Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back in the groove!

Well, I've recovered enough from my fall so that I was able to resume my work with the trees in the front of the property. I'm not completely up to snuff, but enough to take on a more active role in maintaining our property. Almost all the wood that I moved to the rear of the property is now burned and I'm left with the remains of the last few trees down front.

I did have one other job crop up in the last couple of weeks that I had a bit of trouble with. While I was occupied away from the house, my son called to ask if he could use the garage to change his oil. The answer was "of course". Two minutes later I got another call. "Dad, we have a problem!" When he went to open the garage door, one of the torsion springs let go and it did so with a heck of a noise. I told him not to worry, I'd take care of it. Coincidentally, I was at his home a few weeks ago to help him replace the torsion springs on his garage door.

In 1983 we had the garage door installed by a reputable local dealer. Some years later, one of the torsion springs broke and I called them to replace the set. I was never really happy with the replacements. They were not as long as the originals and didn't do the job of the originals. When I mentioned it to the dealer he ASSURED me that the correct springs were installed. I know enough to be dangerous sometimes, but I believed that if the springs were proper, they would hold the door at the half way point without help. These springs wouldn't and I added some tension to get them to do so.

So now I wanted a set that would do the job and I found several sites on-line. I didn't want to replace the springs with the same thing, so I had to do it by door weight, door height, and radius of the curve. I removed the top of four sections of the door and weighed one end on my digital scale, even though the directions SPECIFICALLY STATE DO NOT USE A DIGITAL SCALE. I took the weight of one side and multiplied by two to get the weight of one panel, then multiplied by four to get the weight of the whole door. It came to 480 pounds.

I contacted tech support at DDM Garage Doors and talked to Jim. He felt that 480 pounds was MUCH too heavy for a residential door and he was skeptical about my use of the digital scale. Of course I told him that I knew what I was doing and I wanted the springs for the 480 pound door. He said "OK, but I'd hate to see you paying all the shipping to send them back." Not likely, I thought. The springs came last Friday afternoon and I got them on Friday night. Saturday morning I got out the ladder and started to wind the springs as directed. I was surprised at how much strength it took to wind those suckers 7 turns. Finally I was all set. The door opener was not connected, but the door was being held in position by a set of vice grips on the torsion shaft. With a quick flip of the lever on the vice grips the door was free.

It was like lift-off at Canaveral, only faster. The door flew up in a micro-second, hit the upper stops and came apart! I stood there with my mouth open, but completely unhurt, which is a major accomplishment for me. I unwound the springs and spent the rest of Saturday afternoon and evening putting the door back together. Thankfully, none of the panels were damaged and I only had to replace hinges and rollers.

Sunday I weighed the door again. In fact, I must have weighed it at least a dozen times. This time I use an analog scale as specified by DDM Garage Doors. The door only weighs 280 pounds. Then I looked at the unbroken spring that was installed as a replacement. Now I know how they are rated and what the code means. The pair of springs were rated for a 200 pound door and were not strong enough to do the job. The correct springs are due in tomorrow afternoon and I will be thrilled to get them on and be able to use the garage again. By the way, it cost almost $40.00 to ship the springs back. So you see, I'm still paying for my education.

Helen and I always keep our cars in the garage unless they are in use. It has been an experience getting in the car to go shopping when the car has been sitting in the sun for hours.

I'll let you know how it works out. I'll try to be safe.

1 comment:

  1. Personally I am glad you weren't hurt but i would have paid admission to be there and see the launch and the look on your face right afterwards, and then later when Helen said I told you so. Donna wouldn't have missed a chance if i ordered those springs over the manufacturers objections.But really glad you didn't get hit with flying parts,Flying garage door parts do a lot of damage.Hey be safe out there. Sam & Donna..