High lift conversions tend to be very complicated in nature. This is a project that suits experienced mechanics. Average DIY-ers should avoid doing this on their own.
Here’s a complete guide to high lift conversions for the standard garage door. The cable drum should be cast on an aluminum alloy and it should have an end bearing plate just beyond it. The cable drum can be found after the end of the spring assembly. Video credit to suzukas2000.
When converting to a high lift system, you will need the following materials: cables, angles, high lift drums, torsion spring, support brackets, and vertical track. These materials will cost your around $200 and will be perfect for most residential garage doors.
For other garage door types, you may need additional parts like shaft, center support bracket and bearing plates. These are the materials you need for converting extension springs to torsion springs and high lift track.
Other tools that you may need are adjustable wrench, vise grips, ladder, ruler, socket wrench, drill, hacksaw, electric impact wrench, and winding bars.
Measure and Calculate
Once you have the parts and materials ready, you need to measure your current garage door. This ensures that you get the right track assembly for your garage and with the right price.
Measure the width and height of the door and get the track-to-jamb dimensions. Then, get the horizontal track radius by placing a level on the junction and leveling your measuring tape. Measure the floor to ceiling dimension at both ends of your garage door opening. If the distance varies, go for the shorter distance. Get the distance from the floor to the top of the horizon track.
The weight of the door comes next. Use an analog weighing scale instead of a digital one since the latter tends to be inaccurate. You may need to put boards on the door to level it. The spring should also be unwound to get the right weight. Shake it up a bit and get the weight.
Before you start, be mindful of your safety. Replacing your torsion springs can be dangerous. If you do not have the right tools, you may damage your property or even break your limbs.
Always expect for the worst case scenario when dealing with torsion springs, cones, and winding plugs. These parts may break or slip and cause injury. So always be on the safe side when doing it yourself.
If you are not confident in this conversion project, it’s best to hire a professional. However if you think your skills are good enough to do this in your own, just make sure you keep your safety a priority.
Remove Torsion Hardware
If you have an operator or a drawbar on your garage door, dismount it or remove it prior to converting to high lift.
Then, unwind your old spring and replace it with a new one. To do this, remove the spring anchor bracket, the carriage bolts, lag, end bearing plate, cable from both cable drums, and the shaft.
Set the shaft on the floor and remove the hardware from it. Take away the bolts but keep the spring anchor bracket because you can reuse this later on.
Loosen the set screws and slide the cable drum, end bearing plate, and old torsion spring off the shaft. Remove the bushing inside the stationary cone. Loosen the other side of the cable drum and remove other opener parts on your garage door.
Drive a nail header above the garage door and slightly bend it over the top of the door with a vise grip. The nail will keep the top section of the garage door from falling over once the horizontal track is removed.
Loosen the bolts on the horizontal track on both sides of the door. Then, remove the bolts. Be careful and hold on to the track so it won’t fall off.
Install the High Lift Hardware
Before you start the installation, make sure that you have prepared for this. Ensure that you have marked the door and walls properly to make the installation smooth. You also need to remove the bolts, lag screws, and flag bracket. Lastly, assemble the high lift tracks, if you didn’t get the pre-assembled kit.
Secure the bottom of the high lift track and ensure that the roller is in track. Secure the high lift angle with lag screws and adjust it accordingly so the angle iron does not flush against the wall.
Then, secure the bottom bracket. You may need to drill a hole for a second bolt to connect the tack to the high lit conversion kit. Adjust the top roller and secure it to the top fixture. Repeat the steps on the other side of the garage door.
After installing your high lift, you may need to reinstall the track and bearing plates back in place. Install the spring anchor bracket, then assemble the hardware on the shaft. You also need to install the cable and torsion spring. Paint white across the spring wind it up with the right number of turns. After all these, you are now set to use your newly converted high lift garage door.