Previously, I had tried to make a stuck sliding steel door run better by pulling it horizontally along the line of travel of the rails.

The sliding door has dropped

The sliding door has dropped

Then, inevitably it happened. One night, the whole door dropped down on one side. It became difficult to move. It had literally stopped at its track.

This time I had no choice but to dismantle it to see what had happened.

In order to dismantle it, I needed to grind off some parts of the door because they were welded on. Once they were removed, I then had to unscrew the nuts which were part of the assembly holding the bearings, and then manipulate the door somewhat to let it slide out from the former.

Dropped sliding door

Dropped sliding door

The door was heavy. Luckily, I managed to get a friend to help me move and shake it up a bit, so that the bolt could slip out from its position. Once this was done, the bearing assembly could be slid out from the horizontal railings.

What I found was amazing!

Link stoppers to be grind off

Link stoppers to be grind off

The bearings had been welded to shafts which were in turn welded to angle irons. They were totally fabricated from scratch and did not follow good engineering practices. In particular, the hardened/wear resistant properties of bearings would most likely had been changed due to the overheating by the high temperatures of welding. The wear surfaces would most likely had been softened in the process. Furthermore, there was a possibility of arcing over the rolling ball contacts with the inner and outer races of the bearings which could had resulted in damage to the surfaces.

Grinding off a welded stopper

Grinding off a welded stopper

The offending bearing itself was a total wreck. It had seized, was no longer round, had fallen out of place and was broken at some places. The shaft, welded onto the inner race, had sheared off from the holder. The other bearings were found not turning smoothly. They also showed signs of uneven wear.

Two sliding doors removed

Two sliding doors removed

Without hesitation, I changed all the bearings, four in all, for the two doors. The bearings that I bought were pressed on by machines and they looked pretty well made. However, their height from the base was not exactly the same as the previous bearings.

So in order for these bearings to work for the doors, some fabricated guide parts needed to be relocated. These were ground off and welded to the new position after the doors were in place. This resulted in the completed doors hanging slight lower than they were previously. However, the new position was found alright because the doors could still take in the same padlock that I had used before.

Doorway with 2 panels removed

Doorway with 2 panels removed

New bearings and old bearings

New bearings and old bearings

The bearing change was successful. The doors were smooth. I would not be surprised if they could last for another 50 years or longer with normal use.