Technical Support

Solid or Hollow Stop Molding?

Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 1:00 pm by Andrew Koetters

In the garage door industry two different types of PVC stop molding are used – solid and hollow. So which one is better?

At DDM Garage Doors we have kept both the solid and the hollow stop molding pieces as stock items for as long as we’ve been in business. Recently we decided to discontinue the hollow stop molding, and for one simple reason – our customers prefer the solid pieces. The shape, size, and material are all about the same for both, but there are some key differences that impact installation and use.

Even though both types are made of a PVC material, the hollow stop molding is more rigid and brittle than the solid. Being less flexible makes the hollow stop molding vulnerable to breaking when bent, whether during storage, or when handled before installation. Furthermore, the hollow stops are extremely susceptible to cracking during installation, especially when there is a stray hit from a hammer. This problem is even more likely to occur when installing the stop molding in cold weather because hollow PVC is more brittle.

The main advantage to the hollow stop molding has always been the fact it costs less, but is this slight savings worth it? Based on what we have seen over the years customers prefer solid molding over the hollow, which is just a small fraction of the total stop molding sales.

At DDM Garage Doors we endeavor to provide our customers with the best possible product, and we believe that the solid PVC stop molding is the superior choice.


Overhead Door vs. Arrow Tru-Line Hinges

Monday, May 9th, 2016 at 4:14 pm by Dan Musick

Overhead Door Corporation has discontinued production of their own brand of hinges.

The Arrow-Truline hinges are an excellent replacement, but the holes don’t always line up with the existing carriage bolts on the older wooden doors.


You can see the difference in the image below.

OHD vs ATL Hinges

I have almost always been able to reuse the bottom two bolts and the lower bolt in the top of the hinge. The problem is with the top hole. If the top hole is drilled at the top of the slot, the bolt won’t fit. In the past I’ve either knocked the bolt down to fit in the top slot or I’ve removed the top bolt and re-drilled the hole pitching the bit so I could reuse the outside hole but angle the bolt down on the inside so the bolt fits the lower slot.

On steel doors the self-drilling teks should suffice for accommodating the new holes.

The EZ-Set Bearing Keeps Coming Out

Friday, May 6th, 2016 at 4:29 pm by Dan Musick

We received an email this week from a do-it-yourselfer who had installed a Clopay door with an EZ Set torsion spring set up. On his door he has a single spring with a winder at the left end of the torsion assembly. At the right end of the torsion tube there is a bearing housed in a plastic frame that slides into the end bracket, as pictured here.


In the past year the bearing on the right side has come out of the plastic bearing holder a few times. When this happens, the shaft grinds on the bearing frame as the door operates. And, because the cable drum and cable is lower on the right side, this side reaches the floor first when closing, and there is a gap under the left end of the door.

The bearing probably came out because the bearing holder was installed backward. On an improperly installed bearing assembly, the race of the bearing faces the inside. Since there is nothing to hold it, it can come out.


The correct way to fix this is to reverse the black plastic bearing housing.


The bearing holder fits into the end bracket with the race of the bearing touching the cable drum.


When installed this way, the bearing cannot come out of the plastic holder.

On many installations the bearing is turned correctly, but the drum is not installed next to the bearing. If there is a gap between the drum and the bearing, the bearing may slip out. We have also found that a gap can cause the right side of the drum to scrape on the frame, causing the cable to come off the drum when the door opens. The cable drum at each end of the torsion shaft must be touching the race of the bearing.

If the only problem is the bearing being installed backward, and if it looks like too big of a project to correct, you can just install a hose clamp next to the race of the bearing. You can also drill and pin the shaft next to the bearing.

International Door Association IDA Expo 2015 Indianapolis

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 at 11:11 am by Dan Musick

IDA Expo 2015


This is the first trade show for door dealers that I’ve attended in over 20 years. The trade organization used to be called D.O.D.A., short for Door and Operator Dealers of America. I took a lot of pictures and videos I’d hoped to post here, but I discovered on the way out that I was not to publish them.

Service Spring. As we entered the expo we went immediately to the booth of our primary supplier of springs, door parts and opener parts.  It was great to see and meet the people we talk to on almost a daily basis, but whom we’d never met face to face. I shared with them the goal I have when I order from them: to be off the phone in less than a minute. Usually it works. Their sales people are phenomenal!

