Garage Door Track Radius Question


Old 04-02-02, 09:34 AM
Ollie Angell
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Garage Door Track Radius Question

I am installing a 16x7x2" insulated sectional garage door to replace my old
tilt-type wooden door. The ceiling height in my garage is 85" and I want
to retain as much overhead space as possible when the door is in the open
position. Which track radius would be best for this situation - 12" or 15"?

I have read that 15" radius track works smoother and the
door will last longer with it than with 12". My garage door dealer will
not sell me a door with 15" radius track and I want to know why.
He doesn't seem to have any good answers for me.

Thanks in advance for any replies,

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Old 04-02-02, 08:19 PM
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I think you must have misunderstood your dealer. You buy the complete door, and the framework and track can be either 12 degree or 15 degree. The instructions tell you how to use either one or the other. It has been my experience, that most instructions are for the 15 degree, and you have to convert to the 12 degree. Yes, the 15 degree works best.
Old 04-03-02, 02:31 AM
Ollie Angell
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Thanks, Jack for your reply.

My new 16X 7 door has been delivered from the dealer and, true to my concerns,
it arrived with the inferior 12 radius track instead of the preferred 15; and now Im
stuck with what was delivered.

I am trying to figure out what to do with this situation.
Can I replace the 12 radius horizontal section of track with 15 radius-type and still
be able to obtain good counterbalance throughout the full operating range of the door
using the torsion springs delivered with the 12 radius track?

Will the improvement in performance be worth the extra effort and expense of making
the switch from 12 to 15?

Old 04-03-02, 06:30 PM
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There will be a minimal diference in performance, however I'm more curious to know why he didn't provide the 15" radius that you requested. My inclination would be to take the radius track back and throw them on his floor and get the track you wanted.

And a big whoa. Did you say torsion springs. If you did, put the brakes on the install and get back to us. Either Jack the moderator, or myself will have something to say about that!

Who is the manufacturer of the door?
Old 04-04-02, 03:49 AM
Ollie Angell
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Thanks, Jacksprat for your reply.

If, as you say, the performance difference between the 12" and 15" radius tracks
is minimal then I should cool it a little and just accept the loss of 3" of overhead
clearance area when the door is in the fully open position. The overhead clearance
area is needed, of course, when I want to jack up my van to a comfortable height
in the garage to perform work on the undercarriage area of the vehicle.

I now realize that I got stuck in this situation because I was naive and assumed that
15" radius track was the standard and the 12" radius was used only where there was a
low ceiling/structure problem with a garage. I think that my door dealer has reduced
all of his customers to the one-size-fits-all lowest possible common denominator so he
only has to stock and handle one size of door hardware. This way he makes more money,
most of his customers don't know the difference, and to hell with guys like me.

The door manufacturer is Amarr of Winston-Salem, NC and the door dealer is
Heritage Door Supply of Huntington Beach, CA.

With re. your concern about torsion springs, would you or the moderator please
visit the website, which is an excellent treatise on the
subject of garage door torsion spring handling safety, and tell me if you think that anything
was left out that I should know about before I do my own torsion spring winding task.

Thanks again for any additional replies,

Ollie Angell
Old 04-07-02, 09:00 PM
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Went to that site.

The author himself acknowledges numerous times the risks. I have seen, first hand, a variety of greivous injuries. Replaced a set of springs for a widow 6 years ago. When I was done I opened the door and washed her husbands blood off the floor. He was a commercial pilot, bright guy, handy and methodical. Slipped with an improvised winding bar, it went in through his shoulder and out through his side, by way of his heart. In this forum, I have railed about this a number of times. Here is some detail.

If you're a bachelor with no kids and don't have to go to work tommorrow, try it. You probably can do it. But you don't have to.

Doing this for years, and I washed up a few floors.

