Technical Support

High Lift Kit FAQ

Friday, June 16th, 2017 at 1:27 pm by Sales Team

 

1: How much does a high lift kit cost?

A custom high lift from DDM typically costs $200 – $350 when an operator is not included and $600 – $750 when an operator is included. In addition to the kit cost, expect shipping costs of $50 – $100, sometimes more if the kit is pre-assembled or includes extra hardware. Note: these price ranges are estimates, NOT guarantees.

 

2: How long does it take to receive the high lift kit?

On average, DDM receives 20-25 high lift inquiries every week. When we receive an inquiry, we look it over and judge based on our 35 years of experience whether there are any measurements or specs of concern. We will often contact customers if something looks unusual so as to confirm that we have all of the correct information. If the measurements are reasonable and the customer contacts us soon after receiving the email quote, the turn-around time can be as quick as 1-2 days. Once the kit ships from our warehouse, shipping time within the lower 48 states is usually 1-4 business days. Expect longer transit time for Hawaii/Alaska, or if shipping internationally.

 

3: How high can I mount my high lift assembly?

Our custom high lift program designs each high lift assembly with the shaft mounted four inches away from the ceiling and jamb. This is to allow sufficient space for the standard high lift cable drum which has an outer diameter of almost 6”. This will place your horizontal tracks 7.75” – 8.75” away from the ceiling. On assemblies with more than 54” of high lift, the horizontal tracks will be closer to 10” away from the ceiling because even larger drums are required. In reality, the tracks can usually extend another inch or two without any problem, but we cannot guarantee the door will operate without issue.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2016/01/11/high-lift-how-high-can-i-go/

 

4: What does it mean to have a “balanced door”?

A “balanced door” is one which stays on the floor when closed, remains at rest when in the middle of its travel, and stays up when opened fully. This will be the case if you have the correct springs that are wound the correct number of turns. If your springs are correct but you still have problems balancing the door, you can usually adjust the springs accordingly, up to ½ turn in either direction. If you still have balance issues, check the cable timing on the drum. On a high lift assembly with the correct cables installed, the cable should begin wrapping on the flat portion of the drum as the top roller of the door begins rolling on the horizontal tracks. If your cable does not perform this way, then the cable is either too short or it was improperly installed.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/03/a-balanced-garage-door/

 

5: Can I reuse the springs from my previous application?

Most customers understand that standard length cables will need to be changed out for longer cables on a high lift assembly, but it’s a common misconception that the springs can be reused. Because the vertical portion of the door travel is now extended, there is not an immediate weight offload into the horizontal tracks. Additional turns are needed on the springs to account for the extra distance and extra stationary weight (see question 6). However, simply applying more turns to your current springs will not work because then the force of the springs will be too great when the door is in the closed position, and it will not close all the way. Instead, you need to purchase springs which are specifically sized for the new setup.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/12/common-high-lift-problems/

 

6: Why do high lift systems require more turns on the springs?

When the door is in the open position on a standard lift setup almost 100% of the door weight is sitting in the horizontal tracks. This allows the springs to be almost fully unwound, with about ½ turn on the springs just to hold tension on the cables. Once a high lift kit is installed and the tracks are modified, the door will still only open to just past the opening. Instead of sitting fully horizontal, a portion of the door will be held in a vertical position. Therefore, a percentage of the door weight still needs to be held by the springs. The new larger springs, requiring additional turns, hold this extra weight. Depending on the amount of high lift installed, it could be as much as 2-4 extra full turns. This is also a reason that the previous springs cannot be reused (see question 5).

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/12/11/how-many-turns-do-you-wind-a-torsion-spring/

 

7: Can I reuse the drums from my previous application?

You cannot reuse your old drums. Due to the longer vertical travel in a high lift assembly, the resting weight of the door will stay constant for the first few feet of travel. But as soon as the springs start unwinding they begin to lose force. The tapered ends of the high lift drums account for this by proportionally decreasing the moment arm as the springs unwind and thus helping the door stay balanced throughout this vertical extension. The flat portion of the high lift drum is then used as the weight of the door is offloaded into the remaining horizontal track (see question 4). Standard lift cable drums are completely flat and therefore the moment arm doesn’t change.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/12/common-high-lift-problems/

 

8: Why is my track extension shorter than the inches of high lift?

