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skeeter_ca 01-21-2008 09:44 PM

Adjusting old garage door springs
Hello All,

Newcomer here and have a billion questions that need answering but i'll keep it to one at a time. I've looked at previous posts and could not find anything. I have an old wooden two-car garage door and i am having problems with it. Last winter the garage door opener suddenly would not open the door. After disconnecting the opener found the door was qiute heavy. I checked the springs and all seemed ok. I figured the door had absorbed moisture from the rain, and i waited the summer but the door was still heavier and the opener would not open it. I replaced the springs, figuring maybe they stretched or were fatigued. I used the same spring numbers and attached them at the same place as the originals. It still was hard to open so i adjusted them up one hole. It actually is harder now to open. How are these things adjusted?


perpetual98 01-22-2008 08:23 AM

Your best bet is to have a pro come look at them. There's a lot of bound energy in those springs. It's one of the short list of things that I won't touch at home, but I have the coiled spring on the wall opposed to the springs that stretch on the horizontal. Not sure which ones you have.

Jiffycake 01-22-2008 09:47 AM

Its not hard to figure out. Check the pair of pulleys on each side. The cable may have came off these. Also check to see if the safety cable "knot" has undone. Remember to do this when the garage door is OPEN. When the door is closed there is a lot of tension in the system. There should still be a good amount of tension when the door is open but not nearly as much when closed. Adjust the safety cable knot accordingly.

handyman78 01-22-2008 10:03 AM

Since you have already changed them I know you are familiar with the safety involved and how they are installed.
If you are speaking of a sectional overhead garage door (4 or 5 panels) these should be able to be lifted by hand using the spring power with mild effort. Check for binding in the door's movement, lubricate the wheels, generally make sure it is not that the door is sticking.
Those springs are adjusted by the length of the cable as long as the correct weight springs are used. How large is the door 7x8, 7x9, 7x16?
8 or 9' doors have one spring on each side, 16' have two on each side.

Moving the cable one hole isn't much of a change. As long as the spring isn't fully extended and hitting the pulley when the door is closed you may still have room to have it stretched further. Make sure the springs are stretched evenly though. Lastly, your door could have absorbed an exceptional amount of water making it very difficult to raise. I just replaced an original waterlogged door in my home with a high efficiency steel and foam sandwich type. Major difference in weight.

As perpetual mentioned, the spring on the wall is a torsion spring- you do not have this- they work on the twisting of the spring tension around a pipe, not the stretching you have described.

Also, the best tool I found for holding the door in the upright position while adjusting the spring is a ViseGrip plier clamped on the flat of the track.

skeeter_ca 01-22-2008 10:17 AM

No, no, no..........This is a solid one piece large wooden door. I know it is an antique but i like it as it cannot be damaged as easily as the section metal doors. It has two long springs on each side and is 7'x16'. i'll try to post a pic of the lever mechanism but right now i can't seem to get photo bucket to upload my image. I have looked the world wide web over and cannot find any reference to these old doors.

skeeter_ca 01-22-2008 10:26 AM

Here's a pics. Hope it shows up.


skeeter_ca 01-22-2008 10:49 AM

Here, let me try again.

handyman78 01-22-2008 02:53 PM

So, you have a cantilevered door with 2 springs on each side. You have moved the spring in the wrong direction- go further out on the end of the bar, not closer. If you get to the end of the bar and still do not have success, - you may have to get a higher tension (capacity) spring for the purpose.

skeeter_ca 01-22-2008 06:02 PM

Thanks, i'll try that. I thought that might help with the force when the door is lower but it looks to me it would be less force to hold the door open. I'll try it though and post back.

handyman78 01-22-2008 06:11 PM


Originally Posted by skeeter_ca (Post 90997)
Thanks, i'll try that. I thought that might help with the force when the door is lower but it looks to me it would be less force to hold the door open. I'll try it though and post back.

Hard to tell by the picture but you also might want to try and shorten the length at the bottom bracket if you can. Having slight tension on the spring when the door is fully open is fine to keep it there.

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