Although this topic has been brought up through several threads, I don't think I've seen it in its own thread, and it would definitely help newbies like myself (if and when I finally get behind the wheel of one!)
I've read posts about what to do, what not to do with braking/slowing the car so I just wanted to clear things up.
Is it proper to firmly engage low gear when wanting to slow? Do you do a combination of both first gear and braking? Is there anyway to do damage to any of the bands (more than just the usual wear) if improperly slowing down? Does anything change when slowing from, say, a residential cruising speed versus a full speed with several passengers weighing down the car? Does it change for hills? How often (if ever) should you use the parking brake or reverse pedal?
Thank you kindly!
Here is my approach;
1. TRY to anticipate. Obviously this is not always possible.
2. Retarding the spark helps the engine to hold back
3. Assuming that you have standard T brakes then pumping the brakes is my approach. The theory is that this allows the oil to get into the brake and carry the heat away (you realize that the brake turns the kinetic energy of the motion of the car into heat energy).
4. Obviously in a panic situation then just pushing on the brake pedal hard and if necessary pushing on all three pedals and pulling on the brake lever is acceptable. Back to note 1, try to avoid, but when some idiot pulls in front of you!!!
The problem with using low as a brake is it disengages the high clutch so you lose the engines retarding effect and of course if firmly engaged it really revs up the engine. IF you are proceeding at low gear speed, then of course using low firmly engaged is just fine.
Practices vary among experienced Model T drivers because the design allows choices of what to do and what not to do, and therefore opinions vary on what's best. My practices are as follows.
Use the brake pedal as little as possible. Plan your stops. Well before your stop, put the throttle lever all the way up and let your engine do the braking. When you're near your stop and moving slowly, apply the hand brake. Apply a little bit of foot brake at the end if you need to.
Some people frown on any use of the hand brake for stopping and declare it verboten. The other camp would much rather replace rear brake linings than transmission brake linings. I would avoid engine braking from a cruising speed with the low pedal.
Descending a steep grade where a car in high gear might run away, it's best to use no brakes at all. Go down in low gear FROM THE TOP and let the engine keep the car in check. The important words here are low and slow. You hear occasionally of using the reverse pedal as a brake in a runaway emergency. You can do it, but it's much better to not let the emergency happen.
I have been driving my T for about and year I had one brief lesson from the owner, rest I have self taught
Personally, I use similar method to Les, pumping of the brake seems to work well in most situations, with spark fully retarded. If I hold the brake on continuously I tend to find it fads quickly, as you would expect, I occasionally use the hand brake for the final few mph.
Where you can anticipate as much as you can, and in my experience living in hilly Wales UK making sure my speed is appropriate going down hills!! Rocky Mountain brakes are on my wish list for 2017, but maybe takes some of the skill out of driving.
One more bit of "philosophy". I also drive a semi occasionally. The rule that was drilled into me is this.
Use the same gear going down that you use going up!!! It applies well with the T.
I just throttle down while in high gear and use the brake pedal for the last 1-2 mph. I am also a slow poke and enjoy back roads in Ruckstell at about 25 mph so not too many panic stops on my resume!
I always drop the throttle when I am slowing down and then brake. I learned this when I drove tractors in the field. Neutral is a little
different in the T. I am 6'2" and I think that the peoples of the 20's had EXTRA short legs!
Thanks guys for the information.
I am hoping to volunteer this year at a car show where they have a parade of old cars driving through the town. If I'm fortunate enough, I will be able to get behind the wheel of a T, and, although they will demonstrate how to drive, a bit of knowledge beforehand never hurts, either!
Safety with a Model T has always been a concern of mine, and so I am always on the hunt for what to do to avoid the unthinkable.
Les, #2 will do a number on your exhaust/muffler (raw gas exploding).
#4 you may disengage high, but you get a lot more engine drag from low than from high. Using low to slow down wears the band very rapidly.
Back to #1, I agree. I drive my T like I have NO brakes.
I installed disc brakes on my Fordor and they work great, but you still have very little road contact with (2) 30X3 1/2" tires.
