I have a rebuilt Ruckstell with 3:1s that I bought to put in my '26 "gowjob" but I'm thinking about putting it in my '25 Touring instead. I think it would be great here in the flat-land to be able to run a little faster without being so hard on the engine... in fact, I think it would be PERFECT for my local flat-land country roads where I can see for miles and feel perfectly comfortable running 50+.
I do some small local club tours that typically run around 30mph with everybody all in a line, and bigger tours like MTFCI that run at your own pace which most seem to go 35-40mph.
I suspect I would have to do a lot of shifting when touring with a group of stock Ts, but have no first-hand experience with 3:1 gears OR Ruckstells. I know others have probably tried it before, did you like it?
On a stock "T" ,3.00 gears will reduce power and braking by 20 percent. With accessory brakes, high compression head and free flowing intake system you will have a nice flexible combination.
It won't be very good in the touring. The weight of the car will make it hard to pull hills in high. In fact you will need to start out in Ruckstell low on any slight hill other than flat ground because it will even put a strain on your low band when starting out on a hill in Ford low. I have firsthand experience in starting out on slight grades with 3-1 ratio and my car is a roadster which is lighter than a touring. The standard Ford ratio is best with a Ruckstell. Also if you drive over 50 mph remember that you have wood spokes and transmission brakes. Your center of balance is also high so you will need to be careful on corners. it is the stopping and turning which is more important than the high speed. If you want to go over 50 I would also recommend wire spoke wheels and beef up the brakes. Perhaps an in drive shaft overdrive would be a good improvement. However with overdrive, you also have a freewheeling, so good brakes are very important.
IMHO: Best combination is 3:25 gears which are available from Chaffins and others. Most people who put 3-1's in a standard T take them out after they admit they don't like them much.
Thanks everyone, you have talked me out of it.
This rear should be perfect in my gow-job 26 cut-off touring with no fenders, no top, and no windshield just as I originally planned.
Derek, my touring has a tired stock (as far as I know) engine with a 3:1 Ruckstell. I drive it a lot in SoCal traffic, and shift it like a three speed. Ruck low-Ford low, Ruck low-Ford high, Ruck high-Ford high, which allows me to accelerate and keep up with modern stoplight to stoplight traffic fairly well, and the 3:1s allow me to cruise 35-40+ with little effort. However, any small rise such as an overpass really slows it down.
I have toured in hilly terrain with it, and it really pulls well in Ruck low-Ford high, as long as I can maintain my speed/RPM, but if a hairpin turn or a slow car ahead makes me slow down, then it's all over. I toured with a Model A group, and their gears/ratios weren't compatible with mine. I was always gaining ground on the hills, so I had to keep a good distance between us so as not to have to slow down 3/4 of the way up.
I think Stan is right that a 3:25 would be about perfect, and a head, cam, manifold, would probably make the 3:1 better, but I don't mind mine as is with stock engine.
My engine will be fresh rebuild (dropping it off at Andy Loso's some time this week) with counterbalanced Bill Dubats crank, Z head, Stipe cam, etc...
I will have more speed than I need without a gear change, but the thought of a middle gear and a taller high gear was appealing if it wouldn't be too much of a hinderence when touring with stock Ts.
Derek, even with a ruckstell I would use the stock gear ratio. I've driven T's with 3to1 gears and they cannot climb up anything in high and the brakes are noticeably less effective. A T in good condition will easily reach 40 if not faster and that is fast enough.
Read my post from earlier in the day, in Royces post.
I took the 3:1 Ruckstell out of my speedster before I offered it for sale. The braking capacity was severely compromised, to the point the car would have been dangerous in the hands of a novice driver.
It has been put aside for my 25 Duncan and Fraser roadster, but now has a 12 tooth pinion on the 39 tooth ring gear to give me a more manageable 3:3.25 Ratio.
Allan from down under.
