Dan's Garage Door Blog

How to Replace the Bottom Rollers on Garage Doors

Friday, December 15th, 2017 at 6:59 pm by Dan Musick

The most dangerous part of replacing garage door rollers is replacing the bottom rollers. The bottom fixture not only holds the roller, but the bottom of the cable is secured to the bottom fixture. Tension from the spring pulls on the cable making removal of the bottom fixture extremely dangerous.

Several years ago we posted a YouTube video titled “How to Replace Your Garage Door Rollers.” In the video we showed bending the tracks to replace all the rollers, including the bottom rollers. However, some people prefer not to bend the tracks, so here is another way to replace the bottom rollers. For safety it is best to replace the bottom roller on one side at a time.

First, open the door and mark the bottom of the track where it meets the garage floor.

Next, remove the track bolts and nuts that secure the track to the track brackets.

There are normally two or three track brackets, or jamb brackets on each vertical track.

Now, remove the two nuts that secure the top of the track to the flag bracket. Check to make sure the bottom of the door is above the top of the vertical track.

Now that the fasteners are removed you can now remove the vertical track.

Carefully pull down on the bottom of the door until the bottom roller clears the bottom of the flag bracket.

At this point you can remove the old roller and install the new one.

To complete the job simply reverse the steps above, and then go to the other side of the door to replace the other roller.

 

How to Bend the End of a Spring

Friday, December 8th, 2017 at 6:53 pm by Dan Musick

Sometimes a customer will order the incorrect spring, and we will try to offer the least expensive solution. If the spring is too long, one option is to shorten the spring with a torch or a with a hand grinder such as a Dremel tool.

First, remove the cone at one end. We show how to do this on our Torsion Spring Cone Replacement tutorial.

The next step is to cut off the extra coils.

Next, if you don’t have a vise, you can bend the end of the wire using a vise grip and a pipe wrench.

Grip one side of the spring 180 degrees from the end with a pipe wrench that is tight enough to keep the coils from slipping. Grip the last half of the spring wire and push down on the pipe wrench and the vise grip at the same time.

The final step is to reinstall the cone in the spring.

 

Who are We?

Friday, December 1st, 2017 at 8:04 pm by Dan Musick

As I mentioned in an earlier blog about our kingdom purpose, the Convene business network has been instrumental in helping us identify who we are. This helps us keep in touch with the truly important as we continue to see God direct this business through all of us here at DDM Garage Doors and DDM Web Services.

Kingdom Purpose

God has uniquely positioned, gifted and called DDM Garage Doors to glorify God by exemplifying Christ-likeness in our leadership, by praying for and discipling our employees, by sharing the gospel with our customers, and by funding ministries that take the gospel to the ends of the world.

Mission

We help customers find, order and safely install garage door and dock components.

Vision

If and only as God so chooses**, do-it-yourselfers and maintenance personnel around the world will select us first for our clear instructions and for quality garage door industry parts.

Core Values

God: “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” (Mark 12:30)

People: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

Perfection: “Be perfect just as Your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Stewardship: “The Earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.” (1 Corinthians 10:26)

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Explanation of Core Values

God: “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” (Mark 12:30)

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 3:20)
“You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” (Luke 4:8)
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever.” (Romans 11:36)
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” (Romans 12:1)
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31)

People: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:14)

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. . . . And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a, 13)

Perfection: “Be perfect just as Your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

“As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:16) This is our source of excellence.

Right living is accomplished only by being born again of God’s Spirit by faith: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:5-16).

It is by abiding in Christ: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4)

And it is by walking in the Spirit: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another.” (Galatians 5:16-17)

When right living is interrupted by sin, we confess our sin and God is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Only by living transformed lives are we able to follow the golden rule – to treat others as we want to be treated. This is the only way we can fairly and ethically conduct business in the global market place.

Stewardship: “The Earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.” (1 Corinthians  10:26)

God owns everything, and we will all give an account.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.”

“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’”

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.'”

“For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:14-29)

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**”Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16)

All verses quoted are from the New King James Version of the Bible.

Spring Anchor Bracket Alignment

Friday, November 24th, 2017 at 4:05 pm by Dan Musick

Most installers eyeball or guess at where to install the spring anchor bracket. As a result I’ve seen many where the the center support bracket is mounted one or two inches too high. Doors will work for years this way, but the the poor installation may result result in the torsion shaft binding or fatiguing and actually breaking.

The most logical time to realign the spring anchor bracket is when replacing the springs.

Proper alignment is also necessary when converting from Extension Springs, EZ Set Springs, or Torquemaster Springs to Standard Torsion Springs. The torsion tube should run parallel to the top of the door. Here is the easiest way to accomplish that.