Old 04-10-02, 10:04 AM
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In reguard to 16x7 torsion installation

I was a professional installer for 20 years, and have seen more than one pool of red where an amature tried a repair or installation, as a matter of fact I'm one eyed over one of the darned things~ and that came after 10 years experience!!! Best you find a GOOD door man. If you decide to tackle it yourself follow manufacturers instructions exactly. In reguard to the track radius ~ 12'' is standard residential, 15'' is standard commercial . If you have plenty of headroom and money, but like I said 12'' is the norm. Hope I've been of assistance. albochella
Old 04-12-02, 09:12 PM
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Hey Albochella,

We've always used 15" radius here, probably for the same 20 years you've been using 12", we have to order anything else ( to replace the set we take off the rack), when needed. Funny how different areas use different hardware and methods to do the same thing. Sorry to here about the peeper, I've only suffered stiches.

Just hope Ollie hires...

Old 04-14-02, 10:53 AM
Ollie Angell
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I called several other garage door co's here in the Huntington Beach, CA
area and they all said that 15" radius track was standard for them and 12"
is available as an option.

The parts guy at Heritage Door told me that I could recover some of my
lost door-open overhead clearance area by extending the length of the
track vertical section. I have 7" of height available. If I raise the entire
assembly by 7" I see two problems I will have to deal with:

1.) Approx. 1/2 additional turn on the torsion springs to get the additional
lift required.

2.) Modifications to the opener to allow it to control door motion in the
extended-length straight section of the track.

Can anybody tell me if I'm on the right track here (pun)?
What additional problems am I likely to encounter?
How much will the additional torsion shorten the life of the springs?
Can the opener be made to work without damaging the door if I add
stiffening to the strut at the top of the door?

Thanks for any replies,

Ollie Angell
Old 04-15-02, 07:03 PM
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Oh geez, don't extend the verticles; there are more issues than you listed. Do it right the first time. It doesn't matter if the radius is 15 or 12", really, my concern was that the dealer was giving you a line about the track and what else? If you want, get the 15" track and away you go. Again, don't extend the verticles!

Good luck

P.S. the extensions do not require a half turn, what about setback and bearing brackets. Nuff said?
Old 04-16-02, 07:08 AM
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Hey guys- albochella here , to get the seven inches of verticle lift you will need different track brackets, springs, headplates & bearingplates and different ( tapered cable drums) and cables to match. You will need the weight of the door,..... oops!!! almost forgot the jackshaft operator, solid shaft with center coupling. The operator will have to go on the spring shaft ( stop and think about it- a drawbar opener pulls straight back - you have to go up seven inches first!!).... so the opener goes to the side of the track - need lots of side room. Anyway get your door weight - with that and the verticle lift measurement they will be able to figure it out. Be sure that you get a solid spring shaft- the opener will connect to it with keyed sprockets..if you use a tube shaft it will slip before the devil gets the news~ then you will have a mess. Keep me posted, this is getting interesting!
Old 04-17-02, 05:29 AM
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umm, Albolchella, I'm pretty sure this is a res door, but without a doubt you have conveyed to Ollie that there is more to adding seven inches than he figured.

P.S., have you ever noticed that whenever you get to the top of a ladder, the key "jumps" to the floor?

Old 04-17-02, 10:43 AM
Ollie Angell
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Thanks to the advice I received in this thread I have decided,
for now at least, to go with the regular unmodified 12" radius
track as delivered by the dealer. I will simply have to partially
close the door when I want to jack a vehicle to full height in the

The door is now up and working fine. The spring winding task
went without a hitch. I even found that I had a convenient parking/
resting spot during the winding by letting the winding bar rest against
the strut running across the top of the door.

The only problem/question encountered was with the torque spec
of 200 in-lb given in the Amarr installation instructions for the
torsion shaft set screws. This seems to be about a factor of 10 too high.
I went with alternate setting of "1/2 to 1 turn after contacting the shaft".
I marked the shaft in all four spots so that any slippage will be easily

Thanks again for all of the assistance given,

Ollie Angell
Old 04-18-02, 07:21 PM
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Thumbs up


Glad all went well, have rested the bar on a strut myself on occassion, especially on the big (20'x40') doors we used to maintain.

You also discovered on your own, an old trick, marking the cones.

Over torquing a set screw, which you didn't, has a couple of down sides. It can cut a hollow shaft, crimp a shaft so its difficult to remove a spring when it ages, or worse it can crack a cast alluminum cone and have it blow up in your face, which has happened to me.



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