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filmyak
11-24-2003, 04:15 PM
Hi Dopers.

I need help getting into my garage. Had an automatic garade door -- and lost it. How do I get back into my garage?

Here's what makes this a real challenge:

1) There is no other door into my garage, so entering another way is out of the question.

2) I have no clue what brand the opener is. Hey, it was there when I got the house. I never paid attention to it.

3) No, there's no lock on the front where I can insert a key and open it that way.

Basically I assume a company with a universal scanner of some sort would have to hack into my opener somehow. But so far, I can't find anyone who can do it.

Any suggestions? By the way, I'm in Los Angeles if anyone knows any companies out here than can do this.

Q.E.D.
11-24-2003, 04:31 PM
Sears and some other places do sell "universal" garage door remotes. But they won't work on certain types of openers, and some types you need to know the code that your opener is set to respond to. You can try calling a locksmith, they may have tools for this sort of thing. I'd say that's your best bet.

FatBaldGuy
11-24-2003, 04:32 PM
You always needed another door to your garage anyway. Take a sledgehammer and knock a hole in the back wall. Then after you get in and open up the door, you can install a new door in the back where the hole is.

Nametag
11-24-2003, 04:37 PM
Umm. I assume that you own this property, and that the following advice is therefore legal. Have your ID with you to show the police or neighborhood watch.

1. Procure a wire clothes hanger. Straighten the lower part of ther hanger, leaving the hook intact.

2. Slide the hanger over the top of the door into the garage. If you do this near the middle, you should be able to catch the little red handle hanginf from a string that disengages the opener.

3. Tug on the wire, thereby tugging on the handle and disengage the opener.

4. Slide your fingertips, a screwdriver, or some other means of applying force under the garage door and lift (if there's a handle, use that). You're in.

5. Get the name of the mfr. from the opener and order a couple of extra remotes.

6. Remove the little red handle hanging from a string that disengages the opener. As you can see, it's a security risk.

N9IWP
11-24-2003, 05:03 PM
Is there a window anywhere so you can look inside and get the make of the opener? (or break/open and get inside that way?) Or gable end vents?

A reciprocating saw (Millwaukee Sawz-All for example) is much neater than a sledge hammer.

Brian

filmyak
11-24-2003, 05:18 PM
D'oh! It's the easy things that can be so easily missed.

Yes there's a small window, can't fit through it but I MAY be able to get the brand name by looking through. (Not sure how visible it'll be, but worth a try.)

Assuming I can find the brand... what are my options then? I think this is one of those openers that changes the access code with every use. Will a universal remote work with that?

Q.E.D.
11-24-2003, 05:33 PM
Originally posted by filmyak
I think this is one of those openers that changes the access code with every use. Will a universal remote work with that? Nope. And even getting an OEM replacement to work is problematic, since for most of them of this type you need to have access to the control unit in order to sync them up.

filmyak
11-24-2003, 05:42 PM
So it sounds like regardless, I need to break into my garage. Probably using Nametag's suggestion... (can't add a door, layout won't work with that.)

handy
11-24-2003, 06:56 PM
What happens if the power is out? Do the doors open manually? It seems to me they might have that safety feature in them then you could just turn off the power. Maybe not.

FatBaldGuy
11-24-2003, 06:58 PM
When the power is out you have to pull the red handle to disengage the motor, allowing you to open the door.

Q.E.D.
11-24-2003, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by handy
What happens if the power is out? Do the doors open manually? It seems to me they might have that safety feature in them then you could just turn off the power. Maybe not. I've never seen a garage door with this feature. Most garages have another way in so the owner can pull the red handle release and operate the door manually. Allowing the door to open manually when the power is cut off would be stupid feature--rather like a large "Please Break In" sign over your house.

filmyak
11-24-2003, 07:06 PM
I just learned that the motors have a lock which doesn't disengage with a power outage (hence the handle release). Anyway, went home... no luck. Window is 20 feet above ground (I live on a hillside) so I'll need to get a ladder to try that, and I can't fit a wire hanger in. There's a cement lip in the front that has zero room for a hanger. Good security feature I suppose. Sigh.

Guess I'll have to call the pros and hope they can open it easily. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

Finagle
11-24-2003, 07:21 PM
Well, if worse comes to worse, you could always drill a couple of 3/8 inch holes in the garage door (one to insert the coat hanger that Nametag suggested) and one to peer through so you can manuver it.

