Model T's are slow. What do Model T owners do to add brake lights? What is the best way to prevent a rear end accident? What is the best way to add additional brake light? I have a 1927 touring with wire wheels and a 1927 Fordor with wooden wheels. I have the small round drum light on both unrestored cars. Photo's are always great...Thank you.
On the '24 touring I used to have I mounted extra lights on the top saddle arms using a hardwood bracket that I made clamped to the arm. The wires ran thru the arm hole into the body. On my '25 rdstr pu I mounted extra lights under the pu box on both sides at the back. Up here in our rural area some folks use the " slow vehicle " orange triangle on the back of the car.
I ordered a flashing magnetic brake light from Walmart.com. It has 16 led lights and uses 4 AA batteries. I just stick it to the back of whichever car I'm driving. The reviews claim that the magnets are not strong enough, but it sure sticks good to the model T!
It must be that most drivers just love our slow-moving cars, because they sure do make a habit of staying close to our tails — as if that would get them to their destinations ten seconds faster. If you drive an open car and ride around town with the top down, you may not absolutely need directional signals (though I seriously doubt whether most of the hat-backwards children driving orange, 600-HP Mustangs would recognize the hand-signal for a right turn). If you have an enclosed car, it's going to be difficult for drivers on your right side to see your hand signals.
But I digress (Always wanted to say that).
While turn signals may be optional, brake lights are an absolute must. You can convert your tail-lantern to a brake light easily enough with a simple bulb adaptor...
... and the Fun Projects brake light switch kit...
... but the original, single lamp may be too low for tail-gaters to see and too subtle for others to get the message. The readily-available saddle arm lights are a big improvement because they're high up where they can be seen and, in conjunction with the original-equipment tail-lantern, project an attention-getting abundance of candlepower.
But if you're going to go to that much effort, you might as well stick bulb adapters in the cowl lanterns...
... and buy a turn signal brain-box from Tickin' Through Time...
... and now you have turn signals.
Tickin' Through Time also makes an add-on 4-way flasher circuit, which makes things that much safer when you're crawling up a steep hill. And, of course, it doesn't hurt to get a magnetic slow-moving-vehicle sign of some kind.
In the case of my touring car, the backrest of the back seat serves as the rear bumper, so, for the sake of my passengers, I'm a little paranoid about getting rear-ended.
Good info, Bob.
"Tickin' Through Time also makes an add-on 4-way flasher circuit, which makes things that much safer when you're crawling up a steep hill."
In at least some states, it's illegal to use 4-way flashers on a moving vehicle.
I've never figured out what front turn signals do for safety.
I mounted these beehive lamps to a homemade bracket that fits on the studs behind the spare tire. They are visible through the spokes. I got magnetic taillights from HF and put 6 volt bulbs in them also for nighttime driving. They seem to work fine and aren't disrupive looking.
Here's a few period units.
I found a double socket which would fit into my small round original taillight. I use a two filament bulb made for 6 volts. I run the smaller filament to the regular taillight as shown on the wiring diagrams in the books. The larger filament is wired to a stoplight switch which is operated by the brake pedal. I have 3 kinds of switches, one on each car. The one which mounts on the starter bendix works, but is hard to get into adjustment and it can be knocked out of adjustment by the clutch linkage. It is also easy for the contacts to get loose and ground out. So a fuse in this circuit is a must. The other one mounts to one of the screws which fastens to the transmission inspection plate and is operated by a small spring connected to the brake pedal. This one is better, and the one I like best mounts to the bolt which holds the universal cover. This switch does not interfere with the opening of the inspection plate on top of the transmission. It too is operated by a spring attached to the brake pedal. This switch can be ordered from Langs. I don't know where to get the socket. I found one in my spare parts which works.
"I've never figured out what front turn signals do for safety."
Ralph, that's because you live in So. Cal and I live in Southwest Florida. There's nobody in either one of these places that has a clue what a turn signal or a brake light is. ;-) ;-)
Merry Christmas, friend.
Ralph, I can think of two instances where front turn signals are of value.
1. An on-coming car making a left hand turn.
2. A car approaching the intersection and making a right hand turn.
There may be others but I agree the rear brake and Tail lights are Most important when used properly.
If it were me and adding brake lights to the car, why not spend just a little more and add turn signals as well? A-13310-USA is the part from Snyders that comes with the extra wiring for the brake lights.
turn signal switch
I went to the local farm supply store and purchased the small round plastic stop/turn lights for trailers without the license plate light for the back. Similar to this.
You will have to change out the bulbs to 6 volt. I got the bulbs from the parts suppliers.
Then I used the amber bullet type from parts suppliers for the front.
I used the brake light switch from the Model A that comes from the parts suppliers. A-13480-A
I had to manufacture my own mounting brackets for all, but it wasn't a big problem.
Wrong photo for Snyders turn signal kit.
Did this with my speedster. The center is '27 brake/tail light. The side lights are for tail/brake/turn signal and are a somewhat vintage drum style from Tractor Supply. The three brake lights really show up.
Mack, I ended up finally installing the turn signal part this summer. My problem is, one more stick to play with and forgetting to turn them off.
