I have never driven a model t before today. I thought that you were supposed to step down on the pedal all at once to get it to go, but my car stalls when I do that. It will go forward if I slowly push down on the pedal. Is this correct or am I doing it wrong? This is with the break lever strait up and down and quite a bit of throttle.
Try setting your spark lever only 1/3 of the way down and the throttle at Idle. Push the left pedal slowly until you just feel the band starting to grab, then push down firmly and feed in some throttle at the same time, trying to minimize slippage of the band. Once you are under way in low, you can pull the spark advance further down for best power in low gear.
It takes some practice, but you'll get the hang of it!
completely retard your spark and at an idle, push quickly on the clutch pedal. If the spark is advance at all, it will likely cause the engine to cough and stall, but if it is totally retarded, it will not cough and will chug forward
Also be sure the brake lever is adjusted properly. Just because it is straight up does not necessarily mean it has released the brakes totally.
Ok, this is exactly what I needed to here I will try these things and see how they work. Thank you
Also note that you will not have high gear with the brake lever pulled. Releasing low pedal position to high position will give you neutral. The lever must be forward for high gear.
How do you go down hills if there is no brake?
The reason folks say to stomp hard on the pedal is to minimize slippage of the band. Slippage is indeed a bad thing, and it does need to be minimized.....BUT......a little slippage is not going to wear your band out overnight. If you have to slip it a little to get it going, go ahead and slip it a little until you get the feel for it. Just know that the more you slip it, the quicker it will wear. If you're killing the engine, you just need to give it a little more gas at the point you step on the LOW pedal. It will come to you. Keep trying.
I'm not sure I understand your last question. Perhaps it was in response to Michael's post? The right pedal is the service brake and works much like the brake in any other car. It, too, needs to have the slippage minimized, so slow down as much as possible by closing the throttle and letting the car slow before using the foot brake. Plan ahead. Close the throttle WAY before getting to the stop sign. This foot brake works on a drum in the transmission and is actually putting the brakes on your drive shaft rather than your wheels. The hand brake works on the drums that are on the rear wheels. It is not intended to be used as a service brake, only a parking brake or emergency brake. What Michael was saying is that if it is not adjusted properly, it could still be holding even though the lever is vertical. In my experience, the opposite is more usually the case. They don't hold like they should even when pulled all the way back.
Daniel, practice is the key, you'll get the feel of it. Be aware that there are three stages of the learning process, just like a teenager learning to drive a regular car.
The first stage is when everything is a new experience, so the learner is super careful and concentrates hard.
The second stage is when you've climbed the initial learning curve and have gained some confidence, but you revert back to old habits when something unexpected happens or a panic situation comes up. This can be the most dangerous time for a new teenage driver.
The third stage is when you've mastered operating the car, not only in normal driving, but you now also have the correct reflexes to handle unexpected and panic situations.
Keep practicing and let us know how it goes!
...and when you are driving your modern car and find that you turn on the right turn signal when slowing down for a red light you will know that you are no longer a newbie!!
In Santa Cruz, there are quite a few hills. You need a Ruckstell axle if you don't have one. Before you stop shift into Ruckstell. Then when you start in low it will be much easier on the low band. If your car already has Ruckstell, it is quite possible it has a 3to1 ratio in the rear axle. It is almost impossible to start out on any hill in Ford low with a 3to1 ratio.
Going down hill use the same gear you use to climb the hill. Just stay over to the right and let the faster cars pass. You will need to pump your brake from time to time to keep it slowed down. Only use the brake when you want to come to a complete stop.
Since this thread has brought up the issue of keeping control of your car when going down hills, be aware that fully retarding your spark as well as fully closing the throttle when using the engine for braking can make the difference between having to ride your brakes or not.
Do everything you can to reduce your dependance on the fragile Model T brakes.
" reduce your dependance on the fragile Model T brakes."
A model T has brakes?
Yes, practice, practice, practice. The other advice I occasionally give, is that when you first begin learning how to drive a model T? Clear your mind. Forget everything you have learned about driving after about the age of five. A model T is one of the easiest cars in the world to drive. Remember, it was designed to be driven by people that had never even ridden in a car before, let alone driven one. When you were five, you knew daddy sat behind the wheel, and turned it to make the car steer. He worked with levers and pedals and knobs to do various things, but you really didn't know what any of those things did. And you didn't know how the steering felt.
A model T is easy to drive. It is just totally different than a modern car. There are some safety issues to become aware of, and become prepared for.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
My T mentor built and sold a lot of Model T's. He gave every one who bought a T from him a new copy of the T bible. He also drove them to an air strip for driving lessons. His first piece of advice to a newbie was "The first think you need to know about driving a Model T is to pull your head out of your a$$. It got their attention and was good advice!
