I've watched a few videos on youtube but none seem to be completely clear. So I was hoping you guys might just clear up my understanding. Am I correct with the following?
- hand break all the way back - neutral and parking break
- hand break straight up - neutral - from here you can either push the clutch pedal all the way down for low gear or you can push the reverse pedal down for reverse (but you can't get into high gear with hand break straight up?)
- hand break all the way forward - allows you to push the clutch pedal all the way down for low and release it all the way out for high gear. (Can you do anything with reverse here, or only when hand break is in the straight up position?)
I appreciate the clarification.
Yes that is basically correct. The straight up (neutral range) can be anywhere the clutch lever adjusting bolt is on the cross shaft cam and the parking brakes are not being applied.
Holding the low pedal halfway down approx put the car in neutral too.
I make a point of only using reverse with the parking brake handle in the mid (neutral) position. That way, I can use my left foot on the reverse pedal and have my right foot ready to hit the brake pedal.
With size 11 triple E shoe size I find it almost impossible to use my left foot for neutral and my right foot for reverse so I almost always use the hand brake lever for neutral when reversing. I also use it when loading in a trailer or in any tight space just in case I might by accident let the clutch pedal get far up enough to slip into high. I also use it at long lights because it is easier than holding the clutch pedal down part way.
They are not an exact science you must be a little bit flexible, as they may not all respond exactly the same, small adjustments may vary. With the handle straight up on one car you may have neutral and no rear brakes and on another the brakes may be on. Move the lever and find out where neutral is and then find out where the brakes come on.
To add to what you posted:
hand break all the way forward - allows you to push the clutch pedal all the way down for low and release it all the way out for high gear.
When the hand brake/clutch lever is forward, the 90lb clutch spring engages the clutch plates, and the T now is ONLY in high.
The only way out of high is to pull back on the clutch lever, or push in on the clutch pedal halfway, pushing fully will then engage the low speed. Only pushing in that pedal half way or pulling back the clutch lever will allow the Reverse or the Brake pedal to function.
When the clutch/brake lever is forward, the T is always in high, meaning the whole trans/and drums assembly is turning while going forward,.... or if the T isn't presently rolling forward, it will be at a halt in high.
"(Can you do anything with reverse here, or only when hand break is in the straight up position?)"
Most certainly you can with the lever fully forward! Put the clutch pedal halfway down. Neutral.
The Ford will let you know if your clutch pedal is in the correct position as you try to back up. I use my right foot tilted to mash the reverse pedal to back up in a turnaround I have on my road. Then off I go again. I have killed my T's doing it too.
For your first times out when slowing down? Pull that lever straight up to neutral. You'll get it. Back up to reset the car to go ahead again, push the clutch pedal down, keep it pushed down hard and while pulling the throttle up, move the brake lever ahead and you're ready for high.
Perfect questions. It will become second nature.
I had nothin' to go by when I first drove mine other than the books I got a hold of at that time or earlier.
I studied, re-studied and read it again. When it was time, I re-thought it and looked like an expert. Down the hill I went!
David and all above are correct also. Be flexible. Like your Ford.
When slowing down from high gear to a stop, do you guys typically brake and shift into low and then brake to stop or do you just go from high gear to neutral and brake to stop (ignoring low gear)?
Pull back the throttle early and use engine braking as much as you can before you use the service brake. Engine braking is certainly more effective in low gear, but I usually do not shift into low as part of my normal braking procedure. That may be because I have supplementary AC brakes installed on my car.
Depends on how fast one is going, and if there is an upgrade before the stop sign or whatever.If you close the throttle in preparation to stop,you time it so you will nor be lugging it in high before stop.I get all I can out of engine braking.The brake pedal is for the final act of coming to a complete stop.You'll get the hang of it.All the rest of us have.Practice.
Rick, some of us (I) throw the ears "up" to slow the car whilst in high gear, works great and I sometimes make a big production out of it but I like being on a stage, pretend there are no brakes, the engine will slow the car very nicely, then the brake, pulsing it the best you can to allow more oil on your brake band so you don't "cook" (wear) it. Plan ahead always. The engine and then the brake. Please don't use the other bands to slow you down unless in an emergency.
Did I get that close enough guys?
