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Old 10-15-2012, 03:24 PM   #1
miken123
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Default My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Just reporting my story on modifying my regular garage door (regular as in the standard style where there is a 90 degree bend at a height roughly the same as the door height itself) so that it will be a door that travels up and ROUGHLY "follows the pitch of the garage".

I use quotes there because my goal was to get the garage door as high off the ground as reasonably possible and with as few modifications / new parts as possible. Granted I kept safety first in mind - dont get me wrong- but I was trying to avoid paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars on parts + labor.


I had done some searches for this on this forum and I had seen a few posts - plenty which had posts from others who had done it but I lacked success in finding ones with full journey posts. Most of them said "Is it possible" and a lot of people saying "yes! here look at mine / my friends!" and then that was the end of it.

So here's my shot at showing how I did mine. Comments are welcome - I'm not saying it's perfect or that it is reliable for the motor / spring.

First here are the BEFORE / AFTER shots to get the article started.
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File Type: jpg original_track_1.jpg (101.0 KB, 416 views)
File Type: jpg original_track_2.jpg (114.9 KB, 401 views)
File Type: jpg final_results_1.jpg (115.3 KB, 463 views)
File Type: jpg final_results_2.jpg (122.6 KB, 387 views)
File Type: jpg final_results_3.jpg (96.8 KB, 395 views)
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Looks like an excellent job. Gotta like a "can do" attitude.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:50 PM   #3
miken123
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Summary of how I did it (put very simply, detailed story to follow tonight):

My track consisted of two pieces on each side: One vertical track piece and one piece that consisted of a 90 degree bend and the long horizontal part (all one piece).

In BRIEF, I simply moved the motor up to be as close to the roof as possible (was mounted on angle irons).

Then I unmounted the angled piece of track and hung it higher so that it would hang where I ultimately desired it to hang (this is at an angle slightly steeper than the garage door opener beam).

With the angled piece hung loosely where I wanted it I could draw the cut I needed to make at the part of the angled piece where it meets the vertical track.

I then used a saws-all to cut the angled track as drawn from the previous step (essentially cut a small 4-sided shape out of it).

I again hung it loosely to make sure it met my desired angle. Repeated for other side's track.

I more rigidly mounted it to safely support door weight and rolled the door up and down on it to make sure it rolled smooth without hangups.

I now reattached the garage door opener trolley to the door's double hinged hanger.

Tested opening and closing with garage door.
Made adjustments to how far the garage door opened and closed.


DONE.



How did I do this without modifying the spring??
Well the extra force is made up by the motor now. So yes it must be working harder in opening it than it used to for sure. I am assuming this will affect the life of the motor.
If I had infinite money / time I would replace the spring with a longer one so that it can provide the torsion for more of the door's travel (same spring force as before, but longer spring so that it provides the same force over a longer unwinding). I'd size it and wind it to perfectly mach the new weight of the door as it changes on its way up the incline.
For now I'll keep letting the motor take up the slack -- I figure if the motor fails I'll replace the whole shabang with a jack shaft motor and a proper spring (have it professionally done). Till then I'll see how long the motor lasts.



Full story to come later today-- this summary makes it sound a lot easier than it was. Although it wasn't a mentally complex process I did take my time in getting the track to hang just right and making sure that the door travels without issues. I also had a few iterations of making sure both the tracks and the door opener were centered / straight. I didn't want any of these things to make it more difficult for the opener than it already was going to be.



Key learnings for me were that the garage door tracks don't have to be parallel to the door opener's beam. The beam mounts above the torsion bar and so it was several inches higher than the vertical height of my track. Thus in order to get maximum lift at the end of my door travel I had to make my track steeper than my door opener's beam.
This is not a problem unless of course you make your track so steep that the door intersects the opener beam (which of course won't work).

In my case I am trying to put a lift in the garage. The garage is very deep so what mattered most was that the garage door be high enough at the end of its travel on the top side of the door. This is where the front of the lifted car will be. So in my case this solution worked. If I had a regular size garage (mine is very deep) then I might have needed the extra height at the middle of the door when in the open position which would have required me to raise the drums / etc so that the angle of the track occurs as close to the roof as possible - this was not the case for me so I was ok with the steeper-than-roof track so that the top of the door ended close to the roof and everywhere forward of that gradually came down to the original position of the drums.
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File Type: jpg original_track_2_again.jpg (132.8 KB, 293 views)
File Type: jpg original_track_2 - Copy.jpg (139.1 KB, 277 views)
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Looks good, I had my builder put similar tracks to match my scissor trusses.I dont have openers though. Did you tighten the springs to help with the weight when open?
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

The first thing to go will be the gear and sprocket in the opener. Just order the correct size spring. If you know the size of the current spring, or the weight of the door, along with the pitch of the track, I can calculate the correct spring for it.

John
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstroede View Post
The first thing to go will be the gear and sprocket in the opener. Just order the correct size spring. If you know the size of the current spring, or the weight of the door, along with the pitch of the track, I can calculate the correct spring for it.

