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WardStradlater t1_iu4zutj wrote

That’s not a torsion spring it’s an extension spring, which might be why you’re having trouble finding anything by searching. Try searching side extension spring replacement videos. Anyway, they are honestly easier in my opinion than the newer torsion springs that are overhead. Just open the garage all the way (this ensures the least amount of tension is on the spring) then you can use a ladder if you have one that’s big enough, or a stack of sturdy objects to support the door in case it moves at all to prevent it from closing down on you, then once that’s done remove that circle pin, slide the flat safety bar off and use gloves to hold the spring and slide that chain link off the post and then you can disassemble everything without any tension.


danauns t1_iu5361i wrote


Extension springs aren't really that dangerous. The way they load/unload is linear and predictable. Take precaution of course, and be careful, but these aren't a big deal to work on or maintain by an average DIYer.

Torsion springs are EXTREMELY dangerous. They fail in unpredictable ways and have a lot of potential energy wound up in them. Danger bay.


moron_that_later OP t1_iu53m4j wrote

That makes a lot of sense. Here is the spring, btw, which I was able to find with the help of this distinction:

So basically whereas a torsion spring is always already under tension, and thus has a ton of potential energy stored up, an extension spring is not under tension until it is extended (like a trampoline), is that right?


IronSlanginRed t1_iu5b135 wrote

Yup. These kind don't have tension on them unless they are extended. So all the way up there's usually a slack spot.

TBH when i removed mine i barely had to pull on it to unhook the S-hook. All the way open and the spring was pretty much fully closed and had next to no tension. I just wore gloves so i wouldn't pinch my hand. These are waaaaay different than torsion springs.


asad137 t1_iu5lbt5 wrote

>Torsion springs are EXTREMELY dangerous. They fail in unpredictable ways and have a lot of potential energy wound up in them.

While this is true, they are also trapped by the rod passing through the center. So the only way to get a piece flying off is if less than a 360-degree arc of the spring breaks off.


jeffersonairmattress t1_iu5tbgc wrote

It's the levers you use to wind the springs or the wrench you use to tighten the 2-3 locking setscrews that cause the most common injuries. The spring is wound on its shaft by a capstan with radial holes and you wind it by putting two levers in the holes- one to hold it and one to advance it. if the capstan's light aluminum casting breaks or your lever slips, the next one comes around and takes out your head or impales you- the same thing can happen if a lever slips while you are locking the bolts and the wrench you are using takes your hand off or winds up inside you. All compounded by the fact that this typically happens to a DIY amateur standing on a ladder.

I've seen the springs unwind unexpectedly a few times but I've only seen two springs break and one of them just violently unwound on the shaft as you suggested but the other one threw a section of itself through 2 layers of drywall 60 feet away. I'll never touch another one.


DudebuD16 t1_iu8q9en wrote

That's why you use locking pliers and the rod you use to wind the spring to hold it in place when tightening anything.

And when winding the spring, keep your body to one side(the non spring side) to avoid injury.

But you are right about the spring exploding, it's happened before(not to me)

Source: garage door installer


egus t1_iu559sq wrote

A pair of vice grips on the track will hold the door if he doesn't have a long enough pipe or ladder


TubbyBeefpile t1_iu6vzw6 wrote

C clamps work too if your buddy borrowed your good vice grips and never gave them back. Prolly not sure why you call him buddy anymore.. but hey, there ya go.


joshkpoetry t1_iu8nnbf wrote

Good tip, but I have several pairs of the same vise grips because the buddy I loan them to is myself.

I eventually find them, but it has turned out pretty useful to have a few pairs distributed around the place.

One pair lives by the lawnmower gas can and exists mainly to adjust the mower deck height, for example.


erogbass t1_iu9h0ru wrote

Lol how destroyed are the bolts for the height adjustment after years of using vice grips on them?


joshkpoetry t1_iua5zau wrote

They're a little rough, lol.

Not that bad--they're more like spring-loaded pins. They had plastic hook-shaped handles to make pulling them out of height selection holes, but most of those hooks have broken off.

So I'm not using the vise grips to turn nuts/bolts. Just for grip while pulling.

Still, they're a little chewed up, lol.


stanolshefski t1_iu8teta wrote

My dad used to use C clamps and Vice Grips as a backup garage door lock when we went on vacation.


jeffersonairmattress t1_iu5rtni wrote

Tracks are for rollup or torsion spring doors- tilters and floders use pivots counterbalanced by tension springs.

You have the door up, you arrange a rope each side taking the load each spring holds and you use a pulley at each rope so you can safely raise and lower the door and hold it anywhere you want with the ropes.

With the door secured by ropes you can now remove the redundant and relaxed springs. Usually a clip, cotter or hitch pin pulled to remove a pin or link and then the spring hangs free. Not dangerous as long as there is no load on the springs as they store no potential energy.


Great68 t1_iu6kqnx wrote

>Tracks are for rollup or torsion spring doors- tilters and floders use pivots counterbalanced by tension springs.

Nope, My garage door is on tracks and uses tension springs.


egus t1_iu5s9ed wrote

That must be a really old way of doing it.

I've replaced several of these with the type you wind across the header and they still had tracks and rollers down the sides.


Hodgkisl t1_iu8jbkz wrote

Roll up doors can use either type of spring, newer roll up doors which weigh more typically have torsion springs as they last longer and are considered safer during use, though more dangerous to instal.

I Have an original 1972 wood roll up with tension springs.


singlejeff t1_iu5oxrx wrote

There was no track on our door that had springs like this


egus t1_iu5rhe7 wrote

Yes there is. There are rollers on the sides of the panels. The rollers are contained in a tracked upright vertical and horizontal piece.


singlejeff t1_iu5sjvc wrote

Our’s was what I think of as a single throw door, one giant panel. I grew up with it don’t tell me there were tracks.


egus t1_iu5t2ku wrote

I believe you, I've just never seen one like that.


moron_that_later OP t1_iu51sw5 wrote

Super helpful, that makes a lot of sense


Hodgkisl t1_iu8jr3l wrote

Looking at your picture, when you replace them run a safety rope or cable through them. When extension springs break they can launch violently. Extension springs are safer for the installer but more dangerous in use if there’s no safety cable.


ntyperteasy t1_iu90zge wrote

This. It's an excellent summary. The essence is to remove it while the door is fully open and the spring is relaxed, then use a pair of 2x4's (one on each side) or step ladder as a safety to keep the door from crashing down.

The current best- practice is to run a steel cable through the center of the spring in case it breaks. If yours doesn't have that, do it to both sides while you are doing this. I am not talking about the normal tension cable that lifts the garage door - it is an extra cable going through the center of the spring that remains slack, and is intended to keep the parts of the spring from flying away if the spring breaks.


Quattuor t1_iu9elqn wrote

This is correct. OP the springs are usually color coded for stiffness and you need to get correct spring to have the garage door properly balanced.