While driving the Model T on shop business this morning I noticed that one of the reasons I was having a tough time learning to drive smoothly was that my shoes were catching on the reverse pedal while trying to feather the high speed clutch to make smooth easy shifts. I'm still new enough to T driving that some of the finer points are only just coming to my attention.
Today I realized that my shoe had to be in just the right position to miss the high gear lever and the reverse pedal or there was likely to be a jerk as I kept pulling the foot back and it suddenly let go.
I know I could have put a 26/27 hogshead on the motor with its wider pedals. I thought about it at the time but decided to retain the '23 appropriate setup. Mebbee I can find some slimmer shoes for my size 14 EEEE feet and that will ease the situation. If not I'll just have to learn to place the feet more carefully.
Once I realized what was happening the old Fats Waller song popped into my head with a few changes to the lyrics.
Way down in Fullerton in a T for two
There were four of us
Me yo big feet and You . . .
Reverse pedal extension helps some:
Paul I know you have a stock T but that exact problem is why I moved my brake handle outside the body on my speedster. It's often really important in an emergency to be able to move your feet where you need them - I would suggest considering buying a second handbrake and bending it so that your foot has room. Not very hard to do both the main handle and the rod hat actuates to the tooth.
I second the recommendation on the reverse pedal extension. I also bent my emergency brake handle over to the left:
There are very few situations in my life where I find being shorter and smaller than average to be an advantage. Owning a Model T is one of the exceptions. I'm kind of a 1920s-sized guy.....
I forget his name (chemo brain) ,but Tom who makes the reverse pedal extensions,also makes clutch and/or brake extensions. Extra width,easy to get big old wide feet on.
I don't have surfboards for feet, but I have found that if I wear western boots when driving a T it is easier to plant my foot on the low pedal without bashing the reverse level.
Over the years in which I've been involved with the Model T (since 1967) occasionally Old Timers (the diminutive ones) looking over my car would lean in and share in a brotherly and knowing tone that the Ford Two Step is most adroitly performed when wearing ballet slippers.
I sing the praises of Henry's Finest from the Planetary Choir with Dick Lodge: 5'5'' with a shoe size of seven. Some times size does matter.
Tom Strickling makes the repro reverse pedal extension. I have one and it works great.
Next time you are around a shoe store that sells western boots, try a pair on. That is what I wear if I am driving the T around a good bit,like in the parade or something.Pointed toes of the boots get around that )#$(U reverse pedal.
Try driving with winter pac boots on! It's like wearing clown shoes. I second cowboy boots, best shoe for T driving. PK
Boots and shoes don't work for me. -I wear sneakers and tuck in my shoelaces to keep them from getting tangled in the pedals.
The "Fatman" steering wheel, reverse pedal extension and handbrake extension wouldn't have become such well known accessories had the Model T not been such a solid example of poorly thought-out driver ergonomics.
Pressing the reverse pedal was a huge problem. In one case, I couldn't press it hard enough to back up a slope! What I did was to adjust up the reverse band as tight as I could without it engaging. I tested this by running the motor and using a hand to depress the pedal and listening for the sound of the band contracting. Now the pedal doesn't move much and I can depress it with the side of my foot. Reversing in low Ruckstell helps too.
I love the idea of cowboy boots. I want a Western hat with a strap to keep the sun off with the top down and the boots would go with that theme. The problem is that I have never even come CLOSE to finding a pair that I could get on. Maybe it would be worth trying again now that Western wear has had a vouge in recent years . . .
Wear cowboy boots and your problem is solved.
I tried that once but the spurs kept gouging the floorboards!
I wear boots-- but take them off, maam!
I wonder how many young farm boys lernt to drive their pappys old Ford barefooted?
I would think the benefits would have been no fumbling with the gears, as non-slip as God and Mr.H.Ford ever envisioned and calluses as tough as a bull calfs hide after driving for a summer in the hot sun in an overheated Ford.
Besides, Bill, You and I both know only the city slickers, with big old fancy tombs at the graveyard wear cowboy boots in Adelaida (and they don't drive Fords).
He just gave up trying to wear normal shoes to drive a T.
I like the idea of moving the lever to the side for other reasons. I need the room! If I can get the Ruckstell lever bent the other way my runabout can become a monoposto . . .