John
+1

Also, swap the #1 hinges (between bottom and intermediate) - with some 11ga commercial units, see how the panel now sits at an angle? It stresses the hinge in a way never intended... it will bend, so its best to have the replacements on hand...
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Thanks for the information.

jstroede thanks for the kind offer on calculating the correct spring for me!
I'd love to take you up on it!


I only know the new angle of the door is roughly 18 degrees. I've seen the videos on measuring springs, is that the info you need (sounded like the article I read had you measure the inner diameter of the spring, the wire thickness, the wind direction, and the overall length.

I can only assume that what I really need is the same spring but a lot longer but I'd rather have your take on it.

Is that what you'd need to calculate the spring I need for me? (thanks!)

AndyL: Sounds like you're talking about the bottom most hinges that connect the bottom panel to the next one above it? Is that right? Do you recommend I upgrade just the outer hinges on that panel (the ones closest to the track on each side) or that I also upgrade the center hinge?
Hinges are cheap and I'd gladly buy the heavy duty ones to do this right. Can you recommend a supplier? Something like this maybe:
http://www.prodoorparts.com/products/164.cfm
(I'd have to confirm that it fits my door and has similar dimensions etc as mine but it says 11 ga like you suggest?)


Thanks guys!
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

This is what I have, but I did pay to have the tracks done, and appropriate springs / hardware included. both tracks & all hardware cost 900$ (I bought second hand doors for 200$) I also did the install with the help of someone who had experience in garage doors...

Same here, about 20 degrees, and needed clearance for the lift
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:30 AM   #9
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

I dont see why the hinges would need changing. The angle is less now than it was before.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Is that door a 9x7? It should have either a 1 3/4" or 2" spring. I am guessing the door weighs somewhere around 110 lbs. We will use that as an example. At 110 lbs, it would have a single 225-2-25 spring on it with about 8 turns. It would have an open door weight of about 22 lbs. Now you have changed your tracks to approximately a 4/12 roof pitch, which would yield a spring that is 225-2-35 with 11 turns. The open door weight of that configuration is about 50 lbs, an increase of about 28 lbs. That is basically what the amount of force that your current spring is lacking to keep your door open that the opener must now handle. That is a good amount.

Just food for thought. Those are just estimates. If you can find your current spring size, the weight can be back calculated pretty easily and the correct spring figured.

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Old 10-18-2012, 10:29 AM   #11
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

I did my door the way you show in the second photo with the high lift and the tracks following the ceiling pitch. Mine was a new installation in that configuration, so the door supplier swapped out the original components for the required ones when I bought it. The main differnces aside from the track itself is the use of high lift drums with longer cables and bigger springs to hold the weight of the door up. I also went with a side mounted opener.

I had limited depth in the garage to work with, so the advantage of using the high lift is that the door does not end up extending as far back when fully opened as the lowest panel stays close to vertical above the opening.






Last edited by BMW Rider; 10-18-2012 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstroede View Post
Is that door a 9x7? It should have either a 1 3/4" or 2" spring. I am guessing the door weighs somewhere around 110 lbs. We will use that as an example. At 110 lbs, it would have a single 225-2-25 spring on it with about 8 turns. It would have an open door weight of about 22 lbs. Now you have changed your tracks to approximately a 4/12 roof pitch, which would yield a spring that is 225-2-35 with 11 turns. The open door weight of that configuration is about 50 lbs, an increase of about 28 lbs. That is basically what the amount of force that your current spring is lacking to keep your door open that the opener must now handle. That is a good amount.

Just food for thought. Those are just estimates. If you can find your current spring size, the weight can be back calculated pretty easily and the correct spring figured.

John
Nice! Thanks for the info -- I'll try to get that spring measurement stuff to you soon. Your example is in line with what I was thinking. I need a longer version of the otherwise same spring (afterall the weight of the door hasn't increased, the spring just has to be longer so that it provides the same torque for more of its unwinding). This way the new spring will deliver the fraction of the door weight that is not supported by the angled track..

By my estimates on an 18 degree door I should have (1-sin(18deg))*DoorWeight needed to be supported by the spring when the door is in the full open position. This is roughly 31% of the door weight. So I need a longer spring such that at the end of the door's desired travel the spring has the torsion to deliver the torque necessary to support 31% of the door weight. Because I'm keeping rod diameters and cones all the same it really boils down to just having a 31% longer spring where all the rest of the spring parameters are left the same...

I'm not saying this is for sure mathematically equivalent to your calculations but my hunch is in line with your certainties In your example your initial 25 inch spring became 35 inch spring.. and lo and behold 25"*131% = 33 inches..

Eh whatever that's all 'fun talk' I'll get you the spring measurements to be sure! Thanks!
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Nicely done and it looks like it totally changes the functionality of your garage.

I had a sidemount opener put in my garage where the roof pitch was greater than 45 degrees and I have the rails following the roof line. Youd've thought that I was asking for an opener powered by nuclear fission. It took forever to convince the company that what I wanted was a good idea, and then they had to have their most experienced installer come out and look at the building before they would commit. Even then he tried to talk me out of it for no good reason.

