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Late last summer, a tree fell on our garage. The garage being made of corrugated aluminum, it was pretty well crumpled. Before winter hit, we were able to get everything off the frame but the garage door, and now I'm wondering how to get that off safely.

Here's what I'm facing:

  • The garage door is a fairly typical roll-up door with a torsion spring.
  • The cable on one side of the door snapped when the garage was crumpled, but the other appears to be intact.
  • Because of the state of the frame, I can't roll the door up, or really move it in any way.

I want to finish tearing down the garage, but I don't want to do anything stupid or dangerous. Is there a safe way for me to cut the intact cable?

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I think this is one of those cases where you want to get someone who knows what they are doing to in order to unwind the torsion spring before you start messing around –  Steven Apr 3 at 19:51
    
Thanks for the advice. I was hoping to do this on the cheap, but I won't put my desire to save a few bucks above my safety. Are others are in agreement that it wouldn't be safe? –  Jeff Rosenberg Apr 3 at 20:04
    
+1 for being smart enough to recognize a difficult situation. –  bib Apr 3 at 22:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Unless you know how to unload the tension on the torsion spring, this is not safe for you to do yourself. There are plenty of videos on the internet that show you how to do it, but be aware that the consequences ofusing the wrong tools or doing it wrong will likely result in serious injury, such as broken bones or amputated limbs, or death.

You should probably hire a pro to unload the torsion spring.

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Welp, seems like everyone agrees. I guess a couple hundred bucks is worth keeping all of my limbs intact. :-) –  Jeff Rosenberg Apr 4 at 1:13

If you look at the torsion spring bar at either end you will see a fitting with four holes perpendicular to one another and perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the torsion bar. Sometimes this fitting is at the center of the bar rather than the ends but it's on there somewhere. If you can find two pieces of steel pipe or socket wrench with a long handle that fits snugly into these holes you can then use then to turn the torsion bar manually. If you can get a turn or two of additional tension on the bar, enough to relieve tension on the cable, you can insert a second pipe into another one of the holes the fitting. Once your second pipe is in place, gently allow the tension bar to return until your second pipe braces firmly against the wall of your garage. You can step down and undo the cable from the door but do make sure it is slack before you do. Next, climb back up your ladder and carefully step the tension off of the torsion bar using your two pipes, taking turns bracing against the wall, swapping holes, relieving tension, bracing and so on until the spring is fully relaxed. It is dangerous. No doubt about it. Especially with steel pipes sticking out of the tensioner fitting but it can be done.

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If you are careful, you can do this. Note that you should not use steel pipe, you should use solid steel bar. When I did mine I think it was 1/2" tubular steel. You basically unwind the tension one little bit at a time. –  Eric Gunnerson Apr 4 at 4:13

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