Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Progressing From Projects to Practical Application Garage Door Opener Repair

With all the projects on my website http://www.ideas-inspire.com and the project building classes I have taught I sometimes wonder if the knowledge gained has directly benefitted anyone in their lives. The process of learning is always a good thing and the only feedback I have received from the students is that they enjoyed the experience. I feel that working with the various projects has improved my skills for home repair projects because the more items you struggle to put together and deal with any issues the better you will be in solving new challenges.

Gear That was in Bad Shape

This cold winter I was having problems with my automatic garage door opener not wanting to go down completely when the temperature was below about 15 degrees. Looking for the easy solution I found the proper spray to lubricate the hinges with, this might have helped but I was afraid there might be more to the problem. There was, a week ago the door went down about three feet and just stopped. The motor would run but nothing would move.

Pile of White Gear Dust Can be Seen

Searching for the symptoms on the Internet I soon found many people were having this problem because the plastic gears in the garage door opener were ground up. Opening the case of the garage door opened confirmed this was the problem. One good tutorial video for changing the gears was provided by Gate House Supplies so I ordered a part kit from them.   Video Link

New Gear in Place

The ideal way to change out the gears is to take the opener down and work on a workbench, I ignored the good advice and worked on it hanging from the garage ceiling in the cold. In the video the parts came off rather easily, I had a heck of a time getting a roll pin out and a bushing off a motor shaft. It also helps to have just the right tools as some of the screws and nuts are a little hard to reach. Another common problem is to not have the interrupter cup pushed in far enough and then the door only moves a small distance. Having read that on the Internet, I was able to fix that problem fairly easily.

Black Interrupter Cup Must be on Shaft Far 

Now I had the door going up and down but it would go right back up when it hit the bottom. After much adjusting with no success I noticed a contact in the limiting device had fallen out.  With the contact back in place the garage door was working wonderful, now I just need to put the case back together.

Some people might read this and think what an awful frustrating experience, but I had so much fun with the challenge and feel such a sense of accomplishment. It also gave me an appreciation for the experienced technicians that could no doubt do the task in a fraction of the time.

Bill Kuhl


  1. Great article! It shows how helpful the Internet can be if one wants to expand their horizons and save a chunk of change while learning.

    1. Good video can explain things so much better than reading a manual often.

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing such an amazing post. It is very informative and I am sure a lot of people will benefit from it. Good job!

    1. Thanks Mark, the garage door opener at my mother's house has the same symptoms so I should have the opportunity to fix another one. I now know how the up and down adjustments work. One contact moves in sync with the door so you adjust it so the contacts close exactly where the door should stop moving. My door stops exactly where it should.

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