Fixing the garage door

The last couple of days have been very, very wet! 😀 First, we had a series of thunderstorms that lasted all day Friday and on through the night. On Saturday, we were no longer getting thunderstorm warnings, but we were still getting weather warnings for heavy rain.

As usual, the weather systems were more to the north and south of us, but we did still get quite the light show, and a lot of rain.

Oh, and our internet cut out.

Repeatedly.

So I have some catching up to do!

The rain and damp did not stop my amazing, fantastic, wonderful brother from coming out to fix our garage door!

I honestly thought it wasn’t going to happen, and we’d need to get a new one – something we certainly cannot afford – but he found a way!

Have I mentioned my brother is amazing?

Not only did my brother come prepared to fix the garage, he brought two different pairs of tires for the trailer buried in the grass in the old hay yard (more on that in another post) to see which would fit, he brought a push mower that he’d taken some time ago and fixed for us, so we now have a working push mower, he gave us their old exercise bike for my husband to use, and even gave me an extra cordless drill he had, with a spare battery.

By the time he showed me that, I was literally in tears. Heck, I’m tearing up just from writing about it. He is so awesome and generous!!!

Knowing full well how badly this place has been scavenged over the years, he loaded his truck up with every tool he thought he might possibly use. He even brought a sheet of pressure treated plywood for the old garden shed, though we already put the sheets of metal roofing back, so it wasn’t needed. Instead, it got used as a “floor” that we could unload all his bags, bins and cases of tools onto, so they wouldn’t be sitting in the dirt.

After checking out the old trailer frame with the tires he’d brought, we also did a bit of scavenging in the barn for some usable wood. There used to be stacks of 2x4s in there, but they’re all gone, but one stack of odds and ends was still left.

There were a few challenges in fixing the door. One was to just get it closed in the first place. That took both of us; I pulled the door down while he used a piece of scrap wood to push the door up at the curve of the track, so the broken wheel could go around. The other was, how to access the wheels? I’d read instructions about dismantling it from the bottom, but the track reached all the way to the ground. The other possibility was to remove the stops at the top and allow the sections of the door to come down from above – too difficult and dangerous. Or we could remove the track itself from the side, but how to do that, without having the door just falling down?

The solution?

Affix the door to the frame itself.

First, and old 2×4 was screwed into the wall joists at the top of the door, then the door itself was screwed to the 2×4. You can just see the screws in the above photo.

Next, my brother screwed another piece of scrap wood to the frame outside the door, then screwed sections of the door to that from the inside.

You can see a couple of those screws in the door in the above photo. That door was not falling anywhere!

Next, the track needed to be detached from the door frame.

Of course, someone hammered nails into the plates for some reason.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve found stuff like that around here.

Then the bottom section of the track needed to be detached from the top section. It was so tight in that space, the nut and washer ended up falling to the ground.

We found the washer quick enough, but couldn’t find the nut!

So we kept working and hoped we could find another the right size, somewhere.

Once the section of track was off, we could access the track wheels – and assess all of them. I already figured we would need to replace 3 on one side, 1 on the other. Here, you can see the disintegrated track wheel that brought our attention to the damage in the first place, as well as the bottom track wheel that had no wheel left on it at all!

Oh, and can you see the debris near that bottom track wheel? It was in that area that we found the fallen washer. I eventually found the missing nut in the debris on the concrete block foundation!

Once the wheel was out, the door sections needed to be straightened out and adjusted. You can see a bit, how pieces from the top section have separated from itself, where it hinges over the section below it. My brother has this amazing set of vice grips that I wish I’d gotten a photo of. They have flat pieces at the end, instead of a grip, like the ones in the photo. By this point, several hours had passed and I’d gone inside to put the kettle on and make a snack while he wrestled with trying to get the pieces to fit back together again. Finally, he stopped for a while, we had our break, then we went back to try and figure it out. We were going to try something with him pushing from the outside, while I pushed from the inside, but as he was showing me the problem, we realized that it wasn’t the same all across. Using the funky vice grips and starting from the other end, he was able to squeeze the pieces together, little by little, all the way across. It never did come completely together, but it was loads better than it was before!

