A Step By Step Guide On How To Install or Replace A Side Load Arm For A Storefront Door Overhead Concealed Closer
A concealed closer is a type of storefront door closer designed to fit inside of the door frame. One of the most popular concealed closer arm types is the side load arm. In this step by step guide we will explore how to install a side load arm as well as the anatomy of a side load arm.
Anatomy Of A Side Load Arm
A side load arm is an overhead concealed arm with a clamping block on the side. This allows the door to attach to the closer spindle from the side. The clamping block utilizes three screws. The clamping block is hidden on the storefront door by a small cover plate. At the end of the side load arm is a centering screw adjustment. This screw controls how the horizontal placement of the storefront door in the door frame. If the door is out of line or not centered in the door frame, the horizontal placement of the door can be adjusted with this screw. At the opposite end of the side load arm are two centering screws. These screws also help center the door, but also function as keeping the arm in place in the door's top rail. The two centering screws are designed so that the heads of the screws are firmly pressed against the web of the door. Often times one of the main issues on a side load arm door is that the door is loose and does not open or close all the way. This is because the centering screws are not tight. At the center of the side load arm is a holding screw. This screw is designed to be tightened once all centering adjustments have been made. The holding screw ensures all adjustments stay the same and do not alter when the door is in operation.
Step 1: Remove Existing Side Load Arm
With the door fully closed so there is no spring tension on the door closer, remove the cover plate of the side load arm. Then proceed to remove all three clamp block screws. Remove the clamping block. pull the door away from the closer spindle. Remove the door from the bottom pivot. For help on removing the bottom pivot, please see our guide "How To Remove A Center Hung Storefront Door Pivot." Set the door on it's side so the web of the top rail can be accessed.
Step 2: Install Arm Into Door Channel
Using the manufacturer's supplied template, install the side load arm to the appropriate measurements. If the side load arm is a replacement, simply remove the old side load arm and screw the new side load arm in with the holding screw, flat head screw, and centering screws supplied with the side load arm. Be sure the holding screw is screwed in partially and not fully tightened as the door must be centered and aligned before the bolts can be fully tightened.
Step 3: Reinstall Door
Using an adjustable wrench on the concealed closer's spindle, rotate it so that it is in the full open position. For hold open concealed closers set the closer to the hold open position. For non-hold open models set the door to the full open position and screw in the main closing speed valve to hold the door open.
Reinstall the door by first setting and locking it into the bottom pivot assembly. Once the door is on the bottom pivot set insert the top portion of the door into the closer spindle and use the clamping block to secure the top portion of the door. If the closing speed valve was closed to hold the door open, loosen the closing speed valve slowly so that the door can return closed.
Step 4: Adjust Door Height
Check that there is approximately 1/8" gap between the top of the door and the frame. The bottom pivot offers two types of adjustments. The most basic adjustment is the vertical height of the door. The storefront door can be raised or lowered by loosening or tightening the threaded bottom pivot. Loosen the lock nut at the base of the bottom pivot and unscrew the pivot to raise the door or screw in the pivot to lower the door. Lock the nut to keep the door at the desired height.
Step 5: Adjust Door Sag
On a side load arm installation there are really two adjustments to control the sag of the storefront door. The bottom pivot door shoe features an adjustment screw that controls the sag of the door from the bottom or base of the door. Additionally, at the end of the side load arm is an adjustment screw that affects the door sag from the top of the door. In order to properly plumb the storefront door, both sag adjustments will need to be properly set to get the door plumb within the door frame.
How To Adjust Door Sag From The Bottom Pivot
At the base of the bottom pivot door shoe is an adjustment screw. This controls the door sag at the bottom of the door. If the leading stile of the door is dragging or too high, this can be screwed in or out to adjust the height of the leading stile of the storefront door.
How To Adjust Door Sag From The Side Load Arm
On side load arm installations there is also a sag adjustment on the end of the side load arm. This adjustment really affects sag at the top of the door. Screwing in or out this adjustment screw will bring the top leading stile of the door, closer or further from the door frame. Before adjusting this screw be sure the flat head screw at the top of the door arm is snug.
Both sag adjustments should be made so that the leading edge of the storefront door has the same gap between the door and frame all the way down.
Step 6: Center The Door
With the door closed, check to see that the door is centered inside of the frame. If the door hangs out of the frame, the centering screws need to be adjusted. The centering screws can be unscrewed so that the screw heads are firmly pressed against the top web of the door. Unscrewing one centering screw more than the other will swing the door outward or inward within the door frame. Be sure not to deform or bend the door web by unscrewing the centering screws too much.
Step 7: Tighten Holding Screw and Check Door Operation
Once the arm is fully adjusted, tighten the holding screw on the arm. Check the door operation and adjust if necessary.
With this step by step guide you can install any side load arm for any type of storefront door concealed closer. If you need a replacement side load arm or storefront door concealed closer, we recommend Liberty concealed door closers. Liberty concealed door closers are the highest quality storefront door closers on the market today. These grade 1 door closers are trusted by business owners nationwide. It features heavy duty o-ring seals so that hydraulic fluid will not leak. Shop today and receive FAST, FREE shipping!
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