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Originally published April 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 28, 2007 at 2:00 AM

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Ask the Expert

Down with the dragging door

Q: I have an interior door that is dragging on the bottom. I tried to remove the hinge pins so I can plane off the bottom, but the top pin...

Special to The Seattle Times

Q: I have an interior door that is dragging on the bottom. I tried to remove the hinge pins so I can plane off the bottom, but the top pin is stuck. I tried WD-40, tapping with a hammer — how do I get it to move? I also read that once you get the door off, you can try just "bending the rungs the opposite way you want the door to swing." I'm not exactly sure what they meant by this.

A: That "bending the rungs" reference has to do with aligning the door in the opening in the vertical. Rung manipulation is a reflection of the door jamb (frame) relative to the plane of the door.

This is not your issue. You are concerned with the horizontal. You need to remove your door and cut it if it is dragging, assuming it is tightly attached to the frame, square within the frame and the frame is secure.

If you cannot remove the hinge pin, remove the screws from the frame side of the hinge, and cut the door.

When reinstalling, replace the bottom hinge pins for alignment, and screw the hinge side back into the frame.

Bending the rungs is best left to someone with a lot of experience hanging and adjusting doors.

Garage stumper

On April 14, I printed a question from a reader with a balky garage-door opener that would operate only after the unit next to it was run. Here are three readers' suggestions:

• "The problem might be a loose or corroded wire connection on the motor or its control unit. It also could be a loose solder point on the electronic control board inside the control unit. The vibration of the other door might make a temporary connection."

• "The 120-volt outlets where the doors are plugged in are connected. There is a loose connection in the first junction box (good door) where it feeds over into the second junction box (erratic door). When the loose connection opens, the 'erratic door' will not function. Operating the 'good door' will cause enough vibration to close the loose connection, and voilà! both doors work.

"This is an easy check. When the erratic door doesn't function, put a 120V tester on the junction box to see if there is power available. If no tester is available, use a small lamp as a tester. If no power is available, then try the good door and see if vibration reconnects the loose wire."

• "I just fixed an older garage-door opener that had a similar problem. The solder connection to the control relay was fractured and making intermittent contact. Vibration of manually opening the door or hitting the opener would cause it to work for a while. The fracture was fixed in five minutes at no cost except a little labor. Two other fractures were found that had not yet caused any problem. All these points were resoldered. The older technology uses a 'single-sided printed circuit board' with traces only on one side. Newer technology probably does not use relays, and double-sided plates through hole boards are much more reliable with respect to solder fractures."

The Expert says: I had three people write in with this exact broken-solder-connection diagnosis. Unfortunately, many others suggested chucking the old units simply because they were old. Unfortunately, I fall into that camp sometimes, too. If you can fix an otherwise operating machine, then by all means do so!

Darrell Hay is a local home inspector and manages several rental properties. Send home-maintenance questions to dhay@seattletimes.com. Sorry, no personal replies.

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