I've been driving my old rusty T for 10 years.
Just lately the Ruckstell has gone into neutral a couple times when I hit the brakes.
When it does this the shifter is still forward all the way...I've tried pushing on it to get it back in gear but no luck.
Someone said it might be going too far into gear.
What can I do to fix it?
It it were me I'd take the shifter off the axel housing and check the condition of the shifting fork. It should be sharp with no center groove. I've heard of some folks attempting to create a neutral by machinging a groove in the fork. Someone may have done that prior to your owning the car.
I'd also check the tightness of the bolts holding the shifter to the axel and of course all the connections between the shifting lever at the axel and the lever in the cab. It may be nothing more than buggered holes in the long rod or excessive play in the two shifters.
One last thought. Once I had a rear end lock up when I tried to force the Ruckstell to engage when the car was at a dead stop. Good practice dictates you never attempt a shift without the car rolling. If the shoe fits . . .
It's probably not just one thing but instead an accumulation of wear in many parts.
You really need to remove the Ruckstell, completely diassemble it and look for worn parts to replace. It's simply too dangerous to use as is and a quick fix is not what you want to bet your life on.
If in doubt as to what looks good or bad, simply post photos here and ask.
You may want to try and turn the adjusting screw on the shifter 1/2 turn in.
Bob - I'm sure you know this, but with a Ruckstell, it's imparative that you have Rocky Mountain or some other type of brakes on your T besides the transmission band brake. If you don't , don't even drive the car until the Ruckstell is fixed. It could mean your life or somebody elses! (and then install Rockies anyway)
remove your shifter see if the fork is bent, on my 26 touring when i got it was not shifting in to high gear and it shifted use to go into neutral after i remove the shifter took it
apart and found out that the fork was bent
Thanks for the direction guys.
The sliding spline and the parts into which it slides, become tapered. Once that happens, it will work out of gear as you drive. It could be in the shifter or the fork, but most likely in the spline. All those parts are available from Chaffin's Garage in Corona Ca.
I am fairly new to T's. Why the drastic warning about not having RMB? I have a Ruckstell that has been around the block a few times, and your post is causing some angst. Please elaborate!
Carl, if the Ruckstell 'goes to neutral' then you lose all braking - as the brake acts on the transmission which means the Ruckstell has to be engaged to stop the rear wheels.
The RMB gives you braking on the wheels direct, so you don't rely on the standard transmission brake.
A couple of scary moments in my TT when my Ruckstell broke can attest to the value of having RMB (or other accessory brakes). The emergency brake works - sort of only!! :0
Is the "going to neutral" a common malady with Ruckstell's?
Only if it is worn or not put together correctly. The early style shift locks tend to not hold them in gear as well as the later long nose style. The problem with them shifting hard is usually because the inner differential carrier is worn where the axles go through, the bell is worn where the axle goes through and the bronze plate is worn so that the thrust plate is free to move around in the bronze plate. Things get out of alignment and it won't shift into Ruckstell. If it won't shift out, it is probably at least to some extent the same wear but can also be a problem with the shift lock. As Norman said, the sliding clutch can get worn and won't go in and out of gear. There is a reason they make parts for them. They are as tough as anything on a T but that whole assembly takes a lot of abuse and once they get worn about so far they need to be rebuilt. Again, there is no neutral designed into them but they will get in between Ruckstell and Ford High if there is some wear on some parts.
I don't really know how common it is, but I know everybody within a hunnerd feet (including you) will have to change their shorts!
I've driven this car many miles over ten years and no problems till now.
It's getting some Rocky Mountains.
The problem is not common, nor is it rare. High gear engages only a very small amount of the brass spline (learned that the hard way many years ago, no accident, but a long Ruckstell low drive home). Anything worn, loose, or damaged can allow it to slip out. I still have that brass piece.
I know of a little known, or rarely talked about, incident when a well known hobbyist that was killed because the newly restored Ruckstell stuck in neutral. I won't give out the name because I haven't heard the details aloud for over 20 years.
The closest I ever came to near disaster was on a T club tour on Catalina island when a stock touring just ahead of us broke a pinion gear. Steep hill, 300 foot plus drop on one side of a very narrow road and straight up on the other. Disaster was averted by a very experienced T driver who slipped alongside one car and slammed the back of his car into the hillside. One clipped fender and minor damage to the touring. We were the next car in line and would have been clobbered if he had not steered perfectly between us and the car ahead of us.
I LOVE MY BRAKES! W2
Carl - Just now got back into the forum and saw your request that I "elaborate". Well, the guys above did a much better job of explaining than I could have, but as you can see, I'm not the only one that feels strongly about the importance of some type of auxiliary brakes. One of the young guys in our local club here told me how his Model T almost got him killed when he got the Ruckstell locked between high and low (not the proper terminology but you know what I mean) and on this long downhill stretch thats about a mile long, the only way he could get the runaway Model T under control was to purposely jam it up against the guard rail to get stopped. Maybe you can see why my post might have sounded "drastic",........harold
I recommend auxhillary brakes and keeping the parking brake in working order, preferably with lined brake shoes. Some people remove the parking brake when they install the Rock Mountain brakes, but you can put the parking brake drum inside the Rocky Mountain drum and use both brakes together. You will need to shim your hubs to the axles if you do this but it is easy to make a shim or buy from the vendors. You can also get longer axle shafts if you are replacing them. The parking brake should be adjusted so it applies just one click before the parking brake lever applies the Rocky Mountain brake. That way you will have good brakes in reverse if you should go into "neutral" while going up hill and you start to roll backward.