I realize every T is different and unique, but i wanted to hear how the great people here start out in first gear. I have seen some vids of people starting out at basically a crawl when taking off in low and it never seems to stall. Are they slightly slipping the bands to achieve this? I thought it was best for the bands and drums if you basically put down the peddle pretty forcibly, but if i do that at a low idle it will basically stall. What is the best technique between slipping and stalling? Or is it you do whatever your car tells you what it likes best?
Hi John, glad yer getting out in your T and enjoying it. Here's what I do...pull down the throttle ear above idle a tad while gently pushing (slipping) the low peddle from neutral towards total engagement near the floorboard. As your vehicle begins to move increase throttle and then forcibly push the peddle to the floor board to engage completely, all the while pulling the throttle ear towards wide open. When the engine reaches rev's that sound like its time to shift then let the peddle slide out past neutral and into high while pushing the throttle lever back near idle. As the car moves along in high adjust the throttle to the desired speed for the conditions that you are driving in.
Hope that helps...W
Depends on the situation. -Stalling off a stop-sign on a lightly traveled, residential road with no traffic in sight is no big deal, so I'll keep the revs low in that situation. -And yeah, sometimes I embarrass myself that way. -True, I might not be so willing to do that if not for my retro-fitted electric starter.
Speaking in the strictly hypothetical realm; I suppose one could engage low at about, oh, say 5 mph while approaching that stop-sign and almost but not quite come to a complete stop and then just add throttle, observing the spirit of the law and at the same time, avoiding some wear & tear on the bands.
In heavy traffic, stalling can be downright dangerous, especially when turning left across oncoming traffic lanes. -There, I rev it up higher, feather in the pedal and grimace, knowing it's better to apply the kevlar to the poor, defenseless low-drum than it is to stall and get T-boned.
Thanks Wayne and Bob..nothing worse than stalling when trying to pull out into traffic, other than letting up on the clutch and realizing you forgot to put the brake lever forward basically rendering yourself in neutral as all the traffic runs up your ass ..It seems i need lots more time behind the wheel, just wanted to see what i was doing wrong.
I'M probably over thinking the "proper way to drive and shift a T", Its hard to make a smooth and perfect shift in a T that doesn't involve some shaking and shuddering.
There has to be a little slipping. Just keep it to a minimum. As soon as the car starts to move, mash down hard.
You start out in either low or reverse by applying the pedal smoothly but rapidly with the engine at idle. You add a tiny bit of throttle just at the point the band engages, so little that the engine does not actually increase in speed.
After the car is moving and the band is completely engaged you can add throttle to achieve the desired speed.
I've seen T'ers jam the pedal really hard to start and I've seen them push down gradually like a 16 yr old girl learning to drive stick for the first time.
The truth is probably somewhere in between but with a minimal amount of slippage.
FWIW, because of the T's good torque at slow speeds, its harder to stall the engine than you think! If I let the clutch out on a modern stick shift car they way I drive my T, it would stall every time.
When I got my first T ($25) at age 16 there was no one that I knew that could teach me or even tell me how to drive it. I got a copy of Tin Lizzie from the library and learnt from that. I couldn't figure out the neutral part of the low pedal, (maybe the linkage wasn't adjusted properly) so I would start out in low, move the lever forward, release the low pedal and go from there. Stopping, I always pulled the lever back for neutral.
I find myself still driving like that once in a while, old habits are hard to break I guess.
Royce's advice is correct. Don't slip the band in low or reverse. Don't use reverse for a brake. Both the low and reverse drums are thin and have a small heat capacity.
I second what Royce and Ted said. If your T is adjusted correctly and you retard the spark, on level ground, you should be able to slip into low gear at idle speed with virtually no slipping.
If you "set it and forget it" and keep the engine well advanced while sitting still, then you'll likely stall the car trying to perform the above.
The T transmission is quite a huge flywheel, and low gear is LOW. So long as you don't have the timing set advanced, the engine won't fight you and the flywheel effect will carry you through.
From what I've seen over the years, (if national tours are indicative of most T drivers), then the reality is that many if not most owners leave from a stoplight with lots of noise and drama. It doesn't need to be so.
And finally, the worst offenders usually are the least appreciative of advice, so now I just smile and wave.
With 3:1 in the rear axle and no magnets on the flywheel I must give the engine some gas to avoid stalling when starting, though I try to keep the slipping to a minimum to save the wood band. A ruckstell axle and starting in ruckstell low would probably have helped a lot. My next engine will have magnets, should be interesting to compare the difference in flywheel effect.
You're right...I've driven 3:1 cars and agree that with that ratio, it's probably impossible to start off and not slip low gear. I should have stated that I was referring to T's equipped with standard rear end ratio. I never even gave it a thought when I posted above.
I live in an urban area (traffic) and found that ratio to be uncomfortable to drive and from that experience, probably wouldn't personally consider it unless it was in a Ruckstel or a very light speedster.
I mostly use ruckstell low when starting out with our 13 touring. It has no magnets, kelvar band linings and 400 clutch disks. Same set up for close to 15 yrs. with no problems.
With folks in the back seat....I allway's use ruckstell low when starting out. Having magnets does make it easier starting out....however, after you are moving....acceleration is quicker with out magnets.
The bands are designed to slip. They are the sacrificial part of the drive train. Better to slip the bands and wear out the cotton than jerk the car into motion. Another thing I see that bothers me. Some guys use low only to get the car minimally in motion and then immediately shift to high gear and lug the engine. Use common sense. Rev the car in low enough so the shift to high doesn't strain the crank. I am not saying to wind it out, you can tell when to shift. Listen to your car.
True enough the bands are designed to slip but I find that wooden bands that have been slipped like cotton bands burn and then chatter horribly.
