Fixing your Garage Door

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When Bad Things Happen to a Good Garage Door

I hate to admit this but I drove into my garage door last month and this article is about the repair of said door.  The worst thing about doing this is that you struggle to figure out how in the world this could happen and how you could be so stupid. 🙂 I have a routine that I follow which includes the following steps.

  1. Push button to open garage door as I go down the steps into my  garage
  2. Walk around back of vehicle which means I am stepping outside because of the size of vehicle compared to size of garage
  3. Start vehicle
  4. look over shoulder to observe anyone behind vehicle outside
  5. back out slowly observing mirrors on both sides

Its a tight fit but it always works.  Ok not always.  I deviated.  I added a step.  The visor was down the day I ran into my door.  On the visor is the remote door opener which is hidden when the visor is in the down position. When I grasped the visor and pulled it back into position, my finger touched the open/close button and the door was closing as I entered step 5.  I heard the bang followed by… what in the world just happened emotion.  It took a few minutes before I could replay the events in my mind to figure this out.  I was sure that I had failed to observe my routine at first.  Fortunately, in my garage the only way I can get to the driver side is to walk behind and around the vehicle so that ruled out that the door was in the closed position.

After realizing the event sequence, the next thought is who can I blame this on. 🙂 … Of course, as hard as I tried this was an impossible task.  I gave it a good try… I asked my wife, “Why did you leave the Visor down in my vehicle?” which she responded, why did you hit the garage door with your vehicle like an idiot?  Why do feel the need to close the visor inside the garage? Actually she would never call me an idiot but that is what I hear given that I was an idiot on this particular morning. Seeing where this was headed, I decided to punt and move onto to repair.   Here is what I had to do:

Door is Bent

I removed the bottom panel and placed the panel on the garage floor.  It was extremely bent and would not lay flat so I inserted an object under it and stood on the top.  I did this until the panel was as straight as it was going to be.  On this particular day it was -10C so I probably didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked but it was good enough. I removed the damaged brackets and took them to my shop and straightened them up on my vise. To add insult to injury on this day, both the batteries on my electric drill were in a discharged state… meaning every lag bolt was removed with a socket wrench. Nice! 😉  I had removed the portable drill and batteries the previous month when it was -40C and had failed to plug them back in when I brought them inside.

Weather Stripping is Toast

When I hit the door, the panel pushed against the aluminium weather strip and changed the shape. As hard as I tried, it is never going to look the same as when it was new so I put the badly repaired and straightened weather stripping back on and will need to replace this with new.

Tightening the Torsion Spring

There are numerous video’s on how to do this but my technique goes a lot like this.

  1. Loosen set screws on the two pulley’s at the end and orientate the high tension steel wire to run behind the pulley and straight from the bottom of the door.  It is important that the wire run on the special grove at the top of the pulley where they hook in.
  2. Hand tightened the pulley’s removing any slack
  3. Tightened set screws
  4. Use locking pliers to hold the position so they don’t roll back and loosen up the wire

Next I moved to the middle torsion spring and I only have one since this is a single door about 7 foot 6 inches high.  For that door, the recommended 1/4 turns is about 34.  On my door it was 35.  The steps which is explained better on the video’s is as follows.

  1. Loosen set screws on torsion spring
  2. I have two special steel bars that I had made exactly for this procedure at the local A&B Steel shop meaning they fit very well
  3. Insert both bars and turn up as I count my 1/4 turns.  Always careful to make sure that the bottom bar is in place to protect against a slip.
  4. tightened set screws when I have completed the turns I want for this door

Once the door is fairly easy to open and will hold its position then I know I am done and balanced.

Final Tune Up

The last step is to lubricate all the brackets and rollers.  I then reattached the door to the garage door opener and verified that the safety features were aligned and working.  In this particular door, I had to fine tune the wheel guides because there was a little rubbing and the door would jump just slightly when it was first engaged.  I adjusted one of the side tracks about 1/8 of an inch and it was good as new.  I also had to pull back the weather stripping just a bit since it was touching when the door went back up and that kept it quiet.

Lessons Learned

Don’t be in such a hurry to back out.  Stay in the moment and do not repeat this again.  I have no idea what I will do for an encore now …  hopefully, I won’t drive through the house. 🙂  If this helps even one person not to repeat my mistake including myself then writing about my embarrassement is worthwhile.