Then plug the holes with some tapered plugs when you're done.

gcarroll
11-24-2003, 07:55 PM
Do you plan to replace the opener? I got locked out once when the opener failed, and I knew I wanted to replace the darned thing. I followed the complicated plan below:
1) Grab handle on door firmly.
2) Lift hard to get a little clearance under door.
3) Grab bottom of door.
4) Lift hard again.
You are stronger than the bar attaching the lift to the door. It opens, but you have a bent connecting rod. Or something. My net cost (assuming the opener was trash) was $0.

enipla
11-24-2003, 07:57 PM
What NameTag said may work, but it is going to be real tough to snake the wire and see what needs to be done. And, the disconnects I have seen require a downward pull.

The bolts for the arm that connects to the door are probabably visable on the outside. Near the top center of the door, you may see 4 carriage head bolts. These will be flat, or likely convex. You cannot get a tool on them.

But. You could drill these off. Center punch them. Get a drill and start with a 1/4" (or so) drill. Get it started and drill in about 1/8". Move to larger and larger drill bits until the head of the bolt falls off.

Then, using a nail or punch, push or drive the bolt stud into the garage. This should free the arm attached to the door.

Now, this arm is going to be in the way as it will swing down. But you may be able to lift the door a foot or two to crawl under and take care of things.

It will be a bit of a pain. You will need a good drill, a sturdy ladder and nice sharp drill bits. You can probably find those in you garage. :D

Good luck.

N9IWP
11-24-2003, 07:58 PM
I assume the garage has a concrete floor, otherwise you could dig under. (still could, but mmore difficuilt)

Theres nowhere on the other 3 sides (or the front) that you could put a door? wow.

Whatever you do, gete a second remote and keep it in a good spot.

Brian

enipla
11-24-2003, 08:38 PM
Also, (re the drill the bolts off idea above).

Do you think any neighboors would have the save type door opener? If so, take a look at them to see where the release is, and the position of the arm that picks up the door.

And also call a garage door installation company. It can't be that uncommon to have this happen.

EvilGhandi
11-24-2003, 09:03 PM
Was the little window open? You could try to press the opener button by throwing a tennis ball at it.

5cents
11-24-2003, 09:25 PM
As to the "drill the bolts out" idea - that's a lot of work, and you'll make a mess of that part of the door. If you have to make a mess, might as well make the work easier, and perhaps a little less messy, too.

How about a 6 3/8" hole, drilled about a foot below the top of the door, about 8" away from center. You should be able to reach in the hole and grab the handle. You want the hole off-center, because typically there is a reinforcing rib down the center of the door. You can patch the hole by using the piece that you drilled out, backing it with a sheet of aluminum, then riveting it in. It won't be pretty, but from a distance you won't notice much. If it is a sectional door, you can just have the top section replaced.

Cost is about $35 to $40 for the drill bit (called a hole saw - here's a picture http://powertoolstore.com/Qstore/custom/largebimetalholesaw.jpg). You'll want carbide grit, if you can find it, otherwise bimetal will have to do. I mentioned 6 3/8" because it is relatively easy to find - it is the size used for 6" recessed lights. I have a "Rem-Grit" hole saw in this size.

The hole saw will probably require at 1/2" drill. You can buy a corded 1/2" drill for under $100, or probably rent one for $20, or perhaps find a friend or neighbor who will lend you one.

You'll need a sheet of aluminum ($5?), a bunch of rivets ($5?), a rivet tool ($10), and a 1/8" drill bit to make the repair.

It'll only take a minute or two to drill the hole, then maybe 15 minutes to effect the repair. That sounds a whole (pardon the pun) lot better than spending hours drilling through bolts, only to have the garage door look like swiss cheese.

Oh yeah, and install a key-release. You'll need it in case of a blackout...

ftg
11-24-2003, 09:51 PM
Do not remove or disable the red release cable. It is an important part of the safety system for the door. What would you do in an emergency to release the door and the cord is gone? Seconds count sometimes. A real crook would get into you garage a whole lot faster using a bashing method than trying to fish for the cord.