Thanks all. I practiced some today and am starting to get he hang of it. I need more practice, but this thread helped get me started off.
It's not as critical as you may think. _The two or three seconds it takes to fully engage the low band isn't going to overcome the thermal inertia of the drum to the point of overheating, and even if you could just slam the left pedal down without stalling the engine, the sudden shock down the drive-train wouldn't be doing it any good.
Make a game of getting the car moving from a dead stop with the lowest possible RPMs and take two or three seconds to fully engage the low band. _You'll stall the engine a few times, but then you'll get the knack.
Mr. Ford prided himself on weight-savings, so the Model T is strong enough where it needs to be and... well, not so strong elsewhere. _Therefore, the low-drum and brake-drum were made more durable than the far less often used reverse-drum. _With that in mind, don't use the reverse-pedal for braking.
As you're a new Tin Lizzie pilot, I'll point out a few other things to keep in mind, based on experience teaching friends how to drive my car:
1.) Keep your eyes on the road, not on your left foot.
2.) Don't forget to steer (Yup, believe it or not, people need to be reminded).
3.) If you get in trouble, just step on the brake (Yup, people forget about that too).
If you're going to teach yourself, the best place to do that is your local high-school parking lot on weekends. _Set the floor-lever for neutral and just practice starting, stopping and steering figure-eights using low-gear only. _Master that before you start to work on up and down-shifting.
Knowing how to drive a modern car is a disadvantage because you have to mentally suspend what you already know. _Your practiced habits and muscle-memory will work against you. _My first attempt was so frustrating, I wondered whether I'd ever master the car. _Had I practiced in a parking lot, it would have been a whole lot easier. _Just for giggles, go here to read just how badly I messed up:
Watch this. I don't add throttle until the car is moving. The pedal is applied not suddenly but in one smooth graceful application ending in firm pressure on the pedal, and the low pedal nearly to the floor:
BTW in that video the car is started by a "free start", then the spark lever is pulled from the top to half way down and the key is flipped to "MAG".
Great video, Royce. At first, I thought, boy, his coils sound wierd, then I realized the sound was chirping cicadas!
You see a little bit of "how to drive" at the start of this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21k8N9rR0GU&list=UUFVx528ORtpDgCPJXbFCA6w (Don't forget to close the doors.)
Hand crank start here:
If you are not yet a member, I know there is a Model T club either in Santa Cruz or in San Jose or nearby. Get to know the members and ask one of them to help you learn to drive the T. I'm sure someone out there would delight in doing so.
I think the closest one would be Santa Clara Valley. You can find a link to this under Chapters.
The Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford Club is a great group, and very active. They currently put on two major events every year; the annual Endurance Run and Lowland Tour in June, and "History in the Park in San Jose's History park in September. They have lesser one day local tours six to eight other times a year, plus numerous community involvement activities with usually just a couple cars. In addition to all that, every few years they may have a multiple days progressive tour or camp-out (often in Yosemite).
And, yes, they have many people that volunteer to teach people how to drive a model T.
I haven't been really active in way too many years due to family and distance issues. However I first joined the club about 1970. Great group of people!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
The one "phase" not mentioned in learning to drive a T is the "Panic because the car won't stop even though I've pushed in the clutch!!!".....because your brain is used to the left foot pushing down a modern clutch, rather than a "go" pedal. I nearly ran over my wife while driving into the garage the first time. I had an older friend laugh & tell me they used to use pastures as training grounds when teaching people to drive so there would be fewer fences for them to drive thru.
In a panic situation, hit any two pedals. It will stop. You will have to restart the engine, but the car will stop.
Don't despair - In my experience driving a T is like riding a bicycle - once you get it you don't forget.
I learned to drive a T when I was about 16 years old (1961).
The car went into storage in 64 and I got it to my house in 2010.
It only took a few minutes for it to come back to me.
In fact my mom marveled at how smooth my transition from low to high was and said that I was as good as my dad was.
I love Mike's comment about people learning to drive in Pastures!
This is how I learned to drive a Model T. I only rode in one twice before I bought mine at age 54. But I didn't actually drive it. I just watched.
When I was about 15, my dad and uncles told me how the pedals worked and how to use the hand throttle. My first car was a Model A and I pretended to be driving a Model T by shifting directly from low to high. I also used the hand throttle, and of course the Model A also has the spark lever so I understood that and how to adjust the fuel mixture. Only difference was that when I started out in low, I let out the clutch instead of pushing it in. Anyway, I remembered what my dad and uncles had taught me without actually doing it for 39 years.
When I bought my first T, the previous owner took me for a drive, and then said,"It's your turn to drive it". I got in and drove it. Anyway, that's how I learned.