While he was banging away and working this section of door, we both heard something fall at the other end, so I went to check.

All those vibrations cause the wheel I had identified as needing to be replaced to fall right off its pin!

After squeezing the pieces together as well as could be done, screws were added to stabilize it and keep them from coming apart again. After that, all the track wheels were put back; the three new wheels on the top, and the two salvageable wheels on the bottom.

There’s the old wheel next to its new replacement. While I was looking around for the lost nut, I found the wheel part that had broken off!

The next thing to do was to stabilize the section of door that had the crack in it. This was at the wheel below the wheel that had broken. The hinge pin of the track wheel where the crack was, was bent!

We were both wondering how this happened. It’s as if something crashed into the door at that point. Which is entirely possible!

So now, it was time to do some stabilizing. My brother had found an old 2×6 in the barn and brought it over.

He’d brought his circular saw and used it to cut one edge at an angle to more or less match the angle of the door section it would be resting on, as well as to clean up some damage to the board on the other side.

The end of the board fit perfectly into the end of the door section.

My brother then went outside, in the pouring rain, to drill the pilot holes, then screws, into the board, while I applied pressure from the inside.

Check it out!

That board is not going anywhere!

In one photo, you can see the piece of board my brother used to screw the door to, to keep it from falling as we worked. It partially covers the crack in the section of door.

Before the section of track was replaced, my brother also added screws to the end of the board, tightening everything up even more.

By this time, nearly 5 hours had passed since we started, and I needed to go into town to pick my younger daughter up from work, so I didn’t get any photos of that part of the fix, nor of my brother fixing the track wheel on the other side. He took out the board across the top he’d attached the door to on the first side, then did the same on the other side. Safety first! Then he took that track off and replaced it. By the time I got back with my daughter, he was just finishing up on that.

The safety boards were removed and we tried to open the door.

Which banged to a stop part way up.

Oh, no. What went wrong?

After a while, my brother simply pushed the middle of the door inwards, and it went the rest of the way up. It had been so long since the door broke, I’d forgotten that this was something we normally needed to do. For some reason, the door is bowed outwards, around where the handle is. As if someone bashed into it from the inside.

Which is entirely possible.

As we were checking it out and wondering how to work around that, since there really wasn’t a way to straighten it in that location (there’s a reason we thought the door would simply fall apart and not come back together again if we dismantled it!), my brother suddenly remembered something. While clearing some things away from a corner by the door, so the step ladder could be used there, we pulled out a long piece of metal with a right angle bend. I asked if my brother knew what it was and, at first, he didn’t, Then I noticed it was painted on one side, in a colour that sort of matched the door. Could it be part of the door? That’s when my brother remembered that there was a similar piece, attached to the door frame on the outside, at the top of the door. He figured it must have come from the top of the door frame, too.

On seeing how the bowed out section of door was hitting the frame at the top, he had a light bulb moment. He got the piece and straightened it out, then screwed it into the frame above the door, where the bowed out part was hitting.

I wasn’t able to get a photo of it until this morning, though. It’s hard to see, even with the arrows pointing to it. What now happens is, as the door opens, instead of hitting the frame, it hits the downward section of the metal, which smoothly forces the bowed out piece inwards, clearing the frame. It took a bit of bending to get it right, and for the door handle to be able to clear it completely, but it now works like a charm!

There was still one last thing to do.

Once the board on the outside was removed, the crack in the door was now uncovered. So my brother added more screws to further stabilize it.

So. Many. Screws in there! LOL

But we now have a door that opens and closes again, so we don’t have to worry about it in the winter!

I noticed this morning, that the extra weight of the board has an added benefit. The door is kept closed by spring latches on either side. They have always been pretty easy about unlatching, so sometimes I would come to the garage and find the door had opened itself a couple of feet. When I turned the handle to open the door this morning, I didn’t feel the latches; they were already loose. But the door hadn’t opened itself. It’s now got enough weight on it, that it can’t do that!

As you can imagine, the door also opens and closes a lot more quietly and smoothly.

I’m so happy!

I have the best brother in the world. ❤

The Re-Farmer

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