Another way of attacking the door bolt heads is using a "nipper" style bolt cutter. Rentable or you can borrow one from someone with a "colorful lifestyle". In my exp., there are usually 3 bolts on the door. The top one may be covered by the door frame and hard to get to. Let's face it, you're going to have something messy happen anyway...

Installing (at the very least) a key release is a Real Good Idea.

QuasiQubit
11-24-2003, 10:03 PM
Question: What type of door is it?
Does it have hinged sections that fold? Or is it a solid door that tilts?

More info could be quite helpful to solve problem.

(I'm thinking that if it is the hinged type, you could saw between two sections to take out the hinges. You would then have somehow disable {read: break} the wheel that fits in the track on one side. Repair would only be two hinges and a wheel)

bughunter
11-24-2003, 10:08 PM
Sounds to me like a problem easily solved by a suitable quantity of high explosives...

Running with Scissors
11-24-2003, 10:36 PM
Seems to me that you'd want to minimize damage to the door, since that's a pretty expensive replacement.

When my dad installed his first garage door opener, my parents' garage had no second door (they've since installed one). The opener came with (or possibly this was purchased separately) a thin metal cable that was attached to the release handle on one end, and connected to a key lock core that fit into a hole drilled into the garage door on the other end. In the event of a power failure, you inserted your key into this lock, pulled out the core, pulled on the cable, released the door's connection to the opener drive, and pushed the door up. If installing a second door into your garage isn't practical, I suggest a method like this to prevent this problem from reoccurring. An additional remote won't help you if your opener fails with the door in the closed position.

enipla
11-24-2003, 11:21 PM
5cents -

and you'll make a mess of that part of the door
My idea doesn't put any new holes in the door.

Maybe you don't understand what I'm saying. The bolt holes are already there. Just drill off the heads on the arm that pulls the door up. IMHO, drilling the bolts will be a heck of a lot less mess than cutting a 6-5/8 hole in the door.

6 and 5/8 hole saw? Yep, you will need a half inch drill for that that.

I don't know 5cents but you say you use this for recessed lights. It's a lot different cutting through drywall than wood and or an aluminum clad door.

only to have the garage door look like swiss cheese.
Nope, you don't understand. The four or maybe six bolts to be drilled out would be replaced by new bolts. No new holes. None. Just re-hook it up with new bolts in the old holes.

Why not drill four bolts and save the door?

5cents
11-24-2003, 11:57 PM
Originally posted by enipla
My idea doesn't put any new holes in the door.


Many (most?) modern steel garage doors use self-tapping screws that go through a reinforcement post on the inside of the door. There is nothing on the outside. If you want to drill out the screws, you'll be on a fishing expedition.

Some older doors and many wood doors use a carriage bolt (or similar), where the head of the bolt is exposed outside the door. If you have carriage bolts, your idea can work. However, with a carriage bolt, instead of drilling, you can just grind off the head.


6 and 5/8 hole saw? Yep, you will need a half inch drill for that that.

I don't know 5cents but you say you use this for recessed lights. It's a lot different cutting through drywall than wood and or an aluminum clad door.


You'll need 1/2" because the shank on the arbor is typically 1/2" on a hole saw this big. Residential steel garage doors are usually pretty flimsy, and cut readily. When my next door neighbor had his garage door replaced, the installer removed the old door sections and chopped them in half (they were 16 feet - I guess 8 feet is easier to handle) with a sawzall in about 5 seconds.

carbide grit, as used for drywall, also works really well on metal, however it's horrible with wood. "bi-metal" works great on wood, decently on drywall, but not so good on metal.

The hardest part about drilling metal is to keep the drill bit cool. If you smoke the bit, it won't cut. Water works OK, but oil is better. My guess is that most residential garage doors aren't thick enough that heat will be a problem.

So the real answer to the OP's problem is - it depends on the details of your garage and door.

filmyak
11-25-2003, 02:13 AM
Well, for those of you who are interested (and I thank you all for your advice), no way I can snake anything into the garage to pull the cord. There's a lip at the top that is surprisingly tight and ain't nothing goin' in there.

And yes, it's a solid door that tilts, not a door with folding slats.

I think the easiest option I have at the moment is to borrow a tall ladder and climb through the one window. It's got jalousied panes (wow I have no clue how to spell that) so it'll be easy to get through once I get the ladder up.