The first step is to install the end bearing plates if you are converting from a different spring system.

Next, center the bottom of a torpedo level in the center of the end bearing. Mark the bottom of the other end of the level with the bubble centered.

Next, measure from the mark to the top of the garage door at both ends. If the measurements differ average the measurements.

Then, go to the center of the door, and measure and mark the same distance from the top of the door to the header above.

Last, locate the center of the bracket and line up that with the mark. Plumb the bracket and screw the bracket to the header with 5/16″ X 1 5/8″ lag screws with washer heads.

Sometimes there is no header board behind the drywall and it is necessary to support the bracket with angle.

Sometimes the framing will not support the screws so it may be necessary to support the bracket with angle iron.

 

 

 

Celebrating 20 Years on the Web

Friday, November 17th, 2017 at 8:26 pm by Dan Musick

The year was 1997. The Internet was just coming of age. Interest in the profit potential of web-based businesses was reminiscent of the gold rush in the last century. It was the year that my 12 year old son, Erich, posted our first web page.

It began, “Welcome to our web site. God knew we could not afford a computer guru to develop this so He gave us one about 12 years ago at the local hospital.”

We had registered our domain, www.garagedoor.org on April 16, 1997. The man who arranged this said businesses use the .org as well so I took his word for it as the www.garagedoor.com URL had already been taken. For more than a decade afterward customers would ask, “Why are You a .org?” That took a lot of explaining.

The company name at the time was DDM Enterprises, Inc. I was a dreamer; I didn’t want to limit the scope of our business to just the garage door industry.

My 12 year-old son was also experimenting with an email link. I can’t remember if he actually posted it.  

Erich also posted a picture made from a photo taken with an old 35 mm camera. At the time I was proud of it. If you can imagine how much computers have changed in 20 years, you might appreciate how this image degraded through multiple file transfers.

After explaining what I was doing, one of my suppliers warned me that people go to the internet just to get free information, and he advised, “you’ll never make any money that way.” I continued posting free information on our site. I later discovered that I was pioneering what later came to be called “content marketing” in college courses. And, we continue to offer service before the sale.

The wild web gold rush exploded in the next few years. Companies invested and lost millions. But not us. We certainly didn’t have any money to invest, and we hadn’t even made enough to pay the quarterly web hosting fee.

My family also had this thing about food, shelter and clothing, so I continued a full time job at Area Door from about 1995 until about 2010. I also had my own repair business on the side and I continued to sell parts. Many of these orders had come from printed catalogs we mailed in the early 90’s.

In 2005 we noticed that people started buying parts from us after getting our name and contact information from the internet. In the same year we posted instructions for replacing garage door torsion springs, along with a second page explaining torsion springs. This page also included a conversion program for longer life springs. These two pages soon provided enough income for me to leave my full time job.

In the same year we encountered what is still a lingering problem – intellectual property theft. One competitor stole both of our pages. He copied the text to his server but he linked to our images, so we found a nifty way to warn customers that the page had been stolen. In one of the earlier images we substituted one of the images with this one. It showed up on his page, but not on ours.

The thief who had stolen several of our pages and who still has much of our property on his site, was booted off Richard Kinch’s site. I had asked Google for help but I don’t think they had their DMCA notice program in place.

From there the business has continued to grow. My older son, Erich, went on to graduate with a software engineering degree from Milwaukee School of Engineering. Now, he’s a senior software developer at Microsoft.

In September of 2011 we moved out of our garage. I had earlier assumed that our kids would just clean out the garage when we died. But God had other plans.

My younger son, David, studied physics, math and German at Wheaton College. Early in his college years he photographed and posted most of our garage door parts, and during most of his remaining college years he worked on our high lift conversion instructions and conversion quote program.

There are three things I remember about his high lift work. One is that he was a perfectionist; he kept me up until 2 AM taking pictures as I installed that high lift for the tutorial.

I also remember the conversion quote program. The first month the program was up high lift purchases almost died. I later discovered that the diy-ers were doing their homework and it took more time before they were ready to order.

A third memory was that David’s program didn’t always match the calculations from our supplier’s program. After some testing we discovered he had actually improved the industry calculations.

David later picked up a masters degree in photonics from the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany, and is now working in the same city for Jabil.

Much has happened since those early years. Today we’re in a large warehouse –  the size that customers used to imagine when they saw the magnitude of our web site. They assumed we had a big warehouse, and they were surprised when I would lead them back to our garage to help them get the part they needed.

God never ceases to surprise me.

