1 2
benzbaron HalfDork
11/30/10 5:32 p.m.

Well the other day after defeating a nasty plumbing issue I decided to get out of the place. When I let down the garage door, boom. About 2 inches of the spring broke on the spindle. I measured the spring out and can get new ones for around 100$ plus shipping but this garage door is probably on its way out. It is a wooden 2 car garage door and must weigh over 500lbs.

I was able to unwind the broken part of the spring and cut it off the track. I think I'm going to end up rewinding the spring and see what happens.

I see the manufacturers suggestion for winding a new spring is 7.6revolutions of the spindle. Would it make a difference the spring is now two inches shorter? I just need to find 2 rods and start winding but wanted to know if anyone has any tips. I'm going to wait until someone is around just in case there needs to be a witness for identification purposes.

My car is being held hostage as it isn't possible to manhandle a 500lb door up 7ft unless you are king kong.

wheelsmithy Reader
11/30/10 5:40 p.m.

Man, I've been defeated by this sort of thing. I'm very anxious to hear from voices of experience. Also, told its dangerous.

iceracer Dork
11/30/10 5:40 p.m.

In theory, the spring should be stiffer/stronger.

Pumpkin Escobar
Pumpkin Escobar SuperDork
11/30/10 5:41 p.m.

well, I am not sure about metalurgy of aging tempered steel, but I know A). a spring that broke once is likely to do it again, and 2). THOSE THINGS CAN KILL YOU! And I emphasize the KILL YOU part for its permanence... a broken spring or a spring + tool + unwinding shaft can lacerate your will to live, not to mention the abdominal wall, all your arteries, your brain, your tender fleshy bits, the parts of you that let you poop, walk, wink, and also can slice right through the parts that help you stay alive.

Let a pro do it.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn SuperDork
11/30/10 5:47 p.m.

If the spring has broken it's time to replace it. It's just going to break again, even if you can get it adjusted properly.

I've installed them myself without issue, but they can be dangerous so keep that in mind. Also, you may want to check with a local garage door company for their price to replace the springs - I had one break a couple winters ago, and I had a company come out to do the repair. Mainly, I hired them because it was 20 below zero that week but the price was surprisingly affordable, and the repair guy had two new springs installed and the door adjusted in about 20 minutes flat. If I had done it myself it probably would have taken a couple hours.

benzbaron HalfDork
11/30/10 6:29 p.m.

We'll see what happens, I hear local shops charge around 400$ to change the springs. That is a nice markup on 100$ in parts. This combined with 700$ installed new doors make it hard to want to repair this one. The only redeeming thing about this door is it is both heathen and zombie proof.

My old man is a metallurgist so he's going to take a look at the broken part under a microscope and see what happened. I don't have any faith in these springs, but if they last a couple months I'd be stoked.

Grtechguy SuperDork
11/30/10 6:39 p.m.

ehh....I'll do strut springs on a Supra before I touch another garage door spring.

Streetwiseguy HalfDork
11/30/10 6:45 p.m.

If the spring broke, its broke. Throw it away. You won't be able to get enough turns without way too much stress on the spring, so the door will either open halfway, and sit there, open all the way but not close, or close and not open.

The labor involved includes removing the bearing plate from one end so you can slide the new spring and mounts on, plus the ability to wind it roughly the correct amount to be at a good starting point for the final adjustment.

The part about having the tools to do it without death involved is part of it too.

DoctorBlade Reader
11/30/10 6:50 p.m.

I hired someone to come replace the one on my garage door. $135 from the local Overhead Door guys, but he had it broken down, redone, and tightened all the loose bolts on my metal door in about 30 minutes. Sure, I might have overpaid but the show was worth it. Guy was a machine when it came to the job. They have all the clever tools that make the job go fast as well. Totally worth it.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn SuperDork
11/30/10 7:19 p.m.
DoctorBlade wrote: I hired someone to come replace the one on my garage door. $135 from the local Overhead Door guys, but he had it broken down, redone, and tightened all the loose bolts on my metal door in about 30 minutes. Sure, I might have overpaid but the show was worth it. Guy was a machine when it came to the job. They have all the clever tools that make the job go fast as well. Totally worth it.

That's about what I paid, maybe a few bucks less. I figured it was well worth the money.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
11/30/10 8:05 p.m.

Yeah, pitch the existing broken spring. Don't mess with that; at a minimum, put a new spring in. I wound the spring on my 16' door. As I recall, vice grips (the wonder tool) were involved. Actually, I put the entire door, frame, etc. up all by myself. It's do-able, but for $135, I think I would just pay someone to do it.

Woody SuperDork
11/30/10 8:23 p.m.

A while back, I restored two furniture-like garage doors (one double, one single) at the home of a local bazillionaire. He had some security concerns which required us to assemble and disassemble the doors each day as the work progressed.

