One of the cables broke on my garage door. It appears that when it
broke the spring pressure did the damage. The door track is (was)
hung from a vertical 2x4 coming down from the ceiling. (I have an 8
foot high door in a garage with a 9 foot ceiling). The spring was
attached to a large eye hook in that 2x4. The spring actually
shattered that 2x4 causing the track to become disconnected and free
hanging. The spring was found in the rear of the garage where it
knocked a bunch of cans of oil and other automotive chemicals all over
the floor and a chunk of wood was ripped off one shelf. This left a
major mess with oil on the floor.
Luckily I entered the garage via the walk in door. I was shocked when
I went in there. I first noticed the oil mess and started cussing at
my cats, thinking they had gotten in there. But there were no cats.
When I turned around I noticed the door track hanging free and soon
discovered the spring on the floor.
I heard these springs are dangerous, but I never knew they could do
this much damage. I know I can fix this, and this time I intend to
use a hardwood 2x4 or maybe a 4x4 if I can find one. However, I dont
like the idea of walking into a garage with these springs ready to
fly, which could cause severe injury.
Is there any way to secure the spring so if something breaks, at least
it will stay up in the air where it belongs?
This is an older 8 foot high, 9 foot wide wooden door. It's not that
heavy, but still needs the springs to lift it. Where I used to live
we had a 10 foot wide fiberglass door and I could lift it without
springs, although it was a bit of a struggle. Those springs were not
as large (and likely not as powerful).
I'm off to buy a new cable, but I wont feel safe going into the garage
until I can find a way to make those springs safer. Placing them
inside a steel tube (pipe) seems like one way, but how?
Anyone got any tips?
I had this happen twice at my old house. The eyes of the springs develop
fatigue cracks over time, and when the crack propagates deep enough....BAM!!
The best solution is to get new garage doors with torsion springs on them.
If you don't want to do that, then replace all the springs so they are the
same age and have the same number of cycles on them. Replace every 5 years
or so before the have a chance to break.
- The best solution is to get new garage doors with torsion springs on
While a torsion spring may not let go with the force of an extension
spring, they do present a different kind of danger.
Many years ago, before I knew jack about stuff around a house, my wife
called and told me the garage door was stuck about half way down. When
she tried to use the opener, it just went clunk. When I got home, I
looked at the cables and noticed they weren't on the pulleys any more.
I had no idea what was going on, so I grabbed the release cord for the
opener and pulled it.
Little did I know that the torsion spring was broken and all that was
holding the door up was opener. I also didn't know that my 2 year
daughter was at that exact moment running into the garage. As soon as
I pulled the cord, the door dropped with it's full weight and
miracously stopped just inches before it hit my daughter. The cables
had tangled themselves around the brackets and caught the door. Or
should I say that God wrapped the cables around the brackets and
stopped the door. I'm not a mushy guy, but I still get all weird
inside knowing how close I came to probably killing my daughter.
There was a tragic case just like this a few years back. The door fell and
pinned the child. The door was too heavy for the dad to lift off the
child. The child suffocated while dad watched.
The spring manufacturer was held liable.
On Sat, 07 Jul 2007 14:50:11 -0500, Richard J Kinch
Although I am the OP on this message, this has nothing to do with the
door breaking, but has to do with getting trapped under the door.
This happened a month ago or so (same door, but before the cable
broke). We have a small farm. To make a few extra dollars we breed
show rabbits, which are these fancy kinds, such as the Rex. We had
just bought this really pretty doe. I was still building the rabbit
pen, so I was keeping the rabbits in the garage. The rabbit pen which
I was building is a distance from the garage. About a week before I
had taken a piece of 2x4 to the garage to rip it on my table saw. As
usual, I got side tracked and forgot to rip the board. Everytime I
went to the rabbit pen I would remember that board, but did not want
to make a special trip to the garage for it. Everytime I was near the
garage I would remind myself to rip the board and take it to the pen,
but every time I would forget. I bet that happened at least a dozen
times. Yes, I am forgetful, and admit it....
Anyhow one night I went to the garage (in the dark) and opened the
door to grab a bale of hay I had taken there for the rabbits feed and
bedding. I decided that the particular bale was not the hay the
rabbits prefer, so I took it outside and fed it to the ponies. I shut
the garage door and headed to the barn to get another bale. Halfway
to the barn I remembered the 2x4 and decided that enough was enough.
Either I rip that board and take it to the pen, or I will never
remember to do it. (Actually, I think there was a voice telling me to
go back to the garage). I went back and in the dark I noticed
something out of the ordinary in front of the garage door. However, I
could not make out what it was until I bent over to get a closer look.
Then came the panic. This new doe we had just bought, had once again
escaped from her cage, and she was slammed against the concrete under
the garage door. When I touched her she appeared dead, and was not
breathing. In order to unlatch the door, I had to push down on the
door, but time was wasting and since she appeared dead anyhow, I
pushed down and unlatched it quickly. As the door went up, she
suddenly jumped and ran right over to her cage and stood there. I was
amazed, and held her for quite awhile. She was breathing real hard
and hear heart was pounding. I put her back in her cage and she went
about her business as if nothing happened. She is fine today and did
not appear to suffer any injuries. How a 8X9 foot wooden door could
come down hard on top of this 3 pound rabbit and she still survived is
If it were not for that 2x4, she would have died in another minute or
so, because I know she was not breathing. I do think the rubber
weatherstrip on the door saved her, plus my decision to go back to the
garage. She is now in an escape proof cage, and the scrap piece from
that 2x4 is next to her cage, because if it was not for that piece of
wood, she would be a goner.
Just one of those weird things that happen.......
At least it has a happy ending.
She was not the most friendly rabbit when I got her, but after that
incident, she is now one of the friendliest rabbits we have,
particularly to myself.
I guess she knows I saved her butt....
Huh? How does a torsion spring present a 'different danger' than a
The incident you describe could have just as easily happened with an
extension spring door
with an opener on it. You should not have pulled the emergency release with
Glad your daughter is OK!
Sorry about my last post...sloppy mouse click.
Anyway, as I was saying,..
One of the responses was to replace the door with one that uses
torsion springs, implying (at least to me) that a torsion spring made
garage doors safer. I was simply pointing out that a broken torsion
spring can also be a dangerous thing, but not from flying debris, but
from the unsupported door - that's a 'different danger'. Sorry for
causing a misunderstanding.
Perhaps safer in terms of becoming a projectile, but when a single torsion
spring configuration fails the door is fully heavy, versus a double spring
configuration (extension or torsion) where one of the spring pair remains
intact so that the door is still a hazard but half as heavy.
On Sun, 08 Jul 2007 21:07:26 -0500, Richard J Kinch wrote:
I've recently installed two single spring extension spring doors.
Depending on the door a double may still be damn hard to lift with only
one intact. Around 7 months ago I was in a building with two 12x10 glass
doors. One of the torsion springs decided to fail and it sounded like a
meteor crashed through the roof but no collateral damage occurred.
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