A few questions for those hobbyists that employ Ruckstells in the cars:
1) When starting the car (I have a 1920 coupe with a starter), does it make a difference if the shift lever is forward or back? By shift lever, I am referring to the Ruckstell shift lever, not the emergency brake.
2) Can you drive the car in just Ford low and high by leaving the shift lever forward?
3) Does having the Ruckstell necessitate using Ruckstell High (or Intermediate as its called in the pamphlet) before you go into Ford High?
4) When putting the car in reverse, does one have to engage Ruckstell Low or can you just leave the shift lever forward and use regular Ford Reverse?
5) What is meant by getting a Ruckstell in neutral?
I live in a flat area of the country. I anticipate using the Ruckstell in hilly areas while on tours. I am just not sure if the Ruckstell needs to be engaged while making my normal little drives around my subdivision.
Thanks in advance for your feedback.
You are not required to use the Ruxsteel at all, however it is very handy if you parade, loading on trailer, or have a desire to climb mountains without using the low pedal. There should not be any neutral in the Ruxsteel.
5 If the shifter is worn it is possible to hang it in neutral. This will leave you without brakes! You should have some sort of auxiliary braking such as Rocky Mountains if you run a Ruckstell.
Mike, Consider the Ruckstell lever forward as the Ford gearing and the Ruckstell lever back as Ruckstell enhanced Ford gearing. You can start the car with the lever in either position as you will still be using the left Pedal or the hand brake lever to be in neutral.
I live Southwest of you in Brookshire where it is very flat but still use the Ruckstell to putter around the neighborhood at slower speeds. The Ruckstell is also great for driving up onto a trailer where you can creep up the ramps at a safe snails pace. It is also great for backing into or out of a garage slowly when you have a tight space.
When shifting the Ruckstell in hilly areas I always shift at a standstill or at the top of the hill out of fear of getting the Ruckstell neutral which has never happened to me but admittedly have not done any really steep hills. When moving you have to match engine speed to the gears. Someone with more experience will write in and correct my explanations!
Just drive it and get used to it. You don't need a Ruckstell at all on flatlands, but a lot of times if I'm making a California stop, I'll pull the lever back into Ruckstell for a second gear, just to get me going again. I have a neutral in all of my Ruckstells, and have never gotten caught in neutral yet when driving. I really enjoy my Ruckstells, and wouldn't own a T without one.
Remember a Ruckstell is a reduction unit not an overdrive. Use it when you need more power to climb or for added engine braking on decent.
Get used to using it and it will become second nature to you and you can shift on the fly. It impresses your passengers when you can do several things at once.
I use it all the time, takes a lot of stress off the drive line.
I basically drive my Ruckstell like a three-speed. Start in Ruckstell Low, go to Ruckstell High, then shift into Ford High. Lots easier on the low band getting the car moving. Cornering in Ruckstell high is kinda nice too.
Mike, put brakes on the rear. There is nothing better than a good carburetor and a Ruckstell to make a T run and drive better.
Everybody does it different but in the T's I've had with Ruckstells, my usual driving style is to leave it in high most of the time, start off in Ford low, no Ruckstell, let off the clutch to neutral, shift into Ruckstell, then into Ford high.
A few of the purists will scream at you if you say Ruckstell high and Ruckstell low instead of "in Ruckstell" and in "Ford." It is a lot easier for me to think of it as "Ruckstell low and Ruckstell high."
As far as having a neutral. There is no neutral designed in. It is possible to alter the shift lock to find the spot in the gearing where it is shifting from low to high or high to low and the gears are not engaged. It helps if the clutch gear is well worn and makes it easier to find. I prefer not to have that as I am leery of it hanging up in neutral and losing the brakes, etc.
One of the reasons I quit rebuilding Ruckstells is because of a couple people on here promoting grinding a notch in the shift lock plate to obtain a neutral. I know at least one customer did that. I decided the liability exposure of selling some one a mechanical device that could potentially kill them was beyond what I wanted to assume. I also had a brand new pinion gear split in 3 pieces and decided I didn't want to die in the poor house after somebody got a huge judgment against me for problems with their Ruckstell, especially if they modified it to add a neutral so I am not doing Ruckstells anymore except to sell one if I find one -- but not rebuilt by me.
All that said, I still think they are the best thing ever invented for a Model T.
If you want something fun, we have a 27 T cut down sedan to a pickup coming up on an auction next month. It has a Ruckstell and a Weduno 3 speed with reverse auxiliary transmission added to it. You can shift two feet and two levers and get about any speed you want. The Weduno has a neutral so it starts right up without any drag on anything. It's pretty cool.
The auction also has a very nice big drum Ruckstell right out of a car. Never apart. (Quite a bit of other T stuff, too, including 4 or 5 Warfords but that is a different deal to post in a different place)
In Herman and Freida, when Freida is taking Herman for his first ride as he is teaching her to drive, she thinks back to the driving lessons Torvald has been giving her without Herman's knowledge and thinks, "Torvald said Ford low and Ruckstell low together are only for the muddiest roads and the steepest hills, this road isn't muddy and the hill isn't that steep." She lets up on the low pedal, shifts the Ruckstell into high, goes on up the hill and Herman says to himself, "How in the hell did she know to do that!?"
I have 2 cars with Ruckstells. I use low range for going slow through side streets. It keep the engine from lugging when going slow. When on flat and faster streets I use Ford high.
When the Model T was young and roads were not paved most of the time you could only go in low gear. There were not many smooth roads where high gear could be used. The Ruckstell was make so you could go slow without keeping your foot on low gear pedal.
From 10 to 1 low gear to 3.6 high gear is a big jump. In Ruckstell low gear is 15 to 1 and high is about 5.2 to 1.
As I've said many times, you are either in Ruckstell or you are not!