Les, is that what they call "Jake braking"?
I would like to add two points to this discussion.
First, careful reading of the Ford owners manual shows that using the handbrake to slow or stop the car is permissible, and in some instances very desirable.
Second, do not step on the reverse pedal to slow the car. There are quotes found in the the Model T literature, which suggest it is OK to slow the car with the reverse band,,but since the advent of new band materials, i.e. Kevlar, using the reverse pedal to slow the car will likely result in a broken reverse drum.
I completely agree with the other comments about planning ahead, and not letting the slow speed band slip when using the motor to slow the vehicle. That is wise advise.
These days when most people drive cars that have REAL brakes, learning to drive a 'T' is harder since they don't have a REALLY EFFICIENT braking system.
I have been driving T's since the early 60's and drive my T's carefully and ALWAYS start slowing down early before coming to a stop.
All of the above posts have some good advice about braking.
Always thinking that you don't have real brakes will help you live longer!
I took a recent trip to the east coast and was reminded that what my rural western
advice would be might make no sense at all to a person living in other places where
roads and traffic are so much different. I drive my T like I drive all my vehicles, slow
off the line, slow in areas where unexpected interference in more likely, and for slowing
and stopping for lights, turns, etc. I ease the vehicle down to a safe speed well before
needing to make that stop or turn.
Personally, I just think this is proper driving, and two years in EMT service proved
nothing but SPEED KILLS. My very first driving instructor told our class that the best
drivers don't do jackrabbit starts (greatly extends the life of the drivetrain) and never
use the brakes, anticipating slows and stops, which greatly reduces wear on the braking
system, but more importantly, removes the driver from a paradigm of driving at speeds
in excess of what is safe for conditions. Of course, NEVER using the brakes is not a
reality, but a target to shoot for by always anticipating trouble and driving in a manner
where one is best prepared to respond.
That's just me. I know I am weird, and the world operates from a very opposite
To answer the question more specifically, I think it has all been covered above.
ANTICIPATE and drive like there is a kid with a ball hiding behind every bush, tree,
car, or shed, just looking to dash out and become a hood ornament, brake when you
must, and do it as softly as possible. And when that car or kid does jump out in front
of you, then drop the spark and gas, and give it all she's got to avoid bending up all
that pretty sheetmetal and the ensuring insurance headaches !
Ryan, My experience teaching others to drive Model T's over the years is that folks have more trouble with the left pedal than the brake pedal especially if they have driven a more modern shift stick with a clutch pedal. In any panic situation, especially when in a tight spot like a garage where they need to stop fast in order not to hit a wall they tromp down on the left pedal thinking it will put the T into neutral where as it really puts the T into low gear. When I teach backing up and going forward in tight spaces I initially put the parking lever half way back. That way you can use low gear and reverse without the chance of going into high gear. Also if in a panic taking ones feet off the pedals usually results in a safe stop at these ultra low crawl speeds in these tight spaces.
I totally agree with you!! Lots of people have put the T into the back wall of the garage!!
I don't know if it really makes any difference, but I prefer backing into the building with the car out of gear to park.
Whew! My problem is probably just that I didn't have my second cuppa' coffee this morning, but you sure lost me on that one Steve! .........."prefer backing into the building with the car out of gear to park". HUH?
Oh,....I guess maybe you mean having the the emergency brake lever centered in neutral for precise or intricate parking situations?
I've told this story here before. It's the mirror image Michael's comments and those of others.
In about 1940 my aunt brought home her first car, a 1937 Chevrolet coupe. It was the first non-Model T in the family. My grandfather had driven nothing but T's, never a sliding gear transmission.
She pulled into the driveway and slid out. My grandfather got in behind the wheel. She started to explain, " Wait a minute dad and I'll show you how the gears work." As he was telling her he'd been driving since 1912 and needed no instruction my then 12 year old uncle climbed in the right seat next to his dad.
Grandpa managed to get it into a forward gear. It lurched forward. He panicked and jammed down hard on the right pedal, a conditioned reflex to hit the brake in his T's. As we all know, the right pedal on a '37 Chevy is the gas pedal. With my aunt watching helplessly and my horrified grandmother watching from a short distance away, he drove it straight into the living room with my uncle grinning all the way.
