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Discussion Starter #1
So my garage door opener was getting finicky, so I cleaned/lubed and tested the door and tracks, not making it much better.
So I opened up the unit, and found a seriously worn gear. Google says it's an extremely common problem, and the myriad of makes/models mostly really made by Chamberlain all use the same gear.
Found one on e-bay, should be here tomorrow, but last night it quit entirely.

Other than the fact that Home Depot et al want to sell you a new opener, why on earth wouldn't they stock this very commonly-needed part?

 

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because it will never be sold. I doubt many would bother even opening up the thing as far as you have let alone replace the parts themselves..

While your in there have a good look at the bronze bushings they use instead of a ball bearing. See that there it not to much play in the shaft to bushing.. To much play and its likely you eventually where through another gear..
 

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Ouch! Plastic gears? Nuts. How old is this unit?
 

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Nothing wrong with plastic gears. Its heat and bearings that will cause a plastic gear to fail.
 

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I don't know....that gear looks pretty chewed up. I wonder if the Calgary cold makes them brittle?
 

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I heard that they use plastic so it will break instead of something else in the system. Designed to be the weak link like snow blower pins, I forget what they're called.
 

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It looks like it is either worn out or was overloaded. It's possible the door is too large for the unit, the counterbalance (or springs) need adjustment, the door and track are out of alignment or the track and wheels need some lubrication. Nylon or plastic gears are fine but they won't take the same loads as metal gears. The bigger the load, the faster it will wear. Regular application of some lithium grease to the gear might help.
 

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I heard that they use plastic so it will break instead of something else in the system. Designed to be the weak link like snow blower pins, I forget what they're called.
Shear pins.

You may be correct. Which could be an indication that there's another issue with this door system.
 

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Clearly this is a "newer" garage door opener, when they started making throw-away units. I have a Nutone from the mid-1970s that's only required a replacement circuit board from a lightning strike many years ago, and more recently a new drive belt. With garage door openers now selling for less than $200, you can't expect anyone to want to repair them, if it's even possible. People are just not as handy as they used to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's probably 14 years old.
Wound up picking up the gear at a garage door specialty shop, as the ebay one still hasn't arrived.
Replacement went well and is workiong fine. Everything else in the opener is good, bushings etc seem ok.
The door seems a bit heavy, and won't quite stay up when disengaged from the opener, so suspect the springs (2.5 years old) need adjustment, and suspect this added to the stress on the gear.
 

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The reason for the plastic gears is simply cost. Molding a plastic gear is dirt cheap compared to machining a metal gear. Get into commercial products where durability is a major concern and then metal gears might be worth it. For retail, low price moves product so they use cheap parts.

The_Penguin, glad you found the part. That's why specialty stores exist. I suspect they also repair garage doors and that's why they stock the parts. Retailers typically don't because it would inflate their inventory and costs to carry low volume parts.
 

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In the last few years, I replaced that gear in both my garage door openers. They were Sears ones and bought in 1994, so not a bad run...

I bought the first one at a specialize garage door place and I found the second one at a Home Hardware store...
 

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Although cost of manufacturing is always a concern it's not the reason that a key drive gear is made of plastic (typically nylon). These are design factors to ensure the motor does not fail. Location failure is done in many appliances. Washers, dryers and many drills of conventional designs. In fact, appliances not designed in this fashion are cheaper and throw away devices.

The gear on your opener was shredded due to excessive torque forces on the drive shaft. If the gear didn't fail, the shaft of motor would fail. Check you spring setting and also some openers has a "force" dial. You are on the right track.

Good luck.
 

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The door seems a bit heavy, and won't quite stay up when disengaged from the opener, so suspect the springs (2.5 years old) need adjustment, and suspect this added to the stress on the gear.
Hope you adjusted the spring(s) and that all is still working well. A garage door should move easily when you move it manually (by hand). No binding, not very much effort, etc.
 

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Other than the fact that Home Depot et al want to sell you a new opener, why on earth wouldn't they stock this very commonly-needed part?
Perhaps because kits are available at Chamberlain?
 

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My experience with Home Depot is that they do not want to carry replacement parts. They will direct you to the manufacturers web site. Nice customer support.
 

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Perhaps based on failure rate. A while ago they had faucet cartridges waiting for people for free. One brand! :)
 

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Most of the replacement plumbing parts are generic, not brand name. In general, I've noticed a significant decline in quality of many products carried by Canadian Home Depots in recent years. The US site seems to have a much better selection and better quality products.
 
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