CHI Garage Doors. Their Model 2283 was my favorite in the years I was installing them. Their exhibit was the most impressive. They’ve developed a totally new design of pass doors for sectional doors (Click to view video) and pass doors for steel rolling doors (Click to view video). After the doors open, the Wicket Doors and framing above them swing to the inside. Wow! What an innovation! I had the opportunity to meet the designer, Paul Ravens. He shared the company’s work standard: God first, family second, work third, one of their keys to superior quality and continued growth and success.

Arrow Truline. Jeff Chappuies showed me their new torsion spring winder. This provides faster and safer winding for torsion springs. I just ordered a box of these and I’ll have our web product developer post them on line. We’ll need a little help with this from our video person as well. Jeff knows doors like someone who’s been installing and repairing them for decades, even though he learned the business from inside the factory.

Action Industries. They’ve supplied most of our garage door seals over the decades. Marcus showed me the rodent block seals. I asked my warehouse manager to order a few rolls of this on our next shipment. In the past I’ve recommended stuffing steel wool inside the bottom seal, but that rusts and makes a mess. Action’s product uses stainless steel mesh. I’ll never forget the Friday morning I called in a $12,000 order for door seals. Marcus had the product ready that afternoon. He stayed late to help load the product in my van for delivery the next morning in Wisconsin.

Denco. John has always been a big help getting us the parts we need. He finally convinced me to get a bench cable crimper which I ordered last Monday.

National Door. I finally met Jan. A while back they shipped over $20,000 worth of their jumbo seal to jobs in Colorado. She was impressive in the way she managed the order. Much of their product we sell we don’t even have on our site yet. We also get our windows from National.

Iowa spring. Great to sit down with Dan and discuss the different springs they make for us. He taught me a lot about dock leveler springs. I talked briefly to Cameron, the rep for this area. They are great people to do business with. They also supply springs to farm implement manufacturers.

Martin Garage Doors. I’ve never seen one of their doors, but they have always impressed me as the most safety-conscious of all the different garage door manufacturers. Their doors feature the safety track system and their safety spring system. If a garage door spring breaks and the door is disengaged when the door is open, the safety system will prevent the door from free-falling.

Fehr Brothers. I talked to them about their longer life extension springs rated at 30,000 cycles. I’ll be ordering some to test this summer as part of a mechanical engineering student’s internship here in West Chicago.

Napoleon / Lynx. I talk to about their painted extension springs. They have the cleanest extension springs on the market. I’ve ordered almost countless spring and parts from them over the decades.

Wayne Dalton. I met the man who named the spring system “Torquemaster.” That was some story to hear.

Overhead Door Parts.Com. These parts are getting harder to find. It’s great to have a resource to help finding them. Customers are loyal to the parts with the Overhead Door ribbon.

IControls. A Canadian company. It looks like they will be able to produce some universal OEM and aftermarket controls for hydraulic, air and Linear actuated dock levelers.

Chamberlain Liftmaster. The representatives there were very helpful. Chamberlain has instituted IMap policies prohibiting the sale of products at below market value. For example, a dealer on Amazon sells the 8500 for $314 including shipping.

Genie. They had the biggest booth. When people think of garage door openers they often think of Genie; they’re a household name. Personally, I prefer Liftmaster openers, but everyone in the trade has their own opinion.

Janus International. Here is a great supplier of rolling doors for self-storage facilities. We’ve quoted many of these over the years, but we haven’t sold very any. It’s a competitive market, but I do hope to get some of these on line in the coming year.

Northwest Door. They’re from the state of Washington. They had the most beautiful door I’ve ever seen. A lot of people out West ask for spring dimensions for various models of doors. The national sales manager clued me into how to get the information I needed.

Super Sneaky. It’s a great product, but for a limited market. It requires the opener to push the top of the door against the top of the opening. That doesn’t always work on 16 foot doors.  We’ve developed a method for installing double roller low headroom top fixtures on 16 foot wide steel doors.

Sliding Door Pros.  I’d like to get sliding door parts up on our site in the next year. The box tracks, hangers and trolleys are great for sliding barn doors.