The brake and reverse pedal will work no matter what position the clutch or emergency brake handle are in. In fact if you want to stop a T in a emergency condition just push any two pedals to the floor IT WILL STOP. You may break or bend something but it will stop, that is why I say in a emergency condition. Jim
Unless I missed it, there is one other thing that the Model T Ford absolutely excels at that might be mentioned:
A common practice when stuck in snow, mud, soft ground or sand, etc, is to "rock" the vehicle back & forth between forward and reverse. This of course can be done with most vehicles, however, it is difficult with a sliding gear transmission. However, with the Model T's two speed planetary and two pedals, it is very easy and efficient to alternate between low pedal and reverse pedal to rock the vehicle out of trouble with a much more rhythmic motion with your feet rather than trying to shift a sliding gear transmission back & forth with clutch & stick shift. FWIW,.....harold
Can be confusing at first.
In 1972, before the internet and the information age, I learned to drive my newly restored (it took me 2 years) 1926 Model T Coupe, using a Popular Science article I saved from 1963 when I was just 9 years old. In July 1963 my issue of Popular Science arrived and inside, there were two Model T articles. One about the development of the Model T and one on how to drive a Model T. This is where my interest in Model T's started. The article on how to drive one might be of help to you. It sure was to me. Good luck. Jim Patrick
This is a bit extreme but in the old days on some of the old unimproved roads it was common practice to carry an axe to cut down a tree to drag behind you going down a steep hill.
I'd be afraid the tree would pass me and carry me along with it!
My first post on the forum. Just to make you reminisce, here are the articles from the July 1963 issue of Popular Science from their website:
The Untold Story of the Model T
Any Dope Could Drive a Model T
Thank you Pierre. Welcome to the forum. I hope you post much more in the future. Jim Patrick
Model T Ford Driving 101
I'm going to oversimplify and tell some mechanical "half-truths" here, which might be helpful for a new driver to understand (and then I'll make them full truths at the very end).
The Model T Ford has two forward gears and one reverse. _Each gear has its own clutch and because of the way planetary transmissions work, all the gears are always meshed, so one doesn't so much shift gears as engage the clutch which corresponds to the gear you wish to use.
All other cars that have manual transmissions have two ways of disconnecting the drive wheels from the engine: You can step on the clutch pedal, or you can put the transmission in neutral, or you can do both at the same time._Model T Fords don't work that way.
The Model T transmission does not have a true neutral. _It only has clutches, all three of which must be disengaged if one wants to disconnect the drive wheels from the engine.
The secret of understanding how to drive a Model T is in understanding the relationship between the floor-mounted hand lever and the left pedal. _The left pedal is used to select between the clutches of the two forward gears in these three operating positions:
A.) low gear clutch engaged, with the left pedal fully depressed;
B.) high gear clutch engaged, with the left pedal fully released and in the full up position;
C.) neither of the two forward clutches engaged. _This third condition is maintained by holding the left pedal between the up and down extremes with your left foot. _This last condition would be the equivalent of holding a conventional car's clutch pedal down to the floor while in gear and this is as close as the Model T's transmission comes to being in neutral. _Though it is obviously not a true neutral, for now, we'll refer to it as neutral.
A convenient way of holding the car in this "neutral" condition is to use the floor-mounted hand lever, which operates in three basic positions:
a.) Floor-mounted hand lever all the way forward; which does nothing more than allow the clutch pedal to come all the way up and engage the high gear clutch when you lift your foot off the left pedal;
b.) Floor-mounted hand lever halfway back; which locks out the high gear clutch by blocking the left pedal from coming more than halfway up when you lift your foot off the pedal. _In this case, the transmission is held in "neutral" unless you press the pedal fully down, which would then engage the low gear clutch. _If you lift your foot off again, the pedal will not rise beyond the neutral position (By the way, with the floor-mounted hand lever in the halfway back position, you could also engage the reverse gear clutch by pressing down the center pedal. _Releasing the center pedal would disengage the reverse clutch and the car would then be in neutral again).
__Keep the floor-mounted hand lever halfway back whenever you know you don't want to accidentally engage high gear, like when you're making a U-turn, when you're in a parking lot, etc.
c.) Floor-mounted hand lever all the way back; which not only locks out the high gear clutch, but applies the parking brake as well. _This is the position you would use for hand-cranking the car or waiting at a long, red traffic light.
