Posted November 12th, 2015 at 12:22 pm by Dan Musick
Without first seeking professional help, the most common problem do-it-yourselfers encounter when adding vertical track and raising their garage doors a foot or more is that the door doesn’t balance. This is a common high lift problem.
In order to get the door to work at all, you need to install longer cables. The installer will usually know to do that.
This is typically what happens, for example, after a do-it-yourselfer raises the horizontal tracks and torsion assembly on a seven-foot high 200-pound door by two feet.
The springs on most seven-foot high doors are wound 7 1/2 turns. If you wind your springs the same number of turns after raising the horizontal tracks two feet, the door will stay on the floor by itself when closed. However, as you raise the door, the higher you go, the heavier the door gets. Except for the first foot or so, the door will not stay open by itself.
Raising the tracks two feet requires about two extra turns of spring tension to hold the door open when raised. If you wind the springs 9 1/2 turns, the door will stay open, but as you close the door, the lower you go, the harder it gets to pull the door down. However, if you release the door in the closed position, it will shoot up like a rocket.
If you wind the springs 8 1/2 turns, the door will balance about midway. The door won’t stay up, and it won’t stay down, but it will stay halfway.
In addition to not balancing the door, the extra turn or two on the springs reduces the cycle life by as much as two thirds.
Solution – Longer Springs
One solution is to spring the door for nine feet of door height. The longer the spring is, the less it pulls. The springs need to be longer, so they lift 200 pounds with 9 1/2 turns when the door is closed. However, when the door is open nine feet, or less, there must be enough turns on the springs to support the door weight.
This solution will work with lighter doors and doors with raised tracks only a foot. The door will not balance correctly, but it may work reasonably well. You can wind the springs to hold the door open and to allow the door to stay closed by itself.
As the door lifts the main problem arises. Because the door does not immediately transfer weight to the horizontal tracks, the lifting weight of the door will increase for the first two feet or so of rise. On heavier doors, this could trigger the sensors and shut off the openers.
The best solution, however, is to do a complete high lift conversion. This will require new cables, drums, and springs. This should solve all of the common high lift problems.
High lift counterbalance is complex. A detailed explanation appears on our page titled How Vertical-Lift and High-Lift Garage Doors Work.