Check out Fun Projects brake light switch. you will not regret getting one. I have two fitted to my '23 and '26. Quality parts, easy to fit and does not need to be adjusted to fit the car.
Their not stock but their at least period. From J. C. Whitney (of all places). The price is right at about $25.00 each. Each lamp takes 2 bulbs and I used 1129's in both places to give me equally bright stop & turn lights. I used 1" angle iron for mounting brackets and they are totally removeable with no alterations to the body or spare tire carrier. Put your stop lights where people expect to see them or their not worth the effort.
Oh and Daniel, to be honest, they don't make a hell of a lot of difference. On city streets here you're just in the way.
Here you can see my set up on a 26. Set of blinkers, tail lights are dual element with running light and brighter brake lights, plus the center brake light. Halogen bulbs show up very well. tried LED but had grounding issues. I use the model A type brake light switch noted above and made my own blinker actuator with hidden switch as seen in second/third photo.
Old brake light switch that failed.....
Brake lights working...
Here is the switch
They may not look the best but I use LED lights on all of the T's, front and rear. Round, square, rectangle or oval, the more LED's in the unit the better. They are bright and can be seen from a considerable distance. Add a ticken thru time flasher unit and a fun projects brake switch and you are in business. Most LED's are 12 volt and by converting that circuit only to 12 volt, we still use the original 6 volt system for the rest of the vehicle.
I would much rather be seen than to worry about the appearance of the add on lights. We even leave the low lights on all of the time just for safety. Because of the low amperage draw, the generator or alternator hardly knows they are in operation.
Like Tom, I run 12v leds using a 6-12v converter. The rears have 56 led arrays and work as brake, turn signals and running lights the fronts are led beehive lights mounted under the headlight brackets. They also function as running lights and turn signals. Prior to installing the turn signals I used hand signals. On several occasions, I've had modern traffic pass me on the left while I was using hand signals for a left hand turn. That and a couple of close calls I witnessed on tours motivated me to add led brake and signals. I designed my own circuit using radio shack relays. The running lights remain on all the time making the car more visible to other drivers. The sooner they can see you the sooner they can slow down. Using modern lights in modern traffic just make good sense to me.
Actually, most LEDs are 3.3 volts, but you can gang them in whatever configuration you want for the voltage you have.
I have a brake switch like Erich’s has that failed. Mine was for something like a 56 Chevy. As for lights I have some small 12V LED motorcycle lights. Soon to be powered by a small sealed cell battery charged by a fun projects hot shot batter charger.
3.3 volts for LED's is the average? Once you "gang" them up, I can only get them to fire with a minimum of 9 volts. It does not appear to have anything to do with how many are used in the grouping. We have some that have 9 and others that have as many as 56, but they all operate well on 12 volts. Each does have a different amp draw. The diameter of the bulbs changes with different groups but the amperage draw is minimal, so minimal that the flasher units for the turn signals have to be electronic, as the bi-metalic standard flasher does not draw enough current to make them flash.
The 6/12 voltage converter works well without having to have another battery. It also keeps the GPS and cell phone charged.
The saddle arm lights shown in the first picture in this post.....can anyone tell me who stocks them ??
The hot links to the catalog are posted with the picture of those saddle arm lamps....Langs Antique Auto Parts
Duh! (sound of hand smacking forehead)
I have one tail light on each rear fender that work as tail, stop and directional.
I have found that if I am following any car that has a light that ONLY comes on when braking it is more noticeable than a tail light on dim all the time that gets brighter with the brake application.
You may notice all 3rd light stop lights do not light up with the tail lights.
I am meaning to add a center stop light to my cars that ONLY lights up with the brake lights.
As Charlie B says, " Put your stop lights where people expect to see them or they're not worth the effort".
If you do that and you get in somebody's way at least you're totally legal and no one can complain that you're getting in the way and not being seen.
There are people in brand new cars and big trucks that get in the way too so they can't (shouldn't) complain about a T getting in the way.
Too many antique car people hide their stop lights, and directional lights, where they're hard to see making them virtually useless.
Tom, you referring to led lamp assemblies and I am referring to leds
For the rear I did brake/tail combination. The bigger lights on top are only the turn signals. The lights on the other side are the same except for the license light.
For the front I mounted the turn signals under the head lights. I am going to turn them just a little so you can see them through the spokes. As there are still many intersections without turn lanes I want the oncoming traffic to know what I am doing also.
Mark's set-up is fine but I would rather see the tail and directional at the bottom and the stop lights being alone at the top.
The directional is easily noticed with the tail lamp as it flashes, the stop light coming on with the tail light on is not as noticeable.
Mark is still several times over safer than the original tail light.
Last night I followed a late model car with just one bright light on the right rear when finally after several block the driver took his foot off the brake.
No tail lights, no use of directionals, just one stop light on all the time.
Just don't get caught without your seat belt on or looking at you cell phone to see what time it is.
This is mine, Its a Snow Bird but you know those Snowmobile drivers out on the trails. The two tires are my foam filed for the idler axle.