Pull down attic door malfunction question

anita55March 14, 2011

Hi all, another question that I hope someone can help with.

We have a pull down attic wood ladder with heavy duty springs on each side. On one side the spring always comes off its bracket when the door opens. The arm on that side looks like it's bent out. In order to get the door to close we have to bend the arm back in as much as we can and hook the spring back over the bracket at the top. In trying to analyze what could be causing this problem, the only thing I notice that the springs are hooked in differently on each side, in other words, on the left side the hook that holds the spring is inserted from the outside, and on the right side, the hook that holds the spring is inserted from the inside. Could this be causing the problem? We didn't install this and I have never seen another setup to be able to judge what's wrong. I have tried looking at photos online but I haven't seen a close picture of both sides of an attic door.

We have been able to pull the spring back up onto the bracket in order to close the door, but it's hard to do, and I would like to fix or replace whatever is causing the problem. The steps and hardware appear to be in good shape otherwise. Any advice on how to remedy this or do we need to replace the whole set-up? Thanks

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This is going to be really hard to approach without pictures. These things are usually built with bilateral symmetry so the spring being hooked up in in the same direction on both sides is a red flag. I can't say if turning it around will fix it because it might have been moved to counter another problem.

Just for example, maybe a brace is broken that buttressed the bent arm. The spring kept popping off as a consequence and the former owners found that the spring stayed on better if it was reversed. Now, however, the spring pops off every time.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 2:11PM
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I understand what you are saying. I will try to get photos over the weekend of springs and everything. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 1:29PM
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I came across this thread while researching our attic pull down stair problem and wonder how this homeowner corrected their situation. Both springs flip off the brackets on our stairs making it necessary the push back the hinges in order to get the stairs to fold back into position. Not an easy job. Any experience or remedies to offer? Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 1:46PM
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Use two people and have one observe from above as it closes. The spring should bend over those brackets when open. Bend them back into position (more "vertical"/perpendicular to the door) if they are slanted. Also check that all bolts are tight.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:19PM
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Thank you so much for your reply, greatly appreciated. I'll post back with results in order to help others.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:17PM
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I have noticed on my pull down stair that the hinges tend to pull inward towards the stair and not stay vertical. It looks to me like the bolted connection holding the hinge to the wood has rotated some from use and is digging into the wood. Although the springs don't come off I need to pull the hinge away when I operate the unit or it will bind up.

My fix (when I get one of those "round tuits") is get some fender washers and put them on the bolts at the wood so that thee wood is not crushed locally allowing the bolt to rotate.

I hope that makes sense.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:59AM
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Sometimes the moving points on the mechanism are rivets that wear loose. Taking down the whole unit may be necessary to repair those. The springs are at greatest tension with the stairs pulled down-- open. They are at minimum tension with the stairs closed. So it may be necessary to have a person and the required tools in the attic while another closes the stairs. The person in the attic repairs them with the stairs closed.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:02AM
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"This marriage was interrupted by hunting season."

However, per my post on 11/7/12, I wanted to update on how the attic stair repair finally went for us. The day DH and I were going to attack this project, I pulled them down and one of the hinges literally bent in half backwards. Oops.

Fortunately for us the stairs we have are manufactured in the city where we live. With model numbers in hand, we drove to the worst part of town imaginable and purchased 2 hinge assemblies for $35.00 including tax.

With DH in the attic and me on the down side we replaced the hinges in just short of an hour. The stairs operate perfectly now. We lucked out for sure.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 5:56PM
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