 

Hormann Garage Doors

Friday, November 10th, 2017 at 5:11 pm by Dan Musick

Hormann is a German garage door manufacturer that has set up a manufacturing plant here in the United States. The purpose of this entry is to show many of the unique features of the door parts.

The bottom fixtures incorporate spring loaded arms to prevent the cables from coming off the drums if the cable tension loosens.

This fixture is normally covered for safety.

The end hinges are graduated and uniquely designed, but their function for supporting rollers is similar to the function of American end hinges. Notice the standard 2″ roller with the 7/16″ stem.

The center hinges are similar to many of the American-made hinges. Here we see the number 3045112.

The adjustable top fixtures look similar to those made by Napoleon and Arrow Tru-line.

The torsion assembly functions the same as American-made systems, but there are serious compatibility issues to consider when replacing parts.

One is that the torsion springs use German Spring Sizes. None of the American measuring or engineering charts work with these wire sizes. Springing the door will require weighing the door.

Another complicating feature is that the cable drums on residential doors are not the standard four inch. They’re considerably larger. Notice also that the end of the cable is secured with a set screw. When spring the door it will be necessary to replace the drums and cables, or to get engineering information from Richard Kinch’s site.

The springs appear to have two inch inside diameters, but the ends are hooked like the old BarCol door springs.

Here you can see the end hooked over a pin on the winding cone.

The other end of the spring hooks over a pin on the stationary cone.

The spring anchor bracket holes do not have the standard 3 3/8″ center line spacing, so a conversion from the German hardware will require replacing this part as well.

One nice feature of the Hormann spring assembly is that the shaft has a one inch outside diameter and the bearings have inside diameters of just slightly over an inch so these parts can be reused if converting to standard torsion hardware. This also applies to the end bearing plates, pictured below. These plates also are larger to support the junction for the vertical and horizontal tracks.

Notice also that the doors use standard 2″ tracks, but rather than the curve being only on the horizontal track, half the curve is on the top of the vertical track and half is on the jamb end of the horizontal track.

 

WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?

Friday, November 3rd, 2017 at 5:25 pm by Dan Musick

Many years ago I was replacing a gear on a Chamberlain/Liftmaster/Sears opener. I had learned from previous jobs that the top neck of the drive shaft often wears from dried grease. I put two and two together and I concluded that if I replaced just the gear, I would probably need to return in a few months to replace the drive shaft and another gear because it is not possible to purchase just the drive shaft.

At the time each repair cost over a third of the price of a new opener. What should I do? Then I asked, “What would Jesus do?” And I thought, Jesus would not just replace the gear; He would also clean and lube the neck of the drive shaft. He would treat others, in this case the customer, the way I would want to be treated if I were the customer. That’s the golden rule.

I attend Bethel Baptist Church where redeemed sinners learn to be more like Jesus. In our small group last night, David Kells, one of the elders, wrote on the white board two words, “excellence” and “obedience.” Then he asked, “Which is more important?”

The answer that quickly came to my mind is “obedience.” Treating customers the way I want to be treated – obeying Jesus’ golden rule – will produce excellence in all we do.

When I sold our service and installation company to Matt’s Garage Doors, I reminded Matt to honor Christ in all he does, not to worry about reviews, and to continue serving customers as he did so well when working for us. And I remind him and our employees even now: “Pursue Christ’s standard of perfection and it will inform every dimension of our work. Sacrificing to serve a customer is as much a part of our worship as singing the rich hymns of our faith on Sunday morning.”

We are different because of our hope. As we were reminded last night, God has shown us mercy – not giving us the punishment we deserve, and He’s shown us grace – giving us the joy we don’t deserve. We received that hope through faith in Christ’s perfect life, His death for us, and His resurrection from the dead. It’s good news indeed!

The reality is that our lives are hidden in Christ. (Colossians 3:3) And, as the quote on our church’s website reminds us, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) If you see anything commendable in us, it is Christ you see, His work, not ours.

It is for His kingdom and His glory that this business exists.

The Myth of Free Shipping

Friday, October 27th, 2017 at 3:42 pm by Dan Musick

In this age of Amazon and instant deliveries it is easy to conclude that shipping always is or should be free.

The fact is that shipping products is never free. If the customer does not pay for shipping, it is because the seller adds shipping to the cost of the product. Discerning shoppers recognize this, and they add the product cost to the shipping cost to determine the real cost.

A wise shopper also checks for quality of product. “Where is it made? What kind of comments have customers posted on Google, Yelp or Amazon reviews? How well does the product perform or last?” Here, again, wise shoppers take reviews with a grain of salt.