When I first got my '27 going back in '74 I was visiting some old friends on farm. Grandpa Bill wanted to drive it so said sure. Bill climbs in drives it like a pro. Really enjoyed himself and taught me a few "tricks ". Get back and his son in law says "well that explains why he can't drive the big trucks "
My brain always takes a moment to adjust...
Myself personally have a small laminated card with the controls printed on, I stick it on the dash over the ignition switch so when I get in it jogs my memory, then just goes in my pocket until I finish my drive, tend not to read it so much now but engrained, simple and works for me.
I also ride both British and Japanese motorbikes, they have gear leavers /brakes are on different sides which again takes a moment to adjust!
Everybody is different, every T is different...
I was ready to do a step by step and then Les wrote it for me exactly how I drive all of my T's...or rather set up and tune my T's to work consistently and repeatable with.
I throw the throttle up near immediate, the spark lever right after...that's like downshifting from 4th to 1st in a 327 before you even have to worry about the pedals...lol. Jokingly in a sense but practical for me, I drive with my pinkies on the sticks. Granted I have a 25 steel Fordor, and solid Oak Hack and need every bit of regen possible to stand a chance of a quick stop...but on the '15 roadster that little trick its like almost throwing me forward in the seat!
Anticipate...there are idyuts out there they will always 'hole shot' you because you are a T and they don't know a T has the weakest brakes going and they just don't see you...period. For reasons unknown, when they do a 'hole shot' on you, they immediately brake until they establish themselves in traffic. At that point you are basically stuck and can count their cavities or see how many crowns they have in their rear view mirror .
I somewhat disagree with using the service brake even though Ford apparently said it was OK. At the time the book was written, chances are the average mixed traffic speed was but maybe 10 or 15 MPH UNLESS you previously know for sure you have set the normal sleeping position of the cams the same on BOTH sides and are also sure you do not have a grease leak out through the hub. T's do not have an equalizer unless you make one. If one does 'bite' before the other, you'll be amazed how fast a T can do a military 'right' or 'left' face in less than a second! I've seen it, I shudder.
Always pump the brake until it becomes natural for you to do so...Trent is right, if you have Kevlar and do not pump, you stand an extremely good chance of having an amazing and expensive life lesson. If you use wood, it may then develop a case of the chatters.
I'll probably be pilloried for the following comment, but when all else fails and it is absolute panic time, for me its a pinky fling up with both pinkies and stomp on all 3 pedals at the same time. I only need to do that maybe once every few years fortunately. The last time that I had to use the service brake on top of everything else was rounding a corner and dropping down a hill I did not know was there at maybe 30 and finding another curve looming at the bottom of the curve not 100 feet away...that was back in 1979 and never again want that experience. It was the Fordor and Fordors and short S-curve on hills do NOT compute and do become unsafe at any speed.
Further mental advice is to drive like you don't have brakes, then the sequence and process becomes more natural. Like Michael above, on a normal day I think that I only do use the actual brake pedal in the final couple of feet.
A wise man once said, "Drive your T as though it has no brakes at all, that way you'll never be disappointed."
George, I gotta' say, I think you're one of the few forum guys that get almost as "wordy" as me! Don't take this wrong,....I always enjoy your posts and the only time I get really "lost" is when you get deep into the field of metallurgy, and, understandably so, as that is obviously one of your "fields of expertise"! However, on this last post, you probably could have just said two things about braking,....."anticipate", and try to only "use the brake pedal in the final couple feet!" Also, (again, just sort of teasing you as I knew what you meant) but you said "service brake" twice when I'm sure you meant emergency brake. To me, the "service brake" is the brake pedal. Anyway, maybe a guy should just say either "hand brake lever" or "brake pedal".
Don't mind me George,....earlier, I just thought when I had a hard time figuring out what Steve was trying to say, that maybe I just should have had that second cuppa' coffee this morning, but now I'm thinking that now that I'm pretty deep into my 75th year, maybe I'm just entering the advanced stages of senility!
