Are Craftsman garage door openers junk?

rdaystromDecember 12, 2006

I was reading through the archived pages and the most common subject I saw was a problem with a Craftsman garage door opener. With about 30 years personal experience with Genie garage doors I've had no problems beyond using a little lube once in awhile. The Craftsman units must be seriously flawed. Any comments?

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castoff(Z5 Ontario)

With over twenty years as an owner of a company working in the overhead door and electric operator repair, my experience has been the opposite. Sears owns a huge chunk of Chamberlain, the company that designs and builds Sears operators, along with their own brand and other private branded units. In fact, it is my understanding that Chamberlain produces more operators annually then any other company.

We sold and installed Chamberlain units for several years and never had any call-backs. Our preference at the time was for the Lynx/Automatic Doorman 455 operator and we sold that one from the inception of my company until the day I closed it.

Over the years, the Chamberlain operators have stood up fairly well. Their one weak spot initially was the large plastic gear that meshed with the steel worm gear on the motor. In later models, there were some logic board issues but overall, Chamberlain/Sears operators are well made and provide good value for the money spent.

The operator line I despised the most was Genie. It is an engineering marvel when it comes to the cheapest possible design, using the lowest quality components. No other brand of operator would go into thermal overload faster than a Genie and when you are standing in a sub-zero temp garage trying to figure out what's wrong with the Genie, that was a problem for me as a serviceman, as well as the customer paying for my time.

After five minutes, the overload would finally reset. Run the operator one more cycle and it went back into overload once again. Why? Because the "duty cycle" of the motor was the shortest possible.

On top of all of that, there were issues with Genie's screw drive wearing out prematurely. In fairness, I cannot comment on the current crop of Genie units because I left this business many years ago. However, since this companies mantra was to build total junk (IMHO), it would surprise me greatly to find out that they have suddenly discovered the word "Quality".

I can't begin to tell you how many Genie units we pulled out and threw away because they just weren't worth repairing.

Sure, you do see lots of queries about malfunctioning Sears operators on this board but I attribute that to the huge quantity of these units out in the marketplace.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 10:29AM
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mla2ofus

I have a 3/4 HP sears on a 7' x16' door 4 yrs old and so far, no problems.
Mike

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 11:11AM
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metal(6)

I have had nothing but problems with Sears units, zero with Genie.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 5:25PM
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spacemule(72576)

Does a bear shat in the woods?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 6:43PM
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green_valley(7 TX)

I have never had a Craftsman so I do not know the quality. I have had 3 Genies and after seeing them thrown under the bus wanted to relate how they handled a problem I had with one unit. I had a old unit and it was 6 or 7 years old. It stopped working so I called Genie customer service to help diagnose my problem. No receipt and out of warranty I just want to price the part to check against replacement. The customer rep diagnosed the problem as a bad main circuit board most likely cause by a surge. I knew that would be high. I asked how much and she said "I'll just send you a new one no charge." Whoa I thunk. Well not only did I get the new board but she sent it next day air to boot.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 12:30PM
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rdaystrom

The Craftsman Garage Door Openers are the typical quality Sears has been delivering lately.....just like their mowers....low priced, mass market, minimal quality, junk....(in my opinion) Some Sears products still have the quality they had in the past but other lines suffer from the junk syndrome. Their walk behind mowers and their garage door openers could use some improvment.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 11:24PM
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jbopp14

I replaced a set of plastic gears in my 20 year old Craftsman last summer. No complaints.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 6:13PM
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dave_mn(4b)

When my Sears openers (2) stopped working I replaced them both with Genies. I love them both. My experience with the Sears units was once they stop working...throw them out because they are too expensive to replace. My Genies are pretty new so time will tell on reliability. And I agree, their customer service is outstanding (missing part in the box).

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 7:41PM
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bluegoose(MI)

The Craftsman garage door opener that was in my place when I purchased it was probably 15-20 years old when it finally gave up the ghost last year. I replaced it with a Genie - no problems yet - but I'll never purchase a screw drive unit again (given the tremendous noise). I've heard good things about Chamberlain's units, from several people and seriously considered going with them.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 2:23PM
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rustyj14(W/PA)

From the number of questions about Craftsman Garage door openers that have been posted in this column, i'd say they are not of the best quality, and would never reccommend anybody buying them!
Rustyj

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 12:18PM
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dmullen(Southern CA)

I have a 32 year old Genie and it has never had a problem. I just have to remember to lube the drive screw whenever it gets a little noisy.

