I do my best to use engine braking to slow down my T as much as possible, but sometimes at some point the vehicle has to be brought to a full stop.
I have seen in this forum that some folks use the emergency brake on a regular basis to help with normal braking. Question for those folks - do you have the emergency brake handle extension installed, or do you just bend forward and back a lot?
I have also seen mixed messages in this forum regarding using the reverse pedal to assist with braking. I have found it to be quite effective, especially since I installed the reverse pedal extension.
On my car, it is obvious that I am still working the brake band harder than the other two bands and I need to refine my technique. I have an original set of AC brakes (still looking for the pedal clamp and front linkage) and hope to install them this winter.
Your thoughts? Please be kind, I've only had my T since June and am still climbing the learning curve.
I'm one of those who use the hand brake as part of stopping, because I'd rather replace linings at the wheels than in the transmission. I try to plan stops and use engine braking as much as possible, then use the lever. I apply just a little foot brake at the end if I need it. I've never had any trouble reaching the handle, so no extension. I use the reverse pedal just for backing up.
I drive my T regularly, even as a daily driver. I use the brake pedal only. With kevlar linings, I rarely (perhaps every 10,000 miles) adjust my band. I have found the emergency brakes to be quite inadequate as a service brake as they heat up and fade rather quickly, especially the small drum kind. I don't recommend using the reverse as a brake as the drum is rather thin and I believe it can't dissipate the heat sufficiently, which leads to cracked drums. Some folks, as you may know, have had problems with cracked drums when using kevlar. To my observation this is nearly always the result of poorly adjusted pedals, usually pedals that hit the floorboards before they have done what they need to do. This problem can be overcome by bending the pedal back. Usually the clutch and brake pedal needs to be bent back. I find that bending the pedals works even better than installing new cams and notches on your pedals. Secondarily, poor pedal technique could also result in cracked drums. My advice as far as using the emergency brake is to use it as an emergency brake. And when you use it, haul it on full and lock the wheels up and use the tires to dissipate the energy rather than the brakes in the rear end, as they will quickly heat up and fade away.
When you pull back the hand brake it will put the car in neutral. That will cancel the engine compression braking causing both hand and foot brake to work harder to stop the car.
However, if you back off the gas and use the foot brake to slow the vehicle enough to be able to shift into low, then the engine compression will assist the foot brake and the hand brake to stop the car.
Always use low gear with hand brake to stop the car if the foot brake doesn't do the job.
Only in emergency if the foot brake goes all the way to the floor, or if the drivetrain is broken and none of the pedals will slow or stop the car should the hand brake be used to stop unless you can get it into low gear.
Can you elaborate on the process of bending the low speed pedal back? I have that exact problem described in this post: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/400831.html?1384301734
I am hesitant to try Kevlar bands for that reason. Starting to research how to change cams based on comments and suggestions and would like to know more about the possibility of bending the pedals.
Practice, practice, practice! I have always used the hand-brake a lot to help stop the car. Making sure that it is properly adjusted and the cams are working near their most effective points makes a big difference. Most of the Ts I have had, I had after-market outside brakes which help a lot. Some Ts, mostly brass era, I don't use the later after-market brakes. Good solid-shoe lined brakes in small drum will work "adequately" IF the cams and adjustment is right.
Like Steve J, I would rather reline the outside brakes than the transmission brake.
Regardless of your chosen preferred braking method, you should practice using the hand brake and keep it in proper working condition. If and/or when something breaks in the driveline, you want to feel comfortable grabbing that handle and yanking hard and quick. You may not have time to think about it and plan. And that handle may be the only thing between you and another car (or worse).
I have long arms, so do not use an extension on the handle. However, some T speedsters have the seat set back a bit, and I zig-zag the handle a little.
I very rarely use the reverse pedal for stopping. I don't like the way it feels.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Never use your reverse gears to help you stop. I was getting ready to go down 13% off of a mountain in Colorado when at the top before going down something went kerbang so I stopped along the road and when I pushed on my reverse pedal it was gone. Upon taking it apart the reverse had exploded.
