Clutch questions

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2010: Clutch questions
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel Denis Chicoine, MD on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 09:16 am:

I need to rebuild the clutch in my 23 since I now have the 26 up and running. I put in a Turbo 400 set-up 4 years ago but haven't always driven like I should. Also, last Fall the clutch/brake lever worked it's way up and allowed the clutch to slip, burning the turbo plates. Lined clutches are intolerant of slippage! If I use old disks from an old tranny I have, and the clutch height isn't quite enough, can I add disks to make up the height. I'm debating this vs. rebuilding with Turbo disks again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Danuser on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 10:22 am:

or use the old discs w/a watts clutch set-up


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Gould on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 11:37 am:

Before you do anything, check the condition of the brake drum lugs. My guess is they have been chewed up pretty badly. You might change your mind about using Turbo discs in the future.
To answer your question, yes you can simply add discs to achieve the original thickness without problems.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 12:58 pm:

The best thing you can do is go back to an original Model T clutch with all steel plates. The clutch will be smooth, it will have a perfect "neutral", and you will never again break down as a result of a failed Watts / turbo / jack rabbit clutch.

The folks who are using these aftermarket clutches are doing so because they have never owned or driven a Model T with a properly adjusted Ford clutch. If they had, they would never consider changing to anything else.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel Denis Chicoine, MD on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 01:47 pm:

the brake drum lugs were chewed up pretty bad when I worked on it 4 years ago. I tried to fix one drum and had to throw it away. I found another one on another tranny that was serviceable and used it. I filed on it for a while to get most of the "chews" out of it. I don't want to spend $400 for a new drum 'cause I'm as cheap as the rest of you. The only other drums I have are on a couple of 26-27 junk engines and they won't fit without major modification. I guess I'll see what it looks like when I get it apart. It's good to hear that I can add discs if the stack height isn't enough. thanks


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Gould on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 06:03 pm:

I wonder if the fellow advertising a parts list in the classifieds has a good one he'd sell you?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel Denis Chicoine, MD on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 10:44 pm:

I'm in a bit of a hurry with this repair, as usual. I finally got the 26 engine in and running ("I Hate Magnetos"). I hurt the 23 clutch and need it to work well for the MTFCI tour in Rapid City in July. Also, the State Capital is having a centennial celebration on the 19th and wants 100 cars from earliest to present. I've got both mine registered for the display. I don't want to tow it there with no engine! I'm "on call" this week and only have evenings and maybe the weekend.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Seager on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 11:21 pm:

Royce, Speak for yourself and not others please. I have two model ts and I have a watts clutch in one of them that works perfect is smoother and does not wear grooves in the drum. I also have a stock clutch that is adjusted correctly and it works ok but is not as smooth as the watts clutch. Have you ever run a watts clutch? Mike


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bob smith on Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 12:12 am:

You can cut a 26 drum down and use the drive plate and ring, works great doesn't cost much, its a win win. Oh and Royce really has a soap box when it comes to clutches, I know for fact you can put all the power in the world through the modern clutches and they won't slip.its all in the driver.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 06:13 am:

Mike Seager,

I've driven several Model T's with Watts, Jack Rabbitt, and Turbo 400 clutches. Also seen several of each permanently retired from tours because the clutch material was burned away.

The turbo / Watts / Jack Rabbitt clutches can work OK, the problem is they don't always work OK. These lined clutches do not have the reliability of a stock Model T clutch. They offer no advantage over a stock Model T clutch. They cause a lot of trouble if anything is not perfect, including the driver.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Seager on Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 09:15 am:

Royce, My point is that these other clutches can and do work fine and that you are wrong in that the only clutch that can work is the stock clutch. I dont believe a watts clutch is a lined clutch. There have been many cars retired from tours because of stock parts failures too, so that doesnt mean much. Its like your word is the final say which of course is not true. You need to ease up on this subject. Mike


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Gould on Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 11:09 am:

Royce, you refer to the Turbo Watts and Jack Rabbit clutches as lined clutches and assert that are problematic because the clutch material sometimes burns away. I have said it before and so have others, but you apparently aren't listening. The Watts clutch is not a lined clutch like the Turbo and Jack Rabbit clutches. It is a solid fibre composition. The lining cannot burn or separate because there is no lining.


The way I see it, a Watts clutch can fail if the slots become severly damaged or if the spring gets weak. Also since there are fewer discs than Ford, if the engine has been modified and produces a lot of torque, the clutches may not hold. I have never heard of these things happening, but I envision they could. That's an honest assessment without prejudice. I have run all three clutches myself and prefer the Watts. There is simply no denying what the steel discs used in the standard Ford, turbo and Jack Rabbit clutches do to the soft cast iron lugs.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Gould on Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 11:14 am:

One more point. The fact that Ford introduced hard steel shoes to line the brake drum lugs in 26 tells me he recognized the problem with the steel discs chewing the lugs and made efforts to correct it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel Denis Chicoine, MD on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 12:40 am:

After much thought, and the fact I'm in a bind to get this together by the weekend,I decided to revert to the Ford clutch. Since I've managed to find 4 of the large disks broken each of two times I've torn this apart with my Turbo 400 set-up, I've assumed the disks have a hard time handling the heat, at least the way I've driven it in the past. (I'm learning). I scavenged other large disks from a "26" tranny. If I put 12 small and 13 large, I get a stack height of 1.150-1.60. depending on how much I can compress them. I cannot turn the tranny when I put it together with the fingers all loose. If I take out 1 disk, I can turn it and the stack height is 1.125. Can I leave 2 small disks together and only run 24 plates?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel Denis Chicoine, MD on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 08:03 am:

It's amazing what a night's sleep will do. I'll try bolting it together with the clutch spring compressed. I'm guessing that even with the screws backed out, the fingers press on the plates in the all the way down position. I'll work on it tonight.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 08:10 am:

You will find that using the Ford clutch will end your clutch trouble permanently Noel. It is a very durable, simple, functional design. Properly adjusted it will outperform any of the turbo / watts / jacked up clutches.

Adding miscellaneous non - Ford parts to your clutch reduces reliability as we see over and over.


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