Fixing a garage door: Removing a roll pin?

I’ve got a Lift Master garage door opener with a stripped nylon driven gear. This gear is held onto the shaft by two roo pins, one above and one below. I need to remove the lower one to get the gear off and install a new one. Normally, I can knock these out with a hammer and punch, but because of the way it’s loosely mounted a lot of the energy of the hammering is absorbed, and the pin doesn’t appear to budge. Anyone know an easy way I can get this pin out without taking down the entire assembly?

Is there enough protruding shaft that you can use pliers or channellocks to push the pin out? Put one jaw against the pin end and the other jaw agains teh oppiste side of the shaft beyond the pin.

That’ll be a two-step process, first pushing it with the pliers until flush with the shaft on one side, and then pulling it, probably using a large pair of dykes, the rest of the way out from the other side. This method may be too tough depending on how tightly the pin fits. Plan on sacrificing the roll pin to the dykes and using a cotter pin as a replacement.

If the pliers won’t push the pin but you still have 1/4" or more shaft available, you can use a small portable vise as a press.

I paid $10 or so for a clamp-on vise like this with about 2" wide jaws and a 2" opening width. It’s handy as a small portable vise, but you can also use it as a light-duty press by putting your workpiece in the jaws and cranking it down. And it’s small enough that you can bring it up to the opener, rather than needing to bring the opener down to your bench. And it’s cheap enough that if you break it, no hurt feelings.

It’s doubly handy if the head end of the vises’ drive screw is cut in a hex or square shape as opposed to round. You can get a lot more torque with a wrench on it than you can with that small 90-dgreee slide-thru pin-handle. Heck, I think I may grind some flats on my vise’s head-end next time I’m feeling shoplike.

I admit these aren’t great suggestions, but they may give you some hints.

As an alternative, can you remove the gear shaft from the other end? If so then the process gets a lot easier. Once you can clamp the shaft firmly, driving out either pin the traditional way is probably much easier.

First dumb (or not-so-dumb) question: Can you easily get a replacement gear? And, unless you have Mr. Gear in hand, is he available on his own, or is he sold as a family, roll-pinned to Mrs. Shaft and Auntie Bearing Bracket?

Next dumb question: How cost-ineffective would it be to take the opener to a garage door opener shop and have them handle it? Or just have them come out and fix it? There are some things that look like they’re simple, but are just not destined to be fixed by the home handyman due to the tooling needed, non-available parts, or “secret” skills. By the time you’ve got this gear figured out, the garage door guy could have done it and you’d be on to more enjoyable things.

I’m not familiar with Lift Master so I don’t know exactly what you’re working with. I’m wondering if the proper way to get the pin out is to press it, rather than punch it out. Otherwise, can you brace the thing with Vise Grips, or similar? If it gets really ugly, how nasty would it be to drill the roll pin out?

LSLguy has some good suggestions. If you don’t want to invest in a specialty tool you could possibly adapt a regular C-clamp to push the pin out (assuming you have room to work with on each side of the shaft). I’d try using something like a screw-on cap or a thimble or short pipe nipple on the side you’ll drive the pin out on and your regular punch if your clamp is big enough or a small nail otherwise on the other side. Line things up so that the cap is between the clamp and the shaft on one side (providing a space to push the pin into) then line the punch or nail up with the pin and the other side of the clamp. When you tighten the clamp it should provide enough force to push the pin out the other side. The biggest problem would probably be keeping the punch or nail lined up straight while you tighten the clamp, but you may be able to hold it in alignment with one hand while you tighten the clamp with the other. It ought to be worth a try at least since you should be able to cobble things together using materials on hand without laying out any cash. Good luck, and let us know if it works.


A C clamp a socket (possibly a deep one) should push the pin until it is flush.
There is a problem with using punches with roll pins. Most unches come to a point which has th tendency to get inside the pin and flare the end. Needless to say this this makes getting the pin through the assembly next to impossible.
Use a pin punch with a flat face or if you can find it a roll pin punch.
This is a flat faced punch with a raised hemispherical bump on the end of the punch face. The bump fits inside the roll pin and prevents the punch from slipping off the roll pin, but does not spread the roll pin.

If you can’t find a roll pin punch this might work:
If you can press the pin flush, the perhaps you can find a common nail with a diameter just slightly smaller than the pin. Cut off the end square just far enough from the head so that you can push pin most if not all the way through the shaft. I would have to beleive that the shorter the nail after the cut, the easier it will be.
So the assembly will go C clamp moveable jaw, cut nail, roll pin, socket, C clamp fixed jaw.

