Chain drives Garage Door Openers quick review.

Posted 12/22/2012

Chain drive openers 1/3hp and 1/2hp from LiftMaster, Chamberlain and Craftsman manufactured from to present are very alike. Each has their own design and models, but when striped down to the frame it’s all the same motor, gear and sprocket. Most of the logic boards are interchangeable when you take the board itself without the end panel and the same with the remotes. From 1993 to present there are 3 different code systems and most you cannot mix and match.

The chain drive opener is the work horse that gets the job done time after time. They can be on the noisy side and not too much comfort if you have living space up above the garage. They require little to no maintenance. The only thing in the manual, if you have a T-rail opener, they recommend to wipe off the rail for old grease and reapply new small layer of lithium grease to the top and underside of the rail where the trolley slides. When we do a door and opener service, we open up the box to check the gear inside the opener and grease it with low temp grease as needed. If you attempt to do so yourself remember to unplug the opener before you take any apart. Do not over do the grease or it will splatter around and onto the logic board.

 The different between 1/3hp and 1/2hp is the electric motor and motor start capacitor is slightly bigger in the 1/2hp. If you door is balance correct a 1/3hp is fine on 16 X 7 steel doors, but most we install the 1/2hp opener. Did a spring change for a customer last week on an 18X8 steel door none insulated. He had a +10 year old Liftmaster 1/3 chain drive opener on that door. Looked like nothing ever been change on that opener. If you think that you need a stronger and more powerful garage door opener on your plain Jane 16 X 7 steel door because it’s very heavy, you most likely have a problem with the garage door itself. If it’s not balance correct, sticking or binding you need to take care of that first or you will just wear out any new opener you have installed.

Where we see most failure on chain drive opener is the white gear inside the box get striped. You can hear the motor running, but nothing moves. The top bushing @the sprocket can fail and the sprocket can break of. When the chain start to droop and rub on the door is when people take action, either they adjust the chain and put more pressure on the worn out bushing, or calling the garage door repair company. To replace the gear/sprocket assembly is a doable task for the do it yourself guy.

The motor start capacitor can fail and sometimes with a pop and smoke. The logic boards can fail to, but it’s rare that we see it die completely. Capacitor and the logic board is easy replacement and can be done by the do it yourself guy. Before doing any repair to the garage door opener, unplug the opener. You can get shocked and make more damage then you already have, as shorten out the logic board.