I am fairly new to driving my T and have a question. When I shift into high gear, the car seems to "stumble" or "shudder" for a few seconds while getting up to speed. The car has splashers instead of magnets on the flywheel, could this cause this "shudder"? Or is this operator error (shifting too early, improper spark advance, not enough throttle)? Thank you all, any help would be appreciated.
Do you back off on the gas a bit as you shift from Low to High? Similar to a modern stick shift, the engine does not need to go as fast in the higher gear.
It has been a little while since I have driven it, but yes I think I do back off the throttle.
Shifting too early. Having no magnets means that you have to wind the engine higher before shifting because of the reduced flywheel weight.
The Model T really needs an intermediate gear between low and high because without it, the torquey part of the power curve is one or two hundred RPM higher than the shift point. _Shifting is not so bad going downhill, not too great on level ground and pretty awful on an incline. _And a climbing left turn after a stop-sign is the absolute worst.
During my first year of ownership, I used to shift my Flivver by the simple expedient of lifting my foot off the left pedal without reducing throttle. _I'd get a sharp 'clack,' the car would give a shudder and then lug through that unsatisfactory, low-frequency vibration band till she'd pick up some more speed. _After a while, I tried reducing throttle a tad while lifting my foot and that felt a little better. _Finally, I learned to shift by closing the throttle to idle as my left foot entered the neutral zone, feather the clutch into high after the engine RPM dropped, and then bring the throttle back in. _Using that technique, the shift (at least in my car) is silent and smooth. _I can reduce the vibration during the lugging-chugging part right after the shift by going real easy on the throttle when I bring it back in. _Retarding the spark timing helps, but only a little (perhaps because of my high-compression head).
It's no secret that modern cars, beside being more reliable, handle a whole better than the old iron, but that's not the experience old-car fans are seeking. _Oh sure, some folks will put radial tires on an antique car to improve its handling (and Jay Leno mounted them on his Duesenberg), but, in my humble opinion, doing things like that only dilutes the historical experience and challenge of mastery. _Hey, it's harder to sail than to motor-boat, but it's worth the satisfaction of having learned and polished the technique of making the difficult look easy (and perhaps you found out about that, as did I, after having learned to drive a stick). _Hey, anyone can learn to drive the underpowered, non-optimally-geared Model T Ford, but learning to do it smoothly while making it look easyŚwell, that's where the fun is.
It could be slipping like mine. I need to tighten the 3 screws another 1/4 turn soon, because simply applying full power causes mine to slip.
You have to turn them at least 1/2 turn so that you can replace the cotter pin that fits in the slot of each screw and keeps them from turning on their own.
Luke even if a T is tuned up and running well there still is the next step.
Learning how to work the pedals along with the spark and gas levers to get smooth shifting into high gear and learning how to stop a vehicle that doesn't have real brakes.
It takes a little practice and remembering that a T is not like our modern vehicles.
Thank all y'all for your help. It is very much appreciated.
If you go to adjust the clutch fingers I recommend looping a piece of dental floss or string through the eye of the cotter pin/key on removal and insertion. You don't want to drop one into the transmission.
Thanks for the tip John. Will do.