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Old 03-26-2018, 09:21 PM   #1
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Procedure to Balancing Torsion Springs


Q: What is the correct procedure to balance torsion springs AND counter-balance the weight of the door.


I'm spending waaaay too much time winding, unwinding, winding, unwinding the torsion springs on my 425lb 16' x 7' garage door. I can't keep the torque in balance between the springs.

I followed the demonstrations in various YouTube videos exactly: I tighten the set screws after I've cranked the springs to the set number of turns, then release the winding bar. But each time, the left-side of the door lifts up and jambs the bottom-right roller in its track. This happens every... single... time.

My intuition tells me I'm over-winding the springs. Fine. I unwind both springs then wind and tighten in 5 turn increments. Excruciating. When I approach the "set number of turns", I stop and check the weight of the door. It's still to heavy, so I add two more turns and check again. Still too heavy. So I add two more turns and... the left-side of the door lifts up and jambs the bottom-right roller in its track.

Interestingly, backing off the springs from the "set number of turns" does nothing to lower the left side of the door. I have to completely release all tension on both springs, then stand on the left-side door rib to bottom out the garage door.

What am I doing wrong?
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:25 PM   #2
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Re: Procedure to Balancing Torsion Springs


Confirm that the door is level to the world before winding the springs.

Next time you release all the tension in the springs, check the cable lengths for each side.
Longer/shorter cable lengths will make the door act weird.
It might make a difference.

Plus, if you have two springs, make sure they both have the same number of winds in them when loaded.
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:34 PM   #3
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Re: Procedure to Balancing Torsion Springs


The door is level when bottomed out.

I wind each spring identically.

Cables are both the same length.

Each time the "issue" occurs, the cable pops off the drum on the right side. I have the shaft secured with vice-grips (per videos) to prevent the shaft from turning while I wind the springs. I had a theory that the vice-grips slipped--all I can do is tighten them more. yet still the left side popped up.

Last edited by lothian; 03-26-2018 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:37 PM   #4
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Re: Procedure to Balancing Torsion Springs


Are the springs a matched set?
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:39 PM   #5
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Re: Procedure to Balancing Torsion Springs


yup.

identical, 'cept for left/right windings.
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:50 PM   #6
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Re: Procedure to Balancing Torsion Springs


It's been a while since I've fought with garage doors, but a couple things come to mind. If these are old springs, could one be weaker. Maybe one is stronger, so don't adjust them exactly the same every time, see what happens. Second thing comes to mind, is all the tension off before you start, maybe one side is still under tension and the other is not when you begin.
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:36 PM   #7
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Re: Procedure to Balancing Torsion Springs


Healed!

It seems the problem was with the locking pliers I used to hold the shaft--they were worn out. The pliers slipped just enough to allow slack in the cable on the side I had them clamped (the left side each time).

I purchased two shiny new 10" Vice-Grips! I chomped one on each side of the shaft, I finished the job in the 15mins it should have taken on the first attempt.

Oy. Sometimes it just takes walking away from a problem to see how simple its cause. Will the life lessons ever cease...

Last edited by lothian; 03-27-2018 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 03-29-2018, 09:05 AM   #8
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Re: Procedure to Balancing Torsion Springs


Just an FYI,
Springs don't have to be wound exactly the same for a door to work properly. In some cases, two different weight springs will be used. When both springs are on the same shaft, the shaft doesnt know how much each spring has been wound individually. The total tension of both springs is all the shaft knows. Cable length as noted in the OP's posts is critical.
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Old 03-29-2018, 01:21 PM   #9
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Re: Procedure to Balancing Torsion Springs


Quote:
Originally Posted by lothian View Post
.... Will the life lessons ever cease...

Get ready... NO, they never stop coming!

Glad you got it fixed.
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