Also George, I should say that I also enjoy your always interesting choice of words, and I can hardly wait to get behind the wheel of one of my "T's and try,....."the pinky fling",.....ha ha,.....harold ........ ( ; ^ )
How's this for wordy...
You're right! And...its OK
Ryan - S'cuse George and I for joking around here, but I think you're questions have been pretty well answered by "the guys". And all good advice that we all need to keep in mind. Driving a Model "T" is sure different and I think one of the most dangerous aspects of it is the fact that besides the fact that Model "T's are inherently slow, which we all need to realize is sometimes very irritating to following modern traffic, but to make it worse, "anticipating" and letting compression do some of the slowing down for us so as to be easy on the bands causes even more irritation to those that follow. George (and several others) mentioned the importance of "anticipating", but George touched on a hazard of "anticipating" that is worth considering. I believe that some of those "idyuts" George mentioned are doing some of the wild things they do to get around you and such, because as George says, they just don't understand why we drive like we do,.....they actually think we're purposely trying to irritate them,....and as George says,....they just don't understand that we must drive the way we do to be easy on our very primitive brakes! So, accordingly, when I know there is traffic backing up behind me, like on a two lane highway, I try to pull over often and let the "idyuts" go by. And really, they're not all "idyuts", but as George says, they just don't understand,....we're really not trying to be the "idyuts" they think we are. I like the "message" I've seen a few times on the back of a couple Model "T's that says,......"I've got two speeds, and you won't like the other one either!" But you know what? I'm betting that most people really don't understand that one either! Okay,.....enough!
Did it again George,......much too "wordy",......harold
Ryan - Okay,....now that you've got me thinking about braking and Model "T" driving in general, and as long as you're probably about the only one reading this thread any longer anyway, I'll try to give you an idea of how one has to develop a bit of a different "attitude" about driving, when driving a Model "T":
You have to think a little differently, and here's a little "trick" I often use,...if I can explain it,...???
I often drive one of my Model "T's down a long straight stretch of two lane highway, maybe 5 or 6 miles between Sumner and Orting, WA. and there is usually a lot of traffic on that highway. The speed limit for most of it is 50mph, and as is so common nowadays, most people exceed the limit by 5 or 10 mph. I like to cruise along in the "T" at about 35 mph, or, in this case, altho' I don't like it, I'll push just a little harder here and there. Visualize if you will, there are a half dozen traffic lights spaced roughly a mile or so apart on this stretch of two lane highway.
After waiting with other traffic at one of those traffic lights, as soon as I can after crossing the intersection where the traffic light is, I'll pull over and wait until all the traffic behind me has passed. When I see in my rear view mirrors that traffic behind me has again stopped for a red light, I'll take off again at my normal comfortable 35 mph or so, and sometimes this allows me to sort of get ahead of traffic and drive comfortably at my own speed, all the way to the next traffic light, and thereby totally avoid holding up any modern traffic behind me. Like I say, you have to develop a bit of a different attitude and eventually, it seems that you can develop a number of what I'll call,...."Model "T" defensive driving habits". Okay, now for sure,.....enough! For what it's worth,......harold
P.S. And George, if you're still with us, I'll bet I got ya' beat for "wordy",....haha,.....harold
No problem with the wordiness, or lack of! I appreciate any and every bit of advice, as well as the banter between members!
I understand exactly what you say. Quite often when I ride in an antique car that is struggling to (comfortably) keep up with speeds the driver pulls over to the shoulder, and the people pass by. From my experience, the people are generally intrigued by the car and smile and wave.
In my area, I have already planned out all the places where I could drive and planned out routes, which roads to take, which not to take, etc. I want to avoid all traffic problems as possible, so I am taking the precautions as if I have a car to drive!
