Garage Door Problem

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Johnny Angell, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    We have a 3 car garage, with 2 doors, 1 of which is a 1-car width door. This door has stopped closing automatically. It can be opened, but won't even nudge it 6 inches, when I try to close it.

    If I release the door from the traveling thinga-ma-bob that pushes and pulls the door, I can than manually close the door. When I then activate the closing cycle, the traveling thinga-ma-bob works fine and goes all the way to the door and reengages. I can then use it to open the door.

    The first thing I did was to check the sensors, that they weren't blocked or that the lenses hadn't gotten dirty. If that were the case, I don't think the motor would move the traveler, even when not engaged.

    Maybe I need to lubricate something? Any advice?
     
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Does it sound like the motor is running and the chain is not moving or does the whole thing stop?

    I had a garage door opener stop working on me (an old craftsman) and found that, internally the gears are made of plastic... well.. vinyl, probably. But, these would wear out over time and eventually the garage door would stop working. I was just about to pull the trigger on a new opener when I decided to take the cover off the thing and look inside. I saw the stripped gears and immediately went online to see if I could buy a new set. Sure enough! Saved myself a ton of $$.

    Word of advice.. don't ever mess with garage door springs. Call a professional!!! Those things hold a lot of energy and can seriously kill you if they cut loose. My neighbor nearly lost 3 fingers this past summer because his spring got stuck and he just went to jiggle the spring to check it out.
     
  3. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Dave asked a good question. Does the motor run when you try to close it, but the door doesn't come down?

    More questions:

    Is this a worm-gear (basically, a long screw), chain drive, or other type of system?

    If it's a worm-gear system and the motor is running without the garage door closing, then the rack that engages the screw may be unevenly worn so that it acts like a ratchet, catching in one direction, but slipping in the other. It's not difficult to take out. Take it out, if you can, and examine it. If the gear teeth look like the teeth on a saw, then it needs to be replaced. If you can't tell by looking, then reverse it (remember which way it was when you took it out) and put it back in. If you can then close the door, but have trouble opening it, or if the door actually works in both directions, then it's unevenly worn, and it needs to be replaced. (The door may work in both directions after reversing this piece. Don't let that fool you into thinking that you've fixed it. All you've done is face the ratcheting side of the rack toward the direction of less force so that the ratcheting no longer occurs This is only a temporary condition, as the piece is now wearing in the other direction so that you will eventually not be able to move the door at all.)

    If this is a chain drive and the motor runs without the door closing, then, as Dave has said, you likely have stripped gears inside the housing. Don't be intimidated. Taking it apart and replacing the gears with new parts is actually a little easier than installing a new door.

    Give us more info, when you get a chance.
     
  4. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    This is a chain drive motor. The motor and chain drives a mechanism that can be attached to and unattached from the lever kind of thing that is attached to the garage door.

    If the mechanism is attached to the door, it can open the door, but jams when trying to close it. When I disengage or unattach the mechanism, I can then manually close the garage door. The leaves the attaching mechanism some distance when where it is supposed to be attached to the door. When I then start the closing cycle, it works. The mechanism travels down to the attaching point of the door and reattaches itself.

    So, motor does run, and it can cause the chain to move the attaching mechanism properly. It just can't do the closing cycle when the door is attached.

    I wondering if don't need to lubricate something? Is WD40 ok to use?

    Good advice about the spring. Just looking at it tells me it's dangerous.
     
  5. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    The opener should have some sort of adjustment for setting the threshold for reversal on downward interference. In other words, if something is pushing up on the door, and the opener "feels" it with chain counter-tension, it will reverse.

    Make the setting a little more aggressive, and see if the door will go down. Don't go too far, or it will crush you![​IMG]
     
  6. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    What Todd said. Also, don't use WD-40. It's usually common to use lithium-based grease on garage door openers. Basically, you want something that's both slippery and very sticky.

    I don't think lubrication is your problem, though.

    Man, I wish I had a nickel for every time I've said that...
     
  7. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I think Brian means Silicon based lubricant. You can get it in an aerosol can, just like WD-40, at a home center. I'm not sure there is such a thing as lithium based lubricant, unless your garage door has violent tendencies.
     
  8. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Supporting Actor

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  9. Marianne

    Marianne Supporting Actor

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    We had a roll up garage door jump the track at work and the repair man fixed it and applied white lithium grease to the track.

    When we had a problem with our garage door a few years back the repair man suggested that we should use old engine oil in a squirty can and put some on top of the big springy thingy. This is supposed to extend the life of the spring.
     
