This guide will walk you through replacing the motor unit for a garage door opener. This includes taking it off the rack and the rail and putting a different motor unit into place. This guide will also cover replacing the laser sensors that stop the door in case of a sudden obstruction.

Your motor unit is a heavy piece of equipment and could be dangerous if mishandled. To avoid most issues, it is wise to place a table underneath the unit to "catch" it and to perform work on it in the following steps. Make sure to use a ladder and unplug the unit before moving forward. Make sure you have all of the tools necessary and that you have a spare few hours to get this done (if you haven't done this before). Strap in!

  1. First things first: Unplug the unit.
    • First things first: Unplug the unit.

  2. There are a few wires connected to your motor unit. These are for the safety laser sensors.
    • There are a few wires connected to your motor unit. These are for the safety laser sensors.

      • Gently remove them by using a thin object to release the wires.

      • Use masking tape to label or color-code the wires for reassembly.

    • The red handle is for releasing the door from the rail for maintenance. Pull the handle and give it a few tugs and shakes to make sure it's completely separated.

    • Your existing motor is being held by rails attached to the ceiling and needs to be removed. Undo the bolts on the rails with a ratchet.

    • Remember to save the bolts and hold onto the motor at all times.

    • The chain is under a sizeable amount of pressure. It is vital that you release that pressure safely in this step before continuing with the replacement.

    • Loosen up the nuts and washers that hold the chain to the unit. If done in this way, it won't "snap back" or react in any violent manner, it'll just slip off.

    • This can be a slow step if your power tools can't reach the nuts. Take the time to understand your new motor unit and the garage door infrastructure as you do this.

    • You're almost at the halfway point. Take the chain off and give it the WD-40 treatment. Wipe down the chain with a rag or paper towels and put it to the side.

    • Loosen up the bolts that hold the motor unit to the rail.

    • Remove the garage door motor unit.

      • Remember to salvage the light bulb if it still works.

    • Staple guns have a high amount of pressure built up into each staple punch. It's important to make sure that you're stapling something exactly where you want it, but also that none of your own body is near the impact zone!

    • Some readers may find that they need new laser sensors. Your preexisting sensors are most likely stapled into the wall and ceiling. Once you remove the sensors from the garage and install the new sensors, it's time to get to work and staple the wires into the wall as neatly as possible.

    • Your new opener comes with helpfully preset bolts that need to be taken off. Once you have the bolts, it's time to follow the steps in reverse order to put the opener back onto the rail and into working order.

      • The bolts you had earlier will be used to assemble the new motor. The bolts you just took off in this step will be used to immediately bolt the rail into the motor. Your new motor kit will have everything you need to do a complete rebuild, so if there are rusty parts, you have everything you need to do a full replacement.

    • Garage door opener units tend to have instruction manuals on the neat features and gadgets that come with. Ours came with a smartphone app and requires the unit is calibrated with your door. Follow the steps to setting it up as much as you can, and you'll be all set.


To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order. Make sure to bolt the rail back to the new unit, reattach the chain to the rail and unit, properly bolt the unit back to the rail, and rewire your new (or old) sensors to the unit.

After that, enjoy your new unit! A good motor unit should last you for at least a decade, and the units that can be bought now have plenty of features to keep you as excited as any garage door opener can excite you. At this point, you have likely saved a few hundred dollars on a service that anyone can do on their own with a bit of instruction.

Thank you for reading the guide, and we hope that it's helped you understand your garage more personally.

Travis Bond

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Pasco Hernando, Team S5-G36, Prince Spring 2018 Mitglied von Pasco Hernando, Team S5-G36, Prince Spring 2018


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