Saturday, March 22, 2014

why the garage door didn't work

The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I have been having problems with the garage door at the condo for years; I've fixed the spring on one side three times, on the other side once; I replaced the springs; I replaced the opener when the nylon gear assembly on the old one jammed and was reduced to the nylon equivalent of hamburger. It doesn't fit well, so there's daylight visible around the door when it's closed, and it's wood frame with panels of "wood fiber product" (essentially a hard cardboard), so it doesn't insulate much. And I've been less than diligent about painting it, so the paint was chipping. I painted over it, so it looks OK from the street, but do me a favor, and don't inspect it too closely.

For the past couple of years, it's been jamming on one side, mostly as it came down. I couldn't figure out what the problem was; the wheels were loose enough in the track, but not too loose. Nonetheless, I probably added several English breakfasts' worth of grease to that side of the track to make sure the wheels were as smooth as possible.

But the rough closing has been getting worse and worse. The other day, it just stopped, and wouldn't go down any further. I shone a light up at the upper corner of the doin's, and found this had happened to the pulley:

The wear of the cable going over the pulley had been sawing at the pulley track, to the point where the one side of it has been almost completely cut away (you can see the jaggedness in the lower right of what's left). Not shown in the photo is that the ball bearings in the hub are also loose.

It turns out that a new pulley is about four-five bucks at Home Depot. It's held on by one nut and bolt. You drop the cable off, remove the old one, pop on the new one (and remark to yourself how much better the ball bearings fit in this one), snap the cable back into the track, and it's done. One of the fastest repairs I've ever done.

But if this pulley was in this shape, I have concerns for the rest of the door. We've got a new one on order, with some more insulation, and I'll have it installed by someone who (I hope) knows more about what he's doing than I do.

Still, I feel SO DUMB that I didn't notice that pulley before.

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