Torsion Springs are the main concept of opening and closing the garage door. Torsion springs are mounted on a metal shaft (torsion tube) above the garage door. When the garage door is pulled down, the cables that are attached to the bottom corners of the garage doors force the torsion spring to wind up. When the door is up position, the spring is mostly unwound.
Life of the torsion spring:
With any steel, the more you bend it the weaker it becomes. Torsion springs have the same concept. The average residential spring cycle is designed for 10,000 cycles (up and down is one cycle), so depending on how often the garage door is used will determine how long the spring will last.
Garage doors are very convenient, however, when a spring on the garage door breaks, it can cause many issues and will prevent the door from opening. An individual who is not familiar with changing the torsion springs should educate themselves on how to replace them and the proper tools needed. If the torsion spring breaks and the door is up, it can result in serious injury or even death due to weight of the door if the individual attempts to lower the door. The torsion spring offsets the weight of the garage door, so one is not lifting the whole weight of the door (unless you have a few strong guys is almost impossible).
The process of replacing the torsion springs can be extremely dangerous, we highly recommend hiring a professional to replace the springs if you are unsure how to do so. Failure to do so could result in injuries and or damage to property.
Repair or Replacing Torsion Springs:
When measuring the length of the torsion spring be sure to measure the length when the spring is unwound, and do not include the cones (pieces on the ends of the springs) but measure from the first coil to the last coil. If the torsion spring is broken measure the spring in its entirety. The inside diameter is measured from the end of the spring, and can also be measured with a caliper or a tape measure or could also be stamped on the spring fitting. The next step to measuring the wire diameter, is the thickness of the coil. To measure the correct diameter, count 20 coils and then measure. To determine the wind of the spring, if the wind of the spring points in the counter clockwise direction, that means it is a left wound spring, this is not what side the spring goes on the door it is only to determine which way the spring is wound. The left winding spring simply means it is wound counter clock wise. Right wound spring would mean it is wound clockwise. Always be sure to match the wind of the spring to the existing springs to ensure they are put back on correctly.
Caution a Garage door torsion spring is under a great amount of tension and require appropriate safety precautions.
When it comes to replacing the garage door torsion springs, make sure to have the correct tools to replace the torsion spring, for example the winding bars. The first step is to unplug the opener, so no one can try to open the garage door while you are changing the springs. Start by locking the garage door so it cannot come up and hit you while you are winding the new springs. With a winding bar insert it into the bottom hole of the winding cone (the cone attached to the spring) of the good spring. While firmly holding the winding bar in place, loosen the two setting screws, be sure to have a firm grip as the spring will push with a substantial amount of torque as you release the screws. To unwind the broken spring insert the second winding bar in the 9:00 position, then remove the first (bottom) winding bar and unwind the broken spring a quarter turn at a time. When unwinding the broken spring, you want to leapfrog the winding bars. The next step will be to disconnect the springs from the center bracket, remove the two nuts and bolts that hold the cone to the center bracket, and move the spring towards the end brackets. Then, secure the torsion tube (the meatal tube that holds the torsion springs) to do so place locking pliers on the center bracket to hold the torsion tube in place. Next, loosen the set screws on both the left and the right drums, then lift the cable drums and disconnect the lift cables. Starting with the left side, slide the torsion tube to the right side so the cable drum can be removed then the old spring will slide off. Slide the new spring on to the torsion tube with the cone facing the center bracket for the left spring. Reinstall the cable drum, and re insert the torsion bar in to the left side bearing bracket. When tightening the drums snap locking pliers to hold the torsion tube in place. Rotate the drum in order to wind the cable into the winding grooves. Be sure the cable is as tight as possible before tightening the set screws. Repeat on the opposite side be sure there is equal tension, if not the door will open unevenly. To wind the springs, put the winding bar into the cone and wind toward the celling turn the spring about a quarter turn at a time. Perform 30 quarter turns for a 7-foot-tall door and 36 quarter turns for an 8-foot-tall door. When the spring is fully wound, stretch the spring out about ¼ of an inch before tightening the set screws by tapping the winding bar while still inserted into the cone. Then tighten the set screws until they make contact with the torsion tube, be sure not to tighten them too tight or it will damage the torsion tube. Tighten the set screws and extra one half to 3 quarter turn.
Slide a piece of cardboard between the wall and the springs, saturate the springs with garage door lubricant and wipe off the access.
Remove the clamps or pliers from the torsion tube and the track, lift the door about 3ft off the ground by hand and let go. If the door stays in place the torsion springs are adjusted correctly, however if it falls then you should add three quarter turn to each spring.