Paul, please explain "feather the high speed clutch". The reason I bring it up is because one thing I struggled hard to learn to do was get a smooth shift without slipping the clutch. Now that I've been driving my Model T for a few years I've developed a good feel for what it takes to let that low pedal back without slipping the clutch and being able to produce smooth "positive" shifts. I gotta admit I only wear a size 11 4D and didn't have a super problem with the reverse pedal in the way but I don't think I'm feathering the pedal until it engages. Of course I might also not understand what the word feather means when used in this context.
Unless the engine speed EXACTLY matches high gear the clutch will engage with a jerk. There are two things that help, the first is learning to match the engine revs to conditions, a judgement call that I'm getting better at as I get more seat time in this car.
The second thing is to slip the high speed clutch just enough to smooth and mismatch between engine speed & high gear. This is where my size 14 EEEE has been getting in the way. As I lift up on the pedal feeling for the high speed clutch, my foot gets snagged on the reverse pedal creating a jerk that I would like to avoid.
I can see no reason why a Flivver can't be driven every bit as smoothly as a car with sliding gears and if you get everything right, the time between gears - the shift itself - should be very brief. What the T lacks in power can be partly offset by rapid changes allowing more time under power and less double clutching up or down as you would with sliding gears.
It just requires understanding of the mechanics, practice and mebbee smaller shoes . . .
Cowboy boots are also handy for horseback riding and western dancing, not to mention operating some generically challenged equipment including T's. Too many rocks at the mines to go barefoot
Paul, I understand what you're saying. I guess theoretically you can't avoid some slip. That's how clutches are designed. I think we all have our own little quirks of how we drive. Though I know the subject's been beat to death regarding throttle down/clutch out as opposed to throttle up/clutch out and everything in between I really like the way you describe matching engine revs to conditions. I've always liked making my T sound and feel like a smooth shift on a sliding gear transmission. I was a little confused by the term feathering. I sure don't envy you with your problem. I hope you're able to figure something out.
Reading the comments about cowboy boots and driving a T gives me the mental picture of a hot summer day with one of you with shorts and boots. NOT PRETTY!!
I too suffer from a similar shoe condition and bending the pedals has worked pretty good for me.
Lang's and others have cast pedals that slip over pre-26-27 brake and clutch pedals. When installed, they look like a 26-27 pedal set up. If not needed, they can be easily removed with the supplied set screw. I have a set on a 23 and they work well for the problems stated above.
I drove the car this weekend and paid special attention to the positioning of my foot on the pedal. With careful positioning & practice I had little trouble with snagging the shoe on the reverse pedal. My care in that direction may have induced another issue which caused some bother at a busy intersection.
I have noticed that the low pedal had been developing some resistance to being pushed. It started well at the top but as low gear engagement began it got stiff. More pressure did not equal more travel and then the pedal felt like it went "over center" and tightened the low gear band suddenly. This makes it hard to make smooth gradual starts without revving the motor which resulted in slipping the band, something I wish to avoid.
This Sunday I was number 1 in the middle lane at a bust intersection. When the checkered flag dropped, I stalled the car! I just hadn't given it enough extra gas to overcome the notchy pedal engagement. After some fumbling including trying to start the car in high gear, it restarted and - I stalled it again!. More fumbling around and I finally got the Flivver restarted and moving through the intersection. Nobody honked, nobody compared my parentage with animals (that I could hear) and traffic just flowed around my like I was a rock in a stream.
I drove directly back to the barn and thought about this situation. Was there really a fault with the car or was I doing something else wrong?
Possibly my attempts to keep my foot from snagging the reverse pedal had caused me to press the pedal down from the top rather than push it forward? In the last few starts before I got back to the shop, I tried pushing the pedal forward rather than pressing the pedal down. Too bad I didn't have a bit more time to try this new thought out but I was pressed for time and had to get on to other things. For the next drive I'll be careful to position my foot so it doesn't snag the reverse pedal AND at the same time push the pedal forward rather than down to see it this sweetens up the launches . . .
Hey Paul - I think it's time to pull off the transmission inspection plate (on the hogs head, held on by 6 screws or hex bolts).
It almost sounds like to me that you need to tighten your clutch band. However, I think it'd be best to look in there and make sure nothing is amiss before you just make an adjustment. If the band is a bit loose it is possible to push it all the way until the cams are on top of each other's flat surfaces instead of the incline. That would explain why you feel like pedal is going over center. Once you get in there you'll be able to tell. Also a good time to see how your bands and drums are looking.
Try 1/2 turn on the adjustment screw for the low pedal.
