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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    8

    Exclamation Garage door trainwreck

    I opened my garage door the other day and somehow it jambed. One of the panels bowed in and is now creased. I noticed the left side rail support bar bolted to ceiling that holds the rail up is bent outwards toward the wall about 30 degrees. Now the rollers cant reach the rail. What on earth could have caused this. I did not even see or hear it jamb. I just heard the boom and the garage door stopped. It has a torsion spring. If the reverse fuction had failed could the opener have caused that much force??? I can replace the bent steel hanger which will probably put the rail back in place so the rollers will reach but do you think it will do the same thing when I attempt to open it again? Its in the open position now supported by 2x4s to keep it from fallin on my head lol. Pardon the pun but is this over my head in the DIY category?? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,078

    Default Re: Garage door trainwreck

    It is likely that one of the counter balance springs broke, causing the door to drop on one side while the other was still lifting. Get at least two burly neighbors to help get the door down into the closed position. From there you can assess the damage and whether or not it's within your abilities to repair.

    1 - Check the tracks for damage that must be straightened or replaced.
    2 - Check the rollers and hinges for damage
    3 - Check the counter balance springs and see if one or both are broken. This is the most dangerous portion of repair because the springs are under tension that must be carefully released before disassembling
    4 - Check the opener and see if there is any damage to the lift mechanism. Disengage the lift arm from the door and operate the opener after a visual inspection to see that nothing is bent or broken.

    Once you've checked these things out, report back and we'll find your comfort zone on the repairs.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,627

    Default Re: Garage door trainwreck

    To expand on point 3: there will be some lift wires running from the bottom corners of the door up to some pulleys on the shaft with the torsion springs. Never EVER release these wires without first relieving the springs.

    Adjusting the springs (tightening or relieving) is a job best left to people trained and insured for that kind of work. For the inexperienced, it can be a very dangerous, even deadly, proposition. You can do it yourself, but don't say you weren't warned.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Garage door trainwreck

    Thank you so much for your replies. Fencepost's comment about never EVER releasing the wires until you release the springs has me a bit worried. The cable loosened when the wreck happened. I swear it wasnt me! Could a broken counter spring have caused the pulley to become unraveled? The cable is on the same side of the garage door that the bent ceiling hanger is on. When you say counter spring may be broken are you referring to the big torsion spring itself or is it some bolt that keeps the spring in place? The big spring seems to be uniform on both sides. One does not look to be unsprung if that is a word. Is a broken counter adjustment something that you can tell just by looking at it? One thing I did notice is a bolt that is on the inside of the track seems to stick out a bit far. Thinking that might have caused a roller to catch. I tried to tighten the cable back around the pulley wheel when it happened but I couldnt get the wire to reach far enough to hook it back into the notch that holds it to the wheel. I got frustrated and gave up. I'm still waiting on 2 burly neighbors to help me lower the garage but I wanted to get you alls input on the unraveled pulley cable first. Sorry for the late response. After I posted my question my computer experienced a train wreck as well. At least it didn't fall on my head. Thank you so much for your helpful advice. Oh yeah, if the door roller did catch on that screw could that have caused the cable to spring loose and there is a possibility that my counter spring adjustment/torsion spring is working? Thank you again......and again ......and again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,078

    Default Re: Garage door trainwreck

    Thank you so much for your replies. Fencepost's comment about never EVER releasing the wires until you release the springs has me a bit worried.
    This isn't that big a deal IF you use care and caution to release the spring tension first. Assuming you've got the torsion springs that are over the head of the door, you will need two steel rods that fit into the pockets of the spring keeper and a wrench that fits the set screw. Insert the rod into the keeper fully, in a position that will be easy for you to hold. Make sure you're on a steady ladder and in no way off balance. Holding the rod, slowly loosen the set screw until you are holding the spring tension fully and the screw is loose enough to allow the keeper to rotate. Now ease the rod in the direction the spring pulls it. As the keeper rotates, use the second rod in the next available hole and use it to hold the tension while you remove the first rod. You continue this until all the tension has been released.

    The cable loosened when the wreck happened. I swear it wasnt me! Could a broken counter spring have caused the pulley to become unraveled?
    Absolutely! It is the spring tension on the cable that keeps in in place, without the tension the cable is going to be slack and all over the place. There are grooves in the pulley that the cable wraps around to keep the cable from knotting up. Make sure when you're inspecting and reassembling everything that the cables are properly laid into the grooves.

    When you say counter spring may be broken are you referring to the big torsion spring itself or is it some bolt that keeps the spring in place? The big spring seems to be uniform on both sides. One does not look to be unsprung if that is a word.
    Yes, the large spring (two on larger doors ) is the counter balance spring. You won't necessarily "see" a break, though a helpful thing the manufacturers usually do is paint a stripe on them. When they are wound and under tension, the stripe swirls around the spring like a barber pole. If the spring is broken, the stripe will be nearly straight down the side or maybe have a lazy twist in it.


    One thing I did notice is a bolt that is on the inside of the track seems to stick out a bit far. Thinking that might have caused a roller to catch. I tried to tighten the cable back around the pulley wheel when it happened but I couldnt get the wire to reach far enough to hook it back into the notch that holds it to the wheel. I got frustrated and gave up.
    It's possible that there was a bind somewhere in the track that caused the problem and it's NOT a counter balance spring. The fact that the cable is still under tension is indicative of that, but the cable could also be caught somewhere making it seem like it's under tension.

    I'm still waiting on 2 burly neighbors to help me lower the garage but I wanted to get you alls input on the unraveled pulley cable first.
    You won't be able to do much work on the door or inspect much until the door is in the closed position. From there you'll have access to all the parts and can repair it as necessary. Keep in mind that the door is very heavy, so don't try to pull it down by yourself. To give you an idea of how heavy it is, you wouldn't likely carry more than one section at a time, two at the most, if it were in pieces on the ground. A full 4 or 5 section door will be way more than the average person could muster, and even if you're brawny it's not a good idea - think having a spotter while weight lifting, they're there should you need help or something go wrong.

    Oh yeah, if the door roller did catch on that screw could that have caused the cable to spring loose and there is a possibility that my counter spring adjustment/torsion spring is working? Thank you again......and again ......and again.
    It's possible, but I would assume that the pressure override switch in the opener would have tripped before it could have damaged the door like that. Time will tell when you get the door closed and inspected. BTW, the rope hanging from the traveler arm on the opener is what releases the door from the opener, in case you didn't know that already. Let us know what's going on once you can fully inspect. If you can post pictures, that's always a helpful thing too. It's best if you host them off site so that the image size is large enough to see what's going on. You can upload them here directly from your computer, it's just that TOH restricts the size of the image so much that often times it's difficult to see the problem.

    Always remember, if you're uncomfortable doing something, DON'T DO IT! It's cheaper to call a professional than to incur injury.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

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