One on the tosion springs on my garage door broke the other day. I
have never likes torsion spring systems (Close friend killed while he
was working on one and he did it for a living).
Anyway, I want to switch over to a extention spring system. I have
all the stuff I need but I have one question. When I remove the cable
that is connected to the remaining tension spring drum, will that
spring "untension" and cause possable damage or injury? I was at
first thinking just to leave it connected, but I don't know if that
would vcause an unbalanced "pull" on the side with 2 springs
I think you're gonna have to remove that cable. You'd be wise to let a
pro do it, because you're probably scared to death to do it yourself
after losing a friend that way, and I wouldn't blame you one bit for
that. I've long had a nagging fear of large amounts of stored potential
energy, in springs, compressed gasses or suspended weights. (I lost a
SCUBA diving buddy about 40 years ago when he had a "K valve" shear
right out of the cast iron water pipe reducing bushing he'd foolishly
used to adapt it to a fire extinguisher bottle he was using for a SCUBA
tank.....and go right through his head.)
Remember to do yourself and your family a favor and rig safety cables
through the extension springs so that when the day comes that one of
them decides to break at a spring loop, it doesn't come flailing down on
someone who happens to be near. It only takes a few minutes more to do
that after the rest of the job is done.
I hope that when you got "all the stuff you need" you knew the weight of
the door and got the right sized springs. If not, you should wait until
you get that remaining drum cable off and weigh the door by lowering it
down onto a bathroom scale. If it's too heavy for the scale, you can
double the scale's capacity by rigging a simple lever (Use a 1 to 2 foot
long piece of 2 by 4 with one end on the scale and the other end on a
brick, with the door lowered onto the center of the 2 by 4.) When you
know the weight of the door, you may need to swap the springs for more
Just my .02,
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"If you can keep smiling when things go wrong, you've thought of someone to
When i have heard mine break its with a BANG And yes dont leave one
But most garage repairmen fix cables for under 100 , wouldnt that be
the easiest way. Actualy when I had mine fixed I replaced both cables
with the largest diameter they would take, Both were undersized , larger
size = greater strength cable .
email@example.com (Ron) wrote in message
YES, whenever you release kenetic energy, It will cause damage. you
are dealing with a spring under high tension.
If you want to release that stored energy, I suggest raising the door
completely, clamping it off, and then removing the cable.
I cannot say that this is a good idea, or that one spring is safer
than the other.
torsion springs can cause a lot of damage. Extension springs store
the same energy required to lift the same door, but in a different
I have seen a extension spring go through a kitchen wall, and another
completley distroy a tractor hood.
The one redeming quality of a torsion spring is that, it can't go
anywhere. It is a spring, wrapped around a one inch shaft and can't
fly through the air.
IMHO... it would be safer and cheaper, to have the original spring
replaced, than to weigh the door, add four sheaves (pulleys), fourteen
feet of cable, and safty cables to keep the springs in place.
(1) The defect requiring the work to start with makes it unsafe to raise
(2) The torsion assembly will still be under significant torsion at the
top of travel.
(3) New cables are difficult to install and adjust properly when they
have to also be wound on the drums.
(4) The repair will be undergo first trial under load with a raised door
falling; any unforseen problem and you have a crash or jam.
(5) No way to safely lower or dismantle the door if the repair cannot
The springs should be unwound using the proper technique at the bottom
of travel, by a knowledgeable person.
I don't really know anything about changing the
cables out, but after reading a couple of the
other replies I do have a comment. Some of the
replies suggest that you might as well leave the
springs as is, since the energy is there any way.
Well, one thing they don't mention is
adjustment. The tension springs are much more
easily adjusted than the torsion springs. Just
raise the door and pull the cables up tighter or
let them out a little. With the torsion springs
there is a definite danger in trying to adjust
them. So, I say go ahead and change them out,
being sure to install the safety cable as Jeff
Torsion springs are much safer than extension springs. When they break
they stay on the bar. When extension springs break they can bend metal
and penetrate a wall! Have a professional replace both torsion springs.
Should be less than $200 labor+parts. Good Luck.
Thanks everyone. I called a garage door guy that lives down the
street and arouns the corner. He had both springs and cables (which
were badly frayed)changed out in about 1 1/2 hours and charged me $125
parts and labor.
Thanks again everyone. This is my 1st time posting on this NG, I
think I will hang out around here alittle more.
Not generally possible, as the door and track designs are different.
Extension springs only work for smaller doors.
Extension springs are not necessarily safer.
(You sound a bit trollish, but I'll bite:)
Have the door lowered and the spring torsion properly removed before
attempting any repairs or adjustments. Here's how I did it:
But this is risky to do yourself.
Extension springs only work for smaller doors.
I'm surprised to hear that statement. Extension springs are used on
large doors as well. I sell/replace them all the time and they are
not limited to small doors. I sell 60" x 84" extension springs with
540 lbs. of pull. For those that don't know, a 60" spring with a
maximum stretch of 84" is used on 14' high doors.
Extension springs are available for doors that weigh 1000 lbs. or
No, I wouldn't say they only work on small doors.
Anyway Ron, I'm glad to hear that you opted to have a "garage door
guy" do the work for you. Don't attempt to do a repair on something
you have no experience with. Changing springs be it torsion or
extension is not rocket science. It only takes common sense and
mechanical inclination, if you are lacking either don't do it.
Hmm, is there a particular reason for the tracks of an extension sysem
being seen as different for a torsion system?
My torsion springs have gone through at least 15,000 cycles, I know
I'm on borrowed time, I've succesfully and safely adjusted them three
times, but I'm considering shifting over to an extension spring system.
Got any favorite self-help URL's?
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