Hey Guys. Im terrified. I have been sending myself off of big waterfalls in a kayak for years now as well as handling dynamite in blizzards in Montana but the idea of pulling my 27 out of the garage and driving around town is scaring me something fierce. I just dont know I can trust the brakes in the transmission to handle the hills of hood river. I want to get some rocky mtn brakes for it but in the mean time want to enjoy it. I know since you fellas arent here to see the car and make your own opinions I need just a bit of encouragement.
Wes, if you want to stop, get the Shure Stop disc brakes from Birdhaven, they work ,forward, backward and when wet, Rockies do a fair job going forward.
Any chance you could drive around in first gear only until you reach a wide open area?
I said this recently in another thread. Drive it like it has no brakes at all and you will never be suddenly disappointed. I know that sounds like a joke, but you should be fine if you start out very easy and experiment a little. Don't try to go fast. Use the engine to slow down. Use the brake when you're nearly stopped to hold position. Particularly at first, avoid traffic. Practice a little using the hand brake (although I dint recommend using it regularly as a service brake).
Let us know how it goes!
Does it still have Babbitt thrust washers in the rear end?
Wes, you sound like a new T driver even though you have been on the FORUM for a while.
I run only stock brakes on my T's and while I occasionally wish I had real brakes I am very careful when coming to a stop sign or going down hills. The key is watching out for the "Lookie Lews". Start stopping early!
After a very short while you will "know" what your stock brakes can and cannot handle. I've been running them for about 8 years and have been on some very hilly tours (in a Touring with 4 of us in the car). Common sense and start stopping early and you should be fine until you get your aux brakes.
Some will argue against this but most of us started out without aux brakes and not only have lived to tell about it but never wrecked a car!
Good advice from Henry. Street view tells me I wouldn't be the least bit worried or reluctant to drive a stock Model T around Hood River. I might even go all the way to Odell.
The above are good suggestions. Take it in small steps. Practice starting and stopping in the driveway until you are comfortable. Then empty parking lots and quiet roads. My T got me from Idaho Falls to Glacier park, through a whole tour and back. Small drum brakes, no spare tire and our 2 1/2 year old Granddaughter. Traffic is your enemy but the car will get you most places once you get used to it.
Wes, Best thing you can do is stay out of areas with traffic till you get the hang of it. Your '27 has infinitely better braking and handling than my '16 (relatively speaking.) One mistake many drivers new to the T make is driving too fast. Keep it slow and find your comfortable pace. Often the pressure of other drivers in traffic situations will push you to keep up. Over thinking the possibilities in a T can keep you home whimpering in a corner, believe me I know! Go ahead shoot those falls!
I don't know how steep the hills are in Hood River but I do know that you should be able to descend a 18% hill with no use of the brakes. Use low gear and retard your spark.
Find an empty parking lot and properly adjust your parking brake so that you can drive it around using low gear without worrying about shifting.
The biggest threat to me when driving my T are other cars. The empty parking lot should take care of this.
Get out there Wes! Ain't nothin' to it but to do it. Only way you get more comfortable with driving the T is by driving the T. Operate the throttle like you've got no brakes - even us speedster cats have to do the same thing.
Jim, since my only T so far is a speedster, I have to tell you that you're doing it wrong in that picture. =) With that nice straight downhill you should have both of those levers pulled down as far as they will go and both hands on the wheel! You can lever up at the bottom, right there's the time to be thinkin' about your new T speed record! You might even get up above the limit! LOL =P
Yes, there is some room for excitement on this hill. My brother lost brakes with a tractor on the hill and it ended up 100 yards in then woods at the bottom on it's side. A big old growth stump finally stopped the tractor.
HI Wes, Knowing how steep the hills in Hood River are. I would say drive it up on Hood River heights until you get some auxiliary brakes. I am putting sure stop brakes on my car. I have been in a pickle many times with no brakes and it is not a good feeling. Best Mike
Get in touch with http://www.ontariomodelt.org/. They will be a really good resource for you as you learn to drive and gain confidence.
We may even see you at one of the Can-Am events (this year in Fremont Michigan). I'm working up nerve to drive over the Ambassador Bridge to get to Fort Malden this summer.
Wes, I bought my Model T in 1996. The first week I owned it, I mostly drove around the block (clockwise, to avoid left turns). The next week, I ventured to the County Library (perhaps 2 miles away). I felt as though I had just flown to the moon. In June 2003, I left St. Louis with six other club members (all in our Ts) and drove to Dearborn Michigan for the Ford Centennial (and back - three days each way). Just ease into it.
On the other hand, I would never go off a waterfall in a kayak!
Wes: Where are you located ? This forum will find someone near you to help you learn the correct way to handle your T. Just post your location or go on the web site for the club locations in your state.
My 2 cents worth.
