Garage Door Shaft Doesn't Slide - DDM Garage Doors Blog

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.” Ideally, we wanted to follow up with information on how to approach circumstances that could arise from improper installation, such as the garage door shaft not sliding.

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.

An image illustrating a spring anchor bracket being oiled to prevent sliding problems
The spring anchor bracket must be installed plumb so the shaft can slide horizontally. Oiling the bearing helps prevent sliding problems in the future.

Shaft sticking can occur when the center support bracket and bearing installation is not the same distance from the header or 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. Filing them helps the shaft to slide better.

A leaning end bearing plate causing the end of the shaft to wear
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 when 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
Distorted garage door shaft that won’t slide through the bearing.

Securing the end bearing plate properly can ease the cause of the shaft not sliding. Additionally, secure the tops of the brackets, on doors with 15″ radius tracks. If the bracket leans, the shaft will not slide, and over time, the bearing can cut into the shaft.

A 15 inch radius track displaying the top of the end bearing plate

For more information about how to replace end bearings, see our “End Bearing Plate Replacement” page.

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2 Responses to “Garage Door Shaft Doesn’t Slide”

  1. Joe Szkalak Says:

    Just so I understand the torsion tube is actually supposed to shift regularly through opening and closing of the garage door

  2. Dan Musick Says:

    The cable drum on each side next to the end bearing prevents the shaft from shifting horizontally as the door operates. This also prevents the springs from binding.
    Merry Christmas.

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