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I=E/R
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Openers have three conditions that cause it to stop or reverse. 1) It has reached its limit of travel, or 2) There is a bind in the travel, or 3) There is interference in the door path blocking a sensor.
A lot of Sears openers are Chamberlins. The ones I've worked with have two screws with actuators. When the upper or lower limit is reached the actuator trips a switch and stops the door.
These openers also have a bind detection that causes the door to reverse if it can't move properly. For instance, if the lower limit is incorrectly set and the door reaches the floor before the lower limit switch activates, the bind mechanism will reverse the door.
Since you had the gears out, I think you have something out of time between the limit switches and the door travel.
 
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