar is fully in, and don't make a move till it's fully in. Keep your hand protected from initial spring tension as you loosen the bolts of the winding cone, the amount of tension can surprise you. Takes maybe 5 minutes to unwind a spring if you're being very slow and methodical, which is the only way to do it. Careful lowering the door, use a C-clamp on both rails, or get someone to help you. That door is damned heavy, and can get away from you easily. I used a 6-ton ratchet from Harbor Freight on both sides, and slowly lowered a ratchet space at a time to keep from causing the door to come down with a twist.
wrote:

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when all goes well, its easy to do it yourself... it looks deceptively safe and easy too. but when it doesnt the penalty may be high.
you decide. im surprised this time around there seems to be more dont do its than its safe's.
randy

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On 25 Dec 2004 23:53:02 GMT "Ignoramus11573" used 43 lines of text to write in newsgroup: alt.home.repair

You're only going to save about $40-$70 by doing it yourself. It will take you all day since this is your first attempt.
1> You'll need to lower the door with only one spring ( a bitch) and safely unwind it (a bitch if you have never done it)
2> Remove the whole torsion bar. 3> Get the old springs off (a bitch if the bar is rusty or deformed)4> Find the correct springs for a replacement (a bitch if you don't know WHERE to buy or WHAT to buy)
5> install new springs on torsion bar (yes, replace them both)6> Wind ONE spring (two springs are harder) you wind one first, then set the cables
7> Wind the other spring8> Test the door, then add or subtract winds if tension is wrong
Besides this being a semi-dangerous job, you'll likely not have the proper tools (winding bars, cordless impact etc...) Add that to you self admitted lack of hand-eye coordination and health not up to 100% and your looking at some major headache and frustration. Trust me, hire out the job.
--
-Graham

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Thanks, all good points.
i

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