We've all been there. You either start the car from the drivers seat or crank it and before you head out, you realize the garage door is up, you left your wallet in the house, you're at a car show and someone starts asking you questions, etc. My question is how many people leave their car running unattended or at least without being behind the controls? I realize if you are crank starting it you are already doing this, albeit for a very short period of time.
My worry is all that is preventing it from going into gear is that little dog pawl and the serrated teeth. Yes, I already know that someone will say "All the more reason to file the teeth or get a new one." But without looking under there each time, can you be so sure that the pawl is properly seated each and every time?
So, all this being said, I tend to let it sufficiently warm up and if I have to get out from behind the seat, I turn it off.
I guess the other question is, if it did jump from neutral at idle to high gear, would it stall immediately? Anyone have any practical experience with this?
At the funeral of a fellow T'er, a women was climbing into the rear seat of our touring and the "frame flex" was just enough to "pop" the pawl away from the quadrant and the car (which was idling in neutral) "lurched" ahead and died. It could have easily ended on a bad note, but fortunately, did not. I knew there was wear on the pawl, but I'd never had any previous trouble. New pawl installed.
I suppose you could try to move the lever without grabbing the release to make sure it's seated but the rest is up to the car's situation. Too high an idle or maybe facing down an incline and you're chasing it down the street.
I have had several kids driving my T that moved the clutch lever too far forward, even with good RPM, the engine stalls. I would worry more about the parking brake not holding and the car slowly moving away.
I think that if it jumped into high at a low RPM it would just kill the engine, mine would. I leave mine running all the time when getting ready to leave and not in the car. Make it a practice to not drag the pawl when you set the parking brakes. Your teeth will last longer.
Many people have been hurt by the brake lever moving forward while the engine was at idle.
If the engine is real cold you will have the throttle down a couple of notches and the fuel mixture a little bit rich.
Many cars will drop into high at fast idle and just creep along because the cold thick oil won't let the clutch discs grab quickly.
Plus, there is always the chance that the hand brake lever pawl will grab a tooth and stay with the lever not quite far enough forward to kill the engine, it will just slip and with the brake released it will run away if on level ground.
Many T drivers have learned on this site to make a wedge out of wood to drop in ahead of the brake lever when pulled back. Works great.
I would suggest while your sitting in the drivers seat set everything up like you would if your getting out of your car then nudge the brake lever forward and see what happens. This way your still able to control the car if needed but you will be able to see if it stalls or rolls forward.
There is a lot that I don't understand on the FORUM. And the above is one of them. I never get out of T with it running with out placing a CHOCK in front of the wheel. I also use a chock when I am cranking a T to start it. We had a person get run over by his T when he did not chock the T.
SIDE BAR: I never restore a T with out removing the emergency brake ratchet and sharpen it. ALL of them have some wear also the pawl. I find the best way to sharpen the ratchet is to use a SAW FILE. They are three cornered and much narrower than a regular three cornered file. I don't think I have ever worked on a T that the pawl was any good. I always either install a new pawl or weld a new tip on the old pawl.
SIDE BAR: The nit pickers will scream but I never rivet the ratchet back on the frame. I always bolt the ratchet back on the frame because if I ever want to remove the ratchet again after the body is back on its difficult to chisel, grind, drill or what ever to get the ratchet off.
Another option to a wheel chock is a hand brake chock.
This one is what Fred Dimock uses in parades and it would work just as well to prevent it from going into gear when cranking.
Even a similar but longer one would hold the brake all the way back.
Dave - Do you have someone else place and remove the chock? I don't understand how you would do that without doing what I described above?
I usually use the starter for the cold morning start and chock the wheels while it warms up. I hand crank for the rest of day and always use the lowest idle setting possible. I have knocked the hand brake forward before and it always goes straight to high gear and stalls the engine. I would be afraid of a high idle setting. No matter which method you use, a low idle is your best bet.
I seen the blocks years ago at an all T show the Model T Club required the block that you have pictured to be in all the members cars. I've always thought it was a great idea for any T owner to use one of these.
They used the longer version to keep the parking brake set while the cars were parked.
