I’m looking for opinions. As I mentioned on an earlier post I’m having my engine / transmission rebuilt. Do the members here feel it would be better to go with a Ruckstell rear or wait till next year when I can save a little more money and put in a auxiliary transmission. The area I’d be driving my 1919 Touring car (Northern NY) would be hilly but also with long flat areas.
If you have a stock T, more or less, I recommend a Ruckstell with standard ring and pinion gears.
Well, if there's anything I have, it's an opinion. So here's mine.
There are several advantages to a Ruckstell, not the least of which is that parts for it are available from a variety of vendors, overnight, virtually anywhere in the US and most of Canada. They are pretty bulletproof but if you are on tour and have problems with a Ruckstell, you can pull it out and replace anything in it in a few hours or you can replace it with a standard differential in an hour or two. It does not take one special tool to disassemble and reassemble one, you can do it with a cheap set of Wally World open end wrenches if you really have to and put it back together the same way. Also, if you have already rebuilt your differential and have a new ring and pinion, new axles, etc., you have about a third of the parts cost already covered. You can buy a brand new Ruckstell kit for two thirds of what you will have to pay for a new (insert well known brand here) aux trans.
Money wise, a new Ruckstell kit or a good rebuild is cheaper than the (insert well known brand here) if you consider that no matter if you spend three grand for the aux trans you still have to rebuild your differential with new ring and pinion, sleeves, axles, etc., etc. Even with a new kit as opposed to rebuilding a used one, you will have far less money spent than if you bought the aux trans and also rebuilt the differential.
New (insert well known brand) aux trans: $2900 Rebuild differential and driveshaft with parts below. $1000 Total is about $4000
New Ruckstell kit: $2000
New R/P $300, Sleeves $100, Axles, $225, Roller bearing pinion, $125, Driveshaft, $150, Misc, $100, Total: about the same as the Aux transmission without the differential rebuild or a thousand dollars less than doing both. .
But now you are new from the U joint back. You now have straight axles housings (considering that you will be able to find a straight right side or have yours straightened) and if you do it right, a reliable differential that will run virtually forever.
A Ruckstell actually makes a more reliable differential because it uses an angular thrust ball bearing for the thrust side of the ring gear support instead of the babbitt or bronze thrust washer the standard Ford diff uses. The ball bearing eliminates R/P clearance problems and the new ones should run 100,000 easily.
As far as the overdrive in the (insert well known brand here) transmission, if you have a stock T and are driving it normal speeds you don't need and won't get a lot of use out of the overdrive anyway.
That's my opinion, others, may, will and probably should vary.
I would have to agree with Stan's points. A lot depends on who you tour with. Some clubs are largely modified T's and an overdrive may be handy. You might install an original auxiallary
transmission such as a warford or muncie for considerably less but may not like the noise or shifting issues. My coupe has a ruckstell with 3.25 gears which works OK. My speedster project is going together with a KC warford. My 14 roadster is stock, tours fine unless you get behind someone lugging low ruckstell.
If you decide to use an auxillary transmission (with or without the Ruckstell) and do not already have auxillary brakes, you'll need to add them to the budget. Otherwise, between gears you'll have no brakes except the emergency brake.
I have Ruckstells in all my T's. Thank you Glen Chaffin. Standard pinions in all but the Speedsters which have Overheads and 3 to 1 gears.
Well said Stan, I run a vintage over and under but ninty eight percent of the time an underdrive would work well like Ruckstell.
One point not brought up is the tranmission weight hangs off the pan when Ruckstell weight is on the rear end. Testing proves to me that anything less then a 26-27 hogs head and block is going to pull the pan down so personally early T no------late T yes.
I would like to have the new transmission on mine but I run a 26 engine.
My view, I tried both
..the Ruckstell is best in my use.
On the TN mountain tour last year, having that low gear of the Ruckstell was great.
Easy to install a Ruckstell, no mods to the chassis.
