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One of the cable drums on my garage door was grinding against my garage door's track. I tried loosening it to adjust it and the whole torsion bar moved 3 inches to the side. Presumably the stretch in the single spring came out?

How do I ensure that the cable drum doesn't make a horrid metallic grinding sound? Is there supposed to be a spacer? Right now, the cable drum appears to be serving as a stop and that doesn't seem correct to me.

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    The springs in garage doors store significant energy that can cause unexpected movement and damage. So it is the one thing in a house I do not work on, I suggest calling a serviceman. – blacksmith37 Sep 9 '18 at 15:40
  • Affirmed. Garage doors are for wizards only. The spring stores a lethal amount of energy. In the short term the most important thing you can do is disconnect the mechanical garage door opener and operate the door manually. Unfortunately most people just let the opener do the lifting, and the opener takes a very slightly damaged door in need of a tune-up and forces it, doing more damage, in a destructive death spiral until either the motor's safety limits trip out, or it drops the door on your legs and puts you in a wheelchair. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 10 '18 at 0:59
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I fixed it by replacing the one spring with two.

Despite warnings to the contrary, replacing a torsion spring is a relatively straightforward process if you're careful and thorough. I ended up following the instructions found here: https://youtu.be/zxUoJrLhaSI. (I also ordered my replacement springs from them. They have an online calculator for figuring out spring replacements.)

From what I can discern most of the rhetoric around the dangers of garage door extension springs. Those are pulled tight with a cable that whips dangerously around if something breaks. To replace them, you need to do so with the garage door in the open position, leaving a risk that the door might fall on you.

With torsion springs, the garage door is kept closed (clamped in place for safety) and a broken spring would simply unwind around its central tube (though little bits could go flying I suppose).

Meanwhile, the cable drum that was grinding was about to catastrophically fail. See this picture: Failing Cable Drum with cable hook falling apart

The hook for the cable had almost entirely disintegrated. It was only a matter of time before the cable slipped out and the garage door came crashing down.

Evidently, grinding like this is common for single torsion springs, which really surprises me and seems dangerous. Replacing with two springs cost me about $100 and took about an hour.

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