Garage Door Shaft Doesn’t Slide

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 6:22 pm by Dan Musick

Back in 2012 we posted our YouTube video on “How To Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs.”

At the time I’d hoped to produce additional videos for a lot of situations we didn’t have time to address, but the video generated a lot of business, and I never had time to address these. 

One recurring problem customers have when replacing springs is that the torsion shaft will rotate inside the bearings, but the shaft will not slide horizontally through the bearings.

There are a number of causes for this problem.

Most torsion spring assemblies have a center bearing and a bearing at each end. The plates that house these bearings must be plumb, but quite often they are not installed properly. Hardware also shifts over time, causing the bearing plates to move out of plumb.

The spring anchor bracket must be installed plum so the shaft can slide horizontally. Oiling the bearing helps prevent sliding problems in the future.

Another cause of the shaft sticking is that the center support bracket and bearing were not installed the same distance from the header or from the top of the door so that the shaft is perfectly straight. I’ve seen doors operate for years with the center bearing raised as much as six inches. It doesn’t usually hurt the shaft, but it will make sliding the shaft difficult.

I’ve also seen on a number of doors where the end bearings wear and spread the end of the shaft. These often need to be filed in order for the shaft to slide.

The end bearing plate was leaning causing the end of the shaft to wear. As a result, the shaft would not slide.

The most difficult problem is where a new installer overtightens the cable drum set screws. I’ve spent many hours filing a single shaft to remove the distortion.

Distorted garage door shaft that won’t slide through the bearing.

Another cause of the shaft not sliding is that the end bearing plate is not properly secured. On doors with 15″ radius tracks the tops of the brackets must be secured. If the bracket leans the shaft will not slide, and over time, the bearing can cut into the shaft.

You’ll find more helpful information on our “End Bearing Plate Replacement” page.

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