Just take it out of the box as shipped by that Ruckstell King guy out west, and bolt it up
The new aux trans was ok, but for me I didn't need the overdrive, on less than steep hills you have to back out of overdrive anyway. The shift throw for me was a bit short, requires concentration.
On the flats it was ok, lowered rpms some, and gained me about 5mph faster cruise, but not much acceleration in that high gear. The shift lever is too close to the seat, making entrance difficult, you have to cut the front running board brace, you have to shorten your driveshaft and torque tube and radius rods, turn your grease cup for the univ joint upside down...lots of chassis changes.
The Ruckstell gives the Ford that needed in between gear, a real 2nd, when you want it. When climbing that steeper hill, just shift that lever, and up you go without holding down low pedal...sweet treat
Dan: That looks like a Canadian Ruckstell you have. I have had both Warfords, and Ruckstells, together and alone. I'll agree with Stan 100%. All you really need in a T is a Ruckstell.
The Ruckstell will go in without any modifications to anything other then the left side of the differential housing. A standard Ford rear axle can be swapped without any modification.
The gear ratio you use depends on where you will be driving. Do you want a higher ratio on level or a lower ratio for hill climbing? I have 3 T's with Ruckstell 2 of them have standard ratio and the other has 3.25 to one. The 3.25 engine goes slower when the car is going downhill or on level, but it needs to be shifted down more often when climbing hills. If you need to use low pedal on most of your hills in your area, I would recommend standard gear with Ruckstell. If you can go up most of your hills in high, then a higher ratio will be good for you. If you go on many tours out of town such as Colorado, California or other western states, a standard ratio with Ruckstell is best.
I have had three T's with Ruckstells in them on one had three to one gears, wow what a ride. Our 1912 C Cab had a three speed Warford and a Ruckstell, you could get any radio station you wanted with that car. 12 forward speeds and six in reverse. Very good combination for parades and when the car is full of people.
One of the T's had a five speed modern transmission with overdrive and reverse in it with a Ruckstell and the stock T transmission. It had a RAJO and used all of the gears very well. The only problem was that you never knew which gear you were in. You could go forward by putting the five speed in reverse and hitting the reverse pedal. What a trip.
I now use only Layne Warford's because they provide a true neutral and six speeds. You get a very low low and a very high high as well as all the good stuff in the middle and direct drive too.
It is true that you must shorten the drive shaft with an auxiliary transmission but I have never had issues with that problem or should it be problems with that issue ?
The Ruckstell axle is easier to drive than the old Warfords with their straight cut gears but the new Layne Warford has a constant mesh transmission and is easy to shift even without the clutch while under full power, up or down hill.
Auxiliary brakes are recommended for safety sake, but with the new Layne Warford transmission there is not the shifting problem that one has with the old Warfords. If the engine dies you can jam it into gear and start the engine again if you have room ahead of you, but it is safer to have those auxiliary brakes.
So I love Ruckstells but I own the new Layne Warfords because of thier true neutral, ease of use, and more gears to select from within the power band.
There is not a lot to add to the above posts, but I'll add my 2 cents' worth. I've driven Ruckstells and the KC Warfords several thousand miles each. I like them both. I also drove an original Warford for a short time, just before I sprang for my first KC. (I had a difficult time shifting the original Warford and didn't like it.)
The Ruckstell and KC Warford are both great additions to any Model T. The principal advantage, of course, is the underdrive gear on each. That, coupled with a standard 3.64 rear gear, provides an ideal driving arrangement in a T. So both are good. I have the KC in my Touring Car, which I drove to Richmond in '08, as well as to a tour in Vicksburg, MS that fall, 3,500 miles in all. In the flatlands of Indiana and Illinois, I used the overdrive gear a lot. Around home where it is hilly, I seldom use it. It was great to sail along on the flat mile after mile in overdrive. But even with an engine producing about 28-30 horsepower, it doesn't take much of a hill to need to shift out of overdrive.