A common point of confusion for high lift customers is the fact that the track they are adding to the vertical (track extension) does not seem to reach the ceiling. In reality there are two dimensions, the length of the track extension, and the inches of high lift. The “inches of high lift” (see photo above) is the distance between the top of the closed door and centerline of the horizontal track, as a flat plane. Therefore, even standard lift systems technically have a few “inches of high lift.” The vertical track extension just adds to this dimension, placing the tracks as close as possible to the ceiling. The track extension simply adds to the inches of high lift, it is not equal to it.

 

9: I purchased a high lift kit in the last few years. Why are my cables fraying?

Back in 2015 we came across an issue with the high lift cable drums having rough edges. These rough edges were left by seams in the molds used for casting these drums. While the rough edges do not compromise the drums in any way, over time the installed cables can get worn down and start fraying. We have been working with customers that purchased high lift kits during this time to get the cables replaced and to fix the drums to avoid future issues. The rough edges can be ground down with a hand file or angle grinder and the drums can still be used without issue. We now make sure to grind down the rough edges of the drums before they are shipped out with a kit. Please contact us if you still run into this fraying problem.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/16/rough-edges-on-high-lift-drums/

 

10: Is a vertical lift a good alternative to a high lift?

The appropriate answer is “Which one do you need?” While high lift doors rise a given distance vertically before entering the horizontal tracks, vertical lift doors rise vertically for their entire travel. These doors do not require horizontal tracks because they rest above the door opening and “parallel” to the jamb. A vertical lift is typically the better option when there is sufficient ceiling height within the garage. Minimum ceiling height for a vertical lift is double the door height, i.e. 14’ ceiling for a 7’ tall door, etc. If the space is available, a vertical lift is a good long term option to allow maximum space for lighting, workshop equipment, or storage.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2011/10/13/vertical-lift-a-good-alternative-to-high-lift-garage-door/

 

11. How do I keep the windows from scraping the stop molding?

Because the door will no longer pitch immediately into the track radius as it opens, the track for a door with windows may require adjustment so as to avoid scraping the glass against the PVC stop molding or header. If you have windows installed on the door, in order to avoid the need for adjustment after installation, select the option in our high lift inquiry form that you have an outside lock or handle that you want to keep. This will provide the added pitch you need.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2016/02/08/gaps-on-high-lift-doors-with-windows/

 

12: What if I have low headroom tracks currently?

If you have low headroom tracks currently but sufficient headroom for a high lift assembly, the tracks can be modified to fit the high lift assembly using the parts we provide. You will need to separate the two track pieces in order to reuse the lower horizontal track and radius. We will provide the standard horizontal track angle to connect the track to the high lift angle. You will probably need to replace the top and bottom fixtures as well.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2016/03/15/converting-from-double-low-headroom-tracks-to-high-lift/  

 

 

When are leaf bumpers and push down bumper springs necessary?

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 at 11:48 am by Sales Team

Leaf bumpers or push down bumper springs are recommended for use on residential standard lift applications when using a jackshaft opener, as well as certain commercial applications.

Normally, if space allows, a standard overhead rail type opener is used for standard lift systems. These openers pull/push on the door directly to raise and lower it. If more overhead space is required, or you desire a nice “clean” look, a jackshaft opener can be used. This type of opener mounts on the header, and raises/lowers the door by driving the torsion spring shaft directly. For residential systems, we recommend the Liftmaster 8500.  This opener is designed and mainly used on high lift assemblies, but with the proper steps, can be used on a standard lift system.

When using this opener with standard lift tracks, the spring bumpers are necessary to ensure safe operation. This is because jackshaft openers rely on the door weight to keep tension on the cable.  These bumpers mount to the back of the horizontal tracks and provide forward/downward force on the door when it is in the horizontal tracks.

 

If the door is in the up position with minimal weight pulling down, there is a slight risk of the opener turning the shaft, the door not moving, and the cable unwinding off the drum. There is then nothing to stop the door from crashing to the floor and causing damage or injury to anything or anyone in its way. To counter this, the bumpers provide constant force pushing the door down from the back, which should keep the cable taught.

