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Repair of sliding garage door + adding openers

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Joined: Aug 13 2010

I have a flat-roof Eichler, 2-car garage with the horizontally sliding garage doors. The garage doors require a lot of effort to slide open/closed and I suspect that the roller mechanisms may be worn, causing the doors to hang lower and scrape the ground.

I have made some initial inquiries - and it seems that there are a lot of answers or suggestions all over the place. Though it seems pretty apparant that at the very least the rollers have to be replaced. However there is a divergence of answers I've been getting:

1) One vendor suggested that because the rails have a little gap in the middle, it be replaced with continuous rails. This, however, would make it quite expensive.

2) Others said that the rails are fine - and all that was needed was to replace the rollers. However, one said that the rollers were difficult to find.

I would also like the option of adding automatic door openers to the garage doors and know that this may be possible, I've seen such apps.

Would anyone who has any experience with the sliding garage doors like to comment on the veracity of the rail/roller assemblies workings and the availability of the hardware? Also, if anyone knows of a reputable garage door service company who has extensive experience with Eichlers (and I don't think many do), please e-mail me at jtwang168 @ gmail DOT com. I am in Palo Alto.

Thank You

Tod
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Joined: Mar 21 2003

You don't say when your house was built or what tract, there might be some differences based on when and where your Eichler was built. Our 1958 Fairbrae (Sunnyvale) Eichler has steel tracks and steel wheels.

Basically, my observation is that it is highly unlikely that the track or rollers have worn out. It is highly likely that lack of maintenance and/or door warpage will lead to a condition where the doors are hard to move. Ours were gunked up from years of dirt. And one was dragging on the center floor guide which made it fairly hard to open or close. Cleaning and adjusting was all that was needed to make them work well.

The doors are heavy and the adjustment is not obvious so you will want to arrange for some wedges and shims to hold things where you want them when you adjust the rollers. Here is how mine adjust: There is a threaded rod from the rollers that goes into a slotted hole in the brackets of that hold the door (the front and rear brackets are L-shaped with a overlapping joint where the roller rod attaches). There is one nut between the brackets and the door and one nut above the brackets. You loosen the top nut to unlock things. The bottom (hard to reach nut) is then adjusted to get the door to the correct height (having wedges/shims under the door to hold it at the desired height makes this a lot easier). You will need an open end wrench as I don't think an adjustable wrench will fit in there. Now move the door in/out at the top as desired, the rod will be able to slide in the slots in the brackets. When you have things lined up where you want them, tighten the top nut to lock things in place.

If/when you get to the point where you want to install an opener, look for one that has a 8 foot pull. Most don't. I ended up with a Sears worm drive unit with an extension option. The trick is making a bracket to connect the opener to the door. Everyone in our neighborhood who has an opener has a different home or custom made bracket. You can see what we did at http://www.fitchfamily.org/LeslieAndTod/Eichler/Garage/ however I will warn you that the attachment shown eventually failed and I made a much heavier duty one a couple of years ago.

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Joined: Aug 13 2010

Tod, thanks for the info. Our house was built in 1957, tract is called Royal Manor. I looked at the rollers and rails, and the rails are steel, but the rollers do not look like the original - might be aluminum. The doors appear to be in pretty sound shape and do not seem warped.

mdy
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Joined: Mar 5 2008

In 2005 I had the bearings in one of the rollers wear out. The rails were fine. I found replacement rollers at Crown Industrial in South San Francisco (http://www.crown-industrial.com/). They had an exact match. Looks like they're still in business.

I agree with Tod that the doors are heavy. Have someone help you if you decide to replace the rollers.

Good luck.

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Joined: Aug 13 2010

thanks for all of your feedback. I went with a vendor (recommended through a RE agent who specializes in Eichlers), who told me that I didn't need to replace the rollers or rails, as you had suggested in this thread. He just adjusted the doors so that they didn't scrape on the floor and they moved well. Also installed 2 openers, one for each door, used 3/4 HP Liftmasters (which are strong enough for these doors).

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Joined: Jul 25 2005

Can anyone give me the name of
a good vendor to replace the garage door opener.

Please send recommendations directory to: susanengle AT sbcglobal.net -- or post in the Rec Room section of the Chatterbox.

Susan

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