Truck Door Cables: Todco Whiting Box Truck Stainless Steel Lift Cable Repair

Box Truck Door Cable Corrosion Fraying

Truck door cables are found on Whiting and Todco style box trucks. Due to their unique position outside the door they regularly come into contact with harsh weather elements. 

The combination of high volume use and weather exposure makes regular maintenance extremely important. Unlike standard garage doors, truck door cables have no protection from the overhead door.

Box Truck Door Cables

Box Truck Anchor Bracket

 

1. Why do truck door cables break?

Due to low headroom and minimal side room truck door cables must run from the cable drums inside the truck to the anchor brackets on the outside of the truck door. Unlike garage door cables, truck door cables are exposed outside when the door is closed. 

Truck door cables are exposed to high volume use and year weather elements because they install on the exterior of the door. Box truck doors are constantly being slung open and shut during busy delivery schedules. They often incur extreme abuse since they are manually operated vs having an automatic opener.

Truck door cables get nicks, cuts and abrasions due to their proximity to the truck opening and regular contact with items being loaded and unloaded.

 
 

2. Sizes of Truck Door Cables

Beveled Eye Truck Door Cables

Due to the relatively light weight of box truck doors, cables come standard in 1/8″ diameter and 7×19 construction.

The 1/8″ diameter can handle up to a 340 lb working load, while the 7×19 construction allows enough flexibility to wrap around the cable spools.

The beveled eye (spools) reinforcement pieces inside the loop ends are available in 5/16″, 1/4″ and 7/16″ diameters. These steel eye inserts protect the loop in from wear on the anchor bracket pin.

These sizes are designed to fit a wide variety of anchor bracket sizes. When in doubt the larger 7/16″ diameter eye can be used.

 
 

3. Galvanized vs Stainless Steel

Truck Door Cables - Galvanized vs Stainless Steel

Truck door cables are available in galvanized steel and stainless steel options. Galvanized box truck cables have a metallic look due to the zinc coating. Stainless steel cables have a relatively dull look due to the chromium and nickel content.

 

Galvanized (GAC) Truck Door Cables

Truck door lift cables are available in two different materials. The first is Galvanized Aircraft Cable (GAC) in 1/8″ diameter and 7×19 construction.  Galvanized aircraft cable is composed of a steel base with a zinc protective coating.

The zinc coating is applied by “hot dipping” the steel cable in molten zinc providing 3 levels of protection – barrier, cathodic and patina.

The zinc first isolates the steel from the environment forming a barrier. Next the zinc molecules slowly react with the environment for extended protection.  Lastly, zinc corrosion provides additional protection to the steel base.

Zinc coating reinforces the steel acting as a corrosion inhibitor. Galvanized aircraft cable offers adequate rust protection, but not nearly as much as stainless steel.

 

Stainless Steel (SSC-304) Truck Door Cables

All truck door cables should be stainless steel for maximum corrosion protection. Truck door cables run on the exterior of the door, making them directly exposed to the environment.

Rain, snow and even salt can be expected to come into contact with box truck lift cables. Stainless steel cables offer more robust corrosion protection, especially in coastal environments.

Stainless steel is mixed with 10% chromium creating an alloy that is corrosion-resistant. Stainless steel is ultimately the better option for truck door cables. The only downside is the slightly higher up front price, offset by the increased lifespan.

Box Truck Door Cable Anchor

 
 

4. How long do truck door cables last?

Box truck door cables last 7-10 years on average but varies by climate, usage and maintenance. Cables should be replaced as part of a routine maintenance program at least ever 10 years. They should be routinely inspected for nicks, abrasions, corrosion, cuts and discoloration on a semi annual basis.

The type of material your cables are made of directly impacts the lifespan as well. Stainless steel cables will most certainly last much longer than galvanized steel. Lubricating your cables can also slightly extend the lifespan.

Environment plays a big factor in longevity of truck door cables. Northern states are exposed road salt, snow and ice. Coastal areas could potentially expose cables to salt water. Dry desert climates would likely be the best climate for box truck cable lifespan.

 
 

5. Truck Door Cable Repair Cost

Broken truck door cables can be serviced by most local overhead door professionals. Cost varies by location, but you can expect to pay between $75-$150 for truck door cable replacement.

The service includes the cost of the new truck door cables and labor to install them. A technician will also inspect the rest of the moving parts on the box truck door for safety.