Start the Mission Impossible music and give it hell.
Good luck

Ok, I got the damn thing off. I decided break the gear off enough that I could get the rest of the assembly out the top of the unit. Once out, I was able to punch the pin out normally, and remove the remains of the gear. Now, I just have to see if I can get the replacement gear.

Why is it when you move into a new house, everything starts breaking down one by one? Before this it was the dishwasher (door switches burnt out).

If the dishwasher is a Whirlpool or a Kenmore (made by Whirlpool) there was a recall of those door switches about 5 years ago. Even though I am not a factory service guy, Whirlpool reimbursed my customers for the service call charge. Send me an email if you have further questions.

As a matter of fact, it was a Whirlpool. Will they reimburse me for the cost of the switches, which I replaced myself?

Oh and thanks everyone for the replies. Good stuff here.

I’m sorry that’s is cheating. No points will be allowed. :smiley:

Thanks Rick. How many fingers am I holding up? :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, I’ve found a number of places online selling replacement gearsets. So far, the best price is $28.60. I’ll keep looking, and if anyone can find a better price, I’d appreciate it. There’s two doors, so I’ll probably get both sets at the same time. You just know the other one will go shortly.


Yep, one on each hand. :smiley:

Well, I found a place with a price of $22.95. I don’t think I’m going to beat that, so I’ll order it from them. Thanks for the assist, everybody.

I’d think at the very least they should reimburse you for the switches. IIRC, the warranty replacement kit contained switches, hardware, and short electrical pigtails. The internal heat of the failed switches usually crisped the insulation on the original harness.

Contact Whirlpool with your model and serial number. Good luck.

An additional thought on the garage doors-an operator is only supposed to move the door. Check your spring tension. The door should move with ease from the fully closed to 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and fully open positions with minimal effort, and should hold when you let go. With time, springs become weaker, cables stretch, and so forth. You can probably figure out how to adjust extension springs yourself. If you have the torsion springs that sit parallel to the plane of the door, just above it on the inside, leave then to we folks who have experience-they can hurt you if you don’t know what you’re doing.

I’m only mentioning this because a misadjusted door may have been the reason for failure of the first gearset.

I second that motion. Stripped out plastic gears on a GDO is almost always caused by too much stress—bind in door, bad springs etc.

If you can’t lift the door with one hand with no problem then your new plastic gears won’t last long either.

While in the NAVY I used a tool called a
“Knurled Knob Spring Pin Pusher Tool.” It was shaped like an elongated question mark with the dot at the bottom being the knob. It hooked around the gear hub and when the knob was turned a small shaft extended toward the gear hub to push the pin out through a hole in the hook. Find one of these and you’ve got it made.

“Stripped” was a term of convenience. In reality, the case was full of plastic powder, suggesting the gears wore themselves down due to lack of lubrication. The door isn’t terribly difficult to open with one hand, but it won’t stay in a partially opened position, indication the tension springs need adjusting.

More garage door thoughts-don’t know how old the unit is, so here are some other items to check.

Door edge rollers-are the wheels running perpendicular to the shaft? Sometimes they loose their bearing balls, and can drag badly.

Assuming you have an ordinary residential door with extension springs, there are two roller wheels on each side of the door. One is fixed at the top of the vertical track, and the other is mounted to a yoke at the end of the extension spring. When their bearings fail, they will create drag on the operation.

Easiest and safest way to adjust spring tension-raise door all the way (disconnected from operator) and clamp a Vise Grip plier onto the vertical track just below the bottom wheel. Now the spring should have minimum tension, if any. An S hook at the end of the cable run is likely within 6" to 2’ from the end of the horizontal track, as measured from the outer wall of the garage.
If you can, grab the cable and move the S hook to a hole closer to the outside wall. Then do the same for the other side of the door. If you have no further point for movement, then take up slack in the figure 8 knot made at the end of the cable link.

Once both sides have been corrected, close the door manually and look for signs that you’ve not made tension equal. Adjust as required. If it will hold in positions as described in my previous post, reengage the operator and you’re good to go.

Happy Holidays.

LOSE not loose! aargh!

Thanks for all that, but I’d finished adjusting the tension hours ago. It was a bit different than you described, but simple enough. The door now stays wherever I put it, and ones easily with one hand. All the rollers and bearings are free and well-lubed. Everything should be fine once I get the new gearset.