OK guys, this sounds right. I had an issue with too little room between the point where the low band wanted to tighten on the bottom and the high gear started to engage at the top of the pedal travel. I backed off the low band adjustment a half turn to give more neutral at a stop.
Everything should be good inside as the bands are new wood ones and the transmission was just overhauled. Just the same, I agree it is worth taking a look-see. Where are the cams that might go over center? Are they where the clamping action is? I do want to see if I have got that bit wrong . . .
For the clutch pedal, the cams are inside the hogshead, you'll have to remove the cover to see them:
Thanks, the picture helps. I should be able to see the cams binding if I operate the pedal by hand and that will tell me if I need to adjust the band tighter?
I usually adjust my low band so that the bottom of the pedal is about an inch above the floor boards when firmly depressed.
Once you have the low band adjusted, refer to the diagram in the thread below for the other adjustments:
Another problem could be due to the thickness of the band material. If it is thin, but still useable, you might find that tightening the adjustment will cause the right side of the band ear to drag, but you still have to depress the low pedal too far to tighten the band. In that case, a washer or two on the end of the pedal shaft just below the center of the arrow shaft in the picture posted by Mark. The washer will cause the pedal to tighten the band before it gets all the way to the end of the cam.
For high gear link adjustment see attachment to this post.
It makes sense to take a peak to see what things look like since I last inspected and adjusted the bands a couple of hundred miles ago. Here is a picture of the trans taken last summer before the car was laid up for other issues:
The bands are new last summer and would have maybe 500 miles on them total. I sure hope I haven't worn them down already!
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the reverse pedal engagement that Tom Carnegie impressed upon me several years ago. Instead of hovering over and dropping down on one of the 3 pedals with the right big foot, Tom said to enter the middle pedal from underneath. That is; when stopped you extend your right foot forward between the clutch and brake pedals from the rear. It really helps me!
Those cams on the bottom of the pedals can also get worn. Those cams should fit with very little play in the neutral position. Almost immediately after you start pushing a pedal, it should start the process of engaging the band. (Not several inches of travel before this happens)
From the looks of the picture, the low and brake look to be adjusted about the same, but the reverse is much looser. That could be caused by more wear on the low and brake, and not an adjustment problem. Can't tell by looking how much lining is left or the condition of the cams.
I agree with what George said about the placement of the foot when pressing the reverse pedal.
What Willie says about the engaging the band I would partially agree with. When the link between the low and clutch is adjusted correctly, and when the low band is correctly adjusted, the low pedal will move approximately one inch from high position to neutral. Immediately upon reaching the neutral positing, the high clutch lever will not move any farther, but the pedal can still be moved to the low position. The link adjustment controls this. It is also possible if the link is out of adjustment that the link will go over center and the clutch lever will tend to push the pedal down instead of up. Under normal adjustment, when the pedal is 1 inch down, you will begin to tighten the low band. The pedal should not move any farther with the pedal approx 1 1/2 inch above the floorboard. If the low band is too tight, you will apply the low gear immediately upon reaching neutral and the pedal will bottom out almost immediately. So anyway, both adjustments are quite sensitive to get the best action when shifting the T.
Thanks Guys. I had thought I had adjusted the link as it shows in the diagram. Possibly I got it wrong or the adjustment has drifted. I think this will be worth checking to see how it is now. Certainly the toughest job driving this car is finding neutral at stops. The line between high gear & low band seems very narrow. Possibly everything is OK with the car and my foot just needs to learn its job better.
I can't visualize how you can depress the reverse pedal from behind. You use the RIGHT foot? I have been using the LEFT foot with the lever in neutral for safety. I use the side of my foot and in low Ruckstell have little trouble achieving lock up. The band does need to be adjusted well up to do it this way.
I don't remember having a problem with peddles on my 19 - even when I was young.
This is how they looked when we got it home when I was just starting to clean it up after being stored for 45 years.
From what I remember the reverse has always been way higher than the others and out of the way.
I now wonder if the brake and low peddle are bent forward!!
I also have a rebuilt 26 motor with the wide pedals that is going in my 19 as soon as it gets warm.
I'll put a new AC brake peddle with attachment points for the linkage and change the the other peddles to the older style before I do the swap.
I'll remove the started and generator because I enjoy being a Cranky old man!
"Yo Feets too Big"....... could we have a Leon Redbone fan here?
Sure, I have a bunch of Redbone records but before there was a Redbone there was Fats Waller:
This is the song that was going through my head while trying to work the pedals on the Flivver . . .