Garage door springs are evil. It was a very tense process and, yes, many pairs of Vise-Grips were employed. I'd gladly pay someone else so that I never have to mess with them again.

Appleseed SuperDork
11/30/10 8:59 p.m.

Usually there is a square "nut" on the shaft that has holes in it. This is what you use to tighten it. Get two pieces of rebar that'll fit the hole. Make them about 8-10 inches long. Setup your ladder offset from the "nut." Offset in case you slip.

As stated, this activity can KILL you.

Insert one bar. Crank it down. Insert the next one. Allow the spring to retract slightly, resting on the wall (drywall WON'T work, must be solid.) Take a breath. Re-pete until tight. I'd ask the shop I buy the new spring from how many revolutions is necessary to lift your model door.

SVreX SuperDork
11/30/10 9:27 p.m.

I love this site...

"This E36 M3 can KILL you, but here's how to do it with a couple of vise grips, if it doesn't cut you in half while you try..."

Don't be an idiot. You can't re-use a broken spring, and the fact that you asked means you REALLY should hire the pro. No offense.

If you ABSOLUTELY MUST do it yourself, make sure to holler out to the neighbors, "Hey y'all, watch this!" before you get to the spring winding part.

I have 32 years construction experience, and I hire the pros to install garage doors.

alex SuperDork
11/30/10 10:19 p.m.

I helped a good friend adjust his garage door spring a while back. Even though we were working with each other in demo and construction at the time, doing dangerous things on a pretty regular basis, while we were in the middle of this job, we both shared a look that said "this is berkeleying DANGEROUS right here."

He (being the one closest to the spring) put on a full face motorcycle helmet and leather jacket, I put on a face shield and got my cell phone dialed to 9-1.

In the end, no eyes, limbs or lives were lost. (He did still have a major gap under his door, which could have been solved by the strip of carpet he was determined to remove. But that just gives me something to taunt him about.)

There's certainly an innate human appreciation for HUGE amounts of stored kinetic energy. Listen to that little voice in the back of your head on this one.

foxtrapper SuperDork
12/1/10 5:28 a.m.

Since you say the door is on its way out as well, why not just replace the entire thing and be done with it all?

914Driver SuperDork
12/1/10 6:15 a.m.

I'm with Foxtrapper, $400 at Lowes improves the look, efeciency, possibly more insulation and increases home value.

They can be found elsewhere cheaper.


pilotbraden Reader
12/1/10 9:22 a.m.

I have done this once. I plan on never doing it again. I did not get the set screw tight enough and the SOB spun around at the speed of light as soon as I let go of it.

Strizzo SuperDork
12/1/10 10:00 a.m.

had one break while i was out of town, came back and the opener would only lift the door about 4 inches before stopping. landlord sent someone out to fix it and had it done in about an hour while i watched football inside. when it let go, it slung grease, dirt, dust, and all kinds of other nastiness all over the car that was parked inside.

i've learned that whatever it costs to have someone else work on your garage door, its worth it. i quickly learned the value of the $75 lowes garage door opener installation when i spent the better part of two half-days installing one in a buddy's new house.

matthkerr New Reader
6/22/20 12:14 a.m.

Had the same problem. Almost broke my back trying to lift the d*mn thing. Thank god a friend told me to call a [canoe door fixer].

ShawnG UltimaDork
6/22/20 12:19 a.m.

Can you get your canoe out through the door now?

xxsportscar New Reader
6/22/20 5:39 a.m.

No canoe, but about 6 months ago I had to deal with my mother in law's single garage door broken spring. Because I have a healthy fear of getting smacked in the face with a winding bar I really wanted something like the ez-set winders.  Turns out someone makes a new center bracket that lets you wind with a cordless drill.  It seems to run about $30 on eBay.


TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
6/22/20 6:54 a.m.

I hate paying people to do things i can do, but i 100% pay someone to do garage door work. I used a good local company who did a great job and upgraded me from 1 big broken spring to 2 smaller springs, adjusted everything and was in/out in under an hour for i think it was like $150. I had looked into doing it myself and just ordering the parts online would have cost close to what i paid to have an expert do it. 

grover Dork
6/22/20 8:22 a.m.

I've done the repair- and while it does require care, it's not terrible. Order the two solid bars to do the cranking- they come with the spring it you order on amazon. 

D2W Dork
6/22/20 10:25 a.m.

How to replace garage door spring.

1) Ask friend to hold your beer.

2) Find out why all the guys you asked for advice told you to hire it out.


I've done it when I couldn't afford to pay someone else. I was extremely careful, and kept all body parts away from the dangerous stuff. Your old spring is shot. Do not reuse it. Your metalurgist dad should know that.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners