While working the first of a couple of back to back 12 hour shifts (from 7am - 7pm), I got a call from the "Mother of Five" because apparently our garage door was not opening. I tell her to try and cycle the garage door opener a coupe of times (to which she said she already has tried - and it rose about an inch, then went back down). Immediately I suspected the garage door opener.

Well, since I was at work & she was at home, and she needed to leave - I gave her the old "pull the red handled cord to disconnect the opener" trick and told her to just manually lift the door. As she walked out into the garage (with the phone in her hand - and thinking to herself what a lucky woman she is to have such a smart and helpful husband) she proceeds to tell me that there are metal cables laying on the floor of the garage.

Uh-oh. That can not be good. After a couple of quick Q&A's - I am able to determine that it is the cables that go from the bottom of the garage door up to the drums on the end of the torsion spring bar.

Well, having recently had "cable issues" on our single door, I told her that the "red handled rope trick" should still do the job - but manually lifting the door will be a little more difficult without the aid of the cables. I told her to enlist the assistance of our neighbor and good friend Jeremy to help lift the door evenly.

Not long after, "MOF" called me back and told me the wonderful news! Not only are the cables disconnected, but the big spring at the top of the door (also known as a torsion spring) was broken into three pieces...

Well, (as stated earlier) having just installed a new opener, and having dealt with "cable issues" on the single door, I was not too worried about it. By the time I got home, and had a chance to look at the damage, I felt it was something that I should be able to fumble my through. I was not familiar with the details of a torsion spring vs the tension springs, so I started researching.

Wow. There are a lot of people out there that do not want you messing with the torsion springs WHAT SO EVER! They make it sound like you have better chances of survival in a south-eastern jungle prisoner camp.

The FIRST WEBSITE that came up was actually VERY informative. It acknowledged the inherent dangers involved in torsion spring replacement, along with some myths, and some rip off's to watch out for! I book marked that page, and continued on.

I then came across a plethora of web sites that really tried very hard to warn me away from doing this job on my own. The site that summarizes this side of the debate is THIS ONE. This site even talks about how wrong the FIRST SITE is. There seems to be some underlying "Hatfield vs McCoy" feud going on between the professional garage door repair people, and... well... seemingly the rest of the world.

If I were to believe all that I have read about replacing torsion springs myself, I...

a). Would be foolish to try and do this myself
b). Would be foolish to not try and do this myself
c.). Would expect to pay between $100 - $800 (wow, that is quite a range) to have it professional done
d.). Would be able to find someone who will (honestly) charge between $100 - $200.
e.). Would have a very difficult time finding the parts
f.). Expect to pay between $80-$100 for parts.

I have some additional research to complete here. I may need to call a couple of "professionals" and see where in the $100 - $800 range this job falls into. with between $80 - $100 for parts, it may well be worth my time to get the job "professionally" done - but yet then you do not get that wonderful feeling of "having done it yourself".

Either way - I will have to do something about it quickly. We cannot use our garage door until it is repaired. I think I will have time Wedesday, Thursday or Friday.

Update 10-28-2007: I did choose to have the Lakeland Overhead Garage Door Company Inc. come out and replace the springs. The repair technician was friendly, fast, and courteous. He had both springs replaced and was on his way within 15-30 minutes. He also took the time to lubricate the tracks/rollers, hinges, and adjusted the opener for the new better balanced garage door. He then went over and did the same for my third garage door (which did not need any repair).

By the time he left, both garage doors were working noticeably better than before the springs were sprung.

If you found this post by searching for Lakeland Overhead Door Inc in Minnesota - I have only good things to say about the work they did for me.


  1. I've heard the same thing about not messing with the tension spring. It could suddenly uncoil and turn into a tornado of cable. Luckily, I haven't had to test that theory yet.
    Good Luck with yours.

  2. Wow, good luck, that doesn't sound good.

  3. I have also heard that a tension spring could be deadly, so be careful!


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