One thing I learned the hard way is make sure your emergency brake is properly equalized. Someone stopped short in front of me to make a left turn and I had to use the emergency brake to avoid a collision. I pulled it back and only the left wheel locked up first and caused the car to fish tail to the left abruptly. Luckily, I was only going 25 MPH and slowed enough to recover by releasing the emergency brake and correcting the steering. The car could have rolled had I been going any faster. The first thing I did when I got home was equalize the emergency brake linkage and test it to make sure it brakes straight.
To each his own, I guess. I could be wrong, but I would contend the hand brake was intended to be used as a parking brake, not an emergency brake, and certainly not a service brake. But like I said, I could be wrong.
Use the reverse pedal only as a last resort to avoid a collision. It's nowhere near heavy enough to take the heat and the reverse gears are much narrower than the others and not designed for that kind of loading.
You state the putting the car in neutral negates the engine braking affect and makes it harder to stop. Consider however that it also removes the inertial energy of the spinning flywheel & magnets, which must also be slowed by the brake band, thereby wasting braking energy. In test stops I've tried, I find that during a heavy stop, when I push the clutch pedal to neutral, I feel the braking effort increase significantly. Maybe not as true in lighter stopping, but definitely better under hard braking, (which of course should be avoided if possible).
If you've got the right kind of brake shoe linings, I suppose you can use the handbrake all you want and yes, it'll save some wear on the transmission brake. For most of us, though, the brake shoes and drums are metal against metal and those components are just not designed to take that kind of punishment as a steady diet. Though I haven't had the experience, I've read that re-lining the shoes with the right kind of material is an oath-inspiring project of Odyssean magnitude.
Now, I've got 2nd generation-type Rocky Mountain Brakes which, when adjusted correctly, promote long wear of the transmission brake and are more than capable of locking up the rear wheels—so there's little reason for me to get the parking brake into the act.
I've been told that the ORIGINAL type of Rocky Mountain Brakes (the type that are no longer being marketed) could positively stop the wheels regardless of forward or reverse direction. And while I can't help but admire the quality engineering that went into the design of the available disc-brake system, which, let's face it, doesn't look right, I wonder why nobody wants to reverse-engineer the ORIGINAL Rockies, which would not only look right, but also do an excellent job of slowing and stopping the rear wheels.
Yes, it may be that the modern disc-brake setup is a better, more efficient design from an engineering standpoint, but the fact remains we're dealing with 3 1/2-inch tires of such poor traction that the most efficient brakes in the world won't stop the car any faster than a set of Rockies. As for wet-weather performance; I avoid driving my Model T in the rain, but when I do get caught in a shower (a rarity with today's satellite weather forecasts), the transmission brake, with its lesser authority, keeps me from accidentally locking up the rear wheels on wet pavement.
Any stop you can long anticipate can be done with gas closed then a little foot brake pumping. Any true emergency stop may require all 3 pedals to be mashed. In a true emergency, I didn't have time to think about the hand lever. Pressing hard enough on the foot brake locks the tires. That is all you and Lizzy can do......... The brake band on my 26 is all I need unless going down a steep hill. Then I do use the hand lever brake to offset the heat build up in the brake band by using one then the other. Like Tom said, the back wheel brakes share limited effectiveness with the transmission brake. I do have kevlar bands and pump the brake pedal. This has worked well for me.
I would not use the reverse pedal as a brake. The reverse drum is too weak to be used to stop the car. It is best to slow the car down as much as possible by closing the throttle before you use either the lined hand brake or transmission brake to complete the stop. Retarding the timing during engine braking also helps. Even with both sets of stock brakes in good shape accessory brakes are a very good idea.
Thankyou all for your comments. I'm going to avoid using the reverse pedal for braking and start working on fabricating the missing parts of my AC brakes so that I can fit them to my car.
