it, just wondering if there is much tension in the springs that I
should be aware of?
The garage door opener is just a substitute for a person (& a weak one
at that) to open & close the garage door.
A door should be very well balanced / adjusted so a GDO can work
properly, the GDO is not very strong.
The srpings do most of the work & hold the door open, not the GDO
Pull the mechanical release cord & operate the door by hand to get an
idea of how it works.
Even with the door open there is fair amount of tension on the springs
(they are holding the door open).
With a properly adjust door you should be able to disconnect the GDO
from the door & move the GDO motor / track at will.
IF you do not fully understand how the GDO / door ssytem works it might
be safer to get some help
There will still be at least enough tension to keep the door up.
You may be surprised at how much that takes.
See all the other posts about garage door springs, and what to expect.
But there should only be minimal tension on the door opener motor mechanism
in ANY position.
disconnecting the manual door release should eliminate that just to work on
There "should" be very little tension in the up position, but
don't count on it. Check it first!!
Why mess with the springs if all you are going to do is move the
motor? Just disconnect the door with the emergency pull and
then, while it's disconnected, push the control and let the empty
maul pull into the up position, leaving the door itself in the
If this doesn't make sense to you, perhaps you should consider
getting some help.
And, if the door comes down when you take the springs off and
disconnect the opener, it WILL destroy the door and/or tracks.
Be very certain you reliably prevent movement of the door. And
keep everyone away from it while you're working: a falling door
could easily kill humans and pets when it hits its stops at the
bottom or twists the tracks and falls out of them.
:I am thinking of moving the opener motor up a little and need to
: it, just wondering if there is much tension in the springs that
: should be aware of?
There is enough tension is the springs to kill or seriously injure you
if you don't know what you are doing. They do have a life cycle and
they do break when stressed.
The practical benefit of springs is that they allow less force to be
used when lifting the door, thus, smaller horse-power motors can be
used in your garage door opener. Maximum tension on the spring is
when the door is in the down position.
Proper adjustment of the spring(s) (typically there are two of them)
requires training and experience. Garage door service companies are
located in every major city.
If you need to work on your garage door opener, there should be an
isolating pull level on the door. This is typically used to allow the
door to be operated when there is a power failure. The springs are
still part of the door system, however.
Ok thanks all, that's great info there.
What I want to do is raise the GDO and the back end of the rails up
about 18 inches, so that the door is raised higher than it is now. Then
I can use a vehicle lift to a greater height. Does it matter if the
upper rail sections slope down toward the front rather than being
: Ok thanks all, that's great info there.
: What I want to do is raise the GDO and the back end of the
: about 18 inches, so that the door is raised higher than it is
: I can use a vehicle lift to a greater height. Does it matter if
: upper rail sections slope down toward the front rather than
Not really, but ... beware. The current tracks had a 90 degree
bend; you cannot change the amount of bend as you intend to do.
The entire track that is horizontal must be moved upward the
eighteen inches, or you'll have to find some method to get other
than 90 degrees inthe tracks. Forcing the back up by eighteen
inches is going to cause the tracks to twist and flex and isn't
likely to be a very safe situation. Better to raise the whole
vertical part of t he tracks by that much. Then it stays level,
It sounded at first that you were only moving hte motor; it's
a different situation moving the tracks like that. You make me
nervous; you should see an expert in your area; check the phone
I presume you are speaking about a garage door with two tension springs.
I can't see why what you propose won't work if you make your cuts very
carefully and leave enough metal for the tabs at the ends of the curved
sections which join them onto the straight sections. Some new joining
holes may have to be drilled in them, of course.
Since the opener can already handle the force needed to start lifting
the door from the fully closed position, it should have plenty of moxie
to pull the door up the incline you are creating.
I don't think you'll even have to change the settings of the spring
tension. Just measure their stretched length when the door is closed and
get tham back to that length when you are done.
Oh, and if you don't have safety cables running through those expansion
springs PUT SOME IN when you do the work. Those springs can flail around
pretty good when an end eye snaps off. Safety cables are very cheap
insurance against someone getting beaned.
Yes, I agree with all that you said. I was only thinking that for some
reason it would be unsafe to have the door on a slope, if I left it
open and, I dunno, the springs broke or something, it might just roll
down and hurt someone.
I'll take a look at the rails tonight, to see if they can be modified.
: Yes, I agree with all that you said. I was only thinking that
: reason it would be unsafe to have the door on a slope, if I
: open and, I dunno, the springs broke or something, it might
: down and hurt someone.
: I'll take a look at the rails tonight, to see if they can be
Actually I think that might be fairly unlikely but not impossible
by any means. If one spring breaks, usually the remaining
tension from the other spring would make the door go crooked as
it tried to drop, which sort of wedges the door between the
If it did drop though, you're right, it would come down with
quite a bang since half the spring tension would be missing.
