During a normal planned stop (stop sign, etc), I have always stopped my T by allowing it to decelerate in 2nd gear as much as possible, then used 1st gear to slow to the last 10 feet or so, and finally gently apply the brake pedal.
In another thread, a poster commented that the brake drum is more robust than the 1st gear drum and its best to stop just using the brake pedal.
Question is: Given a T with purely stock braking .... which of the above methods is easiest on the transmission drums?
In the community that I live there is a tale of a local business man and state representative (circa 1920's) who would travel from his farm to his in town house. As the town was on a hill, the gentleman would stop by allowing his Model T to strike a tree. Recently the last maple tree was removed that had scars from the down hill, two wheel transmission braking.
That's how I have always done it since I got the car in 1988. No issues.
Please clarify your favoured method, Bob, - by using Low or hitting a tree? ;^)
There are two issues when using low band to slow the vehicle. First is the band, second is the accelerated wear and strain on the planetary gear set and the pins. Bottom line, don't do that or costly repairs will be needed sooner rather than later.
The best way to stop a Model T is to let off the throttle and allow the car to coast down to walking speed, then gingerly apply the brakes. By all means if you are in need of a panic stop for an emergency you can step on two or three pedals. You should not be doing this every day, regularly, or often. The rear axle, drive shaft, and U - joint also are subject to significant lowered life expectancy when you try to operate as if the car has modern stopping ability.
When going down steep hills you want to slow the car down as early as possible and get the car into low gear. Then go down the hill slowly, allowing the engine to do most of the braking with the low pedal firmly pressed, occasionally stabbing the brake if the engine overspeeds with the throttle and spark fully retarded.
Just pump the brake slowly and go easy. Keep the braking friction in the braking system as much as possible, and not in the expensive engine and transmission parts.
To me stopping a Model T is a state of mind. I have 3 T's and they all have stock braking in good working order.
But I always try to remember they don't have real brakes as the modern cars that I drive.
I simply start slowing down a good distance before I need to stop or slowing down for a steep hill.
If I recall from previous threads, the concern about drum durability was concerned with the reverse drum.
A period article in Murray Fahnestock's book recommended alternating between the reverse and brake pedals to slow down, then using the brake pedal to bring the car to its final stop. The theory was that since most people don't use reverse much, using reverse to help braking would even out the wear on the bands.
Subsequent experience has indicated that this practice can cause cracking of the reverse drum, so it is no longer recommended.
When I first got my T, I did experiment with alternating between reverse and brake per the Fahnestock article, and it did work, but once I found out about the experience of others with reverse drum cracking I abandoned the practice and installed a set of AC brakes.
However you do it stopping in a Model T is a well planned and properly executed event! It shall never be an emergency! Advice from the man who taught me to drive one.
Bud, I have always stopped the way you do but lately, I'm trying to rely more on pumping the brake pedal and a little less on using low gear for the reasons Royce indicated. You can tell that too much low gear use is a little abusive to the drive line. Of course using the tree method eliminates all transmission and band wear.
The best way to stop a Model T is to let off the throttle and allow the car to coast down to walking speed, then gingerly apply the brakes
I agree and have to remind myself that I can't expect a T to stop like a modern vehicle.
I am in the process of adding AC brakes to my 19 to help but it doesn't change the fact that a T likes to move and stopping is not one of it's strong suites.
Now that I think about it - moving fast is not one of it's strong suites either!
Bud, I once read that using the reverse pedal would equalize band wear; once my car was driveable, I used the reverse pedal for several months.
During one slowing-down using the reverse pedal, I heard something break under the hogshead, and my reverse pedal was useless. Bailey and I were on a major, busy street in Memphis and I just kept going; it was a couple of years before he and I realized how lucky we'd been.
With a telescopic magnet, Bailey was able to retrieve the broken ear of the reverse band.
In any case, gently applying the reverse pedal may very well help, but I no longer recommend it.
I do as Bud does
I've always subscribed to the philosophy that the less you use any of the pedals, the better for the car.
When there's no traffic behind, I approach stop-signs by coasting down most of the way in high-gear, with the throttle off. _Then, with the throttle still closed, I "rev-match"* so as to engage low at the precise instant when the rear wheels synchronize perfectly with idling engine RPM (which seems to occur between 3 and 4 MPH according to my GPS speedometer). _If I get that just right, when I jab in the low pedal, the downshift is silent without the slightest bump. _Then, if I'm the only car approaching the intersection, I retard the spark, continue to hold hard pressure on the low pedal, brake gently to an almost-but-not-quite stop, add throttle and accelerate away without having disengaged low-gear. _Done correctly, this is almost as satisfying as a free-start with multiple witnesses.