I push both levers go up and I brake on compression until very near the point where I need to stop and then apply pressure on the brake pedal by pumping a few times until fully stopped. I use the transmission brakes as little as possible .. as if they had linings of gold. Put in Kevlar two years ago and love them.
being a newb ,and only driven a T enough to realize that if i do what comes natural : push the clutch and slam on the brakes ,,,this would put the model T car in low and reverse at the same time (if that's possible)also pushing the right pedal is so opposite to what seems natural... so for me lined 2 piece brake shoes so if i need to stop quick or in a panic i use the brake lever ,and that does come naturally i know all about the stopping and skidding using a lever as i am a first generation Big wheeler ,and I don't mean cars.that way i don't keep the car moving forward or reverse .this may change after I become more accustomed to driving a T . well planned slowing is best in a T i've been told ,and believe it.
Can you please explain "Backing into the building with the car out of gear to park?" Do you place the hand brake lever so that the car is "out of gear" and let the car roll backwards into the building if the slope is downhill, or push the center pedal in as required to make the vehicle go backwards on an uphill surface? If one pushes the center pedal to stop the transmission drum, is not the car in reverse gear?
Re pushing the levers back up to the stops, I have a comment and a question.
I set my throttle so that the engine will stall if the lever is pushed right up. If the throttle is set up so the car will idle when the lever is on the stop, you will not have maximum engine braking.
My question, can someone explain how retarding the spark helps with braking? I cannot get my head around it.
Allan from down under.
OK I can do wordy. The best lesson I have had about stopping a model T came during a discussion on the subject. Several of us were talking about our favorite accessory brake ( I had just drove Fred Kepplers 1911 touring that had disc brakes of his design & thought they were fantastic) some defended their favorite choice, Rockies or Bennet. when a gentleman none of us had ever met before butted in and said the problem you guys have with model T brakes is you insist on trying to stop the the car with them. That changed the way I drive my T. How ever I make sure that the brakes will lock the rear wheels if needed. But everyone should know that locking the rear wheels will not stop the car. Drive careful. Craig
Allan, here is a test Jim Thode did with his car, comparing how it slowed down with the spark in different positions - and retarding did have an effect. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/411441.html?1388473313
When descending a steep hill, try to anticipate the hill before you reach it and slow down in high gear. If you have Ruckstell, be sure to engage it before you get on the steep hill just in case you should get stuck in neutral. If you can use Ruckstell, it amplifies the braking power of the engine and the transmission brake. I would strongly recommend the use of auxiliary brakes anywhere there is traffic or steep hills. Also keep the transmission brake and parking brakes in good operating condition. It never hurts to have 3 braking systems. Just remember however, that whether you use the brakes or the low or reverse, all will stop only the rear wheels, and when they slide, you lose control of the direction of the car. So drive slowly and leave space between cars. Be alert and anticipate the need to stop in advance.
Lots of good advice here. I'd like to add just one insight regarding the stories we've all heard about (somebody else, of course) driving their T into the garage door or through the back wall of the garage.
Once when taking a class on Human Factors Engineering, I ran across a sentence in the textbook that struck me between the eyes:
"A human error occurs when an old habit brushes up against a new stimulus."
Let's take that sentence apart and apply it to the Model T driven by a person long familiar with a modern stick shift car.
"A human error...." (Like driving into the garage door.)
".....occurs when an old habit..." (Like pushing the clutch to the floor when coming to a stop.)
".....brushes up against a new stimulus." (Like holding the T clutch pedal half way down.)
Put another way, an experienced stick shift driver knows to push the clutch down to the floor as he comes to a stop. In a T, pushing the clutch only half way down causes the pedal to scream, "push me down, push me down" as you come to a stop.
As a beginning (or non proficient) T driver, the key to pulling into any spot that requires a full stop is to remove the new stimulus. So if you pull the hand brake half way up as you turn into the driveway, you can take your foot off the clutch and remove the new stimulus. Stopping becomes much like driving an automatic transmission (another "old habit") and you won't have any trouble. As you develop more experience with your T and practice a bit with coming to a stop while holding the clutch half way down, a new habit pattern develops. The new habit pattern will be associated with the sounds, vibrations and feel of the controls in your hands and two different clutch habits will become associated in your mind with the surrounding stimuli.