I haven't had the rear wheels off the car yet, so I don't know whether my parking brake shoes are lined or not. I do have receipts that the previous owner gave me from the restoration, perhaps I will be able to tell from the receipts.
Looking through the previous owner's receipts, it appears I do have linings on my parking brake shoes:
Of course, we should state the obvious, the factory brake on the transmission is only going to help if the differential is solid and not limping along on the original babbit shims.
Mark, if the receipts don't include one for bronze thrust washers, you know what you need to do.
The receipts and the person at the restoration shop that did the work for the previous owner both confirm that the rear axle was rebuilt with bronze bushings, so at least I don't have to worry about babbitt failure!
One thing I did notice about the transmission bands (which are now listed as discontinued on Mac's site) is that they are bone white, not yellow like the kevlar bands, and not dark brown or black, like the newer Scandinavia bands, so perhaps they are older cotton bands.
I also noticed in the receipts that the shop ordered a set of 26-27 brake drum lug shoes and a brand new early brake drum, is it possible that the shop machined the early brake drum to take the 26-27 lug shoes? If so, that's a good thing, right?
I also see that the shop installed a jack rabbit clutch assembly, which at least so far has worked fine for me.
Now that I've learned some things on this forum and know what to look for, it's clear that I need to study the previous owner's receipts more carefully!
My 1911 T has been on the road for 50 plus years since restoration. It still has the original cast iron brake shoes in the rear. Mileage is heading for 100,000 miles. Kevlar bands were installed 15 odd years ago can't remember when I last needed to adjust them.
If you anticipate your stop, use the engine to haul off speed then brake with the foot brake remembering to let it off if the stop or slow down is going to be long so oil can get to the lining and cool down the drum then like Tom Carnegie you will get thousands of miles from bands without any adjustment.
The reverse I use if I feel the foot brake needs a bit of extra time being cooled by the oil. Being thin it heats up quicker but it also cools quicker. I can count the times I have used reverse, but sometimes it can come in handy.
About 30 years ago I decided to transfer the car to normal registration as I was using it so much and the old car plates only allow you to use it on club events and all trips have to be recorded.
To pass the normal test I had to allow the inspector to use a Tapley meter ( a meter which measures retardation motion) I drove the T forward and applied the foot brake, no problem it passed the test.
I was then informed the handbrake had to also be tested the same way. I tried to talk him out of the test as I said the handbrake was a parking brake. No! had to be done while the car was moving. As rear brakes were cast iron shoes I knew they were useless. Anyway the inspectors instructions were drive the car forward, pull on the brake when he said so and don't touch the foot brake as he would be watching.
So off we went when he said go I pulled on the brake gently, at the same time pushing in the clutch and using the reverse pedal to stop the car. When he checked the meter he said, you handbrake reading was better that the foot brake!!!
Mike, I try to bend the pedals off of the car if possible. If not, on the car I heat the pedals as low as I can with a cutting tip. When it is cherry red, I have my bending buddy grab onto the pedal and move it back an inch or two. I then let it cool naturally. Sometimes on 26-7 I heat and bend near the top to adjust the attitude of the foot pad.
I like to hear guys say they use the reverse pedal to slow down or stop because I sell many, many Transmission drums. Keep me in mind if you use your reverse drum because when you crack your reverse drum and you will if you drive often I cam help you.
Also some guy was encouraging new drivers to use their low band to slow down going down hill. Again its not will you break your low drum, but when will you break it. I had a new guy to Ts come to my shop and wanted to know why he could not keep his low band adjusted. I took the inspection plate off and I hope you can see the drum below.
If my memory serves me right, it's a Murray Fahnestock article in one of the Model T books that suggests using the reverse pedal as an alternate to the brake.
Dave - It sounds like you do not recommend descending hills in low? If so, what DO you recommend?
To answer the question, I use the hand brake as the service brake, but it is the Improved Car of 1926.
So, the large drums with lined shoes are extremely effective thus. Even going down long hills there is no fade. I can easily lock the back wheels, and have done a few times - these are remarkable brakes that stop the car very quickly. No idea what this "model T's have no brakes" nonsense is.