American Garage Door Supply, Inc. They have great solutions for harsh environments such as car washes. Products include sealed rollers and stainless steel hinges and fixtures. The parts are impressive, but they cost about 10 times as much as the standard galvanized hardware. And the market is quite limited. When I worked at Door Systems of Elk Grove back in the ‘80’s they installed many of the air operators carried by this company. I still haven’t decided whether to carry these parts.

E-Z Weigh Scale. This is a great innovation for weighing garage doors.

Schweiss. For decades Schweiss has led the industry in the manufacture of hydraulic one piece and bifold agricultural doors, barn doors, and aviation hangar doors. Parts for these are on the back burner. Last year in Michigan I helped train some men on how to repair some of the bifold doors.

Torque Force Division of Canimex. This is a Canadian company. I’ve seen their name on cable drums and cones for decades. They are leading the industry in free-fall containment devices. These either prevent the torsion tube from turning or they cause the bottom roller to lock into the track to keep the door from falling.

Rotary Products, Inc. They have led the industry for decades providing Dock seals, shelters, lights, bumpers, snow hoods, wheel chocks, dock boards, track protectors, dock levelers, strip doors, safety rails, and a host of other products.

Updated DIY Instruction Library to Serve Our Customers

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 at 4:28 pm by Dan Musick


About 10 years ago we uploaded our first page of DIY instructions now titled “How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs.”

Over the years we added additional instructions, and about five years ago we linked 10 or 15 tutorials to our DIY Instructions Page. We soon discovered that many of our customers like videos so we created the DDM Garage Doors YouTube Channel to help them fix a variety of door and opener problems.

We continued producing videos that were linked to different parts of our site. As a result we decided a few months ago to link all our instructions to a single page. I gave this task to Nate Rupsis, a software engineering student, who is now taking classes at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL.

With the increasing number of tutorials we thought it would be appropriate to introduce the term, “Library,” into the page title.

I frequently ask God what I should do in the business, and almost always the thought comes to me: “Serve the customer.”

And this we endeavor to do. This is simple, but not easy. Writing is tedious. When developing instructions becomes a struggle, I remind myself and our employees that if anyone could do it, everyone would do it, and we’d be without our jobs.

One of the treasures we enjoy in this business is the satisfaction customers express when they succeed at a project they weren’t sure they could do. As one diy-er expressed on a recent guestbook entry: “Thank you so much for making this information available. Last night I was able to replace the torsion springs on my garage door without incident. Today I am a hero in my home. . . My garage door works better now, and is balanced better than it ever has been.”


The Door is Open This Spring for DDM Garage Doors!

Thursday, March 19th, 2015 at 4:10 pm by Dan Musick

As the new construction season starts, DDM continues its new door sales within the Chicago area, and expands its reach nationwide and to the world, with more models featured at our revamped Garage Doors page.  In conjunction with Amarr Door Company, DDM now offers more residential and commercial doors to more US and North America locations than ever before.

All Amarr doors are manufactured in the USA, and most are readily available.  Models such as the Heritage, Stratford, Lincoln, and Olympus head the list. Classica and Oak Summit doors provide an upscale beauty.  Sizes range from the most popular 16 X 7 to single-car doors, and custom sizes, and you can mix sizes on your new construction or existing openings.  Amarr gives customers a notable advantage with their local delivery to many US cities.  Check out our list of locations.

Clopay continues its tradition with insulated offerings such as the 4050 and 4300. CHI equips garages with trusted model 2240 (non-insulated), and a variety of insulated sandwich doors.  Wayne Dalton 8300 series and Raynor Relante add product diversity.  DDM can crate these for you if desired, and route them to where you are.

DDM’s Canadian customers in Vancouver and Toronto will find much quality and selection from Amarr facilities that supply their greater areas.  If you’re north of the border, don’t hesitate to call us and get good exchange rates on your new door.

And we look forward to working with a wider range of international customers, as many find us on the Web.  Customers who import are encouraged to use their trusted shipper to arrange delivery from US ports.

You always know with DDM you will be getting a fair price and excellent component parts. In addition, DDM provides an ever-growing number of instructional videos and ongoing technical support to help you keep your door in shape.

