Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fixing Our Garage Door

In the winter, our garage door sticks.

Like sometimes it takes 5 solid minutes of continuously opening and closing it before it will finally raise all the way up kinda sticks.

Monday after work, I decided to do something about it.

I knew it had to do with the metal contracting because of the cold weather, so I thought lubricating the wheels would help reduce the friction and solve the problem, but that didn't help.

So I grabbed a ladder and started checking out the motor. Turns out there's a force adjustment on the back that allows you to control how much force the motor uses to pull the door up and push the door down. Perfect!

After turning the upward force up, the door would raise and lower without any hesitation.

But why stop there?

Ever since we moved into our house a few years ago, our garage door hasn't opened all the way. It's something that drives me crazy, but I've lived with it because at least it opens and I'm too cheap to pay for a new door (which is a big part of the problems we have -- the door is dented in a few spots and I'm sure it either needs adjusting or needs to be replaced altogether).

Since I was feeling adventurous and in a fix-it mood, I thought I'd try to get the door to open all the way up, too. But after tweaking the raise and lower limits on the motor, the door suddenly stopped halfway through opening. I could hear it working, but nothing was happening.

Popping the motor's case off, I realized the main drive gear for the motor had been stripped clean -- the teeth around the gear were no longer making contact with the "worm."

Here's the stripped gear

And that little curly thing in the middle is what it should have been making contact with. 

A lot of the forums were talking about "snow" -- yep, we definitely had that, too:

Once I figured out what the problem was, I went online trying to figure out where I could buy a new gear. Turns out that NOBODY carries them in stock (go figure). But, I was able to find the gear and grease for $10 on Amazon, and since it was Prime we got free 2nd day shipping.

After the new gear came in yesterday, I set to taking the motor apart to get the drive shaft out. That part was pretty easy (just make sure you tape the chain to the track before you loosen it and remove it from the gear on top of the motor).

Next, there are two roller pins holding the gear in place (one above and one below). These things were STUCK! I guess that's what happens after 16 years.

I was finally able to pop out the bottom one by soaking it in WD-40 and using a screw as a punch to hammer it out.

From there on it was just a matter of putting everything back together the way it came apart, and making sure to grease up the new gear so it wouldn't get chewed up like the old one.

Once everything was installed and the chain was tightened, I adjusted the force back down (because you really only want it as high as it has to be) and gave it a try.

It ran great!

I played with it a little longer to make sure everything was operating as it should and the motor wasn't making any weird noises before putting the cover back on.

I never was able to get the door to open all the way, and I certainly didn't want to push my luck on the new gear. Now it opens a little more than it used to, but at least it is opening.

The funniest part about these kinds of things is how afraid of this stuff I was when we first bought the house. Owning a house is such a big responsibility -- especially for the "man of the house" -- and I literally had zero experience with any of this stuff. But even though I didn't know what I was doing, I knew how to figure it out (thanks to Google), and I'm always willing to try to fix things myself. I'm amazed at how much I have learned over the last few years. When you break things down, they really aren't as complicated as they seem to be at first. And once you take the mystery out of something, it's not nearly as scary as it used to be. You'd be amazed at the things you can do just by trying.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go, Mr. Fix-It!
    Not that women aren't capable of doing these kinds of things, I'm glad I'm not expected to try, haha! It's great that you did try though, and even more you were successful!


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