Don't know anything about the newer Genies or Craftsman though.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 8:14PM
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axehandle

Yes; after only 6 years openers drive and worm gear failed and was told they needed grease periodically. ( nothing in owner's manual about that). At seventy I have seen many openers that are much older and still going with just ordinary maintenance. (1/2 horse motor, single garage door and balanced).

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 3:24PM
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biglumber(5)

rdaystrom,
post over in the workshop/garage forum. I was in there and found many gdo topics. So many they ought to rename it "GDO".

Peace

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 7:32AM
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dmirman

SEARS 1/2 Door Opener will not go down when
tempature is below 60 degrees worked fine for 4 years now can not use in cold weather.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 2:57PM
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indffrnt

Aquired Model # 139.53914 @ local estate sale. Everything but a wiring diagram. There are 4 quick connects on one side of the motor housing. One red, two whites, & one blue(?) just above the "Learn" button. I have six wires (two from the wall button, & two from each eye.) Anyone know the combination?
Thanks,
Richard

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:01PM
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blacknumber1(WMich)

Lightning and other surges love to fry opener control circuitry, put your opener on a surge strip and it will last a lot longer.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 4:40PM
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jopopsy(6)

Anybody want to chime in on this again? Its been awhile. I for one think my belt drive Crafstman GDOs are pretty crappy. They squeal when its humid out - not something I want to deal w/ for the 'quiet' selling point of a unit.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 10:21AM
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don_1_2006

jopopsy your complaint is not normal. I suggest you perform maintenance on your door hardware.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 1:37PM
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jopopsy(6)

I've oiled all the rails, all the guide wheels, and all the hinges. When I dis-engage the opener and just manually open/close the door, its quiet as a church mouse (well, almost). Its definitely coming from the opener - usually when humid or raining. Very weird, perhaps they have arthritus?

:P

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 8:35AM
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tkds

does anyone know how to set up the security lights installed at the bottom of the door, i am having a devil of a time getting the door to close

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 3:40PM
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rdaystrom

Mount them both in-line and at the same height and pointed toward each other. On my opener one wire from each unit goes to each of two posts. In other words all 4 wires go to 2 posts. Mine is a Genie so that could be different on yours. If anything blocks the beam the door will reverse. Also there is a torque adjustment for closing that is unrelated to the beam sensor.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 11:50PM
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yakimadn

We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a "large" enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, "Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower." I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said,

"NO, it's not. " Four is larger than two.."

We haven't used Sears repair since.

:)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 7:44AM
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whizzer75(z7 Al)

jpopsy
Check the belt tension. Squealing is most likely a slipping belt.
I have an OverHead Door brand opener installed in 1963.Other than oiling chain and pulley bearings the only repairs consist of replacing the belt ($6.00) two years ago and replacing the remote control ($45.00) three years ago.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 8:44AM
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adkinsca(AL)

I have experience with Chamberlain and Genie, and I prefer Chamberlain (who builds Craftsman). The last two houses I have owned have had Chamberlain door openers in them, one chain drive, and my current house has two belt drive Chamberlains. I haven't had any problems with any of the Chamberlain units. My current ones are 2.5 years old, so I can't speak to longevity over that.

I rented a house with a Genie XCellerator for 1 year, and the opener itself worked OK, but the door was south facing, and the safety sensors would get washed out by direct sunlight causing the opener not to function. You would have to shield the sun from the exposed sensor to get the door to close. I tried to build a shade into the sensor to block direct sunlight, but it was only marginally effective. One of my Chamberlain units was also on a south facing door exposed to full sun, and I don't recall a single time in 2 years that the safety sensors had a sun blinding issue.

My father had a Genie Xcellerator that failed and had to be replaced. It was only about 2 years old at time of failure. So, I don't have an overall high opinion of recently built Genie openers.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 9:45AM
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