Just remember that lack of practice, fatigue or added stress will cause you to favor your strongest habits. Don't be like the tired airline pilot who rear ended another car on his way home from the airport. When the car ahead slammed on his brakes, the pilot pulled back on his wheel and tried to go over the car ahead.
Sorry for the long post. I'm trying to outdo Harold !
Driving as if you have no brakes is probably the best said bit of advice I have ever heard on
Driving as if you had no brakes is a great idea. I use the floor brake and pump it to keep the oil on the bands. I retard the timing and slow the engine with the gas lever. That helps alot!! I never learned how to drive the model T from anyone, just read here on the forum and found the way my car stops best for me. After driving model A s with all new brakes, driving a T is like the flintstones. They are different but i love them so far! Tim
Ryan. When I do a parade I put a block of wood in the brake handle slot that stops it from going all the way forward.
This lets me concentrate on on what is happening around me without having to worry about the handle slipping forward.
I also make sure that I do not slip the low gear band.
I once read, many years ago, perhaps in one of Floyd Clymer's books, that to slow down, all you needed to do was, "Press down on any two pedals, and the car will slow down". I also had read, "with the car in neutral, gently press on the reverse pedal to brake; this will help equalize the band wear."
Bad idea. Now, I never "tramped down on any two pedals" in order to slow down, but thinking that pressing the reverse pedal alone was accepted fact that survived the lore of the Model T, I engaged in this practice for a couple of years on a newly rebuilt engine. Approaching a moderately busy intersection, gently pressing the reverse pedal, I heard an unpleasant noise, and the reverse pedal went straight to the floor.
Bailey and I got home ok, and I believe he fished out the broken fastener with a magnetic extension.
Watch this video. I allow the car to coast down in high gear as much as possible. Never use low gear to slow down, never use the reverse pedal to slow down. Act as if there are no brakes.
I push both ears up and slow down until I am almost stopped. I then pull the handbrake to free neutral and use the brake to stop. When I take off again in forward or reverse i throttle up a little and advance the spark. I do so still in free neutral ease the handbrake forward all the way and let the pedal all the way out easy into high. This is why I don't let my wife drive my car. She just looks for D or R in her car. O heck now I'm scared again to drive again. I do know foot dragging dose not work. I have seen my wife jam the invisible brake on her side many times. She gets mad every time I ask her(how's that working). Must be why I ride alone a lot.
So you are at a stop sign or red light, on a hill. How do you hold your T in place without rolling backward or killing the engine????
The advice to slow to a stop with engine braking is good advice and should be used whenever you can - but this all depends on where you drive.
Near my home in NJ we have a lot of old residential streets that have 25-35 mph speed limits and which I think are great Model T roads. However sometimes there are a lot of cars around and you just can't coast to a stop every time. My advice would be to "drive like you don't have brakes" as others have said (and pump the brakes, etc), but also to make sure that both the transmission brake system (including ujoints, differential, etc) and the emergency/parking brake are in great working order. Practice using the handbrake from time to time so that using it in an emergency is instinctive.
Chuck - hold the car at a stop with the right foot on the brake pedal and use the left foot to hold the clutch pedal halfway down so that it is in neutral.
John: I usually kill the engine, but will work on it.
Complete cheat here: Put on parking brake, then push low pedal in and release brake! voila! I still can't do what John suggests! OTOH, I don't yet have enough driving time yet!
Les said anticipate. Anticipate not only your stops but what others might do. Remember when you are driving a Model T you can't stop like a modern car but everyone else thinks you can.
Thanks again everyone.
Royce, that video helps very much so. It appears closing the throttle in high will bring the car to a slow enough speed (with sufficient space in front of you) to use the brake pedal to bring it to rest (with the left pedal in the neutral position), correct? That makes the most sense, seeing as it bypasses using first gear to slow down. Unless, of course I am not seeing the first gear being engaged, but it sounds like it remains in high almost until the stop.
Also, dumb question, but can you use the foot brake while the car is in gear? Say you are descending a steep hill with the car in first gear, and you want to do a brake check. Can you simply tap the brake, or will you have to put it in neutral to avoid stalling?
