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Old 04-24-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


I simply don't even know what to say anymore. We can't seem to catch a break. While I was not home, a family member pressed the garage door opener button. the door went up about 1/2" and stopped. She pressed again, and again... likely inflicting further damage. At any rate, I came home and checked out the problem. We have an aluminum door with foam insulation inside. It's a heavy clopay job. The top panel (where the opener attaches) is actually bent like a V. The center is bent about 1 foot inwards (towards the opener). What on earth caused this?! I gather the opener was pulling the door horizontally instead of vertically. but how? the whole set-up is roughly 10 years old. Do you think I could even buy a new panel from clopay? Or am I doomed to purchase an entirely new door? We don't have the $ to pay a grand for an entirely new door. I also obviously need to figure out what the cause of this damage is so it doesn't happen again... on cursory inspection, the chain is still in place, the springs are sill in place... there is nothing obviously askew. so frustrating and unexpected.... thanks for your help.

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Old 04-24-2010, 05:31 PM   #2
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


LI,
Usually with your scenario, one or both of the springs is broken, the opener tries to pull on the door, but the door doesn't go up right away due to the springs not being able to assist in the lift. When the door is down, the opener is pulling perpendicular and the creased top section results. You should be able to purchase a new top section. I don't know if you have a local clopay warehouse in your area, but a reputable garage door installer should be able to order you one. If it isn't the springs, you might have snapped a cable, which will produce the same results. If you don't see anything obvious, post some pics.
Mike Hawkins

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Old 04-24-2010, 07:21 PM   #3
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


Post some pictures. The description of the damage is counter intuitive to the opener safegards.
If the damage is as you described, the safeguards of the unit might not be working. I would then replace the opener.
Ron

Last edited by Ron6519; 04-25-2010 at 08:34 AM. Reason: added info
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:37 AM   #4
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


I'm thinking along the same lines as "firehawk' and "ron". I have installed and repaired a lot of garage doors. I have never seen one which "pulled" straight out so as to bend a panel though. It's hard to believe the design of an opener could do that. I have doors with those type panels on my shop, ten foot tall doors. Door panels are available from Clopay. I have had Overhead Door obtain generic panels which did fit a Clopay door, did not match exactly, but was affordable and worked for the customer. I would pull the release on the opener mechanism to separate the opener from the door, and operate the unit a couple of times to look and listen for any problems now. Do check the springs and cables to see if they may have come loose or broken. REMEMBER--the springs, whether tension or roll-up can/will hurt you-Be Careful. See if you and a helper can raise and lower the door unit without any restrictions. Is this person still a member of the family? Good Luck, David
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:35 AM   #5
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


Don't blame the opener for this. Blame the operator.
Using the button on the wall will override most of the safeguards. Especially if they kept pushing on it. The door opener was doing its job and was stopping for a reason and should have been investigated instead of keep hitting the button.
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:52 AM   #6
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


Is it a wide door for a two car garage? They seem to see more stress at the center due to the long distance to the supports at the side. I had a panel fatigue and crack at the center. It was a lower panel though. I welded a piece of angle iron along the width to stiffen it up. Then I had to preload the springs more to take the extra weight.

It could also be that your "door close" position is not set right, and the opener is pushing the door against the concrete floor each cycle, stressing and bending the door.

It could also be that your springs are not adjusted properly, putting excess stress on the dooor and door opener. Most doors have a release feature on them so you raise the door in case of power failure. The door should rise and lower readily by hand.

Obviously, none of the above expanations are the fault of the poor guy that pushed the button.

I was able to fix my door, but more likely, I think you are in line for a new door.
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Old 04-25-2010, 12:05 PM   #7
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
I'm thinking along the same lines as "firehawk' and "ron". I have installed and repaired a lot of garage doors. I have never seen one which "pulled" straight out so as to bend a panel though. It's hard to believe the design of an opener could do that.
Thurman,
I have had this happen on numerous occasions. Usually the door was a lightweight construction, no strut on the top section, and the opener clutches turned up all the way, along with a broken spring or cable. The first foot of travel going up is the most difficult weightwise. With the opening force turned up all the way, the opener will just keep pulling. Something has to give, usually the top section if its a strong opener.
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Old 04-25-2010, 12:46 PM   #8
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


http://www.clopaydoor.com/troubleshooting-tips.aspx

Be safe, Gary
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Old 04-25-2010, 12:57 PM   #9
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"went up about a 1/2" and stopped"
By any chance you don't still have the door lock installed on the side do you?

