My '25 Touring is almost ready to go anywhere, I drove it last week for 7 Km and everything did ok,
but I still don't know what is the best way to down big hills, is there a safety way to do that?
I live in a very mountain city, and I do not want to damage my car or die.
If at all concerned.....IMHO you should add auxiliary brakes to your Model T.
Those will work as outside bands on the brake drums. Really are nice to have on a Model T.
Vendors can supply complete new ones, one type, Rocky Mountain, come with oversize drums for more surface area, the other type, A/C , use the std Ford small drum.
If not a purist, there's the disc brake option. See this recent thread: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/443984.html
Thank you for your tips, but I really want to keep my model T as stock as possible... just like Henry did it.
I also had an "stock, original" attitude same as you Rodrigo until I almost rolled our '19 Centerdoor heading down a rather steep hill to a light house on Vashon Island (here in WA) after my brakes faded at the stop sign at the bottom !!! Installed a set of Rocky's and haven't looked back.
Rockies and AC brakes are not stock, but they're period correct accessories. Not a bad thing to have.
On steep hills go down in low and let the engine be your brake.
That's fine too.
So when you go down a steep mountain, keep your throttle closed. And be sure your throttle rod is adjusted to allow a slow idle. Never let the throttle be adjusted so that when fully closed it could possibly shut off the engine, you don't need that to happen.
Then to check your down hill speed when in high gear, just occasionally press fully on the brake pedal for 5 seconds or so, to provide some slow down.
The T will want to roll on down at a good clip due to gravity and weight, so even with throttle closed, you have to brake from time to time to check your speed. By using using the brake in occasional spats, you prevent overheating of the brake drum, or the burning or glazing over of the brake band lining, due to heated oil.
Finally be sure your emergency/parking brake will lock up firmly the rear wheels when pulled straight up. That may come in play if you have to go for that lever. And for parking on hills. Carry a wheel chock just in case, and use it too when parking on hills.
Some linings are more suited for brake work, and will last a long time, for me, I prefer the Kevlar. Just remember that oil is needed to cool the lining and drum surface, so don't hold the brake pedal down for longer periods as needed.
Keep your T tools with you, including the low speed wrenches for low pedal adjustment in hills/mountains, that one is easy to reach under the floorboards. And the band wrench for brake and reverse, get to those under the inspection cover.
you will discover that driving a T defensively is a must for any situation. This however can not always account for other drivers. If you want to maintain or decrease your speed on any grade, retard your spark and throttle all the way. This will give you maximum engine braking with no negative wear/tear on the engine. Most agree that when using the breaks, they should be used in a pumping motion thus allowing the band/drum short bits of time to cool. If you want to go really slow down a grade, hold it in low gear. In an emergency ONLY, slam all three to the floorboards. Your life is more important than any possible damage done to the tranny.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don't let an emergency happen. Go slow.
Where I live, there are many steep hills. I like originality also....however, if you are going to drive your model T on steep hills.....please, for your safety and ours, add outside brakes.
We all want to have fun driving our model T's....where I live and areas I like to tour in require outside brakes.
In addition to outside brakes, having a Ruckstell two speed rear end can also play a big part in keeping hill speeds at a safe limit when going down hill.
The basic rule for heavy trucks and Model T's is to descend the hill in the same gear that you can climb the hill. If you can only climb the hill in low gear, then descend it in low gear. The idea is to never use your brakes to hold your speed down. Brake get hot and fail when they get hotter.
On my 26 roadster I can descend a 18% down grade with no brakes.
Also I will reinforce Nathan's comment, set your spark to full retard for maximum engine braking. It is not something a modern driver would have a clue to do but it does make a difference and can easily make the difference between needing brakes or not.
We don't want you to die either! Model Ts can be rebuilt again.
Learn what your car can and what it cannot do.
Do not take risky chances.
Keep all brake systems properly adjusted.
Become aware of the risks inherent to two wheel brakes (they can have some tricky unexpected reactions).
Keep in control! Go down hills slowly!!!
Think and plan ahead! Things can and do break. Be prepared.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Rodrigo: Rocky Mountain and A-C brakes are so common on Model "T"'s that they are almost expected as an accessory in hilly or mountainous regions they are "period correct" and an awesome advantage over the stock braking system get one or the other and enjoy your "T" and reduce those scary moments. Safety is Primary!
Any hill country will make you glad you have a ruckstell also, as it helps going up hills as well as down, as noted by Jim above.
Just remember to drive your T and thinking I actually don't have brakes! Using the Rockies or AC's do help but its still not like a modern car or pickup. Its still 100 year old technology!
Drive safely and have fun. And live!!
The very most important thing is to have brakes on the wheels. The original transmission brake is in the transmission and using engine compression is also forward of the driveshaft. If you have a failure in the driveshaft,universal joint, differential system, you will be in freewheeling. The original parking brake is metal to metal and it will slow or stop the car, but not very well especially on the cars with the small drums. Lined shoes are available and they don't show. They will stop better than the metal to metal, and will not destroy the drums if used often. I don't know about the driving conditions where you live, but on the plains in light traffic, the original equipment will do the job (usually), but on hills, even modest ones, if the drivetrain fails the car will just keep rolling until it hits something or goes off a cliff. I find Rocky Mountain brakes to be very good, and they even draw an audience when the car is parked.
I was interested in the comment about moving the timer into retard and cutting the gas to the minimum. Also stated was "don't shut engine off". I have been able to come down a rather steep grade over a 2 mile stretch with switchbacks by retarding the spark, shutting the gas down and shutting the engine off. By shutting the engine off the car is completely "run" by compression with no gas to help the engine produce any forward motion. This allowed the car to run down the hill at a constant 27 mph with no braking. I guess everybody has a method.
You make sure you go down the hill at the same speed that you can go up the hill to preserve life and limbs.
When trying to stop or slow down by using the hand brake you are taking the transmission out of gear and freewheeling a bit. You also only have one hand on the steering wheel while using the hand brake. Make sure your bands are adjusted correctly and the transmission will help slow you down.
"When trying to stop or slow down by using the hand brake you are taking the transmission out of gear and freewheeling a bit." Unless you're mashing down the low pedal. Then you're in gear.