I just bought my first house and have been trying to get it fixed up
and in working order. My current project is the garage door. I have
worked on garage doors before, including adjusting torsion springs.
I've even lived to talk about it! The problem that I am having is the
garage is a 1-1/2 car with a door that is 1 car wide. That means it's
light, which means it has extension springs. This is a totally new area
for me. After doing some research I have noted that my springs need to
have the safety cable installed, which I will do promptly, but the
problem is with closing the door. I don't understand how the door will
ever stay down on it's own. I lower the door and it wants to spring
back up, fairly violently. I have to put a pair of vise-grips on each
rail to keep it shut. Is this amount of pressure correct? The door does
not have any type of lock on it, i was thinking that one of those
center handled locks with the two rods that go out into the rails would
hole it down but I definitely think there is too much tension. There is
no garage door opener on this door either, with no plans of installing
one in the near future. I am thinking that I need to check the weight
rating on the springs with the weight of the door. This door is only
about 6 months old and it is thin. No insulation or anything just the
basic sheet metal. How do I go about figuring out the weight on this
door? I can lift it without the springs hooked up, though it is pretty
heavy. Thank you guys for any help you can offer me. I want my garage
to work so I will have a place to work on all the other projects that I
need to for this house!
Read the installation manual. It will explain how to adjust the
springs. Properly adjusted the door will stay up or down and will be
balanced at about half way between. Yours is not properly adjusted. Follow
the procedure in the manual for your specific hardware.
You can disconnect both springs and let the door (carefully) down on a
If it's too heavy for the scale you can double the scale's capacity by
using a piece of 2 x 4 about 18" long and resting one end on the scale
and the other on a block the height of the scale, positioning it so the
door weight presses on the center of the length of the 2 x 4.
That's what I did when I had to buy new extension springs for one of my
garage doors and didn't know what strength springs it needed.
I can lift it
Someone may have installed or substituted the wrong strength springs for
your door (or changed out the door, but not the springs.)
If you can't achieve the "balanced condition" Joseph described above by
adjusting the length of the cables, then weigh the door and get a new
set of springs rated for the weight you measured.
Doesn't it say somewhere who put in the door? A sticker somewhere.
They may have a manual. But I r emember what I was told when I was 19
and wanted a manual to fix my 50 Olds. I found a shop that had a
manual for the 15 year old car, but he wouldn't lend it to me to get 4
pages photocopied. He said, Do it the hard way. You'll learn more.
It took about 18 hours when it should have taken maybe 8, but I think
I did learn a lot of things.
You can easily install a lock on your door.
You will need a Dummy "T" handle, the latch and cylinder, lock bar guides
and the lockbar. You can find this at
As the other poster suggested, remove the tension from both springs and
lower it onto a bathroom scale centered on the door. Then get the correct
Contact me if you have any questions.
===================================Garage Door Parts, LLC
You probably have the wrong springs from the previous do-it-yourselfer. No
amount of adjustment will correct that.
Just Jim writes:
You need an accurate scale. A bathroom scale won't do, especially noised
up with a lever. Otherwise it is trial-and-error until you get the right
spring, which may be OK if you want to buy the whole range at Home Depot or
Lowes and take all but one set back.
On Fri, 07 Apr 2006 00:07:27 -0500, Richard J Kinch
Why do you say that? If the problem is calibration, it's easy to
calibrate a mechanical scale -- in the range close to the weight of
the door -- by putting weights from barbells on the scale. If one is
not sure about the barbells being the right weight, he can take them
some place with a "doctor's scale" a beam scale, and see what they
An electric scale can be calibrated just by putting on a known weight,
approximately the weight of the door, and seeing how far off the scale
is. Then allowing for that when weighing other things.
Your metrology is naive. Cheap scales do not have repeatable or otherwise
predictable errors. You cannot just improvise accuracy with a trick.
Calibration standards cost more than a good scale. You believe that a
barbell weight that says 25 lbs on it weighs anything close to 25 lbs? You
need a few percent accuracy on several 100s of lbs to know which garage
door spring to buy, for a small door.
On Fri, 07 Apr 2006 00:07:27 -0500, Richard J Kinch
Forgot to ask: Where would he find a scale more accurate than a
I think my cheap electric one is less than 2 pounds off what a
doctor's scale says.
The mechanical one I set to work at my weight. I don't try to make
zero read zero. I make 190 be 190. For a door, I'd make 30 read 30.
I don't have my pressure modem installed yet, so I can't tell how much
pressure you are posting.
But what you need to do is connect the vice-grips to the remote
control mechanism if you have one.
You can probably get a remote that controls the vice grips only.
It's been 40 years since I had an overhead door, and I can picture it,
but don't remember how the lifting force was negated during the last
few inches of travel downwards. YOu should be able to figure this
out, maybe by looking at neighbors' doors. It's a good way to meet
your neighbors, "Excuse me. May I look at your door." See what
reaction you get.
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