I didn't see what the big deal was. I guess they just do 99.9% of their installations along a flat ceiling and it totally flummoxed them to have to do it differently.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

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It took forever to convince the company that what I wanted was a good idea, and then they had to have their most experienced installer come out and look at the building before they would commit. Even then he tried to talk me out of it for no good reason.
Most companies won't touch it - because it requires modifying/fabricating as you go... There are few techs who know how to do this... fewer still who are willing to warranty the work. Unfortunately we're loosing craftsmen and getting installers, ask them to do something different and they're lost, if its not in the instruction manual, they can't think their way through the process...
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

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Most companies won't touch it - because it requires modifying/fabricating as you go... There are few techs who know how to do this... fewer still who are willing to warranty the work. Unfortunately we're loosing craftsmen and getting installers, ask them to do something different and they're lost, if its not in the instruction manual, they can't think their way through the process...
Pretty much!! Most everyone now adays are only willing to follow pre-prescribed instructions (and usually they can't do that very well!) Anything beyond that is either "a liability issue" or "impossible" or "a certified brand technician job."

Usually have to all but set it up for them to do and then say "ok just install this spring for me-- yes i know you think it's the wrong one, yes I know you don't think I should do it, yes I will sign to say you are not liable for what happens as a result." I know they're protecting themselves from friv. litigation which is not their fault-- but that's how it works now!

Last edited by miken123; 10-19-2012 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:20 PM   #16
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

I'm in the process of building a three car garage and I'm having trouble finding an installer that knows about roof pitch installs...let alone knows how to do them.

Anyone in the New York area willing to lead a hand???
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:11 PM   #17
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

jstroede - sorry for my delay, I went to measure my garage spring to report the #s to you and see if I could get this spring replacement show on the road -- but I noticed: with my spring still being wound -- how does that affect the measurements I report to you???
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:38 PM   #18
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Spring replaced!

I set a personal deadline for having figured out what spring to order or just calling a local company so they could take care of it-- my busy life / a series of excuses lead me to end up just phoning a local garage door company.

When the two guys showed up they, as expected, gave me their spiel on "well this is modified.." and "this is not factory setup" but it didn't stop them from doing the job. Sure I had to initial a few waver sections of the little contract sheet but i didn't care.

They claim a lifetime warranty but 'call for details' sort of disclaimer. The spring at least looks nice and has a coating on it. They claim this makes it not rust. Furthermore they say they use springs rated at 25k-50k cycles. We shall see about all that.


Ok so after they looked my work over (one guy said the angled track was very nice and rigid), they started talking spring replacements. I said my understanding was that I just needed the same spring but longer. He said I'd better get one that has a few more lbs per turn (PPT). I said are you sure you dont just want the same PPT but longer?

He recited what amounted to nothing too useful but since he said he was only going to go a smidge more lbs per turn than the original spring but that the new spring would in fact be longer I figured I'd let it ride.

Anyway the new spring is quite a bit longer than the old one (they took the old one so I didn't get to measure the length diff). They also did what I felt was a decent job testing it and added an extra quarter turn to it after their first attempt -- anyway from the amount of effective weight the door has now at the open position vs. what it had before I'm pretty satisfied and am much more confident in the setup.

It's still a little more than weightless towards the top of travel but not too much.

They wound up replacing one of my rollers on both sides of the door - they pointed that it was binding and dragging during a section of travel so they put a slightly smaller size roller which no longer drags. He offered to replace all my rollers (same size replacements) for $15/roller. He said the spring would far outlast the rollers so I should do it - I told him no thanks since I remember seeing those rollers for way cheaper online.
They said OK but warned me about the bottom roller reminding me that the cables are attached and they've seen guys not know any better and end up having that roller assembly gash their heads - I thanked them for the tip!

They also greased up the trolley beam and used this thick tape to add just a little thickness to the drum at one side of it. They claimed it to be a cool trick of the trade - i'm not sure I buy into it but don't know any better. Thoughts on that?

Anyway here are a few pics of the new spring for fun - i think the project is complete. I have my lift in the garage with my two cars and of course the modified door to make it all fit. And not to mention my epoxy floor to boot. It was fun doing it all myself with a friend or two (minus the spring part) - we all know how good D'ing-I-Y feels!

Thanks for the support and the recommendation to replace the spring!

Ah yes! One last thing: the replaced the spring's center bearing - claiming the plastic one that they (assumed) I had was good to replace with the spring with their $45 metal one - maybe I was being taken but I agreed.

Total was $285 for the job.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:42 PM   #19
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

ps the new spring was 250x?x39 looks like they wound it around 6.5 turns.

pps the pontiac vibe underneath is my wife's car ;-D I'm on top
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:39 AM   #20
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Default Re: My story: Modifying garage door to follow roof pitch

Most homeowners do not really invest all that period looking over their own garage doorways every day but you really did a great job It seems like you get help from garage door repair katy TX just kidding
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