i am in the process of rebuilding the motor in my 27 touring that was my dads and i haven't driven it may be 4 times and the bands that are on it are cotton and their still pretty good. since i have it tore apart i am going to put new ones in. i won't be driving it very much which kind should i put in.
Here we go again!
I'd say Kevlar or Wood. Some swear by Kevlar, and some swear by wood. I know that this will start another argument, but all I can say is that they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Here is a quick summary of the two, and it will hopefully help you make an informed decision:
Pros: Last a very long time. Easy to install. Virtually maintenance free once bedded in. Smoother engagement. Can be installed without removing the hogshead (Though I don't recommend it)
Cons: More expensive. Can put lint into the oil. Can be hard on the drums (though to what extent and whether they actually crack drums can be debated)
Pros: Last a very long time. Almost completely maintenance free. Easier on the drums. Less expensive.
Cons: Can chatter. Hogshead has to be removed for installation. Installation is more difficult. Harsher engagement.
Those are all I can think of right now...
The alleged problem with Kevlar depends on how the car is driven. If you try to be too gentle, and apply the pedals gradually, says the theory, friction from the resulting slippage overheats the drums until they crack. Some people say they've driven thousands of miles with Kevlar and never a problem. Others say they've burned up multiple bands and drums and will now only use wood. The differing experiences suggest to me that the way of driving is likely the determining factor. I don't have enough experience to say one way or the other. My old cotton bands have gone rotten and I'm installing Kevlar, so I guess I'll find out.
I have always used cotton linings in the past. This time I tried kevlar. So far, I am impressed! I like they way they feel. They seem to have a more firm feel. a more positive engagement with a firmer pedal. I have heard the stories about overheating and cracked/burned drums.
I say, drive it responsibly the way you should and there won't be any problems. I could be wrong, Knock on wood.
I would re-line the bands. If you choose to use cotton do not use the new ones. They are poor quality. NOS cotton bands are on ebay all the time. I have found that wood bands actually engage smoothly and as long as you don't slip them go a while between adjustments. Installation is very easy if you have a counter sink bit with a stop or a drill press. I like to attach them to the steel bands with aluminum pop rivets. Also, removing the hogshead is really not that big of a deal. I feel it is best to remove the hogshead when installing any bands to minimize the chance of distorting the bands out of round. Kevelar bands do work well but, wood works great too and is kinder to fragile and expensive transmission drums.
Use what you want, I run wood and am very pleased with a set of Jim Guinn linings with around 37k on them now, they do not chatter and will not if you get your bands round at the start and I put about a half pint of lucas at each oil change. KB
If the bands in there now are good , then use them.
I wish that the original length true cotton bands were available for purchase today. I would use them. For many years they were available and worked fine as long as you drove the T as intended. The "Tar Babies" that are sold now from the original manufacturer are unusable straight out of the package. I have never used wood bands so don't shoot me. For me Kevlar bands are the only alternative since original cotton bands are only available at swap meets or on e-pay and may not be good due to age.
I've been riding for three years on Kevlar and so far, so good, using the following driving habits:
I'm conscious of the overheating problem associated with letting the low-band slip too much, but at the same time, try not to send a sudden engagement shock down the drive-train, so it's a compromise. I keep the revs as low as possible when stepping on the low pedal which, though a good technique, sometimes rewards me with an embarrassing stall.
I used to alternate between the brake and reverse pedal (like a player piano) to slow down and stop, but I've since been given to understand that the reverse drum isn't as durable as the brake drum and can't take a steady diet of that kind of abuse, so I don't do that anymore. Now, I just pump the brake pedal and hope the Rocky Mountain Brakes are doing most of the work and sparing my transmission brake.
Kevlar seems okay.
One of many good things about a Ruckstell; it's really easy to start out from a dead stop at a traffic light or whatever, and by starting out in "low Ford" and "low Ruckstell" with the engine idling, and slip the low band very little and actually "lock up" in low in less than two feet of forward movement. Really easy on the low band and drum with such little slippage.
Are NOS cotton linings like NOS babbitt thrust washers, not to be trusted due to age? Linings in my touring went to pieces from rot.
I have used Kelvar for 14 years and have not had any problem. Recommend using the after market oil screen under the hogs head inspection cover to pick up any fibers.
Have also installed Jim Guinn wood bands in a friends car and they work good. Using wood bands, the pedal pressure is harder compared to Kelvar.
Suggest adjusting the bands on the loose side if you are using Kelvar. When using Kelvar, I like to have the Rocky Mountain Brakes do most of the stopping and have the Kelvar band only fully engage when the brake pedal is pushed near the floor (Emergency).
I think that the answer depends on where the bands were stored. Since cotton is organic I would think that rot is in a large part dependent on humidity. If I found cotton bands that were from dry Denver (where I live) I would be more inclined to use them than a set that were stored for 50 years in Orlando.
I also think that Kevlar (and maybe wood) bands are more forgiving than cotton. Cotton bands will glaze and burn if slipped. Kevlar bands are synthetic and will take over a thousand degrees of heat before degrading. If you drive a T with cotton bands you need to learn to stomp on the low band without slipping it as you increase the throttle. If you do so the cotton bands will last a long, long time. Slip them and you will be changing them often.
I am happy with wood. People say they like Kevlar because they last a long time. My theory is that any of them last a long time if you don't slip the bands. If you do slip the bands, cotton and wood are going to wear and Kevlar might overheat a drum. Wood doesn't make lint to clog up the oil pipe.
After 43 years of owning a Model T and using 2 types of bands (the old cotton Scandanavian and wood), wood, by far, is the superior lining. I bought a set of Kevlar linings to use in 2008, but read so many horror stories on the forum about them, I decided to go with the wood bands and am so impressed by their performance, I will never use anything else. Jim Patrick
Had cotton, went to wood. Very pleased with the wood so far.
hey i want to say thanks to every one for their answers, i knew there would be a bunch of different answers, i am just trying to decide between kevlar, and wood. just like everybody says most of it is how you drive it. thanks i will let you know what i do.
Wood is forgiving of mistakes and failures; kevlar is not.
For example, if you have the low adjusted too loose and the pedal hits the floorboard before the band is fully engaged:
Wood will char at about 3-400 degrees, and burn itself away. Kevlar will overheat the drum and break it.
#2 If the Lo or R band is dragging a little:
Wood will wear away until there is clearance. Kevlar will overheat the drum and break it.
Same goes for slipping the clutch on a really steep grade.
Like Model T crankshafts, there are those who have broken drums with kevlar, and the others haven't yet.
I have replaced a wood band through the door in my '26 tranny with wide brake band. That's been only maybe once, after my younger son has driven it a number of times, slipping the clutch.
The wood holds its shape better than the metal band, so I don't worry about distorting it. Worn wood bands break going through the door, but not new ones. I don't even have return springs for the pedals.