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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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Long Life Extension Springs

Friday, September 8th, 2017 at 4:48 pm by Dan Musick

Garage door extension springs stretch as the door closes and contract as the door opens. Also designated “stretch springs,” these usually mount above the horizontal tracks, but sometimes they extend beside the vertical tracks.

Over the years there have been requests for better springs because customers’ existing springs have not lasted as long as they had hoped. Because of this we have begun offering longer life extension springs which last about three times longer than the standard springs.

We achieve longer life in our design by using bigger wire and larger inside diameters engineered to maintain the same pull. We also use clipped ends to extend the life. Open loops and double loops are heated before bending the ends; this often fatigues the metal causing the spring to break prematurely on one end.

One additional factor in producing longer life extension springs is that we have the springs produced in the U.S.A. and only with American made steel. Because of inconsistent quality control standards in China springs made there will often work for a while, but before long the springs don’t contract as they should, the door gets harder to lift, and often the cables come loose and prevent the door from closing. The metal doesn’t fatigue; it simply looses its tension.

Besides the Chinese manufacturers beware of companies who offer long life or 25,000 cycle springs based on what a supplier may say about their springs. A while back I ordered some of the springs from a supplier and I was surprised to discover they were the same standard cycle springs as offered by other suppliers.

All of the springs come in 10 pound increments and they are in stock for same or next day shipping. For questions please contact us.

 

Warehouse Manager & Personnel Manager Wed

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 at 1:53 pm by Dan Musick

Way to go, Neal and Jorie! Congratulations! We wish you all the best as you begin your lives together.

Neal and Jorie, October 21, 2016.

Neal has been a huge help since we were working out of our garage not many years ago; now he has his hands full with a large warehouse full of parts to inventory and ship.

Jorie has helped us part time since September of 2015 as she has finished her education and prepared for her wedding. She’s been a tremendous help performing a variety of skills, including the completion of our first employee handbook and helping us set up employee reviews. She’s also advised us on a number of other personnel issues.

She’s a great worker and she would be a valuable asset for a larger company who can use someone full time with her education and skills. In May of 2016 she received her Master of Arts degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Elmhurst College. You can discover more about Jorie in her resume.

Cubs Win!

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 at 7:35 am by Dan Musick

Way to go, Cubs!

2016 World Champions!

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Spring Is Here! A Few Checks Are In Order

Monday, March 8th, 2010 at 4:08 pm by Jim

Garage door buckes can be corrected

Meteorological Spring made its glorious arrival this past Monday, and Daylight Saving Time will kick in next Sunday the 14th.  What kind of winter has it been around your house?

With garage doors getting a workout all winter in the “car protection” mode, it is possible that you may find a few pieces of hardware (screws, nuts, bolts) strewn on  the front half of your garage floor.  After picking them up to avoid a flat tire, have a look around on the door to see where they came from.  If you can’t make out from where, how is the garage door functioning lately?  Run a cycle on the door and watch.  If you observe buckling or strange noises while in travel, you may need a low-involvement repair.  Call Dan at DDM and get confidence, with knowledgeable advice.

This advice may necessitate a repair, or simply a lubrication.  But if you get it addressed now, you can save trouble and expense down the road.  Have a GREAT spring!

(Warning:  As always, be careful around garage doors and their parts, and call a professional for the work if you have any doubt about your ability to service them safely).