I am not familiar with Kevlar.
Every situation is different. On mostly level ground, Royce's and Scott's method works very well especially with standard gearing and a well tuned engine. However, not all ground id level, not all T's have standard gearing. I have 3 T's 2 have standard gearing, one has 3-1 gearing. All three have Ruckstell. On downhill or level the method of starting at idle pressing the band tight and then advancing the throttle and spark work well. You also don't need to rev the engine very much to shift into high.
On uphill, you need a little more throttle and on steep hills you need low Ruckstell. The 3-1 will not start on any hill without slipping. I usually use Low Ruckstell on any slightest hill with the 3-1. Once the 3-1 gets moving, however, it will go along faster than the standard, and on 6%grades if I can keep it at 30 mph it will go up in high. Most T's go about 22-25 in high on a 6%hill so when I am in a tour, I will need to shift to Ruckstell sooner than the standard cars.
I was going to call BS on Royce until I read Scott's post. I can not count the times I have killed my engine when starting out. Not a good thing to have to get out and restart in the middle of an intersection, so I have been a bit aggressive with the throttle. I have always advanced the spark a bit after starting, and after trying to start out at an idle with the spark fully retarded, I have been unable to kill the engine by pushing firmly on the pedal even with out adding throttle. Thanks Scott, for explaining it well enough for a idiot like me to understand.
I was on the "Hillbilly Tour" to Branson, MO recently and a fellow on the tour had a really pretty brass car that had a new motor in it. He said the the clutch pedal was high at the beginning of the day but that he was having to adjust it all day long and then ran out of adjustment by the end of the first day. I told him I had zero experience with wood bands so didn't really know if the break in method, if any, should be different compared to other bands. I kinda suspected there was something wrong but didn't really know for sure. I wonder if some of you guys who run wood bands could shed some light on what was going on with his car and what would or should have been "normal".
That sounds like either serious abuse of "low pedal" which led to a worn and charred wood band, or, a rough and/or cracked drum that ate the band up!
I have wood bands on one of my T's and they have been there for 20 years. They rarely need adjustment. This is the car I have used most on tours including the Canyonlands tour in Utah. I also live in the mountains. The band should not wear out that fast unless you are slipping it too much.
Never even thought about starting out with the engine retarded more than i usually start out in, didn't think it would make a difference from a standstill, cant wait to try this out to see if it works. Thanks guys.
I normally "Goose" the throttle before stepping on the low pedal. Just a quick rev to get the engine going, then immediately close it so I'm not trying add any more power. Then I open the throttle again once I have the pedal down firm, which I do rather quickly. I do NOT slip the bands for 50-100 feet like I see some folks doing.
I always feel like my car is too slow in low, like it doesn't want to get up to even a slow speed at all until I shift.
Several things contribute to rapid wear of bands. One is of course slipping when starting out. A more serious cause is too tight band adjustment which allows the bands to drag on the drums whenever the engine is running. This cause will also lead to burnt and cracked drums. A third problem is worn out pedal cams. The pedal is depressed but does not clamp the band tight. This will also cause slipping and rapid wear. A fourth cause is improper band lining installation. The ends of the bands should be riveted first and then the middle worked tight against the steel band. If you start in the center and work toward the ends, the band material will be stretched between rivets and will drag on the drum even with the adjustment loose.
My dad taught me to use a slow but steady engagement technique for low; spark retarded about half, slow throttle up as the band engages continuing to full engagement, a little like letting a clutch out on a standard shift but not synchronized tranny. I figure the band slips a little bit, maybe 10 ft. or so before full engagement. Trick is to make it all smooth, pedal and throttle coming down together. Put the brake lever fully forward and advance the spark, let up on the throttle a bit before releasing the pedal then throttle back up as high engages. Again the key is smoothness. Been running the same kevlar bands with only maybe a yearly adjustment for years.
Like Steve said.......I "tickle" the low band a couple times until the car gets moving a little before I mash it rather than slipping the band to get going.
I have been following Scott and Royce's method for the past couple of days, and have yet to kill the engine starting at an idle and engaging the band smoothly but quickly. With the spark fully retarded the band is fully engaged with in 2 feet of travel and no need to open the throttle. I would guess I have cut slippage by 80%.
I have wood in two cars and cotton in two cars. I drive both the same and "slip" low as little as possible but my throttle is generally all the way up and I bring it down immediately upon engagement.
good for you! It really is amazing how much easier it is to engage low gear doing it this way. By the way, if you're doing this in the ambulance, then my hat's off to you, as I'm sure that's a heavier than normal vehicle (and quite nice, too)
Yes, I am doing it in the ambulance, the body is probably as heavy as the chassis.
You are the one that deserves the "Good for You" as your "retard the spark" got my attention. I always advanced the spark a bit after starting, it always seemed to run better with it advanced a bit and I always thought that it would start out better if it was idling better. Your comment got me to thinking about the times I had stalled the car and restarted (4th of July parade) and it would often start out well, that was because I would jump back on with out advancing the spark like I normally did.
Thanks again for the lesson, this forum is great because of people like you who take the time to spell it out for us slower guys.
Well, i finally had enough time and some good weather here to try out the retarded timing low gear initiation, and what a difference it certainly makes. Being a new owner, and someone who was in the habit of setting the timing once started to where it runs best at full jaunt all of the time, the difference is amazing. I can now basically start out at a little past idle, fully engage while giving it throttle at the same time, without even a hint of bucking or wanting to stall. I even started experimenting on leaving the timing half retarded while at low speeds and advancing it more as i increase speed to max, and even though it seems like more to think about, my car has never run more smoothly, and is happier than ever. Thanks to all of you here for the great tips, they really do work.