One of the most common service calls we do is reconnecting the trolley on a garage door opener. Resetting a garage door trolley after someone has pulled the red cord only takes a few seconds and usually leaves the customer with a look of regret on their face. We typically hear something along the lines “I should have Googled it”.
Reconnecting the trolley on your opener is going to vary depending on the brand and model you have. In this article, we will take a closer look at what a garage door trolley is and how to reconnect your trolley after pulling the red cord. We also address what you need to do if your trolley is stuck in the open position against the stop bolt, and why your garage door trolley is not catching.
What is a Garage Door Opener Trolley?
The trolley on a garage door opener goes by many names including carriage, trolley, inner slide, or emergency release catch. This part is what connects your automatic opener to your garage door, so you can enjoy the convenience of opening and closing with the push of a button.
Some trolley carriages will lock in the open position while others only allow you to release the connection with the pull of the red cord, but it won’t lock open. Now that we have defined what a garage door trolley is, let’s take a look at how to connect the trolley on a few popular brands of openers.
How To Connect a Garage Door Trolley by Brand
Every brand of garage door opener will have a different style of trolley and inner slide combination, which will affect how you approach a trolley that is disconnected or stuck. Let’s go through the most popular opener brands to determine how to reengage the trolley, so you can get your garage door operational.
Further down in the article, we will discuss what you need to do if your garage door trolley is not catching or stuck.
How to Connect a LiftMaster Opener Trolley
The trolley on a LiftMaster garage door opener is different because you need to pull down and back toward the motor to get it to lock open. The metal piece the red rope is tied to is spring-loaded, so it may take a few tries. Once it is open, you can move your garage door manually without worrying about it catching the inner slide.
Once you’re ready to reconnect your LiftMaster trolley, pull the red rope back towards the garage door and the trolley will unlock, therefore allowing it to engage with the inner slide. Now that it’s unlocked, you can engage the trolley into the inner slide like demonstrated in the image above. You should hear a solid engagement with a LiftMaster opener, since the trolley and inner slide are both made of metal.
How to Connect a Genie Opener Trolley
Genie has made many types of garage door opener over the years, but we are going to start with their legendary screw drive opener. The screw drive system uses an all-in-one trolley and inner slide unit. It features teeth inside that go up and engage into the screw drive rail.
To disconnect your Genie screw drive opener from your door, pull the rope straight down, so the metal tab is facing downwards. To reconnect the screw drive trolley, you will need to pull the red rope upwards and back toward the motor in a swift motion, trying to get the metal tab to flip back up. If you are having trouble engaging, move the door a little, so the teeth in the screw drive trolley can better align with the rail.
Some newer Genie belt drive openers feature a trolley that slides inside a metal box rail. The red emergency release rope attaches to a black plastic tab that pulls downward (vertical) to release the opener from the door. To reconnect, you need to flip this plastic tab back to horizontal, so the trolley will reconnect with the inner slide.
Some newer belt drive Genie openers feature a trolley similar to what is used on Chamberlain openers. To release, you pull the red cord down and to reconnect, you pull the red cord toward the garage door, so the tab is horizontal.
Genie 1024 and 2024 Openers Won’t Disengage
If you have a Genie 1024, 2024, or similar opener, the metal tab the red rope is tied too may bend when you try to release it. The reason for this is the metal used on the trolley is very thin, which sometimes makes it impossible to disconnect. If this has happened to you, try getting on a step stool and pulling the tab back with your hand or a pair of pliers.
Another issue we have found is the trolley on some newer builder grade Genie openers will break altogether, not allowing you to disconnect the opener from the door. Because the trolley is part of an emergency release, it should be made of high-quality materials, so it won’t fail during an emergency. The video above demonstrates a broken trolley on a Genie 2024 opener.
How to Connect a Chamberlain or Craftsman Trolley
Since Chamberlain has been manufacturing Craftsman openers for years, the trolleys they use are the same. Their emergency release is one of the easiest to use and involves pulling downward to release the opener from the door. To reconnect, pull the rope back toward the motor, so the black tab is now horizontal. Now you can run your opener or move the garage door manually until it reengages with the inner slide.
In case you were wondering what the inner slide on a Chamberlain or Craftsman opener looks like, the picture above will solve that problem. The inner slide is a square metal piece that slides along the square tube drive rail. Once you get the black tab horizontal like we talked about in the previous paragraph, your trolley will engage once the inner slide passes through the center of the trolley.
Some recent Chamberlain openers have been manufactured by Guardian, which means the trolley will look different. Our LiftMaster vs. Chamberlain vs. Craftsman article will cover this in more detail.
How to Connect a Linear Opener Trolley
Linear garage door openers use a plastic trolley across their whole lineup because their rails are interchangeable between their motor heads. The plastic trolley uses the same basic concept as Chamberlain. Pull down to disconnect, which leaves the plastic tab vertical, and pull back toward the motor to connect, which leaves the plastic tab horizontal.
The inner slide that connects to the Linear trolley is also made of plastic and features a simple design that bolts on the chain. At first thought, you would think having a plastic trolley and inner slide would be a bad thing for security and longevity. But, we actually see very few failures with Linear trolleys as it has been a reliable, safe design over the years.
Guardian Opener Trolley
We don’t deal with many Guardian garage door openers because they aren’t as common in our area. The ones I have seen operate the same as Chamberlain, Craftsman, and Linear openers. I have seen their tensioners come apart in a customer’s garage, which is what led me to write about the common issues with Guardian openers.