Awhile back I ordered a mini SD card from Amazon. As I remember, all the five star reviews were certified. I ordered and then returned the defective part. I suspect the seller sold OEM parts in the beginning, secured positive reviews, and then switched their product. Breaking even on the first 100,000 might allow a seller to retire on the next 100,000 lower quality cards that the seller purchases at a fraction of the cost.

DDM Garage Doors, Inc. Warehouse

Wise shoppers also check for quality of service. They ask, “Does the seller stock the product, and how soon will it ship? Is there an extra charge for normal shipping times?” We have competitors who sell products on Amazon at our wholesale cost, and they make their profits on exorbitant shipping or on handling fees if the customer can’t wait a few weeks for the item.

Shoppers also look for support and technical advice. The garage door business is highly technical. Our sales support staff advises DIY customers as well as wholesale customers.

And, what about orders that have already been placed? What happens if they receive the wrong item or if they need help with the order? About a year ago I went to Amazon’s site and I ordered two special cutters for our warehouse. Our order was mixed up with an order in Atlanta. The customer there got our two tools and we received only the single tool that they had ordered. There was no phone number to call and no email address. My only contact was through Amazon. I had to pay to return the incorrect order, I received credit only for the single tool I had received, and I had to pay a restocking fee. The net result was a return of only five or ten percent of what I had originally paid at the beginning. Filing with Amazon proved to be a waste.

Buyer Beware! Amazon does have high standards for sellers, but these standards do often have cracks filled with low life sellers. I shop for lowest prices, but I’ve also been burned. Sellers who lower their prices to increase sales may not be there when you need them. If they have a phone or email they don’t respond. And often they disappear after realizing their meager profits were not worth all the time invested.

 

Business Kingdom Purpose

Friday, October 20th, 2017 at 5:09 pm by Dan Musick

Business Focus

Over the years our main focus has been to honor God by being good stewards of the resources He has provided.

I learned this principle from two Christian business men, Bill Pollard and Dick Lauber, elders at a church I attended many years ago. Several years ago I began a Twitter Page expressing my gratitude for them. The purpose of that page is to help other entrepreneurs understand business from God’s perspective.

In the early years of our business the resources to steward included a camera, my writing skills and my son’s internet skills. As the business grew, the resources God provided became more specialized, from photography to video, from html to PHP, from employees and accountants to lawyers and numerous other skills and professions.

One of the more recent treasures God has provided for us to steward is the Convene business network which links Christian businessmen.

Their site states: “We believe two heads are better than one. And a peer team committed to each other’s success is exponentially better. . . . Time is money. At Convene, we can guarantee that your time is well-spent. The people, resources, and materials available to our members help to multiply their time.”

This is my first month in their program; the resources they provide are incredible. One of my first tasks was to help focus the business by establishing a kingdom purpose.

It took time, but I knew the time invested would be worth it. Here it is.

“God has uniquely positioned, gifted and called DDM Garage Doors to glorify God by exemplifying Christ-likeness in our leadership, by praying for and discipling our employees, by sharing the gospel with our customers, and by funding ministries that take the gospel to the ends of the world.”

To God be the glory!!!

 

How to Support End Bearing Plates

Friday, October 13th, 2017 at 6:12 pm by Dan Musick

For shafts to turn properly inside the end bearings, the end bearing plate must remain plumb. If the plate is not supported it can lean, causing the bearing or shaft to wear. Often a worn bearing will wear completely through the shaft causing the shaft and drum to drop and the garage door to become out of level.

Many of the bearing plates are flat and the horizontal track angle was not strong enough to support the plate, so additional angle was added. Here the bottom of the angle is bolted to the horizontal angle and the top is wedged into the jamb.

Another way to support a flat end bearing is the top of the flag bracket. On this door the drum was scraping the top of the flag bracket.

The simplest solution, without adding any angle, was to re-position the end bearing plate so the flag bracket supported the outside of the end bearing plate. Doing this may require moving one of the drums.

Another way to support a bracket on 12″ radius tracks is by wedging angle between the horizontal angle and the top of the flag bracket.

The support angle can also be bolted at the top and bottom.

One of the better inventions in the door industry for residential doors was the spring anchor bracket with the added edge that can be secured to the jamb. On 12″ radius tracks the top of the flag bracket supports the bracket. The top hole allows for an optional bolt but this is not normally needed on 12″ tracks if the cable drums are properly installed touching the races of the bearings.

On 15″ radius tracks, however, the top of the bracket must be secured. Normally a single 5/16″ X 1 5/8″ lag screw is needed, as shown here.

Sometimes additional support is needed as you see here where the top edge did not reach the jamb.

On one job a recessed I-beam prevented the normal installation and angle was run from the horizontal angle to the board on top of the beam.

Here is another solution where angle was added because the top edge of the bracket was above the header.