Garage Spring Stretching Tool?

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I have an old style overhead garage door, which incorporates two springs on each side to more or less counter-balance the door as it is opened and closed. Each spring is about 24" long. I've lived here 27 years, and now and then one would break, and I would replace it, with a little grunting and straining.
Now, I'm not as strong as I used to be, and I cannot pull the springs enough to un-hook or re-hook them. I'm wondering if there is a tool or device used by garage door specialists to stretch these springs for easier installation and replacement.
Any ideas?
Many thanks.
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CWLee
Former slayer of dragons; practice now limited to sacred
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CWLee wrote:

Those are extension springs. I hope to hell you are not adjusting them with the door down!
Raise the door and put a set of vise-grips on the track to keep it from falling. Then, you can adjust the springs in the relaxed position. There should be hardly any tension at all, unless you are very weak - then I would not even recommend being on the ladder.
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I think this OP has springs that are attached by a chain. No track involved. In that case, the OP could use a block and tackle or "come-along" pulley. Ask your local hardware salesperson.....
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Zyp

""Fat Tony" D\'Amico" < snipped-for-privacy@this.time> wrote in message
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Zephyr wrote:

You must be thinking of a one-piece door. That is not what the OP described.
Every extension spring I've seen is attached to the horizontal track at the front and the back hang at the rear. Incidentally, I just replaced a wooden door that was 50+ years old that was 12' high and 12' wide with extension springs. I couldn't believe it! No safety cable either. If one of those were to break there would be 500lbs of spring velocity that would easily slice through a wall on failure.
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On Mon, 07 May 2007 20:44:49 -0500, "\\"Fat Tony\\" D'Amico"

Did he even say?

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CWLee wrote:

I would imagine you could hook the back end of the spring in place and then use a "come along" between the front spring hook and a spot on the track frame near the door opening to stretch the spring as required to be able to hook the moving cable pully onto it.
You ARE doing this with the door fully up, aren't you? By that I mean pushed up to the point where the moving pullies will move as far back as they can, and the door held stopped there with a pair of vise grips or a C-clamp on the track.
I'm a bit suprised, because usually, if the springs are sized right for the door weight, they'll pretty much have no tension on them when the door is fully up.
Perhaps you got the wrong strength springs?
With the springs disconnected, weigh the door by lowering it onto a bathroom scale. If it's heavier than the scale can accomodate, make a simple lever from a piece of board and a brick to multiply the scale's range. Then make sure you buy a pair of springs rated for the measured door weight.
HTH,
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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"CWLee" wrote

Is this the old style of door, that is a single panel, not 4 or 5 panels? The type which you pull towards you, then it swings up?
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Larry wrote:

Now that I think about it, I bet he does have a one-piece.
I have never replaced the springs on them, only taken them down and replaced the door. (after some framing)
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"Fat Tony" D'Amico wrote:

Having lived here in Red Sox Nation for the past fifty something years I didn't think about the possibility of it being a one piece door either.
One piece garage doors aren't commonly used here because a couple of inches of snow drifted against the bottom edge of the door makes them near impossible to begin opening.
I do remember our home had two one piece garage doors when I was a kid living in snowless San Francisco. <G>
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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I'm the original poster. I need to clarify the type of garage door I have. It is for a double garage, and it is one large panel, about 6'6" x 18'. It is constructed of 2 x 4s and sheet plywood. On each side of the door there is a bracket that hinges on hardware that is attached to the wall next to the door opening.
When the door is closed the springs are stretched. When the door is opened they contract. In the past when one of the springs has broken I have held the door open using a 6' ladder. Then I have released the safety catch, and the broken spring came off very easily. When I attached the new spring I had to stretch it perhaps an inch or so for it to hook, and then I would re-install the safety catch.
I recently repaired the door by replacing some water soaked crumbling areas with fresh, slightly thicker plywood. This makes the door a little bit heavier, so that when it is in the full up/open position it is not quite horizontal as it was before. What I want to do now is, one side at a time, is disconnect the two springs, and then move the metal harness into which they fit, into the next hole. (There are five adjustment holes provided, and mine is in the middle one, so I can go two steps in either direction.) Then when I reconnect the springs they will be stretched a bit more, and thus pull the door up a bit farther.
The only track involved is part of the automatic garage door opener, and I don't think it is relevant to my problem. (But, I could be wrong, and I'm here to learn not argue.)
So, with that additional clarification, what do suggest for a tool or device to stretch the springs that my 75 year old muscles can't handle? :-)
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"CWLee" wrote

Can you use something like a long open eye bolt to hook the spring on? Hook the eye bolt someway , and adjust/tighten the eye bolt as needed?
http://www.tsamfgomaha.com/images/eyebolt-dd-big.gif
I think I may be just grasping, since I can't picture how the springs hook.
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CWLee wrote:

Ahhh.. so it is a one-piece.
Ask for some help, do you have a neighbor or someone that could help? Holding that much spring can bring you off the ladder quickly. There is no tool I know of designed for that, you may be able to rig a come along - but that can be dangerous too. Don't be a hero - ask for help.
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On Mon, 7 May 2007 18:59:52 -0700, "CWLee"

I recomend a nephew. Failing that, you need some alternative way to open and close the door. (Maybe a come-along attached to the back wall of the garage?)
Close the door part way, and shove sticks (wood shingle, bits of clapboard, or parts of a pallet) into the coils of the spring. Open the door all the way, and brace it. Move the springs. Un-brace-the door, lower it, and take the sticks out.
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open the door.
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Steve Barker




"CWLee" < snipped-for-privacy@post.harvard.edu> wrote in message
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On Mon, 07 May 2007 17:49:26 -0700, CWLee wrote:

Put the door up, make sure the springs are slack. Find the cable adjuster on each side near the top rail and pulley. (looks like a little buckle) you'll be able to see how they work. Also check the cable system and make sure there are no binds, kinks etc.. It's all common sense.
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#1 Offishul Ruiner of Usenet, March 2007
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And on a door that old, if there aren't any safety cables inside the springs, strongly consider adding some. Be a damn shame if a spring fails someday when you are standing beside the car as door is going down, and it tags you in the head.
aem sends....
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On Tue, 08 May 2007 02:36:56 +0000, aemeijers wrote:

Very true indeed. Great advice.
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I also don't understand the comment that because repairs have added some weight to the door, it no longer opens fully. I can see that it won't just open fully on it's own, but surely is should if you just push it up a bit, then use vise grips or similar to keep it there. Once it's fully open, a lot less force will be required to move the spring hooks. But, depending on how much weight the repairs added, it may be necessary to go to heavier springs.
First thing I'd do though is make sure they have safety cables. What you're doing is going to result in the springs being under more tension than before. If one snaps, you want to make sure it doesn't go anywhere.
Last year, I was installing a garage door opener, not even touching the springs. When I was doing the final adjustment, KAPOW! Luckily it didn;'t hit me, even though I was only a few feet away. All mine have safety cables now.
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On Tue, 08 May 2007 06:57:53 -0700, trader4 wrote:

I don't see how repairs to a door would increase the weight enough to make a difference. If the springs are old and stretched (yes they do stretch) then they need replaced for safety's sake and they aren't expensive at all. And don't move the hooks to adjust tension, use the cable adjusters.
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Hire somebody with a clue. Make a mistake and you can take your head off.
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