I think if you search last years forum, there was a thread about one of our fellow members using a metal hinge, if I remember correctly the front edge was curled, allowing the lever to be pulled back and lifting the hinge to pop up out of the way. Once the lever past, the hinge fell back down not allowing the lever to move forward, until lifted at the curl with the side of his shoe. I thought this system was pretty slick.
This is what Wes mentioned.
That certainly looks like an innovative idea that would work but, not very correct.
The lockout was never intended to be period correct. I did change out the bolts with square headed bolts. Designed as a teaching tool to prevent surprises when I self taught myself to drive. It worked for that. Never really thought about it providing a lockout for the purpose mentioned in this string but it would accomplish that. Built from a butt weld hinge front lip prevents accidental locking in the forward position.
A sad story about Mr. Curtis, our vegetable man, when I was a boy. we lived on a hill and he had a T pickup with a special bed for vegetables. He would drive all the way to the top of the hill and then make a U turn and do all his stops on the way down the hill. People would see him go up the hill and then run out front to flag him down to stop in front of their houses to buy fruit and vegetables. One day he parked in front of our house and his brake quadrant was so worn that he used a stick from the floorboard to the brake handle to hold it in place. He would get out while the truck was still idling. That particular day, the stick slipped and the car started down the hill with Mr. Curtis running after it. It crashed into a pole. I only saw him once after that day. He had come back to collect money some neighbors owed him. He had a hard time walking. I think he was about 76 years old when it happened about 1940.
If you can't trust your car to idle with the brake lever correctly applied, fix it. Pawls, ratchets and springs are available. It is not a difficult or expensive repair. Note, the replacement pawls are not as hard as they could be, hold the release lever when pulling back the handle to avoid excessive wear.
It seems to me that even the most skillful driver would be very hard-pressed to intentionally get a Model T to accelerate from a dead stop in high gear without stalling out. Nevertheless, inexplicable, freak accidents do take place.
My parking brake happens to be in pretty good shape, but I know there are mischievous gremlins hiding and watching, ready to pounce on the hapless driver who momentarily lets down his guard, so I stick in the chocks and make double sure — and there's nothing expensive, difficult or time-consuming about using them. Deep down, I know that century-old horseless carriages are somewhat unforgiving, so I'm always looking for ways to improve the odds.
Bob posted a great idea.
I dont trust them much when idleing,I have been chased by my own TT before.So I know,just dont trust it.Yea, I fixed all the parts,but still,once you have to get out of the way of 1 in a hurry,you think twice
There are only two times I can think of, where I am not in the T, while it is running. 1st, when hand cranking. I double check everything prior to starting. 2nd, late fall as I am finishing off the gas in the carb, before putting the T to bed for the winter.
I trust my hand brake, even so, I added a spring to the underside to ensure the pawl stays engaged.
After 50+ years on the road and 50,000 miles, I had to replace the pawl on my hand brake. I ALWAYS squeeze the handbrake when moving the controller shaft, but still it wore out. I had a NOS pawl to replace it with, and am getting the old one welded up for the next time it happens, which will be after I'm gone! The teeth on the quadrant aren't perfect, but are still doing the job.
I've not been chased but even with 10/30 oil on a 30 deg. day I have had to hold her in place when I forgot to set the parking brake! Steady there Nellybell, feeling your oats are you!
I have mixed emotions about the Warford in my car. Been threatening to take it out for years due to the known safety problems and also the undue weight on the back of the transmission.
But having said that, I really like the ability to start the car in "Warford neutral". Cranking on a cold day is much easier and there's no danger of getting run over when it starts. And now this thread points out still another plus for the auxiliary transmissions. You can park the car and leave it running without fear of slipping the hand brake lever and dropping into gear.
For us hand crank starters it's a little different. I have a Warford so most of the time I set it in Netural so no chance of jumping into gear.
I did have a Very close call when getting gas. A guy with his brand new MB sedan was parked close to the front of me. I started the car and when I stepped on the running board the car jumped in gear and killed. WheW! Now you know I always use the Netural. I did hit the new car cause there was 4 inches to spare...
Good Thread and word to the wise.