Passing the Torch: The Sale of Our Local Installation & Repair Business

Thursday, March 5th, 2015 at 3:46 pm by Dan Musick

Matt Fernandes, backed by five years of quality garage door service at DDM Garage Doors, has acquired the assets of the installation and repair business, DDM Garage Door & Dock Services, Inc., through a merger.  Matt’s Garage Doors and Home Services, Inc. covers a large portion of the western Chicagoland area, servicing and installing residential and commercial garage doors and openers traditionally served by DDM.  He is based in West Chicago, Illinois, and he services an approximate 20-mile radius.

Matt honed his creative skills while working hard during his tenure at DDM, and he developed a true vision for the customer first as part of a whole-life orientation that he furthered under the tutelage of Dan Musick.  Fernandes elaborates:  “Probably the best thing I have learned from DDM was thinking outside the box as far as servicing garage doors. But in general, the most important thing I have learned from Dan was to truly service customers and always stand behind my work. He has really pushed me to be better not only in the way I work, but also in my life.”

Matt looks forward to valuable ongoing assistance from Musick: “With his extensive knowledge of the industry, [Dan] has seen almost any problem that may arise.  I know that if I ever get into a bind, he’d be more than willing to give me important pointers.”

Matt’s right-hand man is his technician, Dan Romanowitz.  Though new to the job and to the industry, Dan comes prepared with a good work ethic. His lively personality will make for friendly relations with all customers. Fernandes adds, “His faith, which I share, directs his approach to the job, and that’s something I desire to see grow as he becomes an experienced serviceman.”

And there’s more than just garage door prowess in Matt’s quiver.  He grew up following in his father’s and grandfather’s tracks as custom home builders, and from age ten he learned daily from his dad on job sites.  This longstanding experience makes Matt a well-rounded tradesman and adviser, as he can provide services in construction, electrical, and painting.  With this whole-service orientation, Matt aims to help customers maintain their entire home or building.

He expects to excel in the competitive west suburban Chicago marketplace by combining his garage door expertise and construction experience with honesty and integrity. He’ll do this by continuing to follow the golden rule – treating others fairly the way he likes to be treated.

What does this mean for local customers? DDM’s tradition of service excellence will continue to find its focus sharpened as Matt and his new team members perform their work for the glory of God.



How To Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs – Safely and Right

Sunday, September 9th, 2012 at 3:57 pm by Jim

The video is here live!  All the steps necessary to replace garage door torsion springs on a two-spring system are given in clear, sequential steps.  Decide whether this is something you can undertake, and desire to accomplish as a DIY project.

Read and heed all safety procedures carefully!  Pause the video, and read the website instructions.

We wish you a safe and effective garage door torsion spring job!  Remember to visit our “Find My Spring Database” to learn about compatible replacements for your springs, at a higher cycle life rating.

Installing Garage Door Springs – Safely and Right the First Time, Part 1

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at 1:13 pm by Jim

Garage door torsion spring hardware

So you’ve seen our page on how to install garage door torsion springs…

In the process of digesting all the information, customers sometimes make an assumption that is dangerous.

When installing two springs, using two bushings or bearings sounds reasonable – it seems to make sense.  Two springs, two bushings?

Actually, using two bushings causes the stationary cones to seat improperly.  This can lead to the breaking of the cones.  Breaking cones on a spring with tension can release a massive amount of energy, possibly propelling tools or hardware with deadly force! (see the red text at our torsion spring replacement page).

If you have a slotted spring anchor bracket with a bearing/bushing, don’t add a second one.

spring anchor bracket with bearing

And if you have a bracket with the bearing inside already, you don’t need a bushing or bearing.

 Sounds contradictory, but it’s based on the function of a bearing or bushing:  to protect the shaft against rubbing on the center bracket.


When You Buy Garage Door Springs – Think Batting Averages

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 at 3:59 pm by Jim

garage door spring wire sizes

If you buy garage door torsion springs – even in the off season – remember batting averages.

Measure garage door springs using a tape measure, 10-and 20-coil counts.  Use the conversion chart at the measurement link.

Express the wire size in terms of a three-digit decimal.  .262 for example.  Do not measure one coil and use a fraction!

Now the numbers that come in for most residential garage doors are not going to be high for batting averages~ But you get the point.