Modern cars are fast and agile compared to a Model T. They start fast and stop fast. A Model T does not. Other drivers are not accustomed to this difference including new Model T drivers. The only way to get used to it is to do it. You will learn to adapt to this difference with practice. That is the only way to do it. You must adapt yourself AND learn how to adjust to modern drivers.
If you live in hilly country, the WORST thing you can do is to get Rocky Mountain brakes! They do NOT work when rolling backwards on hill! Picture pulling UP to a stop sign on a hill and having to stop with someone right behind you. You are waiting for the cross traffic. While you are waiting, trying with all your might to hold the car from rolling backwards, you roll backwards anyway into the car behind you.
This has happened to me before I understood what was wrong with my brakes. The brakes came on the car when I bought it.
I now have a hydraulic disk break kit on the rear of my '14 runabout, so I don't have that problem anymore.
It's Ok to drive scared in a Model T. If you don't, I think maybe you have S*#T for brains...
I was afraid of the thing at first too. Honestly even after much practice I basically stayed in the development I live in. It's the only place within 50 miles where I can actually break the posted speed limit (25 MPH) and can drive traffic free. Don't care for outside street driving ( read: other drivers). I found it tough early on because of the "thought delay". That is thinking about what I needed to do next. Stopping, turning, feet, hands ect. It got better with time but I've got no hills to think about. And I don't want any!
I just returned from San Antonio where I taught a man to drive a TT with Ruckstell in a 7 1/2 mile night parade where millions will be spectating. Then, about 30 years ago our Austin Model T Club drove to Nachitoches, LA when a 60 year old woman learned to drive her T while on the trip! I can't add anything more to what has been said on this thread other than Take It Out And Drive It
I use mine as a daily driver its all about taking your time to get use to it. Drive like there are no brakes, slow down early and go down the hill the same way you go up the hill. Low gear is your friend. I pay my registration to hold as many modern drivers up as I need to too be safe. Don't drive to keep up drive to enjoy and smell the roses. Be in no hurry and enjoy
It is all good advice. Drive like you don't have brakes is probably the best. But there are times, when no matter how safe you are driving, you will find yourself in a situation where you will need more brakes than a standard Model T has. Usually the situation will involve a modern car driver, who doesn't understand the limits of your car, and your experience, and you will need all the bakes you can muster.
But I think that in all fairness to the discussion of the issue you raise, you should at least consider the Sure Stop Brakes (Hydraulic Disc Brakes) from Birdhaven. I know this will irritate some and infuriate others, but I don't know of anyone who has installed them, that would give them up. They work forward and backward, wet or dry, and are independent of the rest of the drive line. Some will argue that why would you need more brakes, because they can "lock up the wheels", and slide the tires with their original brake set-up. But locking up the wheels is not controlled braking like a hydraulic disc set up can provide.
I have them on my car, and I still drive it like it doesn't have brakes, but there has been more than one instance where I am convinced that those brakes kept me out of an accident, that I did not have any hand in causing.
Fortunately I have a cemetery a thousand feet flat out my front door. With its narrow paved roads and slow speed it was a great area to learn to drive. BUT I soon learned Ts have terrible brakes so designed discs shortly after learning to drive a T. Lived in The Dalles so understand your fear of Hood River Hills. Get some discs!
I had an instance driving up a back road to Big Bear in Southern CA. I don't know if you know the area, but it's definitely serious mountain driving. I've had the car over the grapevine, in the Colorado Rockies and over the Sierras a number if times, so mountain driving is not something new to me. While driving up the hill I heard a 'pop' and lost power.... luckily I had Rocky Mountain brakes. On that car I have the modern repop set (my other car has originals).
The 'pop' was the sound of the pinion gear splitting in half; the sound traveled up the drive tube so it sounded like the u-joint. The gear was a Ford original, not chipped, ran quiet, absolutely no indication of any issue prior. Think about what that actually means.... no pinion gear means no connection from the engine to the wheels, which means no using the compression or internal brake to slow down, on a steep mountain with quite a bit of traffic.
The repop R.M. brakes brought us to a stop. True, they don't work as well in reverse, but they will brake the car.
Personally there is no way in $#@* I would drive a T in serious hills or mountains without external brakes. Maybe in town on the flats, but not in the hills.
The hills around Hood River aren't all that bad. Drive your car like it should be driven, and prepare for stops well in advance if possible.
I've always heard the 09-25 trans brake drum in combination with 3:1 in the rear axle would make the brake less effective, so I expected really bad brakes when I started driving my primitive pickup.
Turned out it wasn't so bad after all - haven't had any issue with the brakes, I think it stops like it should even from 50 mph, though mostly I slow down with engine braking before applying the transmission brake. I use a kevlar band for the brake, wood for the low drum and old stock Scandinavia for the reverse. The 26/27 large drum emergency brake works fine too when I'm testing it - should something break in the drive line, they're good to have.
I see no reason to avoid driving with a '27 - you have a wider trans drum, should wear better than the earlier narrow drum brake. Just keep a good lookout at all times for modern drivers - and always expect them to do stupid things..
