Hello all, I want to first thank everyone for advice and tips that I read on the forum. I thoroughly enjoy reading the comments and witty banter from time to time. I have my very first parade coming up with my 23 Roadster Thursday of this week. Here in South Ga it is supposed to be 80 degrees. I was wondering if some of you could give some advice on parades as I have never driven the car in one. I have a motometer and am most concerned about overheating even though the car has never overheated on me. Do you let folks get a little ahead of you then proceed forward and wait? I can imagine this is going to be rough on my low speed band. I don't necessarily think the T is the ideal parade car. Any tips/advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks and have a great day.
Rob - Your thinking on parades is exactly like mine. Model T's definitely do NOT like parades! Anything you can do to limit slipping the low band any more than necessary is GOOD! I do just as you said,...hold back and try to get the most out of one "slipping" of the low band as possible. This is where I really, REALLY appreciate one of the several advantages of my Ruckstell,....(a lower "low")! Also, as far as overheating, be sure to keep the spark as fully advanced as you can at all times during the "crawling pace".
Also, check the "pitch" of your fan blades and the tension of your fan belt. (Not too much, but enough to avoid the belt slipping). I don't have a problem with overheating, so I've never tried this, however, a good sized plastic spray bottle of water to spray all over the front of the radiator from time to time (if the parade is especially slow) might actually help in the event of overheating.
Good luck, hope any of this might help,......harold
You are correct, diving in a parade is probably the hardest thing you can do to the low speed band. Some T owner simply refuse to to it. Your idea of letting folks get ahead some then driving up with a fully engaged low gear is likely a good idea. You could even drive up, turn the engine off, then hand crank start to add some fun to the parade.
Rob - After reading Jim's post here, and, after seeing your Profile Picture, I had a thought:
If you can talk her into it, your pretty wife, jumping out once in awhile to "spray the radiator" might not only minimize overheating, but could add a bit of interesting "entertainment" for the spectators! Ha,ha,....
Hope your wife doesn't read the forum,......harold
Harold, that would be nice, but unfortunately that's not going to happen!! If I was real good I could get her to spray the radiator and turn the crank!
Or add one of those desert water bags that slowly ooze water in front of the radiator....
Yeah, you’re right in that the Model T is not really an ideal parade car and from what you’ve said, I think you already understand the gist of the problems involved. The common sense stuff is to top off the radiator and oil and lighten the car as much as possible by offloading the junk in the trunk. It’s also easier on the low-band if you don’t happen to be carrying a passenger.
Parades are almost always held on perfectly level ground, which is easier on the low-band than starting and stopping over and over on an incline. I’m guessing you don’t have a Ruckstell rear end, so you’ll pretty much be stuck with keeping the floor-lever in the neutral position and using Ford’s regular low gear. Accepted technique is to start forward, gain some ground, stop and wait for the folks behind to catch up and then start forward again. That is far better technique than riding the low-pedal constantly to keep the speed down. But heck, you already know that.
Most importantly, if you can work out an arrangement with the parade people whereby you’re allowed to drive a serpentine, left, right, left, right pattern from curb to curb, your advance along the parade route may be slow enough that you can hold the low-pedal to the floor most of the time. It depends on the width of the street.
To help keep things nice and slow, you can retard the spark, but be warned, this does cause the engine to run hotter. Still, the lower engine speed and very low power setting involved may counteract this tendency—or not—depending on the cleanliness of your cooling system and whether you have round or flat tubes in your radiator. A richer fuel mixture will contribute to cooling.
Of course, the longer the parade, the more wear and tear on the car. Theoretically, Kevlar band linings (assuming your car is equipped with them) shouldn’t wear as much as other types (if at all), but proper driving technique is important here because you don’t want to induce enough friction-heat to damage the low drum—and Kevlar is known for that. Of course, the transmission bands and drums are cooled by oil, so you definitely want to start with as high an oil level as allowable. In fact, I’d be tempted to cheat and over-fill it a bit and then, after the parade is over, drain off the excess. If the parade ground is level, the extra oil shouldn’t migrate down the drive-shaft housing—unless you really over-do it.
Bear in mind, though, I’m a know-nothing newbie with only three or four years of ownership experience, so anybody who contradicts me is probably correct.
Judy and I are straight, but have driven (1923 and 1916) in three Gay Pride Parades in mid Florida at 90+ degrees. I keep the car locked in neutral and tap the low pedal to move forward. I have never had an overheating issue.
Mark - Not to be argumentive, but I don't think the water that oozes from that evaporation water cooler bag will ever reach the radiator. The oozing water will only serve to cool the water within the bag. I think those evaporative water cooler bags are a really neat period correct accessory, but I'd hang it someplace in front but clear of the radiator as as much airflow thru' the radiator from the fan is the most important in a parade.
Hmmm,....in thinking about it, maybe a good compromise could be reached if the water bag is hung far enough forward so as to NOT obstruct airflow would be okay.
Also, in thinking about it even further, this forum has such a diverse group of smarter folks than me (including engineers, heating & cooling experts) that we may have here a subject that could result in one of those very long and technical discussions. Sorry Rob,.....all you asked for was any advice regarding "parade survival",...ha,ha,......harold
I have round tubes on what I believe to be an original radiator. So far (knocking on wood) I have not overheated or had a boil over, and I have went for drives in 95 degree plus weather. My motor runs pretty good (best I can tell, never heard another Model T run so I can't compare). I will do my best on the bands. I have not replaced them, but I do have a set of Kevlar I ordered from Langs. It appears to me the ones that are on it are cotton. They look pretty good through the inspection cover. This parade may finally do them in. Thanks for all the input. I liked that desert water bag, that's a neat accessory.
Hey Rob - Something Bill just said caused me to think of something else that sometimes works for me:
Because parades are usually on level streets, the Model T's tendency to "creep" can often be a help. The only situation I can think of where a poor "neutral" can be of some benefit!
O.K.....I'll "shut up" now,.....harold
I've had my creep a few times, but not very often. I had it happen once when I adjusted the bands to give the 1" from the floor adjustment. After a drive the creep settled.
Here's a picture of my radiator.
Parades were a big part of our family outings with the T
I don't know if my dad did anything special but I place a block of wood in the hand brake slot so it will not accidentally go into high and make sure I do not slip the low speed bands by leaving space an then catching up.
On hot days I use a spray mist bottle with water on the radiator to help cool things down
If we stop for a long time I shut off the motor. Since the T doesn't have a starter people get a thrill when I crank it
Mine has the starter that works pretty well, however the hand crank method provides a lot more excitement. Good idea on the hand cranking. I may get more of a workout than the car!
So Rob,.....do you plan on climbing over the little lady, or are you going to make her get in and out for every crank start?
Before somebody says to just let her get out and do the crank start, she looks too "petite" to crank-start a "T", and if not, I'll bet she's smart enough to "fake it"! Ha,ha,......harold
One lesson that I've learned the hard way after many years of long trips to musclecar events in my 1971 Plymouth GTX:
If the car is running well, don't make a bunch of changes right before a long trip!
I have to say that your radiator looks a little chancy. Especially if it's a round tube. In my humble opinion, one of the best things you can do for a T is a new flat tube radiator from Berg's.
I'm not a big fan of T's in parades anyway. Been there, done that
Haha, chancy is an understatement! I'm just glad it doesn't leak. A radiator from Brassworks is on the wish list.
In the meantime, straightening of the fins might help a bit. Don't let her catch you doing it, but if you can find one of your wife's combs with the right spacing of teeth, it works good to straighten those fins. Actually, that "technique" is for a really beat-up radiator, but yours really doesn't look THAT bad to me!....harold
If the street is wide enough, we drive the T's around in circles. It is sort of like jockeying for position. The crowd loves it and it helps to keep the car moving and the air circulating.
Just gotta watch out for the kids jumping after the candy before you flatten it with your front tires.
p.s. I have come mighty close to running over a couple of toes!
Rob, I drive in parades from time to time. I drove in a local one about ten days ago where they like to have open antique cars carry the Mayor and Council Members. I use the same technique so many others have described. Lever in neutral, and don't try to keep pace with the parade. (A parade moves at the speed of a walking six-year-old.) I wait until there is a bit of a gap ahead of me, then fully engage low and throttle back as far as I can. That is faster than the walkers and eventually I reach the car in front of me. I release the pedal and sit for a short time until there is again a reasonable gap ahead of me. Then repeat. Parades stop and start a lot anyway, and no one minds that I don't move at a constant speed. This was last year's parade, although I carried Gerry and Nancy again this year.
Although I agree that most parades are on basically level streets, the streets here in Kirkwood have some gentle upgrades and downgrades. On the downgrades, I just use the brake and coast.
We now add a homemade set of eyes to get the kids excited. This year we added the music "Life is a highway" I hear rumors that this winter parade might include moving eyes.
I regularly participate in parades. Here in Texas on the 4th of July it is rarely less than 100 degrees, sometimes it has been 105, once it was near 110. I've yet to have any trouble with overheating in a parade that lasts 30 - 45 minutes. Typically fire trucks, campfire girls and dogs lead the parades, so there is plenty of starting, stopping, and waiting.
I put the hand brake in the neutral position, spark half way advanced on MAG, and keep the engine speed at a constant slightly fast idle. the low pedal is pressed quickly and firmly so as to not slip the band much at all during each start. If you constantly slip the band you will burn it out. Higher RPM will cause more band slippage, and more heat.
I think this is a basic issue most people new to the Model T need to learn; how to start from a dead stop with the engine near idle speed. Practice for a half hour in a parking lot until you can do this over and over without stalling the engine. Once mastered, this technique will make your bands last a long time.
I found a picture of the block I use to keep the brake handle from going into high during a parade. I attach a string to it so I can remove it quickly without bending over just in case I need high gear for some reason.
My opinion - I would rather be extra safe than sorry.
I agree 100% with Royce's post above on how to drive in a parade. Especially his last paragraph, which is good advice for any T driving, parade or not. I'll copy it here because it should be repeated, "I think this is a basic issue most people new to the Model T need to learn; how to start from a dead stop with the engine near idle speed. Practice for a half hour in a parking lot until you can do this over and over without stalling the engine. Once mastered, this technique will make your bands last a long time."
I too would rather be safe than sorry, so I fix the ratchet & pawl to prevent the stick from letting go.
Rob, considering the current length of this thread, I think you owe us a report and a few pictures after you have been in the parade...
As promised here are some pictures from the parade. I had no overheating problems and everything went great. My father drove my 77' CJ and me and my wife were in the T. Lots of fun.
Glad it all worked out.
Rob - Nice to hear that your day went so well! One thing for sure, now you know for sure that you've obviously got a darn good radiator in that car! You'll never again have to be nervous about doing a parade!
Thanks for posting the great pictures! By the way, not sure how you painted that car, but to me, it looks just right! The bright and shiny jet black "trailer queen" Model T's are beautiful to look at, but your car has just an ever-so-slight luster to it that looks just right for a "driver-grade" Model T. Looks kinda' like you'd expect at nice old well taken care of survivor Model T to look,....."OLD"! Thanks again for the pix,.....harold