The recommend Liftmaster 8500 opener comes standard with a cable tension monitor for safety. A common question we get from customers is whether or not the cable tension monitor on the jackshaft will be sufficient to stop the opener, and hold the door if the cables were to go slack. Generally, this should work, but we do not recommend relying on it 100%. The spring bumpers are relatively cheap insurance to guarantee that the door will work properly and safely.

If you are interested in using a jackshaft operator on your standard lift door, we suggest using these spring bumpers in order to prevent property damage or serious injury.

 

Clopay Pinchproof – The Downside to Unique Hardware

Friday, May 26th, 2017 at 1:00 pm by Sales Team

Just recently, Clopay stopped manufacturing the hinges for their specially designed Pinch Proof doors. One of the most common models to use Pinch Proof hinges is the model 150S (commonly found in the western U.S.). These pinch proof doors were originally developed in the 1980’s to protect against damaging fingers and other foreign objects that could potentially get caught between the door sections. Although some manufacturers had already developed other “Pinch-Proof-type” options, the designers of the Clopay Pinch Proof system sought to create a simpler design that both professional and DIY installers and repairmen can understand. Despite the attempt to develop an option that was both safe and fairly intuitive, these hinges were constructed with cheap steel and have been known to break at a high rate. This is not necessarily the reason why Clopay manufacturers discontinued the part, but it is certainly a disadvantage of the design. Here is a sampling of the Pinchproof hardware:

 

If you have a Pinch Proof door and one of your hinges has broken, you are left with only a few options:

  1. You may be able to find a company that still has these hinges in stock. At DDM, we still have a number of #0 and #4 Pinch Proof hinges in stock, but we no longer have any #1, #2, or #3 hinges. The pins and covers for these hinges are also still available on our website. Because of the nature of the Pinch Proof system, you cannot simply apply one of the standard hinges that we offer. Instead of placing the pivot point directly at the point of separation between the panels, the pivot point of the Pinch Proof hinges are below the point of separation between panels. Refer to the patent drawings below.
  2. You may be able to have a local metal fabrication or machine shop repair the hinge. It may work for a short time, but it will only function as a temporary repair.
  3. Regardless of your initial course of action, you will ultimately be faced with the third option: to purchase a new door. We recommend choosing a door that is designed for and uses standard hardware.

 


Sources below*


While specially manufactured systems like the Clopay Pinch Proof doors may provide a number of benefits for customers, this does not make them inherently “better” than doors with standard hardware. Seeing as the parts for these specially designed systems are often not interchangeable with standard hardware, the manufacturers of such parts offer very few options for customers once the parts are discontinued. Although DDM Garage Doors sells specially manufactured parts such as the Clopay Pinchproof, Wayne Dalton, and Amarr hardware, we generally recommend using systems which have standard hardware.

 

 

*United States Patent and Trademark Office – U.S. Patent 6,006,817

http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=5&docid=06006817&IDKey=EEC703709CED&HomeUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fpatft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect2%3DPTO1%2526Sect2%3DHITOFF%2526p%3D1%2526u%3D%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html%2526r%3D1%2526f%3DG%2526l%3D50%2526d%3DPALL%2526S1%3D6006817.PN.%2526OS%3DPN%2F6006817%2526RS%3DPN%2F6006817

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect2=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN/6006817

 

Solid or Hollow Stop Molding?

Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 1:00 pm by Sales Team

In the garage door industry two different types of PVC stop molding are used – solid and hollow. So which one is better?

At DDM Garage Doors we have kept both the solid and the hollow stop molding pieces as stock items for as long as we’ve been in business. Recently we decided to discontinue the hollow stop molding, and for one simple reason – our customers prefer the solid pieces. The shape, size, and material are all about the same for both, but there are some key differences that impact installation and use.

Even though both types are made of a PVC material, the hollow stop molding is more rigid and brittle than the solid. Being less flexible makes the hollow stop molding vulnerable to breaking when bent, whether during storage, or when handled before installation. Furthermore, the hollow stops are extremely susceptible to cracking during installation, especially when there is a stray hit from a hammer. This problem is even more likely to occur when installing the stop molding in cold weather because hollow PVC is more brittle.