By the way, the parking brake is used for holding the car's position when parked, not slowing or stopping, except in an emergency (unless your parking brake shoes have been modified with the right kind of linings and that's unlikely).
The right pedal is a conventional brake. _Antique car brakes are nowhere near as powerful as modern car brakes.
The Model T has two small hand levers mounted just beneath the steering wheel:
The small right-hand lever (as seen from the driver's position) is the hand throttle, which is not spring-loaded. _There is no accelerator pedal. _Pushing the throttle lever down increases power. _Pulling it up reduces power. _The throttle will stay in the position in which you leave it and will not return to idle when you let go of it.
The small left-hand lever controls the spark timing. _Essentially, this control allows you to choose between a spark the occurs late in the ignition cycle (meaning after the piston passes top dead center), or earlier in the ignition cycle. _For hand cranking the engine, you want a late spark. _A late spark insures (more or less) that the crankshaft will not suddenly change direction while you are cranking and break your arm with a backwards-spinning hand crank. _An earlier spark is used for driving. _The faster you drive, the earlier the spark you will select. _The latest (fully retarded) spark position is with the handle fully up and the earliest (fully advanced) spark position is with the handle fully down. _Again, make sure the spark handle is in the fully up position whenever you touch the hand crank.
Hand-cranking a Model T is sort of like starting a powermower with a pull-cord (and at least as hazardous). _The powermower needs gasoline, air and spark to start and so does the Model T. _With the spark lever all the way up, the throttle cracked open, the floor-mounted hand lever all the way back and the rear wheels chocked, you're ready to wrestle this beast to life with your bare hands.
__Make sure the ignition is switched off and the ignition key is out of the keyhole. _The choke is the cute little wire loop sticking out the front of the radiator on the passenger side. _Hold it out and crank the engine over two or three half-turns (You'll have to push the crank in to engage the ratchet). _Now, the engine is primed. _Stick the key in the ignition and turn it counterclockwise, unless your Model T doesn't have a starting battery, in which case you'll instead turn the key clockwise to engage the magneto.
__With your left hand (Don't get me started on the dangers of right-handed cranking), engage the crank ratchet at about the 7 o'clock position and smartly lift the crank to the 12 o'clock position. _Do your best not to crank past the 1 o'clock position. _If the engine starts, advance the spark lever to the point where the engine idles fastest. _You may need to reduce the throttle a bit to keep from racing the engine.
Okay, time to drive. _This is best done in a large, vacant parking lot without speed bumps. _Pull the chocks, bearing in mind that some Model T's tend to creep forward even with the floor-mounted hand lever all the way back (and this is why it's considered bad form to hand crank a Model T with your back to a wall).
__Get in the driver's seat and make certain all the doors are firmly latched, particularly if you have a touring car with suicide doors. _Plant your foot on the brake and slowly bring the floor-mounted hand lever forward to the halfway position. _Now, practice starting and stopping the car using first gear only. _Get used to the very sensitive steering. _Get used to the very insensitive brake. _Don't watch your feet any more than you really have to. _Take it real slow so you won't tip the car over in a turn. _Practice backing up. _When you back up, do so very slowly, because a Model T can be very difficult to steer in reverse at anything more than a creep.
__After you've practiced this stuff to the point of confidence, it's time to try shifting from low to high gear. _Start as you've been practicing and at about 10 or 15 mph, close the throttle and move the floor-mounted hand lever all the way forward. _Now, add some throttle. _The car might tend to shudder and lug a bit as you accelerate in high gear, which is normal. _Practice braking the car to a stop with your left foot holding the left pedal in the neutral position. _If you have trouble finding neutral that way, use the floor-mounted hand lever. _Once you can dependably stop the car without resorting to the floor-mounted hand lever, it's time to practice starts, shifts and stops with the floor-mounted hand lever all the way forward.
Those are the basics. _Yeah, there's some more stuff involving things like the mixture control and gasoline shut-off valve, but those are mostly common sense items. _Okay, okay... Don't forget to turn off the gasoline after you shut down the engine, otherwise, your carburetor, which is gravity fed from the bottom of the fuel tank, might leak out the entire contents of your tank, which, at best, will earn you a hefty summons from the EPA. _There—you happy now?
Okay, now about those half-truths...
