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r0ckstarr 03-11-2014 08:14 PM

Sears Craftsman Garage Door Opener bearing assembly?
The garage door opener was here when I moved in. I know nothing about the age of it, though I am sure it has seen better days.

It's a Sears Crafstman Plus 1/3hp.
Model# 139.53609

This morning I left to go to work. Opened the garage door, and it went up fine. I backed out and hit the button to close the garage door. I heard a loud "screech" sound as it went down. It closed. Being in my truck, I couldn't tell where the screech came from.

I came home from work, and opened the garage. I heard the Screech again, and the door opened. I walked in, and hit the button to try to listen for where the screech was coming from. It screeched loudly, the door went down about a foot, then completely stopped. I heard two "hummmmm" sounds, one right after the other coming from the garage door motor. (Hummmmm! Hummmmm!)

I assume that the first "hum" was from the motor trying to go one direction. The second "hum" was the motor reversing direction, with the motor locked up both times.

Next, I needed to determine if the door was getting hung up in the tracks, or if this was actually motor related. I pulled the release, and released the door from the track.

I hit the button again. First, the loud screech, then two "hummmm" sounds back to back.

I then unplugged the power source and removed the cover. (I know the capacitor still holds a charge). I hit the button again, and could easily pinpoint where the screech sound was coming from.

Here's a pic with the cover removed. The area circled is where the screech is coming from.

Here's a closer look at that piece.

I can see slack in between the snap ring and washers? The tips of the black plastic end appear to have been rubbing on something. The washers look like they are coming in contact with the yellow piece that has the plug going to it. I believe that they are, and this is what is causing the motor to lock up.

Curious to see if they were loose, I poked at them with a screw driver. Everything slid up/down the shaft a bit.

I searched the Sears parts site for the opener.

It looks like the black plastic piece is called the Interupter Cup Assembly (Part #19), and is no longer available.

Part #15 appears to be the same thing, but is called the Sensor Assembly.

Part #18 is the bearing assembly. Also, no longer available.
This is what I thought were washers and snap rings.

Am I right to say that the bearing went bad, came apart, and is causing the motor to lock up?

Should I try to find a new bearing, or just replace the garage door opener all together?

(If I replace it with a new one, I would be getting two garage door openers. I have a 2 car garage, with separate doors for each side, but only one side has the opener.)

If I replace it, are there any suggestions on a reliably known brand or model to get?

McSteve 03-11-2014 08:43 PM

Those things are a royal pain to disassemble. As old as it is, the nylon drive gears will be failing next anyway. You may as well replace the opener.

r0ckstarr 03-12-2014 06:57 AM

Thanks McSteve and Joecaption. When looking for a replacement, I only see 1/2hp and 3/4hp models available. Mine is a 1/3hp. What is the difference? Is the 3/4hp for heavier doors?

McSteve 03-12-2014 09:19 AM

3/4 horse openers are simply more powerful, and will have an easier time with something like a two-car wooden door. I've got a hollow-core wooden door on my two-car garage, and I believe I only have a 1/2 horse opener, and it's a bit sluggish.

For a replacement recommendation, I'd suggest Chamberlain. I've installed a few of them, no issues so far. There's also a pretty good chance that a new Chamberlain opener will attach to your existing track and chain, saving a bit of time. It may still be preferable to install the new track that comes with the new opener, though.

r0ckstarr 03-12-2014 09:55 AM

Thanks again. I was considering either Chamberlain or another Craftsman (which are made by Chamberlain from what I read.)

My garage doors are the lightweight hinged 4-panel metal doors. Similar to these, minus the windows.

r0ckstarr 03-12-2014 02:42 PM

A few more questions.

Is there a standard length for all garage door openers? Meaning, if I get a new one, will it mount in the same place as my old one, or will I need to relocate the mounting point forward or further back? What about when going from chain drive to belt drive? Still the same mounting location?

Thanks again.

gregzoll 03-12-2014 03:01 PM

How did you get a picture of my opener. We replaced the plastic gears around 11 years ago on ours. It has been working right since. A lot of times it is poor maintenance, incorrect settings for Down & Up force, Springs not properly adjusted, that causes the motor and plastic gears to go bad on them.

gregzoll 03-12-2014 03:05 PM

That piece you circled, is actually a Clutch. Make sure when you do the new opener, that you get the springs adjusted right. Or if you have the head room, I would just go with a unit with Torsion Spring, vs. the side springs.