The main advantage to the hollow stop molding has always been the fact it costs less, but is this slight savings worth it? Based on what we have seen over the years customers prefer solid molding over the hollow, which is just a small fraction of the total stop molding sales.

At DDM Garage Doors we endeavor to provide our customers with the best possible product, and we believe that the solid PVC stop molding is the superior choice.

 

Solutions for Cable Problems on Doors with Jackshaft Operators

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 at 11:37 am by Dan Musick

There are two types of operators, trolley and drawbar.

On trolley type operators the drawbar arm pushes and pulls the top of the door to open and close it. On jackshaft operators the operator turns the torsion shaft to open and close the door. On this type of operator the cables normally loosen momentarily until the weight of the door pulls on the cables. Sometimes, however, the cables come off the drums when closing the door from the open position.

The best solution to prevent this problem is to pitch the horizontal tracks at least an inch for every foot of track  length. This allows the weight of the door to push down into the opening, thereby keeping the cables on the drums tight as the door closes.

 horizontal-track-pitch

When pitching the tracks is neither possible nor feasible, a second solution is to install pusher springs in the backs of the tracks to push the door down from the open position. This has been a helpful solution for many of the residential Liftmaster Model 8500 Openers that turn the torsion shaft to operate the door.

push-down bumper-springs

A third option is to install a larger drive sprocket on the end of the torsion shaft. This will reduce the turning speed of the torsion shaft rotation possibly eliminating the possibility of the cables coming loose.

A fourth solution is to install cable keepers. These will pull a few inches of loose cable away from each drum.

A fifth solution from the early years in the trade was to install 12″ of screen door spring, hooking one end to the bottom cable loop. We would stretch the top eight or more inches and secure it to the cable. The spring would pull the slack in the cables to prevent them from coming off the drums.

Converting from Two to Four Torsion Springs

Saturday, May 28th, 2016 at 2:38 pm by Dan Musick

When upgrading to longer life torsion springs, it is often better to convert to four smaller springs, especially when the springs are for heavier garage doors.

On a standard two spring system both springs are normally mounted back to back to the spring anchor bracket off-centered above the door.

2-spring-torsion-system

If the springs each weigh over 20 pounds, we recommend adding a bracket just beyond the end of the winding cone to support the weight. (The formula for locating the bracket before winding the spring is spring wire x number of turns plus four inches.)

shaft-support

Since an extra support bracket is needed beyond the end of each spring, we can just as easily use those brackets as spring anchor brackets for additional springs in a four spring setup. All that’s needed are extra 3/8″ X 1″ bolts and nuts.

A inquiry came in from Jordan regarding a 19′ wide X 7′ high door with a coupler in the middle of the shaft and two spring anchor brackets similar to the one in the image below.

shaft-coupler

Because the door is so heavy, we are recommending converting to four smaller springs to increase cycle life and manage the weight of the springs.

4-spring-torsion-system

You can find updated information on our blog titled “Four Spring Residential Torsion Systems.”

 

Overhead Door vs. Arrow Tru-Line Hinges

Monday, May 9th, 2016 at 4:14 pm by Dan Musick

Overhead Door Corporation has discontinued production of their own brand of hinges.

The Arrow-Truline hinges are an excellent replacement, but the holes don’t always line up with the existing carriage bolts on the older wooden doors.

OHD-ATL-Hinges

You can see the difference in the image below.

OHD vs ATL Hinges

I have almost always been able to reuse the bottom two bolts and the lower bolt in the top of the hinge. The problem is with the top hole. If the top hole is drilled at the top of the slot, the bolt won’t fit. In the past I’ve either knocked the bolt down to fit in the top slot or I’ve removed the top bolt and re-drilled the hole pitching the bit so I could reuse the outside hole but angle the bolt down on the inside so the bolt fits the lower slot.

On steel doors the self-drilling teks should suffice for accommodating the new holes.

