Installing Garage Door Torsion Springs

by Lorenz Prem
published on March 28 2009 8:32 pm
submit to reddit

Torsions springs for garage doors have been a source of danger for the DIYer. Winding them required two metal bars that turned into missiles when things went wrong.

Garage door manufacturers have responded to this problem and released simpler systems that are DIY friendly. This post shows you how easy it is to install one of these systems. The instructions are for the Coplay EZ-Torsion Spring system. Other systems install in a similar way.

Installation Video

Measure the opening

Before you start, measure the spring as it lies on the floor without any tension on it. This is important to get the right tension on the spring when it is wound. Make a note of this measurement.

Prepare the opening

First you have to prepare the opening for the bar and spring assembly. The exact steps depend on how the door frame in your home is built. In my case I had to add blocking to create a level surface at the correct distance from the door guides.

Attach the mounting plate

Now that we have a level surface to attach the mounting plates to. This is done using lag screws. Simply drill a pilot hole and drive the bolt home.

Install the bar

Once the mounting plates are installed, move on to the bar. Put the spring, the winding assembly, the bearings and the cable drums onto the bar. The correct order from left to right is: cable drum, winding assembly, spring, bearing, right cable drum.

Lift the whole assembly into place and snap the winding assembly and mounting bracket into the receivers on the mounting plates. The hard work is already done.

Safety is important. The Coplay door comes with plastic loops that keep the bar where it is supposed to be. One is installed on each side using screws. Do this now.

Up to now the spring has not been connected to the bar. Snap one end into the winding assembly. Position the other end along the bar such that the spring is exactly as long as it was lying on the ground. Tighten the two set screws. Once the screws make contact keep tightening the screw for about another half turn. Any further and you might damage the pipe.

Install the Cables

Add the lift cables on each side of the door. Hook the loop of the cable around the knob on the knob at the bottom side of the garage door. Leave the cables dangling at the top.

Starting on the left side, wrap the lift cable around the lift drum. The cable has to come into the drum on the wall side. Otherwise it will hit the door. Hook the end of the cable into the notch of the drum. This secures it. Turn the drum with your hands until there is tension on the cable. Take care to guide the cable into the grooves of the drum. Secure the drum to the bar by tightening the set bolts.

Using a power drill, wind the torsion spring for a half turn. This keeps the left cable under tension while you work on the right one. Make sure the power drill spins in the right direction. Otherwise you will cause damage to the spring.

The steps for installing the cables on the right side are similar. Being by pulling the bar toward you. This caused the left cable drum to butt up to the mounting bar. Push the right cable drum against the mounting plate on that side. Install the cable as you did on the left side. When installed correctly the right and left cable drums touch the mounting plates. This makes it impossible for the shaft to move left or right. Limiting horizontal play is important for safety and proper operation of the assembly.

Wind the Springs

All that's left to do is to wind the torsion spring. Install the hex bit provided as part of the kit in your drill and wind the spring. It's so fast and easy that I was almost disappointed. Good things are supposed to take their time. Step back and look at your work. You are done. The door will open now.

Summary

I like the Coplay system because it puts torsion springs into the range of the DIYer. The level of danger has been reduced greatly. Install time is only a few hours for two doors. The resulting look is much cleaner than extension springs.

Related

About the Author
"Lorenz is the founder of Hingmy. When he is not reviewing power tools or improving the site, he is building things in his workshop or playing hockey."
Tags: