I received my July issue of Reminisce magazine which contained the following article detailing a harrowing experience for this family, which I wanted to share with you all. Has anyone of you had such an experience? What could this driver have done differently to get the car down the mountain in a safer manner:
This story came up a few weeks ago. My response was to go down any hill in the same gear you would use to climb it, but I was told I didn't know what I was talking about.
I will say that we don't have too many mountains in my area, but when I do go to the mountains, I use this technique, even in a modern vehicle with an automatic transmission. Guess what? I seldom have to use the brake on the descent.
At first I did not think I'd call the left pedal a clutch - maybe low pedal - but after referring to the service manual in the encyclopedia I have to correct myself.
I guess that the best way to stop is to mash all three pedals and hold on!
It sounds like he was pushing on one pedal at a time. I tell folks learning to drive a T that if they panic, any two pedals will stop the car. I would think that jamming on any two pedals would kill the engine and have less slippage than burning them out one at a time. It's not kind to the machinery but might avoid a catastrophe.
I see where no one mentioned the emergency brake lever. In 1926 the emergency brake shoes were equipped with liners and were more efficient than in prior years. How about this procedure for stopping a runaway T:
1. Shut off the engine so that the transmission bands stop turning altogether
2. Pull back on the emergency brake lever then
3. Jam down on any two of the pedals??!
It might be a good idea to establish the best procedure for stopping a runaway T for future reference. Jim Patrick
I might also mention that in teaching a few dozen people to drive a Model T and telling them in a panic that any two pedals will stop the car, No one has ever actually done that but it gives them the confidence that they can stop the car without having to think about which pedal to use.
Jim's comment about the emergency brake is a good one and I have even use the small drum cast iron shoe brakes to some advantage, giving the transmission brake a short rest to cool and let oil in. It makes for iron dust in the drums though.
Also, no need to turn off engine. Jamming two pedals will do that for you.
Richard. It seems like if you are in a runaway T in a steep headlong downhill dash, with your family, anything you could do to stop the T would be important to utilize, including shutting off the engine, because when the engine is running, the transmission is turning and if the goal is to stop the drums from turning and if turning the engine off would help to accomplish this goal it seems like it would be foolhardy not to employ it, because if your feet slipped off the pedals, the drums would start turning again and you would have to start all over again with your attempts to stop the car and gain control with little time to do it in, before disaster. Jim Patrick
I'm with Hal. If it's too steep for engine braking in high, go down in low.
Turning off the engine will not stop the transmission drums from turning unless you are in neutral. And neutral would be a BAD idea if you are trying to slow down. There may be a hair more engine braking with the engine shut off, but I doubt you would notice it.
My point is if you jam two pedals the engine will kill immediately. Turning off the engine would be good as a second step but you probably would want both hands on the steering wheel or one on the wheel and one on the hand brake. This is going to happen very quickly and most of us only have two hands.
I agree. Assuming good bands and proper adjustment, any two pedals will bring the car (and the engine) to a halt in a panic situation.
However, these folks would never have been in this panic situation if they had used their 'pedal of last resort' as their 'pedal of choice' from the git-go and held it firmly to the floor. It would not have worn any of the bands. It would have only taken more time.
I know that part of old Hwy.99, It was called (the Grape vine). It was steep, winding & narrow. Many a truck driver lost there lives on that stretch of road in the 30 & 40. That was before it was replaced by Interstate 5 over the pass.
Nope, not the Grapevine. They would have been coming from the south for that. The story says they came down the coast then turned inland, headed east toward Bakersfield. See the map. They were crossing the Coast Range, probably by way of Paso Robles or Atascadero.
I still agree with Hal. Keep that low pedal mashed down and you won't have an emergency. You'll go slow, but you won't have a runaway on your hands and you won't wear out any bands.
That must have been a very steep hill or they were very low on gas, the 26 touring would have a cowl mounted tank, so he shouldn't need to back up the hill.