Garage Door Moves with Difficulty and Appears to Be Rotated a Few Degrees

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Skeezix

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I have an 8-foot garage door with one torsion spring going across the top. The door has 7 (or maybe 8?) panels. It has an automatic door opener on it. For years something has been making a light bang just about a foot from the fully open position to a foot from the fully lowered position when I operate the door. When closed, the door seats against the garage floor nicely, and the auto-reverse also operates correctly.

When I last lowered the door I heard a somewhat loud noise when the door bottom was about a foot or so from the floor. With the door opener disconnected from the door there is a binding when the door bottom is about 2 feet off the floor.

Looking at the door from the inside of the garage it is been rotated clockwise such that when the bottom right corner hits the floor, the bottom left corner is about 8 inches off the floor, and the right-hand cable is off the pulley. It is difficult to manually raise and lower the door past this point but I can do it. I've tried without success to straighten the door. Raising the door by putting a jack under the lower right corner raises the entire door.

I've checked the tracks with a level. The vertical parts are perfectly plumb both side to side and top to bottom. The horizontal parts are correctly spaced from each other and are parallel to the ground. None of the track's assembly bolts are loose or have worked themselves to different positions. None of the rollers are binding. I've only had a cursory look at the spring but I can't say that it's broken.

QUESTION 1: What can I check before I take a closer look at the spring?

QUESTION 2: How can I verify the spring is broken is without removing it?

QUESTION 3: How do I measure the spring length and the coil diameter so that I buy the correct spring at the box store?
 
Skeezix, it sounds to me like one spring is either broken or has come loose from its mooring. Possibly a pawl broke, releasing spring tension. The Bang sound you hear is the big clue. Another is that the door sits at an angle.

With the opener disconnected, does the door lift evenly with a light touch and stay down when down? If not, a spring probably isn't doing its job.

However, first check that the lift cables didn't come off. As far as my limited knowledge goes, the bang kind of precludes that, but it's worth checking.

You may be able to see the broken spot on the spring or a broken pawl with a flash light. Also, with the door down, try to gently rotate the springs. The broken one may feel looser than the other.

Be Careful! The springs are under tension when the door is down. Don't jab with a tool or try to rotate the springs beyond a gentle twist. A broken part may fly out and hit you.

We have a Torquemaster & torsion springs break every few years, so I'm kind of used to the clues. On the happy side, they're easy for me to replace. (Torsion springs in a tube with geared winders, so they are safer to replace than open springs.)

Keep in mind that I'm not a garage door pro. I only know this stuff from installing and repairing doors on houses I've owned, built or rebuilt. I also have helped a friend who was a garage door pro- while asking a lot of questions!

I hope the repair is a quick one!
Paul

PS: If you do need a spring and decide to do it yourself, there are winders for torsion springs that one slides on the bar. They eliminate the need to use winding bars. Are they safer than bars? It seems so, but I've never studied them.
 
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Thank you for your help!

One lift cable came off the pulley but I was able to get it back on.

I'll back the car out, manually lift the door, and look at the spring with a flashlight tomorrow, with the door down. I'm thinking the spring will be looser when the door is all the way up, but that precludes my being able to look at to gently turn it.

One more thing... When the door is down and both lift cables have the same tension on them, and I loosen and try to turn the right hand pulley in an attempt to lift the bottom right corner of the door so it's level with the other side, the entire door stays crooked and moves.
 
One more thing... When the door is down and both lift cables have the same tension on them, and I loosen and try to turn the right hand pulley in an attempt to lift the bottom right corner of the door so it's level with the other side, the entire door stays crooked and moves.
A cable coming off of the pulley could indicate a broken spring. On mine, the one opposite the broken spring comes off. But, if it was loose enough to come off, how are they both the now same tension? Mysterious garage door stuff, I guess.

Perhaps the cable stretched over time or it slipped in the crimp connector. That doesn't explain the Bang sound & sudden problem. Slipping cable shows symptoms slowly as far as my knowledge knows.

I don't understand what you wrote about loosening a pulley and turning by hand. If you're writing about the cable drum pulley on the top bar, I'd be scared of loosening it. The spring could decide to release and make it suddenly rotate. (Guessing)

Keep in mind that I'm no door pro.

Paul
 
Could you post a photo of the door spring?

expressgaragedoorparts.com has a YouTube video that explains how to change the torsion springs, as well as the mechanics of adjusting, however the video recommends switching too 2 springs.

There are
additional YouTube for just single spring applications.