Strictly speaking, the Model T doesn't really have three clutches. _It has one high gear clutch, a stationary low gear band and a stationary reverse gear band. _Bands differ from clutches in that when a clutch is engaged, both ends of the clutch spin. _But when a stationary band is engaged, it tightens around a spinning drum and stops it from spinning, which somehow, through the magic of planetary gears, causes something else to spin and impart motion to the car. _Go figure.
Strictly speaking, the Model T doesn't really have two forward speeds. _It has a low gear and direct drive.
That was perhaps the clearest explanation I've read yet. Thanks!
You're welcome, Rick. _Compared to the other guys and gals on this forum, what I know about the Model T wouldn't crowd the head of a pin; it's just that I have the biggest mouth. _If you'll send me a private message (by clicking on my name in blue type) with your e-mail address, the know-nothing-newbie will send you a bunch of other useful material that I hesitate to post here because most folks here have seen it a dozen times and that's enough.
If this advice has not been given allow me. Remember not to push the clutch and brake pedal simultaneously -- if you do the car will split in two.
Also if you have not this page may be of interest if not already mentioned. See Model T simulator.
I remember one of my first classes in college where we were on board ship (maritime academy) and the teacher (retired navy engineer) was teaching.
He noticed I wasn't paying much attention to his discussion about the transmission in the ship. Picking on me he asked "What type of transmission does your car have?"
Owning a model T that I had just finished that had a warford I promptly replied "My car has a 2 speed manually operated automatic and a 3 speed non syncromesh strait cut gear (he had been talking about gear cut in the ships transmission) manual."
After a solid moment of silence during which he realized that while it may have appeared I wasn't paying attention the truth was that I understood everything he was saying the response was "OK who here has a normal car"
So back to the topic at hand you can now discuss how a model T has more in common with an automatic than your standard manual transmission . . .
It is not good to shift into low when you are going at a high speed, and tricky to do it right when you slow down. Ideally the engine should be going at the same speed it would be in low gear at the speed the car is going. So when you slow down, you should first push up the throttle and let the engine slow down and the compression of the engine slow you. Then when you get almost to a stop you can use the low pedal (if you want to)but the engine should first be sped up in neutral before depressing the pedal, then push the throttle up and slow on compression.
What I posted above would be ideal circumstances, but when you are actually driving, you will sometimes find steep hills where you won't slow on compression, or situations where you must stop very fast. In those cases, you can put the throttle up and pull on the parking brake while you push the low pedal and brake pedal at the same time. This method should only be used in an emergency because it can also cause a broken axle, or pinion gear. You must realize that if you brake enough to slide the rear wheels, that's all the braking you will get. I personally like to leave as much space in front of me as possible so that I can stop more slowly. It is also important to approach a green light as though it were a red light and slow down instead of speed up, because if it suddenly turns red, you will need to make a fast stop. I only speed up for a green light if it has just turned green when I am near the intersection.
I also use auxiliary transmission and brakes. When approaching a steep hill I shift into Ruckstell before going down the hill. The Ruckstell will amplify both the compression of the engine and the power of the transmission brake and help you stop better. And the auxiliary brakes will relieve the strain on the drivetrain when you need to stop fast.
Norm touched on this point, but to elaborate a bit, it is important to remember that while an auxiliary transmission (under drive) or Ruckstell rear end in "Ruckstell" will not only allow more power at a slower speed to climb hills, but it will also greatly increase the compression braking power. In using auxiliary transmission underdrive or Ruckstell for compression for braking (a good practice) two very important things MUST be kept in mind, and that is to shift smoothly in order to minimize severe momentary strain on entire driveline (read broken axle, U-joint, etc) and to be careful not to overspeed engine. FWIW,......harold
One thing I mentioned but did not emphasize is to slow down at the top of a steep hill and shift before going down. If you wait till you are going down to shift, you might miss the shift and go into neutral. When that happens you will completely lose the transmission brake and engine compression. That is another VERY important reason to have auxiliary brakes whenever you have an auxiliary transmission and also to have lined brake shoes on the parking brake.
I don't know if getting the car going is really that much of a mystery if you've gone out and bought a car and got the basics from the fellow you bought it from, it's just a matter of practice after that (it's not rocket science ya know)...what nobody ever seems to mention much (unless in a joke or something) is stopping the car once you got the darn thing going.