I have not seen where a 3:1 is a good choice. In a stock car it is just too much for the motor except on flat land but then the brakes are less than antiquate (already not really good with the Ford system). In a high performance T the speed is too great for the brakes without additional systems added.
I have a Fronty racer with a Ruckstel and 3:1 gears. it's top end is excessive and with accessory brakes it is still dangerous. The motor will pull it in high but it is like a rocket that won't stop.
Another issue with 3:1 gears is how it is built, the drive shaft can't be installed independently but has to be into the housings as the pinion won't fit through the opening. If you really want the tall gear I think the Layne-Warford is a better choice with 3 ranges.
High speed in traffic won't help if it takes a mile to get there then you can't stop. A train goes fast but it takes a long while to wait for them to reach that speed and we wait at the crossroads for them to start and stop at the crossroads while they hit cars in the intersections.
A bit of thread drift but - It's simple - the faster you want to go the better your brakes should be. Well that and ANY T with a Ruckstell or aux transmission in the driveline shouldn't be driven without real brakes that work at the wheels. A stock T brake is fine for 25 MPH when there is no chance of having a neutral condition but not much else. My Fronty speedster with Chicago aux trans will go faster than I'm interested in driving it but I've also got brakes at all 4 wheels so I can reign it in when needed.
I have a 17 Touring with stock 3.6 gear and a 25 speedster with a 3:1 gear. The speedster is light and does ok with 3:1 gear. But i am glad I put the stock gear in my touring when I installed the Ruckstell. I almost went the other way. The 3:1 will slow down your take off speed. I had 4 people in the car during the Winter Tour. I use Ruckstell low when I have to drive under 20 mph during local tours without the engine lugging. Most of the time I drive in Ruckstell high. This is why you need stock gear for take off speed. I do not shift into low range every time I stop. My car goes 52mph top speed with stock motor except for Z-head. I usually drive 38 to 42 which is fast enough for a Model T.
Our 27 Tourer has 3-1 gears, if the rear end needs to come out anytime I'll put stock ones back in. Although 3.25 sounds like it might be a good middle ground.
I can't take off properly if stopped in Ruckstell high without slipping the bands. In town I keep it in low now unless I know I won't have to stop anytime soon. It just seems to stress everything too much.
I took the 3:1 Ruckstell out of my 26 Touring and put a standard rear in. We live in flatland and I didn't like the constant shifting into low that it required. Much better now. I drive maybe 3500 miles a year in that T.
Derek, it looks like you're already talked out of the 3:1 gears. I agree with the posters that say it's not a good idea for most Model T driving. I have them in my 1911 Open Runabout and while it's fine on fairly flat roads, hills can be a real issue. The other noticeable problem is less effective braking and even then, needing a lot more pedal pressure. I am considering changing that car to the 3.25:1 as Stan and others have mentioned.
I have toured a lot all over the country from Kanab, UT, Trail Ridge Road & Estes Park, CO, Natchez Trace, Winter Tours in FL, Poor Boy tours in east TN, and many Hill Billy tours. I run the standard 3.63 after seeing 3 to 1 guys really struggle. 3.63 and a Ruxsteel or aux transmission is the best all around combo in my opinion. If you do any parades the lower axle ratio is really handy. I have noticed the 3 to 1 lugs the engine quite a bit of the time also.
I'm going with an NOS Ruckstell 13/40 ring and pinion set for my '15 Runabout. I think they knew what they were doing when they chose a 3.08 to 1 ratio, even though they called it 3 to 1. I'm building the motor right now and it will be massaged just a little bit, sporting a Marvel carb and Simmons head. I'll also use AC brakes.
For anything other than a speedster or a light stock car with a few power upgrades, standard gearing is the way to go.
I have a complete 26-27 Ruckstell rear, rebuilt by the Tin Shed, no miles, 3 to 1, includes new Rocky Mountain brakes, shifter, 3000.00 delivered to Bakersfield.