You would be best to hire a company that deals with Torsion springs, since they can break arms and hands, if you do not set them correctly.

r0ckstarr 03-12-2014 03:23 PM

Thanks for the info. I've read about the dangers and horrors associated with torsion springs. There's videos on Youtube where a guy tests them to see what the breaking point is. Pretty scary.

gregzoll 03-12-2014 03:59 PM

I like the duct tape for the light fixture. I finally took mine and wired it to an external light, since it kept falling out. If I had to guess on the age of ours, I would put it around 18 years old now

iamrfixit 03-12-2014 04:51 PM

This opener does not use a mechanical clutch,

Actually that black segmented wheel is part of the rpm sensor. It spins with the motor shaft and runs between a pair of sensor eyes to register that the motor is actually turning. It is simply a plastic wheel, it is held on the shaft with a friction fit, that part is not the source of the noise.

Most likely either the bushings in the motor, the bushing just behind the rpm sensor are worn or the roll pin holding the worm gear on the motor shaft has broken or sheared and is allowing the motor shaft to move forward and back as the door is open or closed, seen it before many times. The shaft can move back and forth far enough that it begins rubbing and binding, even inside the motor housing.

That opener is very possibly from the mid to late 80's, would need to see the back panel to tell for sure, if it uses dip switches for the remote it certainly is. Pretty much anything to do with the motor is likely to cost as much as a new opener. Go get you a new chamberlain, liftmaster or sears, do it best brand, master mechanic, whatever, these are all made by chamberlain. The basic design is pretty much unchanged from what you have there now. The safety features and electronics are much more advanced on the new openers. Belt drive is a little quieter but more expensive. Chain drive is just fine if noise is not a concern. The new chain drives are actually very quiet also. Half horse is fine for most doors, 3/4 for an over-sized or heavier door. A standard opener will work for a 7' tall door, if your door is taller you will need an extension kit. You will have to change the mount above the door, the new opener uses a tubular track instead of the T rail the old one used. The new opener may be slightly longer than the old one so the ceiling mount may or may not need to be altered. You will also need to install the sensor eyes low on the vertical track and route the wires back up to the opener. The new opener will not work without them.

You won't need to mess with the door springs unless something is going on with the door itself. Simply changing the opener does not necessitate doing anything with the springs. I would manually test the door to make sure it works smoothly and is balanced without the opener attached. It should stay open by itself, stay closed by itself and take about the same effort to open as it does to close.

r0ckstarr 03-12-2014 07:08 PM

The duct tape light fixture was already there when I moved in.


Originally Posted by iamrfixit (Post 1321075)
This opener....

Thank you for the info.

Yep, it has dip switches. I can get a pic of the back if needed/wanted/curious.

You're right. I believe it is the bearing/bushing behind the rpm sensor that went bad.

Seeing as how this one has lasted 30yrs, I am almost tempted to take the time to learn all there is to know about it, and just rebuild it for fun. Then, use it in the 2nd garage bay.

For all of the brands you listed, is there a brand that has better parts in it? For example, if Chamberlain makes them all, do the actual Chamberlains have the better parts in them, or are they all copies of the same thing with different names on them?

Again, thanks! :thumbsup:

firehawkmph 03-12-2014 07:48 PM


Originally Posted by McSteve (Post 1320851)

For a replacement recommendation, I'd suggest Chamberlain. I've installed a few of them, no issues so far. There's also a pretty good chance that a new Chamberlain opener will attach to your existing track and chain, saving a bit of time. It may still be preferable to install the new track that comes with the new opener, though.

Don't reuse the old chain and track. Install all the new parts that come with the opener. Sears openers are made by Chamberlin Liftmaster, but really cheapened up so Sears can sell them cheap. Liftmaster has a nice line of belt drive openers in both 1/2 and 3/4 hp motor sizes and builders, intermediate, and elite series levels. Go to their website and read up on them.
Mike Hawkins :)

gregzoll 03-12-2014 07:53 PM

You are correct Iamfixit. It has been a while since I was last inside mine. I was thinking of that as a clutch, due to I never have really taken a close look, when I last lubed mine.

The only thing I hate about that unit, is that the chain tends to slack and slap when it is going up or down. I am just waiting for ours to die, so I can have a reason to replace it with a newer unit.

I figure that as long as it is operating right, there is no need to tear it down and put up a new unit.

gregzoll 03-12-2014 08:01 PM

I found the book. Mine does not list the 53609. It lists the 53403, 53413, 53606, 53610. If you do replace yours, I will take the remotes from the old one. I have one that acts up every now and then, that we keep in the house. So we can open the door when we go out to the garage.

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