* I rarely do this perfectly, but it's fun to try. _The chances of getting it right are greatly increased when the stars are properly aligned and a lunar eclipse can be viewed from Eyre, Australia (the opposite side of the Earth to Long Island. This will vary according to your own location).
I find the best way to stop a T is to stop applying gas ahead of time. It saves wear on the bands.
That's the best way to stop any car. I am constantly amazed at people who drive full blast towards a stop sign or light and then must brake hard to stop. Safety issues aside, it's a costly way to drive.
I'm not recommending using Low for brake on a normal basis. However, using Low to brake is not quite the same thing as using Reverse. To use Reverse, you are allowing the band to slip, just like the brake band does. On the occasions I do use Low as a brake, I do not 'ride' the Low pedal using it like a brake. I actually downshift into Low and hold it firm to the floor not slipping the band. This can only be done after the car is slowed to a speed that won't over-rev the engine when doing it. As Royce pointed out, that can accelerate triple gear wear, but it does not significantly wear the bands as I'm not slipping them. Bands only wear when they are being slipped. If they are firmly engaged, no wear is occurring. Only when you are in the process of engaging them will they be wearing.
20 feet of rope and a good 90 pound concrete block on the running board works. Just kick it off the RB when needed.
Jack- The problem with that method is retrieving the rope and block unless you have a knife and lots of blocks and rope.
You could always have teenager be the retriever but you might not get him/her to put down their cell phone long enough to do the retrieving.
You just reach down and drag the block back with the rope
I've seen several movies where the rear end of a car is chained to something solid. When the driver takes off everything is fine until he reaches the end of the chain. At that point usually the whole rear end assembly stops instantly. The rest of the car typically travels a few more feet before stopping.
Bud, Your method is a good one if you hold the low pedal down tight so that the engine slows the car. If the terrain is quite flat, and the traffic light, you can anticipate the stop and slow down in high to almost a stop before applying the brake. However in traffic or downhill you will need to stop more quickly and/or use braking because the engine won't slow the car enough to stop. An example: this morning, I went down a hill which is climbed in low Ruckstell/low Ford. On this hill I use low Ruckstell and pump the brake while going down the hill. The transmission brake stopping power is amplified while using Ruckstell because the Ruckstell is behind the transmission brake, so you have both the compression and the brake slowing the car. I also have Rocky Mountain brakes on my car.
I don't think that any one way to stop a Model T is better than another, but depends on the driving conditions. However the only pedal I would allow to slip is the brake. Therefore I wouldn't use reverse for a stop unless an emergency. Note I have the parking brakes lined and the lever also applies the Ruckstell, however when you pull the parking brake, it also puts the car in neutral which disconnects the engine unless you also use the low pedal.
As a young kid I remember watching two young girls driving their Model T into their yard and stopping by hitting the corner of the house. Neither car nor house were in very good condition. They would bang into the house and giggle.
I can only add the following. For maximum engine braking, the throttle lever should shut the car down when pushed up against the stop. Even a little idle speed will significantly reduce the engine braking effect. It takes a little getting used to, but in a planned stop, adding that little throttle right at the end to avoid stalling becomes second nature.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Thanks for the link. It's been a long time since I've seen that film clip.
I have added a little low peddle with the brake only when needed for extra braking in emergency ( tip from my dad) but for normal driving I use the go peddles to go and the stop peddle to stop. You are already using the low band to start you are just doubling the wear by using it to stop also. Just my 2 cents.
My T's have 4 standard brake systems. I played with the 3 most common methods , reverse, trans brake & handbrake. I try to never use reverse, the trans brake is good on my 27 running wool and pathetic on my 26 (small brake drum for some reason) running wood. However both cars have the large back wheel drums and these both work great. I then discovered the most effective, never wear brake that has eliminated the need to use any the other 3 by at least 50%. Allan has pointed it out, pulling the throttle back to a stall level in advance of each corner means I usually never touch a pedal unless something gets in my way or I'm on a hill. Both cars are adjusted this way and like Allan said it doesn't take long to learn you have to flick the lever up a bit to avoid stalling at times. I've never used 1st gear to slow me down. I'm looking forward to connecting the rear brakes via the brake pedal in the future and minimizing the need for trans brakes.
(Message edited by Rata Road on August 27, 2015)
The last paragraph of my above post has an error. It should say the parking brake also applies the Rocky Mt. Brake, not the Ruckstell.
Absolutely do not try using reverse if you run Kevlar bands. You'll end up with a cracked drum! From now on I use the reverse pedal only for what it was intended.
Due to my limited exposure to forum posts over the past few weeks it would seem that the best way to stop a Model T would be to give it to Steve!!!
Oh come on, that is funny!
I assume 2nd gear is high? If it is, then let high gear slow you down to where you don't stall the engine.
Good one Paul ;o)