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Replacing Garage Door Opener and Springs

1508 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  waterjet
My very old garage door opener finally died after about 40 years. The door itself is 8' x 10' with wood panels. It's very heavy and the old springs look really stretched out. My first question is whether anyone has a good estimate to the weight of this type of door. I bought the heaviest springs that Home Depot had, which were 160lb, and they just didn't seem to be close to what I need, plus, I believe they are intended for a door that is 7' high, not 8'. I'm thinking of purchasing 220lb extension springs for an 8 foot door from a site I found for around $53each.

I also purchased a Genie belt driven opener. The old one was chain driven and the gears gave out, most likely because of the old springs not doing their job. Is a belt driven any better or am I just asking for more problems sooner, rather than later?

Any suggestions, especially about the springs and drive type would be much appreciated.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Does anyone have a recommendation on which drive type to use for a door like this that is not too difficult to install. I'm torn between Sommers direct drive and and Genie's screw drive. Or should I just stick with a powerful chain drive. I purchased a belt drive that I'm probably returning.
 

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I am changing out the drives as well. I used screw drive before. It was noisy and others say that as well. Don't know about direct drive?
Belt drive seem to be popular, not only because it's quiet but not enough failures to not consider it. I bought a couple for this old house (homedepot).
It is the springs that are important because the spring counteracts the weight of the door and drive is not lifting/pushing the door by itself. For a heavy door, how the lift point is reinforced seems to be more important.
I just did some research and for the springs, one spring's weight cap means for that one spring, usually. Check the box. 2 springs of 100lb each means 200 lbs together. It is also important to know the stretch capacity of the spring and you must use safety cable in case the spring breaks.
Before you guess on the weight, weigh the door first. There are many videos on how. I used clamping the cable, lift with crow bar, 2x, then bath scale method. Was easy enough. Mine weighed 130lb. I went to 150 on some guesses and turned out it was too much. The door won't go to floor. When you unhook the springs, you must have some way to let the door down easy. Mine came down with a crash.:surprise:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had the same problem when I went to weigh our door. I couldn't get it back up. Luckily for me I live on a farm and used a skid loader to raise it up, but when it caught on the track lock, I almost ruined the door. I'd say mine weighs somewhere between 200-300lbs. It's also important to get proper springs for the size of your door, because most of the ones at the big box stores are only for 7' doors. I'm going to go with the a heavy duty chain drive, since our old one lasted for at least 40 years.
 

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Waterjet,
In a case like this, you are better off calling a local garage door repairman to replace the springs. Around here in northern Ohio, a pair of springs installed goes for $125-150, depending on the actual spring size, some being more expensive than others. As far as the openers go, I install Liftmasters, have been for quite awhile and have five on doors of my own. The belt units are a little quieter and require no maintenance. A chain drive unit should have the chain adjustment checked once a year, very simple thing to do yourself. The motors are no different when looking at a belt or chain drive of the same horsepower and same series. I don't install screw drives because they are so noisy. In your case a new door would be worth looking into before you put any more money in the old one.
Mike Hawkins:smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I just returned a 3/4hp Genie belt drive unit and was going to get a Chamberlain chain drive, but the salesman talked me into a Chamblerlain 1/2hp belt drive which he sold me at a $30 discount because they didn't have the extension kit for the other model in stock. While messing with the belt tensioner spring I accidentally left the end nut fly off and putting it back on would be very difficult. Currently, I installed it just with the main nut on one side an washer on the other and then measured it as shown in the diagram. Do you think I should quickly purchase another one of these, which I can get for 9.95 on eBay or StarDoorParts? I'm concerned that it might not work correctly, even though I think I have it adjusted properly. I can see why hiring a profession would be the easier way to go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just finished installing door opener. Does anyone know if it's normal for the one side of the drive belt to be very tight when shut? It seems to be working alight, I just want to make sure things are adjusted correctly.
 
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