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how do you make a sliding iron gate roll smoother? Answered

Have a heavy iron driveway gate that has two sets of brackets fitted with 2x3 inch grooved roller bearing wheels. I have oiled and cleaned them on a regular basis, but the gate is hard to start rolling. When you do get it rolling it can rapidly develop momentum. I would like to be able to open this gate with minimal effort. My wife struggles to make the gate to start rolling. A solution would be most welcomed and appreciated.


I had to deal with a massive motorised one as part of freeway sound barrier.
At some stage it was decided a motor means too much maintenance, problems and breakdowns so it was removed in favor of a handle LOL
One thing these gates hate is dirt on the tracks.
Even fine sand can cause wear and in some cases the track is damaged by a stone, screw or similar.
The only real fix I found was to make a sanding block to fit and once or twice a year smothing the track with it.
The bearings for the rollers and the roller itself are another issue.
Even really good and smooth going bearings can be quite stuck on a cold day as the grease becomes more like hard butter in texture.
I took them out, cleaned and re-greased them with marine grease that is water repellant and stays smooth between -20 and +60° C.
Make a big difference on the cold days!
If the rollers look worn or show signs of pitting then replace them after cleaning the track and fixing the bearings.
A neat trick we used to get the massive gate moving if you had to once a month or so:
We mounted a very powerful spring in some PVC tube and connected one end to the framework, the other with a steel rope to the gate.
The steel rope was measured so it started to pull the spring when the gate is almost close.
The lock was self latching so we simply used a good start run to gain momentum and slammed the gate shut.
Once unlocked it started moving from the spring tension you we just needed to keep pushing.
Did not help much for getting it moving to close but at that end we had a big pole to support our legs LOL
If you are willing to some modifications to your gate then consider using rollers with a much bigger diameter, it will make a big difference.
Otherwise consider a reduction in weight if that is possible.

You could add opposing magnets to lighten or support the entire gate and wheels to simply guide the gate along a smooth train like track... In fact it could be fun to add a linear PM electric motor...

is the ground parrlell with the gate is it isn't that`s probably why

I've had this problem with driveway gates.

Make sure the rollers and track are clean. Check the alignment to make sure they are not binding in the track.

I don't know if extra wheels would help - if you can add some easily and cheaply it would be worth trying.

All the fancy devices aside, the simplest thing would be some sort of mechanical advantage for the user, such as a lever that can "break" the gate loose and start it rolling.

Like a jack for a car, but installed with the pressure aimed toward the frame of the gate.

clean it.

Lube it.

The simplest mechanical advantage is sort of a "tightrope". A 150 lb person on a tightrope may exert 2000lb tension on that rope. Once the rope becomes slack, the force will be less, but initially the force is immense. Something like that could work. You'll need a rope, and the ability to tie a knot.

Thank you all for your thoughts and ideas. I did try to reply to each one but the 'Reply' button did not work for me.

The tinkerer in me would love to try all these ideas but I am living in Thailand and access to suitable resources is very difficult. Love the spring assist idea and the reverse magnet polarization to reduce weight and load on the wheels. All great ideas.

I need to keep it simple to reduce the likely-hood of any technical issues, which seem to naturally occur because it is Thailand.

So far my queries contain the following.

a: Will adding more wheels of the same size make a difference?

b: Would like bigger wheels but this would require a lot of re-engineering due to tolerances and structure.

c: Make a new lighter gate but would to avoid this if a simple fix is available.

Again thank you 'iceng','rickharris','seandongue','Toga_Dan'and 'Downunder35m' for your valuable and knowledgeable ideas and info. And thank you 'mertletran' for your intrest.

Rolling doors on freight cars are very heavy. Dirt, rust, loss of lube can make em worse . finding purchase to lever them open/ closed was sometimes a challenge. But a mechanical advantage often helps. Consider placement of lever, block n tackle, or etc

Rolling doors on freight cars are very heavy. finding purchase to lever them open/ closed was always a challenge. But that mechanical advantage often helps. Consider placement of lever, block n tackle, or etc.


8 months ago

See detailed spring work..

W 1.gif

What your describing is Inertia.

Reduce the weight.

Add some kind of assist - weight or springs to overcome the inertia and buffer the gate at the end of travel

Power the gate (has its own problems

Minimise friction although you will still have to deal with Inertia.

That's about it really.


We really do think alike..

I'll take that as a compliment :-)


What is that for?

security gate most likely. "Have a heavy iron driveway gate"


8 months ago

Why not use the inertia to compress and latch an appropriate spring at each end.

The stored spring energy will give a starting push when the gate is to be moved..

Please click the pic to view the whole image..

Wireless fence.gif

You *might be able to use a counterweight system to help float the gate. That is, it would reduce the effective weight of the gate.