In the Coupelet I'm building, I have installed a Ruckstell. The car will be heavier than my Touring, and I don't expect I'll drive it as fast, so the overdrive gear would be hardly ever used. Since the KC is more money, I can put that money toward other parts of the car. So I will have a KC in one and a Ruckstell in the other of my two T's. Again, I like them both.
There is another difference which is a bit more subtle, but it is real nonetheless. The Ruckstell is spring-loaded so that it shifts positively between gears. This results in a "bang" every time you shift it. The KC Warford is a remarkable piece of modern engineering which shifts slicker'n snot on a glass door knob. It is a joy to use, once you get a little practice. Some folks have a difficult time shifting from 2nd to neutral without going past neutral and hitting 1st gear accidentally. The technique I use is to just bump the shift lever with the palm of my hand, and it falls into neutral without a hitch. If you push on the lever it will go too far and engage low gear, but the "bump" method works every time. As I said, once you get the hang of it, it is a joy to use.
So that's my experience with both types of equipment. I hope it will be helpful to those who are trying to decide which would be right for their situations.
Mike, the long nose shift lock, if properly adjusted, eliminates most of that Ruckstell bang. Two things people tend to do when they rebuild them is grind the point of the shift arm to too sharp a point and set the plunger spring too tight. Both things make them shift a little harder than they should and bang when they shift.
This, of course, is my personal watermelon thumping and it is a free country with lots of room for opinions, but if you are going to put all sorts of modern equipment on it, why have a T? Distributors, constant mesh trannies, etc., etc., to me, destroy or at least considerably decrease the charm of the Model T.
As I said, my deal, probably not yours. But why not just drive a Volvo?
By the way, according to "Original Smith" and some who pick even weenie little nits ( => come on, Larry, that's a joke, you know it) there is no "Ruckstell Low." You are "In Ruckstell" or "Out of Ruckstell," and calling it "Ruckstell Low" or "Ruckstell High" is grounds for your nit to be picked.
A point of clearification on the Ruckstell. If you use stock 3.64 gearing in the rear end you will have under drive and direct. If you put three to one gears in the rear end you will have direct and overdrive. You names yer own poison and enjoys it.
On the other hand if you use the Layne Warford with three to one gears in the rear end you had better have a lot of power. Some folks do it and don't have any trouble. . . . all they do is grin a lot.
And to add this from a beginner (had the ts for 1.5 years now). My 12 roadster is just plain Ford tranny and that is it.
But my 27 TT is different... It came with a Ruckstell that works great, along with the high speed rear end. But I also put in a Warford. Now that combination is great. I love it... compound x2 low for running around the mountains or the ranch, but high with the Warford. She will go 50 but I don't do that much at all.. for many reasons but the main one is that I am not in a hurry and I want to live a long life. I usually drive 35 or so on the open road but since I spend most of the time cruising around the valley up here in the Sierras where I live, I probably go even slower. The most fun is on the dirt roads around the mountains and there I go 20 or less. What a blast. Sometimes I just get in it and spend some hours just putting along.
If I had it to do over, I would do the same thing: Ruckstell and warford combination.
Larry is correct about the Ruckstell terminology. I know about the PC terms "in" and "out" of Ruckstell and didn't say anything about low or high Ruckstell. (I was careful not to. )
As for the "charm" factor, I had all the charm I could stand in a short time trying to shift an original Warford tranny. That's why I bit the bullet and got a new one, and I'm glad I did.
We all have to decide where to draw the line on our T's, and I agree for the most part with Stan about that. My line just occurs on the other side of a modern auxilliary tranny for the T I drive the most if it looks like a period-correct one on the outside. And you won't find a distributor or water pump on my T's, even though they were common "back in the day".
But the period-correctness factor helped lead me to put a "charming" Ruckstell in my Coupelet. Even that is not totally correct however, since the car is a '15 and Ruckstells didn't come out until about 1920. Oh well, we all have to draw the line somewhere.