Ryan, you've about "got it"! BUT, do not depress the left pedal to the neutral or center position until the engine with closed throttle slows the car down to where the engine rpm has slowed to approximately idle speed. This is because as Royce said (and demonstrated) the engine compression with closed throttle helps slow the car down, and you loose that engine braking as soon as you depress the left pedal to center neutral.
Also, yes, you can, and should, use the foot brake while the car is in gear, taking advantage of compression braking, but again, when the engine is, as you say, "in gear" (either high or low pedal) if you attempt to slow the car down and leave the car as you say,.."in gear" after the engine has slowed to idle rpm, any further attempt to slow the car while in gear is also trying to slow the engine rpm's to slower than it wants to idle. In other words, at that point, you would also be trying to slow the engine slower than idle as well as slowing the car, which would mean that at that point, failing to depress the left pedal to center neutral would have the engine actually working against you.
Whew! Hard to explain, but trust us Ryan, with some driving experience, it'll soon come very natural to you.
Driving in modern traffic is becoming problematic. Those driving modern cars - and soon driver less cars - may not be aware that a car such as the Model T is not computerized. It depends on the driver to drive and observe the mechanical features of the car.
My advise is let the car behind you know that your cars is not modern. You only have one mechanical brake on the transmission and two on the rear wheels. For the sake of argument the car only has two brakes - let the car's driver behind you know this.
Hill braking is often a problem even though our tour write-up will warn drivers of the potential. One way I have used with success is to follow the suggestion of both gas lever up and timing lever up and to turn the ignition switch off and remain in high gear. I have done this when there was a 3-5 mile drop that had truck warnings posted at the top. It kept the car going a 25--27 mph pace all the way until I saw the bottom of the hill and then I turned the switch on. By doing this, even the engine idle speed is eliminated. One word of caution, make sure you are in retard and the gas lever up when switching the ignition on. If you don't have the gas up, the cylinder will have gas in it and result in a back fire that could blow the muffler off. Just my way of driving and some may disagree as usual.
I close the throttle, slow the car using my outside brakes, put in neutral then bring the car to complete stop. Pretty much the same way as my stick shift truck.
R.S. Cruickshank - Well,.....that's sure one I've never heard of! All I can think of is washing all the oil off of the cylinder walls, and a blown up, or blown off muffler when you finally turn the ignition back on! And altho' this is certainly very minor in importance, but it couldn't make a bit of difference where the spark advance lever is positioned when the ignition is turned off. I keep trying to imagine, if your carburetor idle adjustment is adjusted for normal idle, where that gasoline that your engine would be burning if the ignition was left on,......where that gasoline would be going besides washing the oil film off the cylinders and then continuing out through the exhaust system,....????
No, I'm afraid that I not only don't buy into this procedure, I'd be afraid even to try it! (???)
Ergo, my last five words!!!!
If all else fails with all the good advice posted above just throw the anchor out the driver's side and hope it hooks onto something solid !
I brake the same way Mark Gregush does. A set of Rockies or something similar really helps in today's traffic.
Saw a sign fastened to the back of a T-stake bed: "Only 20 HP with 100 year-old brakes" along with the red triangle. Also noted was the "Built Ford Tough" plate right below it...
There's a sign on the back of my 24 that says( I only have 2 speeds and you won't like the other one either.
The trouble with signs on the back might be people getting too close trying to read them.
Not disagreeing with you Steve, but it should also communicate something to that tail-gating 'idyot'...
Concerning the discussion between R.S. Cruickshank and Harold about turning off the ignition when using the engine as a brake. Murray Fahnestock describes the procedure R.S. mentions above in his October 1922 article for the Fordowner magazine. Murray, as many of you know, was a mechanical engineer and the Technical Editor for many years for the Fordowner and Dealer publication and wrote many outstanding articles on the Model T. This Article is actually re-printed on pages 39-40 in the MTFCA publication "The Model T Ford Transmission" (the green covered book). On page 40 you will find this (quoted):
“SLOWING DOWN THE FORD – The logical way to prevent wear of transmission band lining is not to wear them out! The kids save shoe leather by going barefooted! By using the engine as a brake, we can prevent much wear of the brake lining. Skillful drivers hardly ever use the foot brake for slowing down or retarding the car – but only for complete stops. Of course in traffic driving, where conditions are difficult, then the foot brake will have to be used more – but then the speeds are usually less, and hills are seldom long or steep.
