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drtbk4ever 07-04-2012 10:39 AM

garage door opener rail extension?
Hey guys,

My 20 year old garage door opener bit the dust over the weekend. Snapped the chain sprocket right off.

So I am looking at the Chamberlain/LiftMaster like this one:

The door is 7 feet tall so I don't need a rail extension kit for it based on the door height. HOWEVER, the current opener is installed 11 feet away from the garage door. Likely due to the change in elevation of my garage ceiling. And I would like install the new opener in the same location.

But I believe the standard rail kit is 8 feet and if I get the rail extension, it will only extend the rail to 10 feet. Am I correct in that assumption?

firehawkmph 07-05-2012 10:04 AM

Hi Bill,
no the 8' is not correct. The new opener should fit very close to your old one. The rails are always longer so the opener sits a couple of feet behind the door when its in the up position. Also allows room for the arm that connects the door to the rail. The 11' measurement sounds right. It can vary a few inches between manufacturers, but you should be fine. And if you had a sears opener, liftmaster makes those for sears, so the rails should be about the same length. I get my openers through the wholesale garage door warehouses locally. The ones I get have one piece rails and go together much quicker. I am able to get longer rails if needed, usually for taller doors. But I have used longer rails on occasion to place the opener further back to clear a beam in the way.
here's a link for the ones I normally install:

If you have a garage door company nearby, they may sell one to you.
Mike Hawkins:)

drtbk4ever 07-05-2012 10:32 AM

Thanks Mike.

I sure appreciate your input. Whew, one concern out of the way.

I actually have contacted a couple of door companies and they will sell me and install the 3585 for $532 versus the Home Depot opener with install for $336.

So you would prefer the Liftmaster 3585 over the HomeDepot Chamberlain? (The HD one looks like the 3850: same power, belt drive, with Battery backup). The HD one comes with an external keypad too. Does the 3585 come with the external keypad?

I'm torn between trying this myself and paying someone to do it. I'm running out of time before we leave on our summer vacation

firehawkmph 07-05-2012 10:21 PM

They don't always come with them when I get them. Most of the time they run a special and include one. The remotes are a little fancier with light up buttons. The wall station is pretty neat too. I install them around here for $370. I must be working in the wrong neighborhood. I have never installed any of the battery backups. If you really need that option, liftmaster offers it. I believe the units that liftmaster makes for the garage door installers are a little better quality than the ones they make for the big box stores.
Mike Hawkins:)

drtbk4ever 07-06-2012 01:20 PM

Hi Mike, thanks for the input. I am leaning towards a Liftmaster from a garage door company. To hear they may be a bit higher quality is good news. I also think a one piece rail is better than the 3 (or 4) piece rail found with the HD model.

I re-measured my current rail and it is the same length as the rail provided with 8 foot door packages (128 inches). The shorter rail for the 7 foot door kits is only 116 inches and that extra foot will make installation much easier.

So I called the door company and they don't have model 3585 in stock but the guy suggested I buy the 8550. It has more feature and is cheaper. OK, so I have to wonder what's up with that? But will go with it anyway.

I just have to figure out how to get the 10 foot rail home in my SUV.

As usual, I analyze the crap out of everything which makes small jobs friggin huge.

So thanks for all your help Mike.

drtbk4ever 07-06-2012 06:07 PM

Picked up the 8550 with the longer rail this afternoon. It was sticking out the window of the suv but i got it home. Like you mentioned, they tossed in the extras and the price ends up cheaper than for the one at HD.

Install this weekend.

drtbk4ever 07-17-2012 11:49 AM

Hey Mike,

I wanted to thank you for your input. The rail for the 8 foot door was the perfect length so I could install the new opener using the existing brackets. It did take me about 3.5 hours to remove the old opener and install the new one but I had to go back and cut the brackets because they were too long (the rail wasn't close to level).

So now the only issue I am having is the homelink on our two vehicles can't talk to the new version on this door opener. So I am unable to program our homelink system until I get a repeater. Doh! At least it is only $7.

Thanks again.

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