If all the rollers are free and working properly and it's not a spring or hinge problem and of course no-one left a rake, shovel or other object interfere with the travel then certainly, as mentioned, the clutch is adjusted to tight. Something stopped the door movement. Holding in the button with an over tightened clutch could have allowed the opener to pull in your top panel, especially if there is not extra bracing on the top panel.
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:05 PM   #10
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


thanks for all of your input!

I can't take a picture, becuase it looks different now. My mom pulled the handle that disengaged the opener, and the top panel snapped back to almost completely straight. At least it's now almost flush with the top of the door frame again.

I can also report that the springs at least look normal. One isn't obviously hanging or damaged. (Oh, by the way, we have 2 x 1 car garage doors. It's not one of the giant doors.) I was also thinking that possibly something is blocking one of the tracks? We haven't locked that door manually in years. Although, now that you mention it, when I return from work, I'll check to make sure the door lock didn't accidentally shift. That would surely explain everything!

I am willing to repair just about anything, but I am scared of the power of garage door springs. (We DO have that safety cable running through the center of the springs, however...) Years ago, one snapped during the night and made a giant hole in the wall . We were so grateful that no one was in the garage at the time!!! If weakening springs are a likely issue, I will hire a pro.

Also, I suspect that whatever steel reinforcement that is built within the top panel where an opener attaches is likely damaged, or at least weakened after this odd episode.

And yeah, my mom is still a member of the family She didn't mean to do any harm. She just doesn't always understand the mechanics of some domestic stuff.

I'll keep everyone updated on this wierd mess...... thanks again!
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:25 PM   #11
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


The garage door bending would have nothing to do with, "weakening springs". The issue would be that the door was jammed for some reaseon AND the garage door force controls were defective or possibly mis adjusted. The opener controls should have reversed the door when it jammed and put it back down.
Whatever the cause, you should call someone who knows what he's doing to figure it out and repair it.
Ron
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:11 PM   #12
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


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"went up about a 1/2" and stopped"
By any chance you don't still have the door lock installed on the side do you?

Ding ding ding ding ding! We have the correct answer!!! The second I read that suggestion, it clicked in my mind that this would explain why the door only opened a 1/2 inch. That's about the size of the tolerance of the door latch. Who the heck knows who locked the door or when, but the door WAS locked. I called home and it was confirmed.

Seriously, so many moronic things are happening at home lately. Every day I come home to some new and wierd event. this is just the icing on top.

We're going to call a pro to fix the top door panel, and check to make sure the safety features of the opener are operational. I feel like those 2 things are out of my league.

thanks for your input......
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:13 PM   #13
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


I've had the same exact thing happen to me with my door, and the same thing is happening with my parents. It seems like over the years, the top part of the door will develop a crease. This then turns into a crack and just keeps getting worse and worse. Pretty soon, the top part of the door turns into a 'v' and then it's just messed up beyond repair.

Upon doing some research, it turns out that the strut was missing from the top section of the door. Most doors will come with this, and you can buy this seperatly at any home improvement store. It's basically kind of like a "V" brace that gets bolted to the top part of the door for re-inforcement. I believe it also makes the door stronger in case of hurricanes. I live in Illinois, and I still recommend using one.

With my parents, you can feel the top part of the door and see it starting to bend. We added a strut to my parents door, and so far, it is working well. My overhead door was too late, and ended up just replacing the whole thing.

I know you probably don't want to hear it, but it sounds like a new door might be in your new purchasing future. Depending where you're at, they're about 600 bucks. I replaced mine and the opener by myself. Wasn't that bad actually....it went fairly smooth.

Good luck!
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:01 PM   #14
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


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Originally Posted by diy'er on LI View Post
Ding ding ding ding ding! We have the correct answer!!! The second I read that suggestion, it clicked in my mind that this would explain why the door only opened a 1/2 inch. That's about the size of the tolerance of the door latch. Who the heck knows who locked the door or when, but the door WAS locked. I called home and it was confirmed.

Take the lock off NOW or at least put a bolt in the back side so it cannot be engaged. Your lucky that the damage isn't far worse.

I have a freind who installs & services OH doors for a living, & it is protocol for him to remove the locks when installing an opener. You'd be amazed at the damage that can be done in this situation, especially with a commercial opener, not that I would know from experience ar anything......
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:24 AM   #15
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the opener just broke my garage door?!


The overhead doors in our warehouse all have a switch on the lock so the opener won't operate when the lock is engaged. Don't make those for home doors?
The pressure setting may be fine the problem was
Quote:
She pressed again, and again..

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Last edited by joed; 04-27-2010 at 07:27 AM.
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