Marantec Opener Trolley
The Marantec emergency release is one of the hardest garage door openers to disconnect. It features a site indicator that is clumsy and confusing. The last thing you want when trying to release your garage door during an emergency is confusion. Any time a customer has a Marantec opener, we push them to replace the unit.
Wayne Dalton Opener Trolley
Wayne Dalton has not manufactured garage door openers in years, but there are still plenty of them out there. They were mostly installed for home builders, along with the Wayne Dalton 9100 builder grade garage door. Their trolley does not lock in the open position like others. It is spring-loaded and releases by pulling the metal tab down.
Because the metal on the tab is sharp and the ropes they use are cheap, many times the rope will break when pulled. The Wayne Dalton trolley can’t be locked open, so it will automatically engage once it crosses paths with the inner slide on the chain.
Garage Door Opener Trolley Not Catching?
If the trolley on your garage door opener won’t connect, make sure you have it in the locked or engaged position. The Chamberlain trolley in the picture above is unlocked or disengaged. We can see this because the tab the red rope is tied to is facing downward or vertical. If the trolley was engaged, the tab would be horizontal.
If the trolley is not moving on your Genie screw drive opener, the teeth may be stripped out. You can slide this trolley off the front of the rail of your opener after disconnecting the rail from the header bracket. These screw drive trolleys can be purchased online.
The metal tab on this trolley is supposed to go up and engage into the white plastic inner slide. Because the inner slide is broken, the door keeps disconnecting from the opener. If your trolley looks similar, you can order the white inner slide online and bolt a new one onto the chain.
If you look closely at the photo above, the 90-degree edge on the bullet inner slide is slightly worn to the point the metal tab that engages into it from the trolley will come disconnected during operation. This bullet can be replaced if you can find the part online, as this is usually found in an older model that was very popular.
This is more of a rare situation, but it has happened a few times. The metal inner slide that slides along the LiftMaster rail sheared off, not allowing the trolley to engage. The bottom half of the inner slide is missing. If your LiftMaster inner slide has sheared off, you will need to replace the part.
Garage Door Trolley Stuck on Stop Bolt?
If your garage door trolley is stuck in the open or down position against the stop bolt, there could be a few different issues going on. First, it could be a simple adjustment of the limits whether you have a model with mechanical or electronic travel limits. Try adjusting the limits to see if this resolves your issue.
Next, if you have a belt drive garage door opener, the cogs on the belt may be missing or stripped off. If that is the case, the up and down travel limits will be off because the belt is slipping on the drive sprocket. This can also cause the trolley to get stuck against the stop bolt because the limits are not set correctly.
Lastly, you could be having intermittent issues with your circuit board. Garage door openers with mechanical and electronic travel limits can lose their travel settings when the circuit board is going haywire. I would first try adjusting the travel and inspecting the belt before replacing the circuit board. This could save you a lot of money if it’s only a simple adjustment.
Garage Door Trolley Goes Too Far
If your garage door opener goes down too far, hits the ground, and goes back up, then you are having issues with the travel limits on your opener. The travel limits could be mechanical adjustments made with a screw drive, a physical flip switch like on old Genie screw drives, or electronic limits like you find on newer openers.
Newer garage door openers with electronic limits sometimes need to be reset, like your smartphone. It’s not uncommon for them to lose their travel settings, causing the trolley to go up or down too far. Try resetting the limits before doing anything else to see if that resolves your issue.
Garage Door Trolley Stuck in Closed Position
If your garage door trolley is stuck in the closed position, you might have a broken spring. A broken torsion spring will have a 2” gap where the break is, while a Wayne Dalton Torquemaster Spring will be harder to diagnose since they are hidden inside a tube above the door.
If you have attempted to open the garage door with a broken spring, the trolley may be bound up and under pressure. You will have to pull the red cord harder than normal to get it to release. Make sure to only pull the red cord with the garage door in the down position when you have a broken spring. A garage door in the up position could come down on people or pets if it has a broken spring.
My Red Rope Broke… Now What?
Our in our experience, the red emergency release ropes that break most often are on the builder grade Genie openers like the 2024 and the older Wayne Dalton opener. This is because poor quality rope is used, and the rope is attached to metal with sharp edges. Furthermore, cheap rope doesn’t hold up well in hot climates. If the rope has broken on your opener, make sure to replace it as soon as possible, since the garage is sometimes used as a regress point in case of a fire.
You Should Test Your Red Rope Monthly
The emergency release rope attached to your garage door opener is the most important feature of your garage door system. Yes, it is used to separate your automatic opener from your garage door if the power goes out, but it is also your last line of defense if a fire pushes you to the garage. Making sure this rope works correctly when pulled to release the opener from the door is critical, and it should be taken serious.
Do Not Zip Tie Your Red Rope
Many “experts” on TV will recommend you to run a zip tie through the trolley on your garage door opener, so thieves can’t break into your garage. They claim that a wire is used to pull the red rope to release the garage door, so it can be opened. While this can be done, it is not that common.
It’s more critical to make sure you have a properly functioning emergency release rope, so any occupants in the home can easily escape out of the garage in case of a fire. For this reason, we can’t recommend installing a cable tie on your trolley.
Like we mentioned earlier, the process of reconnecting your garage door trolley will vary depending on the brand and model of your automatic opener. The basic operation of the trolley should be practiced and shared with other people in the home, so they know how to use the garage door manually during a power outage. This will also provide them with a safe exit strategy if a fire in the home were to push them to the garage.