What is better and is there a difference in use for these ..
Ruckstell's are under drive and will give you a gear in between Ford low and Ford high and are not overdrive. The 3 speed Warford will give you 2 speeds under drive, 2 speeds Ford and 2 speeds overdrive or combinations there of depending on how you shift it.
I think I would go with the Warford because of the lack of flat ground here in the Portland Or area where the under drive would come in handy but would still have the option to use overdrive when I travel down south where it's flatter.
A Ruckstell gives you the second gear Henry left out. They also don't make any noise. I drove a T with a Warford one summer, and the gear noise in overdrive was substantial. My favorite setup of the T's I've driven - 3.25:1 gears with a Ruckstell. It will go anywhere, hills or flat.
The KC Warford has syncromesh gears and gives you an overdrive and an underdrive as well as straight through. The Ruckstell provides straight through and underdrive. Cost is similar.
The original Warfords are not synchronized and are either two speed (underdrive) or three speeds similar to the KC Warford. I would not consider the original Warford.
The Ruckstell in a truck is totally unnecessary unless you are going to pull stumps or haul ungodly extreme loads.
Better depends on how you want to drive your car, engine power, and speed that you want.
For a relatively stock T and reasonably touring MPH, the Ruckstell wins in my opinion. No effect on top speed but provides an intermediate gear between low and high for those pesky hills. Low pedal combined with Ruckstell underdrive can be nice for steep driveways or loading a car on a trailer. It also shifts easy (or should if properly adjusted). I don't see a great advantage to a Warford or similar aux trans in a stock T, other opinions may vary.
For speedster folks or others with peppy motors a Ruckstell with a 12 or 13 tooth pinion provides for more speed with still moderate RPM. Start in Low pedal/Low, shift to High pedal and low Ruckstell and then High/High for scooting down the road.
A Warford (or other aux transmission) of the 3 speed variety provides a real nice overdrive as well as an underdrive that can be nice for parades or pulling stumps. I have a Chicago 3 speed behind my T trans in my speedster and this past weekend proved I can climb darn near anything in Low/Low with 4 to 1 rear gears. Original style auxiliary transmissions require some rev matching to shift gracefully. Can be done but takes a bit of practice. They also have a real neutral so brakes that work at the wheels are a necessity. The modern Warfords are of a special design so can be shifted at most any speed without clashing. In my world with a Fronty powered speedster I love the 3 speed Chicago paired up with 4 to 1 rear gears (10 tooth pinion). Great pulling power in direct and overdrive is real close to the same as 3 to 1 rear gears so 60 MPH is approx 2000 RPM or a bit more.
With either option, I am a strong believer in real brakes that work at the wheels rather than relying solely on the stock brake which is nice for parades I guess but not much more.
They're pretty different.
The Ruckstell is part of the rear differential. It uses a different left housing. There is your regular direct 3.63 gears, and then when you shift into Ruckstell you get an under drive of 5.5 to 1.
The Warford is a 3 speed auxiliary transmission that bolts the back of the engine and requires a shorter driveshaft and shorter radius rods. With the Warford you have a direct 1 to 1, and then an under drive of 7.41 to 1, and an overdrive of 3.02 to 1.
Both of them can get stuck in neutral and with both you should have auxiliary brakes.
Here's my basic thoughts: the Warford is probably a little bit better if you tend to drive faster and/or you have a little bit stronger engine so something like a speedster. If you have a mostly stock engine though and mostly drive at 35 or under, the under drive on a Ruckstell lets you maintain speed better going up hills.
And of course you can always just get both! Lol I have a Warford, but I'd love to add a Ruckstell.
The Ruckstell is much easier to use, but offers fewer choices than the Warford. The Warford offers more choices (over, direct, and under) giving better options under more different road conditions. But is much more difficult to use, and is noisier. Some people never do get good at shifting a Warford (or any of the several other auxiliary selective shift transmissions). Most people can do okay after a bit of practice.
When looking to buy any such used auxiliary transmission, look them over closely, especially inside and the gears. A lot of them have been basically ruined by bad shifting in the past.
Anybody can learn to shift a Ruckstell (not intended as a put down). That is why they are in such demand and you have to pay so much for them.
Good luck! Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Listen carefully ! A cast iron old original Warford had two speeds. Under drive and direct. If you put 3 to one gears in the rear end you had overdrive and not under drive. So you had four forward speeds but could go faster..
Then Warford built an aluminum transmission with three speeds in it. It had under drive, direct drive, and over drive. With the Ford two speed transmission and a three speed Warford you could get six forward speeds but the low low was only good for pulling tree stumps or climbing the side of a building.
There may have been other combinations but I have had three Ruckstells and five Warfords so I think I am close to the truth.
So and old Warford is hard to shift but gives you a true neutral. If you know how to double clutch you know how to drive one.
A Ruckstell with three to one gears is a good thing but with stock gears it is best to use it climbing mountains because you will not go any faster without three to one gears.
With an old Warford you must know how to double clutch up and down as you drive.
Enter the modern K C Warford. It has the under drive direct drive and over drive. It gives 3 to 1 gears in over drive. It has a constant mesh gear set and you can shift at full throttle without backing off or using the clutch. It is a racing transmission made by a company that builds race car transmissions. It will cost a little more than a Ruckstell but will give you six speeds and ease of shifting and a free neutral.
Any time you add something to the driveline be sure to have accessory brakes.