Here is a chart which will aid you ibn determining the size, should you need to replace;https://www.doorvana.com/blog/garage-door-springs-and-weight-chart

The "bang" you here, to me, is the sound of the spring end clamp slipping, under tension, with the resulting disparity in closing resulting.

When I started adjusting garage doors, I used 1/2" rebar, because it was handy.
 
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Hi Skeezix,

If you do end up needing parts, I've always found DDM Garage Doors to be very honest, helpful and to supply high quality parts at good prices. If by chance you're close, they're over in West Chicago, but ship quickly to anywhere. (800) 383-9548.

The owner's very willing to help diagnose the problem over the phone and is a good teacher. They won't sell you anything that you don't need.

Should you need spring(s) and are interested in the safety winder; DDM sells one or two kinds. Here's an article & video of the S3 model: https://ddmgaragedoors.com/diy-instructions/s3-winder-installation.php

And, here is a link to DDM's DIY instructions pages: https://ddmgaragedoors.com/diy-instructions/
Lots of good information is on those pages.

Paul
 
The mechanics of garage doors, and how they've operated, has changed little in 53yrs, other than the addition of some consumer safety features, just be aware of and be cautious.
 
The mechanics of garage doors, and how they've operated, has changed little in 53yrs, other than the addition of some consumer safety features, just be aware of and be cautious.
The Mechanics Of A Garage Door:
Only break at 5:00 am when you're already late for work.
Work fine all summer. Need repair in finger freezing winter.
When a spring breaks and the door falls, be sure the car is half way inside.
Upon breaking, ensure that parts fly all over the place & get lost until the day after replacements are purchased.
 
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And fogged-up child sensors, in the winter, that reverse the door after inches of rise.
 
Be careful! I broke my hand attempting to replace one of the springs on a roll up door. After that, I called a garage door company and discovered they didn’t charge me much more to do the work than what the spring cost.
 
"Check to see if a spark jumps from the wire to metal. If you get shocked by doing this, you’ll never want to do that again."

Also, in the 40's, I found that, it's the distance from the plug end, that you hold the wire, often lessened the chance of getting a shock, than in the 70' I held the wire with a fuse puller like these; https://www.zoro.com/ideal-medium-f...V4zMIBR2JIQMIEAQYASABEgJsAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Unrelated, but interesting, is the capacitor test. Charge them and leave them on the work bench, the screams tell you which ones are holding their charge.
 
UPDATE
I looked at the torsion spring "real careful like". I did not appear to be broken, and I could twist it a bit at one end and the twist went almost all the way down to the other end. I thought there was a good chance that the spring was not broken, so I bought two torsion spring adjustment rods and with them I was able to get the door working again. Now it's super quiet and level with the floor when closed.

Before I did anything else, I watched a couple of videos about replacing the torsion spring. Then I bought the 16-inch rods for $16 shipped. I ain't no spring chicken anymore... and I shoulda bought the 18-inch ones 'cause it took all my strength to tighten the spring to where the door was balanced.
 
In my practice, I'd balance the door so that it rested at chest height, which in turn balances your, and any operator effort.
 
UPDATE
I looked at the torsion spring "real careful like". I did not appear to be broken, and I could twist it a bit at one end and the twist went almost all the way down to the other end. I thought there was a good chance that the spring was not broken, so I bought two torsion spring adjustment rods and with them I was able to get the door working again. Now it's super quiet and level with the floor when closed.

Before I did anything else, I watched a couple of videos about replacing the torsion spring. Then I bought the 16-inch rods for $16 shipped. I ain't no spring chicken anymore... and I shoulda bought the 18-inch ones 'cause it took all my strength to tighten the spring to where the door was balanced.
Good job!

I should have bought the adjusters too. That would have saved a broken hand!
 
UPDATE
I looked at the torsion spring "real careful like". I did not appear to be broken, and I could twist it a bit at one end and the twist went almost all the way down to the other end. I thought there was a good chance that the spring was not broken, so I bought two torsion spring adjustment rods and with them I was able to get the door working again. Now it's super quiet and level with the floor when closed.

Before I did anything else, I watched a couple of videos about replacing the torsion spring. Then I bought the 16-inch rods for $16 shipped. I ain't no spring chicken anymore... and I shoulda bought the 18-inch ones 'cause it took all my strength to tighten the spring to where the door was balanced.
I'm glad it worked out well!
From your report, it seems as though one spring mount slipped a bit. (Just guessing...)
Happy Motoring!
Paul
 

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