The poster who mentioned the safety wires had good advice too. I
had a spring end snap off once and it brought down ten feet of
metal shelving along with it, plus the spring put a dent half an
inch deep into the wooden header over the garage door.
Fortunately I was standing on the other side of the garage at the
time. The spring itself broke right where it hooked into the
eyebolt. Actually the spring itself wore thin from years of use.
I grease the spring points now and you can safely assume I now
have safety wires inside the springs. It was simple to do; just
a few feet of aircraft wire the right length and fastened right.
A guy at Overhead Door showed me how to set it up. The one here
is a great place; very helpful to the diy'er.
AFter replacing the springs, just for grins, I attached one to
the wall and a piece of pipe thru the other end and there was no
way I could stretch that spring out as long as my garage door did
with two of them. Wooden garage doors are VERY heavy!
BTW, I still think the whole door should be level on top, but in
looking at my own setup today (9' wide x 8' high), I'll bet
you -could- turn the 90 degrees into something smaller by trial
and error by just grinding away metal where they fasten together,
so it might not be such a huge job.
If you don't know how to calculate it, come on back with
the -horizontal- length of the track from where it turns into
horizontal to the farthest away point where the eighteen inch
rise has to happen, and I'll figure it out for you unless you
already know how to do that.
Assuming a ten foot long track, which many are, moving one end of
it up 18" would result in a slope of about 8.5 degrees, not a
whole lot of metal to grind off. By grinding the old holes would
probably still be usable, but ... you'd want to provide some
extra external bracing to hold the angles in place; an easy
enough task, esp if you have rivet gun.
BUT ... I'm not sure I see how that would give you much
improvement on getting more space underneath the door when it's
in the up position. At the 5' point you'd only gain 4.5", 2
1/4" at the quarter point, and so on.
So perhaps that's another arguement for raising the whole
track up. I think it'd be a lot easier to just add a short piece
of vertical track to lift the whole thing up than it would be to
mess with changing the angle and ending up with an incline.
And please, don't even consider working on this with the door up.
Disconnect it and leave the door down to work on it. In case you
should have to take the door off, you START with the top section
first, and when you put it back, START with the bottom section
first. Don't try to take it out in one piece unless it's
ultralight and you're near superman.
Agreed, but did you take into account that the free spring end only
moves half as far as the door travels, so the spring has to pull twice
as hard as the amount of door weight it is supporting?
Wouldn't it be 9" gain at the 5' point?
The OP said it was to gain clearance for a car lift, and most cars are
taller near their centers than they are at the back, so I'd guess he'd
gain at least a foot of extra lift clearance in a typical length garage.
Might be, but then he'd have to extend the opener to door linkage too.
And, in the "up" position quite a bit of the bottom end of the door
wouldn't be on the horizontal portion of the track anyway, which gets us
back to the problem of gravity making it drop if all the wrong things
I say that because in all probability his existing opener won't have
enough travel to pull that door "all the way up" onto the horizontal
portion of the track. If it's a chain type he could extend the rail and
add more chain (more work) IF the up/down limit switch system could
accomodate 18" of extra opener travel.
If it was a screw type opener hed be screwed. :-)
I think he's on the right "track" with the tilted rails. He'd have to
have the opener to door link fail at the same time as at least one of
the springs to have the door come crashing down, and that's not likely
to happen save for when the door is in motion.
I don't make it a practice to stand in the door opening while the door
is moving, would you?
Amen to that, Pops. I got smart real quick and added safety cables to
both our single width garage doors when one spring let go and punched
quite a big hole through the drywall over the garage door opening. I
wasn't hit, but I was in the garage when it happened and I nearly
cracked my head on the ceiling jumping when that "big bang" occurred.
I didn't know what strength springs to go out and buy so I measured the
downforce weight of the hollow core multipanel door with our bathroom
scale. The scale only went up to 250 lbs, so I had to rig a 2:1 lever
system from a short length of 2 by 4 and a brick so that the scale read
half the door weight, which was 300 lbs.
A 7' high door's horizontal track is approximately 8'4" long so a 18" rise
will give it an approximate pitch of 10 degrees. You can raise the track at
the rear, but you will have to change your system over to torsion springs.
Extension springs would not be suitable for this application because the
door will hang in the header due to gravity, incline and weight of the door.
If you add tension to the springs to keep it out of the header then the
springs will be too strong at the floor. If you rely on your opener to keep
the door out of the header you will overwork your opener. You will have to
use torsion springs. In which case the drums that you will have to use as
well as the springs and the length of the cable will have to be calculated
based on the pitch of the tracks, height and weight of your door.