The EZ-Set Bearing Keeps Coming Out

Friday, May 6th, 2016 at 4:29 pm by Dan Musick

We received an email this week from a do-it-yourselfer who had installed a Clopay door with an EZ Set torsion spring set up. On his door he has a single spring with a winder at the left end of the torsion assembly. At the right end of the torsion tube there is a bearing housed in a plastic frame that slides into the end bracket, as pictured here.

clopay-ez-set-assembly2

In the past year the bearing on the right side has come out of the plastic bearing holder a few times. When this happens, the shaft grinds on the bearing frame as the door operates. And, because the cable drum and cable is lower on the right side, this side reaches the floor first when closing, and there is a gap under the left end of the door.

The bearing probably came out because the bearing holder was installed backward. On an improperly installed bearing assembly, the race of the bearing faces the inside. Since there is nothing to hold it, it can come out.

ez-set-bearing-incorrect

The correct way to fix this is to reverse the black plastic bearing housing.

ez-set-bearing-drum-installation

The bearing holder fits into the end bracket with the race of the bearing touching the cable drum.

ez-set-bearing-drum-installation

When installed this way, the bearing cannot come out of the plastic holder.

On many installations the bearing is turned correctly, but the drum is not installed next to the bearing. If there is a gap between the drum and the bearing, the bearing may slip out. We have also found that a gap can cause the right side of the drum to scrape on the frame, causing the cable to come off the drum when the door opens. The cable drum at each end of the torsion shaft must be touching the race of the bearing.

If the only problem is the bearing being installed backward, and if it looks like too big of a project to correct, you can just install a hose clamp next to the race of the bearing. You can also drill and pin the shaft next to the bearing.

Converting from Double Low Headroom Tracks to High Lift

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 at 9:10 am by Dan Musick

Over the years we have had customers contact us for help converting from double low headroom tracks to high lift, such as when they remove a loft above the door, or when they move a low headroom door from one location to another. Here are two solutions.

Your horizontal tracks are secured to angle and track clips with rivets, as shown below. Sometimes they are connected with track bolts and nuts.

low-headroom-06-double-tracks-rivets

If you are able to remove the rivets or fasteners, we have a simple solution.

For your horizontal tracks you would reuse the lower horizontal track with the complete radius. We would then provide the standard horizontal track angle to connect the horizontal track to the high lift angle.

For the vertical track extensions you would cut the length you need from the top horizontal tracks.

You would also need to replace your top fixtures and probably the bottom fixtures as well.

outside-lift

If you are not able to remove the rivets or track bolts, an alternate solution would be for us to provide new horizontal tracks with the standard horizontal track angle.

standard-horizontal-track-angle

 

Left and Right Hand Springs

Monday, February 22nd, 2016 at 9:59 am by Dan Musick

What is a left hand spring?

In the door business it could mean one of two things.

It could mean the wind of the spring, which would be a left wind spring. A spring wound the opposite direction would be a right wind spring. Doors with two standard torsion springs normally have one left wind and one right wind spring.

Garage Door Torsion Spring Wind

The designation “left hand” could also refer to the location of the spring on the shaft in relation to the center support bracket.

Spring on left side of bracket - Right Wind

Because the phrases “left hand spring ” and “right hand spring” are not specific designations,” it is essential that you clarify the meaning of your terms when ordering just one spring.

If, by “left hand,” you mean the spring is mounted to the left of the center support bracket as in the picture above you would need to order a right wind spring.

If, by “left hand,” you mean the wind of the spring, you need to order a left wind spring which is normally wound to the right of the center support bracket as pictured below.

Spring on right side of bracket - Left Wind

On standard systems the next component beyond the winding cone is the cable drum. Beyond that is the end bearing plate.

standard-torsion-system

On outside lift systems with double horizontal tracks the cable drum is mounted outside the end bearing plate, as pictured below.

outside-lift

Unlike the standard system where the cable comes off the side of the drum facing the jamb, on outside lift, double track systems the cable usually comes off the side of the drum facing the inside of the garage. If you have an outside lift system, and if the cables come off the drums as they do above, you would mount the left wound spring to the left of the center support bracket and the right wound spring to the right of the bracket. You will also wind down on each spring rather than up.

If you have only one torsion spring on a door, and if you happened to have ordered a spring with  the incorrect wind, rather than reordering a new spring with the correct wind, the simple solution is to remove the spring and install it on the other side of the center support bracket. In some cases you may need to relocate the spring anchor bracket to make room for the spring to fit.