Running with Scissors did make a darn good point -- it'd be far too easy to get locked in (or more probably get the car stuck inside) in the event of a power outage. Like, if there's a fire in the area of a major earthquake and I need to drive out, and fast! I think once I get the door working, I'm installing one of those power free cables as well.

EvilGhandi
11-25-2003, 02:53 AM
I take it by the way my post was ignored that there is no wall mounted opener button inside the garage?

You may want to consider mounting a wireless keypad opener so you wont need to haul out the remote every time you need something from your toolbox.

enipla
11-25-2003, 09:20 AM
5cents -

Yep the Devil is in the Details. All the doors I've seen have the bolts all the way through.

And yep, if you try to drill the bolts off, you will have to make sure to 'rest' the bit to prevent frying it. And oil can help keep it cooler.

An angle grinder is a good idea too. And they are pretty inexpensive. But you may do more damage to the door grinding the bolt heads off than drilling.

if there's a fire in the area of a major earthquake and I need to drive out, and fast! I think once I get the door working, I'm installing one of those power free cables as wellAll the doors I've seen have a release mechanism on the track that attaches to the door. This is the ‘red’ handle every one is talking about. Once you pull the handle, you can operate the door manually. I doubt you need to install anything, you just need to find this 'disconector'.

How old is this unit?

Good luck.

FatBaldGuy
11-25-2003, 09:28 AM
Originally posted by enipla

All the doors I've seen have a release mechanism on the track that attaches to the door. This is the ‘red’ handle every one is talking about. Once you pull the handle, you can operate the door manually. I doubt you need to install anything, you just need to find this 'disconector'.
That's true, but the likelihood of you being inside the garage when the power goes out is pretty slim. If the car is inside and you are outside, you have the very same problem that we're trying to solve now. A second door into the garage would be an ideal solution if you could find a place to put it.

enipla
11-25-2003, 09:55 AM
That's true, but the likelihood of you being inside the garage when the power goes out is pretty slim. If the car is inside and you are outside, you have the very same problem that we're trying to solve now. A second door into the garage would be an ideal solution if you could find a place to put it.HA. Good point. I can't seem to wrap my head around a garage with the garage door as the only access. The OP was talking about a 'power free cable'. Not really sure what he means.

Hmm. So he would have to string a cord from the outside to the release. Kinda funky. The release moves with the door, so you would need lots of slack in the cord to move when the door moves.

I would really try to find a way to put a regular door into the garage.

disponibilite
11-25-2003, 10:01 AM
Installing a wireless remote coded entry is a good idea.

Installing a keyed entry is a very BAD idea.

My daughter --who was 16 at the time--- found herself locked out of the house. Found a screwdriver, pried off the keyed entry plate, shorted the 2 wires together and voila garage door opened ---all in the space of a few minutes.

I figured if a 16 year old girl could figure that out, any crook could too. Disconnected that keyed entry the next day.

scr4
11-25-2003, 10:04 AM
If it were me, I'd make a hole in the garage door large enough for me to crawl through. Then afterwards, convert the hole into a small door, like a cat flap, in case this sort of thing happens again.

handy
11-25-2003, 10:20 AM
Maybe you could ask these people, they have a 800 phone nbr:
"All models also include a manual release that will allow you to open the door if the power is out. Some higher-end models include a function that opens the door just a little bit so the cat or dog can get out.http://aaaremotes.com/gdobuyguide.html"

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
11-25-2003, 10:44 AM
You really need to add a door.

To make a hole in the wall, I suggest a 1920's Style Death Ray.

5cents
11-25-2003, 11:14 AM
Originally posted by enipla
HA. Good point. I can't seem to wrap my head around a garage with the garage door as the only access. The OP was talking about a 'power free cable'. Not really sure what he means.

Originally posted by disponibilite
My daughter --who was 16 at the time--- found herself locked out of the house. Found a screwdriver, pried off the keyed entry plate, shorted the 2 wires together and voila garage door opened ---all in the space of a few minutes.

It's power free, because all it does is release the emergency release. There is one steel cable, not two wires. It does not depend on electrical power. For a garage with no other access, I'd consider it essential.

Here's one, at the same site referred to by handy http://aaaremotes.com/key-release-lock.html. Imagine this installed on the door somewhere, preferably directly below the emergency latch. Unloop the cable and hook it to the emergency release. To open, insert key and turn. The lock will pull on the cable, the cable on the emergency release.

