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We have a pocket door where it appears that the suspension hardware needs service or replacement. I can't see a way to access it without a lot of deconstruction. I'm hoping there's another way.

The symptom is that the door is suddenly hard to move. Pushing it feels like one of the suspension rollers is binding, and sometimes the door rebounds when you stop pushing (like perhaps pushing causes the door to tilt rather than moving, and gravity pulls it back when you stop pushing, or the bolts that the door hangs from are pivoting in their brackets and then the door pulls it straight when you stop pushing; that's just a guess).

The track does not appear to be bent, and the door doesn't appear to be warped. I'm guessing that at least one of the roller assemblies is binding, or at least not rolling. The rollers are captured in a channel with insufficient clearance to allow a roller to jump the track.

I'm able to see that on one roller assembly, the roller on one side rotates when the door moves, but the other side doesn't. However, this could just be that the non-rotating roller is no longer in contact with the bottom of the channel.

The problem is that none of the suspension hardware is really accessible to inspect it, or to service or replace it. A few photos:

enter image description here

I got this with a bore scope. There is another roller assembly at the other end of the door, but I couldn't manipulate the scope to get close enough to be in focus.

The roller assemblies ride in a channel that is formed into two deep "J" tracks. The rollers almost fill the height of the track, so they cannot come out other than at an end.

This pocket door isn't just a track and roller hardware, it has a metal framework, with the track supported by a number of metal uprights on both sides. The wall framing must be basically open space below a header, at least on one side of the wall. The door framework must have been fastened in place to the header, then framing added below for the drywall.

The door itself is also 1 1/4" wider than the finished opening, and there is no stop trim on the close side of the doorway (just the jamb that the door closes against). To get the door out of the opening (assuming it can be disconnected from the rollers), would require at least removal of all of the woodwork around the opening. In the picture below, it's clear that the door is captured by wooden framing at the top and right side of the doorway, not just thin stop trim.

enter image description here

The roller assemblies are screwed to the top of the door. Research online shows that there is typically a slot to get the hanger bolt in and out of the door bracket. However, inspecting the three visible sides of the door bracket, it appears to be solid, with no slot.

So it seems like the only way to remove the door to work on or replace the roller assemblies would involve significant deconstruction.

Please tell me there's another way to either remedy the symptom or service the hardware.

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    As far as I can see, the track is not bent and there is no sign that the door has warped. From playing with the door, the symptoms seem to be due to at least one of the roller assemblies no longer rolling properly in the track. – fixer1234 Oct 30 '18 at 22:36
  • That's what usually happens, the wheels are only nylon and do get gummed up over time. Give them a good soaking and see if you can coax them back to life! – handyman Oct 30 '18 at 22:49
  • the top picture shows a lever ... the door will disengage from the bolt if you flip the lever ..... google images pocket door roller hardware – jsotola Oct 31 '18 at 1:42
  • @jsotola, thanks. My initial search didn't show that type of bracket. After handyman posted his answer, I did more searching and found some similar hardware. The slot is on the far side and wasn't visible. I linked to a picture in a comment on the answer in case anyone else runs into this hardware. I'm just hoping that there is enough play that I can get the roller hanger bolts past the door brackets without having to remove the door from the doorway. That would be a royal mess. – fixer1234 Oct 31 '18 at 2:22
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    You will not ned the wrench to remove the door after the head is removed, just the filler if you can. score all joints with a razor knife before removal, it will come out cleaner the metal "lever" will release the door from the rollers. It has to lift ever so slightly, then take a small screwdriver or nail set to slip the roller from the retainer. Do the lead edge first, pull the door out to get to the next, then do the second one. you may need to shim the door up from the floor to help assist. – Jack Oct 31 '18 at 13:25
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You'll need to remove the first set of trim, the ones right next to the door.

The trims are either side at the top, this exposes the hanging bolts/wheels on top of the door. Loosen the locknuts. Then I'd remove the two trims either side of the door (in the open position) as well (although the gap looks generous on your door). Then pull the door off the hanging bolts (a bit like opening a regular door) and slide the door out at an angle.

The channel at the top doesn't go all the way to the frame to allow you to roll out the rollers. Slide them until they stop and pull them down at 90 degrees to remove. Clean them up and check for wear. Cleaning the channel itself is a bit tricky if folks have tried to 'improve' performance by adding lube (it just attracts debris). Various ingeniously shaped sticks with an alcohol/cleaner soaked rag on might help!

I clean everything up, (soaking the wheels in cleaner works well) and make sure the wheels are free (I might lube the wheels, but wipe away all excess carefully). I don't lube the track.

  • Thanks. After posting, I did some more online research. I see that there's a gap at the end of the track where I could get the rollers on and off if I can disconnect them from the door. And it looks like if I remove enough trim, I could get at the securing nuts to loosen the roller assemblies. However, the door brackets don't match anything I found online, so it isn't clear how to get the hanger bolt out of the bracket. In the first picture in the question, you can see what looks like a nylon spacer with a handle that the nut tightens against. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Oct 30 '18 at 23:23
  • I got another shot of the backside of it, which shows that it is open and slides around the bolt: i.stack.imgur.com/Tvu2r.jpg. It isn't clear what role that spacer plays, but the metal bracket on the door appears to be solid (no slot to slip the bolt in and out of, like I saw in what I found online). Any idea how to get the hanger bolt out of the door bracket? – fixer1234 Oct 30 '18 at 23:24
  • If you wind the nut upwards it should release the hold on the bolt and then the bolt can be slid out the slot. But like I said, you'll need to remove the trim. I installed one this week in a new wall: You basically assemble the frame including the channel in an opening in the regular 2x4 framed wall. Then drywall it. Roll the rolling hangers up into the channel, slide the door into the wall and 'catch' the bolts with the slot on the rollers. adjust the hanging to ensure the door hangs vertical. Then you nail the last trims on which hides all the gubbins. – handyman Oct 30 '18 at 23:30
  • Finally found similar looking hardware online: i.stack.imgur.com/RBgIx.jpg. It looks like there is an opening on the backside of the door bracket where the bolt can slide out after releasing it from that nylon lock. OK, good news all around (or at least better news that needing to deconstruct the wall. Thanks. – fixer1234 Oct 30 '18 at 23:43
  • graphite would work to lube the track without binding to dust like grease would... – dandavis Oct 31 '18 at 17:51

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