When descending a long, steep hill, the throttle should be moved to the fully closed position and the ignition switch off. Then a light touch of the reverse pedal now and then, will serve to still further retard the car. If the hill is very, very steep, then the reverse and foot brake should be used “alternately”, only holding each one pressed down for a couple of seconds at a time – and fully releasing the other – so that the released band can be cooled by the oil.
If the hill is still steeper, one can engage the slow-speed. When the slow-speed is used as a brake, the slow speed pedal should be held down firmly, so that no slipping will occur. If the slow-speed causes the care to run too slowly, switch on the ignition and speed up the engine a little. But if you need to use slow speed at all, then use it without slipping the band.
When using the engine as a brake, the spark lever should be moved to the fully advanced position, as soon as the ignition is switched off. Make a habit of advancing the spark as soon as you switch off the ignition. If you don’t, then you are apt to switch on (with) the “bang”, and a new muffler will be needed. With the spark in the advanced position, the charge will be ignited as the piston is rising and so will be burned out by the time the exhaust valve opens and the charge passes into the muffler.
We mentioned that the throttle should be moved to the fully closed position when using the engine as a brake. Good drivers receive better all around results by adjusting the idle so that the engine will just “tick over”, and runs as slowly as possible without completely stopping. With such a carburetor adjustment, much smoother operation of the car can be secured. Then the engine can be used to a certain extent as a brake by completely closing the throttle, without taking the trouble to switch off the ignition. This allows the car to be controlled in the proper manner – by moving the throttle – rather than by tramping violently on the brake”. (end quote)
Of course when this was written there were no Kevlar bands. Also note that in this article Murray suggests that the spark should be advanced fully after turning off the ignition. Although I do not personally turn off the ignition I thought this reference might shed some light on the origin and reasoning behind the technique R.S. uses, and reveals that it is not new in the Model T literature at all.
If nothing else it is fun to read the old manuals and articles. Many of the points made earlier in this posting by others is included in this article and certainly it contains many useful tips.
I've thought about this a lot and the import of the problem can give one pause. _It's something every Model T driver has considered and responds to by driving accordingly. _The ingredients to this cake are no secret. _They include vigilance, knowledge, judgement, adroitness and smoothness.
Of course, some Flivvers have Rocky Mountain or some other type of auxiliary brakes, and while good, dependable brakes are important, it is nevertheless woven into the fabric of the Model T's mechanical philosophy that no matter what kind of brakes you have or how well adjusted they are, stopping capability will compare with that of the Titanic. _That's because a pair of three-inch tires, with their shot-glass sized footprints, are only going to take so much purchase on the road and the rest, even if you have enough brakes to lock the wheels, amounts to skid marks—perhaps leading up to the scene of an accident.
(Now, as a brief aside to those physics types who will argue that in theory, the width of a wheel's footprint has no bearing on fore and aft traction; that may be true of a hard, steel wheel running on an equally hard, steel surface—as in the case of a locomotive—but in a world where the rubber meets the road as something soft and adhesive against something firm and textured, the width of a tire matters a hell of a lot.)
Vigilance is about situational awareness and not being the guy who "never saw it coming."
Knowledge is about having a realistic understanding of the performance limitations of your vehicle under various driving conditions.
Judgement is the result of experience which amounts to the thought you've given to what has happened to you over the long run. _Among pilots, there's an old saw that says, "A superior pilot uses his superior judgement to avoid situations which would require his superior skill."
Adroitness is the result of repetitive training; in other words, practice. _It's when your body instantly and autonomously does the correct thing in a split-second tight spot that doesn't allow your brain time to react (and when you get the shakes afterward, that's the realization of what happened sinking in).
Smoothness is a matter of style and grace. _It's the polish that gets applied to all of the above and is what most your passengers notice right off the bat.