If you have reasonable handyman skills this can be a do it yourself (DIY) project. Keep in mind you will likely have to reset the springs and cable spools.

If this is more than you bargained for consider calling a professional. Springs and cables are under tension and can be dangerous to work with for inexperienced owners.

Truck Door Cable Replacement

 
 

6. Truck Door Cable Color Code Chart

Box truck cables are available in galvanized and stainless steel options. They come in lengths of 97″ through 130″ lengths and 1/8″ diameter. All truck door lift cables are 7×19 strand construction for maximum flexibility on small diameter T Style and W style drums.

Color coding is given to various truck door cables based on length and construction material. Paint is applied to the sleeves on the looped end of the cable for identification. Always measure your cables as the color code paint wears off over time.

Truck Door Cables Color Code Chart - Galvanized

LengthDiameterStyleSpoolFinishColor Code
97"1/8"7x195/16"GalvanizedGreen
105"1/8"7x195/16"GalvanizedGreen
110"1/8"7x195/16"GalvanizedBrown
115"1/8"7x195/16"GalvanizedGreen
125"1/8"7x195/16"GalvanizedWhite
130"1/8"7x195/16"GalvanizedOrange

Truck Door Cables Color Code Chart - Stainless Steel

LengthDiameterStyleSpoolFinishColor Code
90"1/8"7x195/16"Stainless SteelGray
97"1/8"7x195/16"Stainless SteelBlue
105"1/8"7x195/16"Stainless SteelYellow
110"1/8"7x195/16"Stainless SteelBrown
115"1/8"7x195/16"Stainless SteelGreen
125"1/8"7x195/16"Stainless SteelWhite
130"1/8"7x195/16"Stainless SteelOrange

 
 

7. Breaking Strength & Working Load Limit

The breaking strength of truck door cables refers to the force that will immediately cause the cables to fail. Working load limit refers to the weight that the box truck cables can handle on a regular basis. Working load limit is what end users should focus on when doing repairs and replacements.

Since truck doors are relatively light weight compared to sectional garage doors the maximum load limits won’t usually be a factor.

Standard 1/8″ galvanized or stainless steel cable is rated for up to 340 lbs. Box truck doors tend to weigh between 200-300 lbs – well under working load limit.

 

Box Truck Door Cable Drum
Whiting Box Truck Door Cable Drum

  

8. What length truck door cables do I need?

Always measure your existing broken or worn out truck door cables when ordering replacements.

If your existing cables are not available to measure you can measure the height of your box truck door and add +16 inches.

Truck door cables travel from the bottom anchor bracket to the top of the door. Then go through the gap in the header to connect to the drums. The space between the header and the drum is about 6-8 inches Then the cable should wind once around the drum.

  

9. Truck Door Cable Parts

Truck door cables are constructed very similar to standard garage door cables with a few key differences. Box trucks have anchor brackets on the exterior of the door at the bottom right an left hand corners. Each anchor bracket as a cable attached with a cotter and clevis pin.

The looped end of the cables are secured by a sleeve. Instead of just a plain looped end, box truck cables contain a beveled eye spool that  inserts inside the loop for reinforcement. Constant contact with the anchor brackets would normally shred through the loop ends quickly. The beveled spool eyes extend the life of truck door cables.

At the other end of the cable is a standard stop that inserts into the notch of the W style or T style truck door drum.
 

Beveled Eye Truck Door Cables
Beveled Eye Truck Door Cables
Stop Ends
Stop Ends

 

10. Todco vs Whiting Box Truck Cable Repair

Todco and Whiting box truck cable repair is very similar to section garage door cable repair with a few key differences.

Both Whiting and Todco doors have unique drums – T syle drums and W style drums different than OMI-8 garage door drums. Cables on box trucks run outside the truck door vs inside like on a garage door.

Todco Truck Door Cables
Todco Truck Door Cables
Whiting Truck Door Cables
Whiting Truck Door Cables
 
Whiting truck doors have drums directly attached to the springs.The springs on a Whiting truck door are wound down with the door in the open position.

Todco box truck door cable repair is exactly like garage door cable repair except for the confined space. The drums are detached and the springs are wound up with the door in the closed position.

Garage Door Guide Cal
Hello, I’m Cal – owner of Garage Door Guide LLC    

I write tutorials about garage door repair, installation and maintenance. With over a decade of experience in the overhead door industry I’ve learned a lot and I’d like to share my knowledge with you.

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