  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Well, whadayaknow.
     
  11. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I'm gonna get some of that.
     
  12. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    You can also get it in a tub in sort of a cake-frosting form. You can just slather it on your tracks/wheels. I've never used the spray stuff... actually, I've never seen it in spray form before.
     
  13. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    I have a can of white lithium spray grease. I picked it up at an Ace Hardware store. I don't come across it often.

    It's a little messy, though, so I probably won't be buying another when it's done.
     
  14. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Interestingly, the whole point of using lithium grease is for the sake of your car, not for the benifit of the garage door opener. Other greases will lubricate just as well, but the lithium grease is more "emulsified", or stiff, if you will, so it stays put and won't drip onto your car parked underneath.

    So the stiffness of the lubricant, while it certainly helps things go up and down, is more for the sake of the car going in and out of the garage than for the garage itself.

    Flowers can help, too.
     
  15. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I actually work for a major manufacturer of garage door openers, so I have a pretty good background on them.

    1. I also strongly urge you to not mess with the spring/springs.

    2. When you have the trolley disconnected and you move the door, does the door feel harder to close than to open? The majority of the time that an opener has problems, it is largely due to a improperly maintained door. Either the spring/springs need adjusting, the rails need lubricated, there's a bad wheel, a bent rail, etc..., etc.. In theory, a properly maintained and adjusted door should take very little effort to open and close, so if it is hard to move manually, you are adding a huge amount of strain to the opener.

    3. Speaking of door what kind of door is it? Is it a sectional or a 1-piece door? Also is it a fiberglass or solid wood door? Each of these variables has a pretty dramatic impact on the amount of maintenance that a door requires and the lifespan of the opener.

    4. Forces can usually be adjusted with either a screw adjustment or electronically (depending on the age and style of the unit). They forces vary depending on direction, so as somebody already mentioned this may be a matter of adjusting the down force slightly.

    5. As somebody else already mentioned the gears are generally plastic on the inside. These can easily last 20+ years on a properly balanced door, but wear out extremely fast on an imbalanced door. If you take the cover off (be sure to unplug the unit first), you should be able to easily tell if the gears have stripped. If this is the case, and you have some mechanical ability, you can usually order a service kit and repair this.

    6. When attempting to close the door, does the door and opener simply stop running or does the door reverse and return to the open position? If this is the case, then it is clearly a case of something being wrong with the door and the door should be inspected. In the meantime, this can be resolved by increasing the down force.

    7. When you disconnect the trolley and then send the opener to the down position, does the unit open the door to the same position every time? If this is true, it's very unlikely that the internal gears are stripped. If the gears are stripped, the unit will most likely have lost it's limits and would open to a different position with every cycle. Some newer units have auto-limits which will re-adjust but even these usually require the unit to be put in to a "Learn Mode" in order to adjust the settings. It sounds like this is an older unit and most likely a mechanical limit unit.

    8. Finally, does the unit's lights flash or the LED on the programming panel flash when the unit fails to close? If this happens, it's because something is wrong with either the "Safety Eyes" or that the unit is reversing because it detects interference.

    PHEW!!
     
  16. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Thanks for chiming in, Eric. Great info, and great troubleshooting questions. I know how electrons work and often eagerly jump in to help under the illusion that my fundamental knowledge will somehow be helpful. But there's just no substitute for specific, expert knowledge like yours.
     
  17. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Since the problem door was the single-wide door and we didn't park a car there, I let the problem slide for a while. Just a few days ago, the guy who does the finish up work on our builders home drove by and stopped when he saw me. I related to him the problem. He immediately noticed that the lights on the sensors were not on. If the sensors are aligned properly one has a green light and the other orange or yellow.

    He took a minute to align them and now the door works. So I've learned that even when the sensors are out of alignment, when the traveling device is disconnected from the door, it will travel all the way. That's the thing that always confused me.

    If I had paid more attention to number 8 above, I could have fixed it sooner. Thanks for all the advice.
     
  18. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Thanks for taking the time to post a follow-up, Johnny. I'm glad it was something simple.

    And thanks also to Eric for sharing his vast knowledge with all of us. I know I'm better equipped to deal with garage door/opener problems thanks to him.
     
  19. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I'm glad that you got your door working properly.

    This forum is filled with a lot of knowledgable people who have previously answered my questions, so it was nice to finally be able to help somebody else out.
     
  20. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Who would figure you'd come to the Home Theater Forum to fix a garage door, find the best lawn mower, or the perfect martini?[​IMG]
     

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