Another thread reminded me of a question I have wanted to ask for a long time.
Common knowledge is that setting the parking brake by dragging the pawl over the teeth on the quadrant is a bad thing. Well I LIKE that sound! Its part of driving a T for me.
Which brings up the question:
Given that the pawl spring only exerts a few pounds of force on the pawl while being dragged over the quadrant teeth .... just how many times can you do that before the pawl/teeth are sufficiently worn to cause a problem?
After all were dealing with steel against steel here.... its not plastic!
Has anybody installed a new pawl/quadrant and had it go bad quickly from this type of use? I have used mine this way for over 2 years and cannot detect any change in behavior.
jes wonderin' ;o)
If it's in decent condition and you keep it greased, I expect it will outlast you.
I noticed that the pawl likes to be pulled back a fraction of a tooth while squeezing the handle before letting it forward. I wonder if just squeezing the handle and forcing the pawl up out of the tooth is worse then letting it ratchet over the teeth when engaging the brake.
I have heard on this very forum, of someone doing it only once, and the pawl was useless from that moment on.
Your mileage may vary!
A whole lot.
My dad always told me to squeeze the brake handle and pull it back all the way before releasing it. We have never had a pawl wear out. Think about it - and then do the right thing so Dad doesn't yell at you.
After over 50 years of driving, my pawl finally wore out, and I squeeze it every time. I replaced it with a NOS one recently.
There are two types that Ford made, and I assume they are interchangeable.
I'd say that the "teeth" on mine wore-out within 4-years. But that's with a lot of use. I drive the Speedster a lot, probably more than many do, and the more it's used, regardless of time, the more it'll wear.
I've never greased it because it's exposed, on the outside of the body on the driver's side, and if I got grease on my pants every time I drove it, there'd be a divorce goin' on!
....Hey, that gives me an idea....
I would say use it in whatever fashion you're most comfortable. But, keep it lubricated and frequently inspect it. Which really is true for all parts of a T.
I know however that there were some really bad reproductions made years ago. I wouldn't use those at all. They were soft and had a malformed "chisel" edge due to being stamped from a poor quality die.
I attended a well known Speedster run back when they let down draft carburetors on the run. During the safety inspection an unknowing safety inspector pulled the handle back without squeezing the handle and that one pull rounded off the pawl and the brake would not set. They did not want to let me run. I bend a wire so it would loop over the handle and latch onto the seat belt latch. They let me run. I had just replaced the pawl and riveted it in the proper manner per good Model T mechanic's fashion.
The pawl was brand new but had not been hardened. I got a new one and heated it very hot and then quenched it in oil and it has been working for 12 years. But, I always squeeze the handle. I also put a small coil spring in a manner that pulls the latching pawl into the toothed quadrant. The pawl was the solid type and not the folded sheet metal variety.
See the picture below. It also did not fully touch the teeth and only contacted on a slight edge, perhaps because it was made without the correct off-set. See the failed pawl below that was worn in a metter that did not let it latch correctly.
Here is how I attached the additional spring to assure that the teeth would make a good contact. The bolt that hold the lever on the cross shaft was worn as was the hole. So I tapered the hole and drove a taper pin and that solved the wobble in the hand brake handle. When we purchased the car the handle could wobble back and forth about two inches. The taper pin stopped that very nicely.
Here are a couple of views of a spring like Frank's. You can get one from the parts dealers for a couple of bucks, or spend that dough on something you can't buy locally at the hardware store.
Funny you bring this up. I just had to replace the pawl on my handbrake because it would no longer engage the ratchet. The entire handbrake assembly was an original and in very good condition when I installed it about 4 years ago. the tooth was totally worn out, no doubt because I dragged it over the teeth. I now squeeze the handbrake to release it before I draw it back. I was surprised to see how much wear occurred in the four years. I should have saved the tooth. It was quite an eye opener to me.
Here's the spring the vendors sell, works great!!
Oh I forgot to add, I attached the spring the vendors sell to the car I refer to. It increases the tension on the tooth so it grabs the ratchet more securely. The downside is if you don't squeeze the handle when releasing it, you are placing a lot of drag on the pawl. I am convinced that extra drag contributed to the problem I experienced.
Casenit could easily be used to case-harden the pawl and the ratchet to help resist wear, if it is a major concern.