I just reach down to the lever when it needs to be used.
Footbrake holds the car still at the lights or other non stressful braking situations. That's why its cotton band has lasted 7yrs.
Dave recommended not using the low band for braking. However using low gear without slipping the band is an acceptable method when needed. As long as the band is clamped tight there will be no heat build up or wear.
Isn't that lever on the left called a parking brake? It wasn't manufactured to be stopping brake…unless it is hooked into the rockies. In an emergency, I'll hit all three of the peddles. My discs take away all braking concerns 'cause they just flat work!
I spend a lot of time travelling in the Mountains. In fact I had my 16 up above Pinewood Springs yesterday. If you look at your Colorado State Map they list 60 State Highways with most grades around 4 to 6 percent. I find that all the ones I use to get in and out of the mountains I just use my high gear, and still almost never use my brakes. If a person's motor is any good there is enough compression to hold you back. I have kept track a few times going from the top of Trail Ridge for example to Estes is 24 miles ALL ALL ALL DOWN HILL. I use my foot brake once at Hidden Valley which has a very steep switch back.
I had a new experience about a week ago. I was with another T up at Horsetooth Reservoir. It has four dams that you go across. The approaches and exits are so steep that I put the T in Ruckstell Low. I don't know that I have ever done that before.
I often do Glen Haven when I go to Estes its 18 degrees and if I ever go down it I am sure that I would start down with my Ruckstell in LOW
Dan what ever you do don't use your reverse or low drum to go down hill. If you feel like you have to do something use your foot brake
Side Bar: I use Kevlar on all my Ts. The first time I use Kevlar was on my centerdoor. The Kevlar was from somewhere back East and was a VERY THIN layer of Kevlar bonded to a layer of cotton. I changed it to the newer type Kevlar that is one piece at 9,000 miles. I have now used the thicker Kevlar for 34,000 miles without changing it and its still acts like new.
Here's what Ford had to say about downhill braking in the original instruction manuals...
Based on this, if I didn't live in a place where on a clear day you can see forever...I'd go externals!
Jim- When would you ever use the low band as a brake? This would imply putting the car in neutral, which I doubt anyone would want to do in a hill. So the only logical thing would be to assume he was talking about engaging the low band to slow the car. Sounds like this is the case.
Dave - Interesting. I have to go down a very steep hill almost every time I drive my car. I too descend in high and use engine braking, but I also engage the Ruckstell and it works quite well. I tried to stop at the top and descend in low gear one time and the engine revved so high that the band felt like it was slipping even with my foot mashed to the floor.
Here in Alpine we have a hill about a mile from our house. That hill is so steep I go up in Ruckstell and low pedal. I have only gone up that hill in a 26 because of the location of the gas tank. Going down that hill there is a signal at the bottom. So I slow way down and shift just before I go down the hill. I use Ruckstell and pump the brake. Ruckstell will increase the power of the transmission brake due to the gear ratio. I also have Rock Mountain brakes on the back wheels. When descending a very steep hill it is important to pump the brake to keep it from overheating and to keep the engine speed down. I use the shoulder of the road so modern's can pass if they want to.
You asked, "When would you ever use the low band as a brake?" I would only use the low band as a brake as a last resort. Anytime the car is going faster then it would with low fully engaged and the band is partly engaged (slipping on the drum) would tend to brake and slow the car. The low band would even act as a brake with the engine off and not turning over.
It would be the same as decelerating by down shifting on a modern standard shift vehicle, you just feather and slip the clutch till the engine speed matched the vehicle speed.
I'm with you on this subject, Hal - no parts identified as "emergency brake" listed in any Ford Price List of Parts !
Which one? 'Course, this time, I don't think it matters. I think we all three are on the same sheet of music.
I use the motor to slow down and the foot brake to stop
And if I have to use the foot brake for longer than 5 sec I release it and re-apply so the oil can do some cooling
In an emergency - any and all pedals and the hand brake will do.