As for ease of break-in, that depends partly on the design of the lock, and also on the installation.

enipla
11-25-2003, 11:55 AM
Ahhh,

That makes sence. The lock is attached to the door, so it moves with the arm that raises the door.

Unlock and pull the cable to disconnect the door from the opener.

Good idea.

Uncommon Sense
11-25-2003, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by N9IWP
Is there a window anywhere so you can look inside and get the make of the opener? (or break/open and get inside that way?) Or gable end vents?

A reciprocating saw (Millwaukee Sawz-All for example) is much neater than a sledge hammer.

Brian

You still need a hole in the wall to use the Sawzall initially.:D

5cents
11-25-2003, 02:20 PM
Originally posted by whuckfistle
You still need a hole in the wall to use the Sawzall initially.:D

Only if you're a wimp! Two words: Plunge Cut.

Sofa King
11-25-2003, 02:47 PM
Wait a minute. It's a one-piece tilting wooden door?

Why not just get a circular saw and cut yourself a doorway in the garage door? Get yourself some doorway casing and nail it in the shape of a doorway, but slightly larger than the cut you intend to make. Use the outline as the guide-track for your circular saw. Use a hand saw to complete the corners.

Then, once you're in and everything is as you like it, cut the doorway casing to fit over cut you made and nail it shut. Do the same on the back of the door, too.

You can cut it just small enough to crawl inside, if you wish. I'll give you extra points if you tack a "Beware of Dog" sign on it when you're done.

Someone who really wants inside your garage the next time is going to have to pry the casing off the front and then hammer the door in, a time consuming, loud job which you might be willing to do if you have to, but a thief likely won't be likely to try.

lieu
11-25-2003, 03:05 PM
You're giving up the chance to own a giant time capsule?

DaToad
11-25-2003, 04:03 PM
Is there a crawl space above the garage that you can get to from the house? If so, cut a hole in the garage ceiling between the joists and drop down. Afterwards, you can frame it in and make an access cover.

timgregory
11-25-2003, 04:07 PM
simple solution: build a time machine.

Uncommon Sense
11-26-2003, 01:18 PM
Originally posted by DaToad
Is there a crawl space above the garage that you can get to from the house? If so, cut a hole in the garage ceiling between the joists and drop down. Afterwards, you can frame it in and make an access cover.

Nice try, but if that were the case, there would certainly be an access door to the house if they were connected.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
11-26-2003, 02:32 PM
How 'bout a vent up near the joists? It should be held in place by screws.

N9IWP
12-01-2003, 01:01 PM
Any progress yet? Enquiring minds want to know.

Brian

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
12-01-2003, 01:55 PM
Yes, yes, fill us in! :)

Ice97531
12-01-2003, 09:40 PM
try hiring someone really small...
Then have them sneak in through a small hole...


Or BREAK DOWN THE DOOR!
It's probably old anyways... you could use a new door

timgregory
12-03-2003, 09:33 AM
Any progress? It's getting cold in here.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
12-05-2003, 10:05 AM
No answer, 'yak?

Where is da love?

Will Repair
12-05-2003, 10:12 AM
When you borrow the ladder to get to the window consider using a long pole, such as a telescoping pole to change light bulbs, instead of climbing through the window.

KellyM
12-05-2003, 10:17 AM
I like the idea of the door in the door. I've seen that in older buildings.

filmyak
12-05-2003, 01:20 PM
LOL. Sorry for the silence folks, I was out of town. (I'm touched y'all care so much!)

Well I was in a hurry to get the door open so I could put my car in before leaving town for Thanksgiving. Didn't work, so my car was exposed to the cruel elements and my sprinklers (which I couldn't turn off because the controls are in the garage). Ah well. Now that I just got back in town, I'm aiming to search my house exhautively (again) this weekend before going for the ladder. Maybe I'll stumble across the remote.... fingers: crossed.

And FYI, every company I spoke with said the same thing: without access to the door opener, they can't really help me.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
12-05-2003, 02:40 PM
Back to the 1920's Style Death Ray, then....

Satisfying Andy Licious
12-06-2003, 02:30 AM
We've overlooked the most obvious solution. Christmas is approaching, so you could just ask Santa to get inside using that magical method of his.

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