You have to remember NOT to compare a T to a modern vehicle with sure steering, stopping and acceleration.
Once you learn to think of a different driving technique when you get in your T it becomes second nature to drive like others have stated many times to drive like there isn't any brakes.
It takes a little practice.
When folks are apprehensive about driving a T I tell them that many millions of people have done it before, and you're probably smarter than a couple of them.
To many unknowns that only have to happen once with stock T brakes for a tragedy. I have had to brake hard to miss a dog, deer or elk that are as large as a horse. Astoria has hills you look down at the highest truss on the bridge that container ships pass under with about a thousand foot drop in one mile to the Columbia across two main roads near the bottom.
Am I remembering correctly that one of the streets in Astoria has or had the distinction of being the steepest public street of any city in the USA?
Thanks guys. I have taken the model t driving class at waaam here in hood and driven and worked on their cars aswell. I think im gonna sack up and take it out and around the block today
Don't know Henry. I have a Chicago mark E that will pull a stump in under drive often used with Garage sales when there. I still creep down that main hill by the court house even with 10 7/8" discs. Looking at the picture above stating 18 percent down grade that's a flat road good for wide open T speed!
We toured all over Hood River last summer in our barn fresh 1912 touring. I think we drove nearly 200 miles with narry the slightest issue. We drove up in the hills behind the city and over the hump t Mosher then back thru the tunnels. One day we drove across the river and up to Sunnyside and back down the hill along the Columbia to the bridge and back to Hood River. It was fun and exciting and the locals were very nice to us.
Took her out boys! Aside from having to adjust the bands she did great!
Way to go! Keep at it, practice, practice, practice!
Indeed, as Mark said above. Now let the T tourin' fun begin
Since you have a 26, you have the wide (good) brake drum. You can stop better with your car than you can with a Model A. A lot better.
BTW, since you have a 26, you don't need auxiliary brakes. In fact they are a detriment since braking while backing up is difficult at best and an oil or water on the linings reduces braking.
I have lived in the Texas hill county all my life .I have been driving Model T's and TT's for over forty years with factory brakes . I keep thanking the next T I build I'll put auxiliary braks on , but I have not yet .
My rear axle is from a sixteen the e brakes don't work very well at all
I am with Gary London on this one. The saved wear and tear on transmission or rear end parts alone with discs plus a broken axle held on the T with the rotor is worth the extra insurance.
I have a wide brake drum in my 22, discs, and the mark E all of the advantages have been used at different times.
Wes The e-brake is really a parking brake -
I am in the process of adding AC brakes to my small drum 19
Not proud here I am putting discs on so I can stop. I have rockies in my other car and they work good but not as good as discs and they are a lot more offensive to look at.
Large ugly discs!
If you are talking about rotor size yours are 11 3/4" My rotors that size are going on my black smith built 16 roadster pickup.
Wes, its great to see you put your fears aside and delve straight into driving a T. I had the same fears at first, although i was new to the T and was learning how to operate it, i was always more concerned about the idiots behind me. Once you get a few miles under your belt and have confidence in your driving abilities, then you can you really enjoy the experience of owning and driving a piece of history...Best of luck to you.
Wes, on the other side of things, you want to be
terrified? How about if you tried to pilot a long
steep grade with 100,000 pounds on the back? Oh
ya we have 10 sets of brakes but it doesn't take
long for smoking brake fade. Couple things first
we slow to a creep at the crest, next problem
between braking, is overspeeding the engine (it
will blow up) rule 1 do not attempt dropping a gear
cause the rpms are maxed out, to do so, Ya got a
runnaway truck. So we stop cool down proceed in
steps. All heavy loaded trucks act as a T. No
way YOU WILL tail gate a car and expect to stop
for a red light - You start stopping a way back
there ODDS are the light will be red. Problem is
most people are concerned about who's behind them.
I dont care two hoots, old truckers tailgate
remedy is flip out a can of ball bearings on the
road. that works. Another good one back in the
day = car right on ya bumper > stop dead then
smack out their headlites with a tire iron, then
leave..I LOL this cause that's what happened back
then. My strengthened option. I TRUST mechanical
brakes any day, I prefer air brakes but mechanical
got the bad wrap cause they were not adjusted
correctly.....So dont worry the T a step above
a doctors buggy you can just about drag your feet
to stop the thing. don't be scared drive it.
woman did did't they. When they do get on me (bad)
I will stop right there get out= You Got A problem
BoY. old sayin watch out "old mans liable ta kill ya
get rid of your mirror that does away with the
21 century jet set going nowhere
The problem you will face is that drivers in modern cars will drive mindlessly....they have no concept of how an old car has to be driven. You will find people who wave at you and people who can't wait to get around you.
I agree with Steve, many people learned to drive the model T, you just have to be really careful and alert on today's roads.