Yeah, it's your deal and you can do whatever you want. That's the way I look at it. Charm gets pretty old sometimes.
As to the "Ruckstell Low" thing. As you know, since you actually bought a copy and read it, in the Herman and Freida story, "Freida Learns to Drive," there is a lot about assembling and then learning how to drive with a Ruckstell. I wrote it a couple different ways, trying to get it to where someone who was not T familiar would understand it and finally ended up with "Ruckstell Low" and "High." I had it pointed out to me by a couple people that there is no "Ruckstell Low," there is "In Ruckstell" and "Not in Ruckstell," but it seemed to me to be clearer to call it "Ruckstell Low," that Freida learned to shift into. Particularly in the part of the story where they are going up the hill and she is already in "Ruckstell Low" and low pedal. She remembers that Torvald told her that Ruckstell low and low pedal is only for the deepest mud and the steepest hills and this hill isn't that steep so she shifts the Ruckstell into high but stays in (on??) low pedal. Herman, of course, is astounded that she shifted the Ruckstell back into high and says to himself, "How the Hell did she know to do that?" At this point he hasn't figured out the Torvald and Freida have been practicing driving the sedan when he and Einar are gone.
The Ruckstell IS period correct for your car. They were retrofitted to many cars that already had been driven many miles. Your car was only five years old when the Ruckstell appeared and it is very likely that one would have been installed when they became available.
Speaking of the 'Model T' charm, I really enjoy it. However, during the Ocean to Ocean tour, those with Warfords passed our stock 15 Roadster every day during the flat running and those with a Ruckstell passed us while hill climbing. So there was a price to the charm, but we still enjoyed it and we had more time to do so!!
I have one car with a Ruckstell and one with a new Warford. Personally I don't use the over drive. I have a basically stock 1911 with a clamshell rear end. I wanted to keep the distinctive look of that rear end, but I still needed an underdrive for the mountains..... so I bought a new Warford for that car. I shortened a later drive shaft housing and welded a small ring on the rear flange so it overlaps the closed spool. I took a pair of early forged radius rod ends that were off rods that had been broken off and trashed, and cut down later radius rods and welded these in. When you look at the back of the car it has the early clamshell rear end, closed bearing spool and the early cast radius rods.... but no early pieces were modified at all.
My Warford has the earlier low gear ratio; now you can get it with the same low gear as a Ruckstell. If you go with a new Warford I'd recommend the newer low gears.
All of that said, if it wasn't for the asthetics of the very early rear end I'd stick with the Ruckstells. They're less expensive, simple, easy to get parts for are very durable.
I have both, and think that there are advantages and dis-advantages to both. I live in Denver where we have some small hills! My 26 Coupe has the Layne Warford in it with 4 to 1 gears in the rear end. I use the overdrive a lot for crusing on flat roads and have lots of low in a fairly heavy car. I started to put a large drum Ruckstell in my 14 Touring and took it out because I did not like the way it looked.
is your speedster going to be ready for June?
Nobody has mentioned the simple conversion of a 1937-8 Chevy 3 speed. It has synchro in 2nd & 3rd. Tranny costs are low and the adapter plate required is simple. The rear U joint is a combo of Chevy and Ford but the driveshaft ball is used on both. Driveshaft needs to be cut !0 inches. Input splined shaft needs to be milled square and cut off some. Needs aux brakes or you can get into "Angel" gear.
Cost me about $100-$150 to convert including new bearings when I cleaned and rebuilt the Chev tranny. I got this idea from another old timer. He has used this combo for about 40 years.
I'd vote with Stan. For extra safety, along with the auxilliary brakes, you could put a large drum ('26-7) Ruckstell under the car if you're not too worried about authenticity. I drove our '17 touring through your general area last summer and the large drum Ruckstell I had installed for the trip with standard ring & pinion was just the ticket.
