Garage Door Opener Replacements?

I know there are a couple of experienced garage door opener experts in the group. I have one ancient Sears one that ate its gears, and a twin
in the second garage that it headed for the same fate. They are about 25 years old, and replacment gears are no longer available, from Sears, or Chamberlain, who made them.
There's quite a bit of perfectly useable hardware all set to go. What I was wondering is if I have a good chance of being able to replace just the main drive box, while keeping the rail & such in place. I looked at some new ones at Sears, and the rail/carrier design doesn't appear to have changed significantly. I could go cheap & just get another chain system. The alternative (assuming they use compatible rails) would be to go for a belt drive system to get something a bit quieter.
Is this a possibility, or am I pretty much stuck with replacing the whole shebang? Any other suggestions or comments welcome.
Thanks!
Doug White
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Google it . I replaced the gears in mine (about 23+ YO) a while back and I got them from some place on the internet, dirt cheap. Made is much much quiter too. I think I found a place that carries replacement parts for all kinds of GDO. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the place, but am sure they are still in business. Simple google search shows quite a number of shops carrying parts etc.
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-17,GGLD:en&q=garage+door+opener+gear
And of course, there's Ebay.
I also replaced the ancient radio control unit with one from Sears (rolling codes etc).
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I checked with a couple of the online places, and they all claim the parts aren't available. I suspect that the stock of gears has been used up because this is the standard failure mode.
Doug White
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I believe we still have a few of the 41A1425 gears left (not much demand for them anymore) at Action Automatic Door & Gate in SW Fla. Call 800-375-3667 8:00-5:00 EST Mon-Fri & ask for parts to verify.
Doordoc
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A few years ago when I was shopping for a new opener at Home Depot I was told that the openers are basically made by Chamberlain and you were only purchasing the brand. I compared the bodies and frames of several brands and they all looked alike in structure. The cover shape changed a bit but the layout inside seemed common. The new thing now is the silent belt design. I was given a unit with a control board problem and I am setting it up to open my chainlink driveway gate. I hope next week I will have a crude system cobbled together. No remote but better than pushing the bloody thing. Unless you change to belts the rail and chain seem common. I use the original old rail on a Sears when the old one died. Randy

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When I was in the middle of swapping some Chamberlain style openers around, I discovered that the rails were not completely compatable. If you try to buy just the mechanism, verify that it will indeed work.
Keep in mind that the new units have much beter safety interlocks, infra red sensor beam, floating codes on the openers, and a worm drive replacement for the old 'V' belt. For the $125 or so on sale, I'd just toss the 25 year old unit.
Doug White wrote:

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You probably won't save very much money (if any at all) by not getting the rail, so it's probably not worth the effort to try to use it. The rails are pretty much the same, but the pulleys at the header end are not the same amongst all units.
Doordoc www.DoorsAndOpeners.com
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I have a Genie that is 15 years old and had a problem. Genie, just up the street said it was obsolete, no parts and to buy a $400 new one...I went manual!

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Doug White wrote:

I bought the the new style gear and machined the center out and made a steel bolt in hub. Working great for the past 5 years.

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