A MRSA staff infection, 4 1/2 months in hospital/nursing home, knee replacement a year later with a total of seven operations on my left knee has left my left knee almost impossible of operating the low gear clutch peddle on my T's. It has improved some but my T's and 50 Ford have pretty well sat. Looking for ideas, short of converting to right hand drive, to mechanically operate that first peddle. Tried taking a short section of 3/4 conduit and attached C bracket on the end to go over the peddle and operate the conduit with my left hand but it did not work out very good. Some others have surely faced this problems. How? Please share if you have an idea.
Here is a 2013 thread mentioning a now deceased member who converted his T to hand controls. You might try contacting the original poster in the thread to see if he ever got the details on the setup:
Thank you Mark. I have sent a personal note to see if he remembers the set up.
Harry - My Uncle had Polio as a small child and had virtually no muscular control of his left leg, but he learned to drive my '27 Fordor using no extra or special equipment.
His right leg was ok, and he could stand but usually had a hand on something to steady himself.
He usually walked with crutches, and rarely with a cane.
He had very strong arms and hands, and would pull himself to the drivers seat coming in the right front door. To use the low gear pedal, he would use his left hand to swing his left leg onto the low pedal, then push down on his left knee, thus pushing the low gear pedal down. He was very good at this and if you didn't know it, you would never guess it. He was 44 when I bought the T, and he drove it often until I moved 5 years later and took the T with me.
He had learned to drive with a stick shift when he was 16 in 1936, and learned to operate the clutch pedal on those cars with the same method.
RHD is exactly the same as LHD the low pedal is in the same place.
You may have to learn all over again but you only need one leg to drive a Model T.
If you use the hand brake you can put the clutch pedal into neutral use your right leg to press down and then release the hand brake lever to get high.
Reverse the same method, when you need to stop use you right leg to brake and pull back on the hand brake for neutral.
When I was in junior high school in 1951 I was deeply into Ts and building a running chassis. Every day there was an old gent in a 26 T Roadster PU driving by the school and one day I followed him on my bicycle. He joined a group of friends for lunch at a corporation yard and I joined them. Up to that time I only saw the passenger side of the car...but upon finding it stopped I found that the driver had no left leg..lost in WWI. He had extended the low pedal shaft to the outside of the car where he had a long lever and operated low speed with his left hand. Incidentally, this is the only T that I saw running in San Jose at that time.
"RHD is exactly the same as LHD the low pedal is in the same place."
It must be uncomfortable to drive those RHD cars, having to swing your legs over to the left all the time to work the pedals.
The seat on my car is wide enough that I sometimes end up sitting straddle of the clutch lever and then I drive with my right foot, both work just as good. Having a hand throttle makes driving the T easier when one leg is disabled. Years ago, I had my leg in a cast from the hip to my toes, I could move the toes enough for the gas peddle in my pickup, but I had to use the left foot for the clutch and brake, and would even use the left foot for the throttle when on the road.
I will see if I can find a copy of the article, it was called Grab a Handfull and it was in some HCCA publications, but not sure if it made the national magazine. That article was about the hand controls made for my father's 1915 roadster; he had M.S. And the controls added some years to his driving.
I don't know if I can locate the article but I do have the set of controls. I'm hammered at work right now but if you pester me and send a PM so I don't forget I will dig them out and post pictures.
"I'm hammered at work right now..."
Careful you don't get fired!
Harry, there have been some really good suggestions for you to contemplate. You mentioned that there has been some improvement in your leg. Be assured that the best way to keep this up is to use it as much as possible. It may never be as good as you might like. The second of my two hip replacements works much better than the first because I was encouraged to push it further and make it work for me.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.