After waiting nine months for a Ruckstell and being put off many times i put in a new KC Warford and i really like it,i don't use the overdrive much as it is too hilly here in east Tennessee. I was told that the person who made the parts for Chaffins was ill,then they were waiting for a part, then they were trying to find another person to do machine work,i have nothing against the axle or the supplier but to have to wait that long sucked, i wasn't aware of Stan at the time. Both work well.
For authenticity and stringent judging purposes for a 26 Fordor, could the car be delivered from the factory with an optional Ruxstell?
Or was a Ruxstell always an aftermarket installed accessory?
Ruckstells were intalled at Ford dealers, and other places, but never at the Ford factory. I've heard that Ford put a Ruckstell parts section in the back of original parts books. I think that is BS too! I was at a swap meet once, and saw an original Ruckstell crate, with Ruckstell on one side, and Montgomery Ward on the other.
There is a ruckstell parts section in the back of the 26-27 Parts Book.
The only Parts Book that has the Hall-Scott / Ruckstell Sales and Mfg Co , May 1, 1924 Price List is the re-printed, Polyprint version, of the Aug 5, 1928 Ford Price List of Parts. If you look at that fact, that the Ruckstell parts and price list is not in the same page numbering of the Ford list, its clear that Polyprint just 'included' that Ruckstell list when reprinting the 1928 final Ford lists of parts for the Model T.
I have an original , pocket size version, of the 'Ford Price List of Parts and Accessories for Owners', dated December 1, 1926. There is no listing of Ruckstell in the back of this one.
I've never seen that Ford catalog with Ruckstell parts listed, either. I've had several people tell me they exist but they didn't have one. A lot of Ruckstells were installed by Ford dealers and a lot by other shops but thousands of them were sold through the Montgomery Ward catalog. I don't know if they had an exclusive deal with Ruckstell but it wouldn't surprise me. Many Ford dealers kept them in stock and when there was a slow day they assembled a unit or two so it would be a quick switch but most were installed under the car by pulling the left side housing and the differential unit, switching the ring gear and axles, etc., installing the Ruckstell unit on the driveshaft/right side housing, hooking up the spring and brake connections and putting it out the door. Ruckstell figured one hour from start to finish to install the new one. It is actually pretty easy. That was one of their claims to fame and selling points -- easy to install, no removal of the driveshaft, etc., uses the original Ford parts with just the addition of the Ruckstell parts. Not to be pimping my book on the forum, but Einar and Torvald install a Ruckstell in the "Freida Learns to Drive" story and the installation procedure is taken directly from the installation instructions provided by Ruckstell. Herman ordered his first one from Monkey Ward, too. Historically accurate!!! =)
Stan, you always amaze me with your knowledge of our passion, the Model T. I really enjoy reading and learning from your posts. Keep it up!
Dennis -- If you don't have Stan's Herman and Frieda book, I suggest you get one. You'll really enjoy it.
I have it. My wife and I both have enjoyed it. I have only been in the Model T hobby for maybe a dozen years. I have learned a lot from many people, but guys like Stan, Bruce and many others just amaze me with their knowledge. (I know this will give Bruce a big head. I will probably have to bow down to him when I see him in Arizona.)
Is your parts book original or reprint?. This information would sure help in answering the comments
I am in the process of finally restoring my 26 roadster. The question I have is what is the ratio when I am "in Ruckstell" with a 3-1 ring and pinion ? If I read Frank's post correctly, "in ruckstell" should be approx. 3.64-1 and out of Ruckstell would be 3-1, is this correct?
Closer to 4:1 since I believe the Ruckstell is around 0.75:1 underdrive.
Here is a link to an original Ruxstell Axle Sales Brochure. There is some axle ratio information.
Ruxstell Axle Brochure
Ron the Coilman
Thanks, Ron. I was WAY off - 0.65:1 so 3:1 gears become 4.6:1 gears in Ruckstell low/Ford high.
Seth and Ron,
Thanks for the great information. I printed out the Ruckstell brochure.