It's just my opinion, but:
:A 7' high door's horizontal track is approximately 8'4" long so
a 18" rise
: will give it an approximate pitch of 10 degrees. You can raise
the track at
: the rear, but you will have to change your system over to
===> I don't see the need to be switching to torsion springs for
a couple of reasons:
1. Cost of the new system
2. Harder to work on without rather specialized tools
3. They cannot lift a door any further into the tracks than the
location of the springs; the other type can move the door
completely away from the header if you have the track room.
: Extension springs would not be suitable for this application
: door will hang in the header due to gravity, incline and weight
of the door.
===> Disagree. To keep the door out of the header you simply
adjust the stop-point. It's the opener that determines where the
door will stop, not the springs.
: If you add tension to the springs to keep it out of the header
: springs will be too strong at the floor.
===> It's not tension that keeps it out of the header; it's the
opener motor stop point and the physical position of the rotary
If you rely on your opener to keep
: the door out of the header you will overwork your opener.
===> No, you will not. The door is at its lightest drag on the
motor in the up position and the motor of a non-torsion system
can pull the door as far back as the system tracks will allow.
It's a very small load on the opener compared to when the door is
fully closed and starts to open.
You will have to
: use torsion springs. In which case the drums that you will
have to use as
: well as the springs and the length of the cable will have to be
: based on the pitch of the tracks, height and weight of your
===> I don't know what you're on about here. There is a system
already in place which can easily be modified to meet the
requirements. The OP is simply trying to do it safely but with a
minimum of cost.
===> I'm not trying to mandate for no torsion spring systems;
it's just that this is an already workable and modifiable system
and the expense of a new install just isn't called for.
If the track is going to be pitched then extension springs won't suffice for
the job. Extension springs will not hold the door in the header because it
won't have enough "pull" while in the open position (the springs will be
relaxed) to defeat the weight of the door (the door will be trying to roll
down the track) in an inclined track.
A Torsion system using the proper drums will hold the door in the open
position, out of the header, on a pitched track application far better than
an extension spring system would, but I don't think you truly understand the
concepts at play here.
There are various configurations of drums to be used with either regular
headroom, high lift, or vertical lift applications. The drums to be used
here will depend upon the amount of pitch of the inclined tracks.
Evidently you have never worked on an track system other than a normal
horizontal tracks.... if that.
Rather specialized tools!!! Two plain steel rods are the only additional
tools used to do the job. This comment of yours exposes the fact that
you're not very familiar with garage door torsion springs.
Sure the motor can hold the door open but you shouldn't depend on the motor
to hold a door up that hangs in the header. The door should work smoothly
and stop in a normal position under manual operation. Using the opener to
force the door higher because the springs can't do it is obviously putting
more of a load on the operator.
Install the proper equipment/parts for the job at hand so you don't have to
"jury rig" your door.
It's not rocket science Pop, it's really quite elementary. ;-)
LOL, you've got a real load of false ego today, don't you?
You're certainly good at making judgements based on nothing and
trying to make yourself look like you want to.
I don't intend to refute your illogicals and misinformation (due
to your method of application, not that it's 100% wrong), so you
can relax; I see no point in warring with an unarmed enemy.
Respond if you wish; I'm done with you.
: If the track is going to be pitched then extension springs
won't suffice for
: the job. Extension springs will not hold the door in the
header because it
: won't have enough "pull" while in the open position (the
springs will be
: relaxed) to defeat the weight of the door (the door will be
trying to roll
: down the track) in an inclined track.
: A Torsion system using the proper drums will hold the door in
: position, out of the header, on a pitched track application far
: an extension spring system would, but I don't think you truly
: concepts at play here.
: There are various configurations of drums to be used with
: headroom, high lift, or vertical lift applications. The drums
to be used
: here will depend upon the amount of pitch of the inclined
: Evidently you have never worked on an track system other than a
: horizontal tracks.... if that.
: Rather specialized tools!!! Two plain steel rods are the only
: tools used to do the job. This comment of yours exposes the
: you're not very familiar with garage door torsion springs.
: Sure the motor can hold the door open but you shouldn't depend
on the motor
: to hold a door up that hangs in the header. The door should
: and stop in a normal position under manual operation. Using
the opener to
: force the door higher because the springs can't do it is
: more of a load on the operator.
: Install the proper equipment/parts for the job at hand so you
don't have to
: "jury rig" your door.
: It's not rocket science Pop, it's really quite elementary.
Pop, shame on you, you're letting your ignorance show.
There's no need to be angry because you aren't as knowledgeable as you would
like to be. So you don't know much about garage door counterbalance
systems and electric door openers, big deal....
Yeah, in the "up" position, the coil springs will likely be sagging.
And there may be some tension on the torsion springs. But
the door should be adjusted(here read that the springs
should be adjusted" so that you can let the door down, with
springs engaged, and it should stop at about the level of
your hip. So that if you should have to raise it without
help of the opener, your wife or whoever can do it.
So, frankly, I would suggest you consider having a garage
door tune-up done by a pro for about $75, and be ready for
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.