Everybody will tell you to pump the brake pedal because the brake band in constantly running in oil and you need to allow for more oil to be replaced for every time you step on the brake pedal you're squeezing it out and building friction.
What really helps (if you haven't got an external braking system of some kind...come to think of it, even if you do for that matter) is let to just back off on the throttle and let the engines compression help slow you down, when the car gets to lugging, stomp down into low (still with no throttle) and allow low to slow you down even more. I've found that doing this helps keep from using the brake quite so often...also plan your stops...these cars notoriously don't stop on a dime (or 20, $20's laid end to end either), which is why I always use the engines compression to do most of my braking for me.
Now there are those times when you're going to have to make a panic stop...for those (hopefully rare) times, pull the hand brake but do not lock up the rear wheels (you need those for control), try stopping as usual but if it looks like that's not going to do it, I'll give you the advice that was given to me once long, long time ago..."any two pedals will stall the engine and stop the car...just don't make a habit of it". It works too, had to use it once in traffic when some shoe skate cut me off to keep from rear ending the bugger...the only consolation I got from the experience was seeing his face after I got the car stopped...his eyes were as big a tea cups and he had that shocked expression people get when they realize they almost got hit.
I learned to drive my cars from reading on the forum before I ever purchased the first T. By the time I drove the first T I had bought the second T. Welcome to the forum. Tim
The Model T has fabulously bad braking capability. _Even with modern disc brakes, the footprint of a Model T clincher tire is about the same as that of a shotglass and that makes for really poor braking traction (Physicist types may tell you that the width of a wheel has nothing to do with braking traction—and while that may be true of a hard, unyielding steel wheel on a hard, unyielding steel surface, the adhesion of soft, air-inflated rubber on rough-textured pavement is a completely different issue).
With only a handful of highly modified exceptions, all Model T Fords have braking action at the rear wheels only, and that's assuming some kind of aftermarket, auxiliary brakes have been added to the rear wheels themselves. _In the case of a Model T as equipped from the factory, the only effective brake is a single drum in the transmission and the braking impulse is therefore sent down the drive-shaft to the differential where it is then distributed to that wheel which has the least traction. _The handbrake is, for all intents and purposes, useless for stopping.
With these things is mind, it is very important that a Model T driver not let his car get away from him on a downhill slope because (among other reasons) as the angle of decline steepens, the center of gravity of any car is shifted forward, thereby transferring traction from the rear wheels to the front wheels—and if your brakes are only in the back, this is a very bad thing. _Model T drivers, therefore, keep a very tight rein on the car when headed downhill. _Keeping the speed from increasing, downhill, is absolutely critical because beyond a certain value, the car will begin uncommanded acceleration and once that starts, all the driver can do is steer as best as possible and hope not to hit anything. _On rough roads, the Model T Ford's sproingy, undamped, un-shock-absorbed suspension will cause the wheels to dance and hop, becoming intermittently airborne at anything above a relative crawl. _Depending on the road surface, the wheels can spend as much time in the air as on the ground. _Downhill, that's as bad for steering as it is for braking.
Alongside the myth that all Model T Fords were painted black is the public's impression that it is an indestructible, rough-road car. _While it's true the car was designed to operate on the typically horrible roads of pre-WWI America, its ability to do so does not compare with that of any modern econobox. _The potholes your Ford Focus can shake off with no more than a dented rim will shatter the wooden wheel of a Model T, and what follows generally becomes headline news on local TV stations—and this forum. _Spotting potholes at night, at speed, is just about impossible in a modern car and it sure wouldn’t be any easier in the feeble glow of a 1915 Model T's flashlight headlamps. _The Model T, in a modern context, is quite delicate; its legendary, obstinate survivability is only due to a virtually endless supply of spare parts and the tick-tock simplicity that makes the car easily repairable by hobbyists. _A whopping 200,000-250,000 Model T Fords are reputed to survive worldwide, but that’s still only a very modest 1.33% of the approximately 15-million that were built (more than any American car ever manufactured—and for sheer numbers, only the Volkswagen Beetle beats out the Tin Lizzie). _The point is, in percentage terms, the larger the number of units made, the larger the number of units that survive the longest.
I’m verbose and unforgivably pedantic (but my buddies on the forum put up with my ramblings anyway and I love them for it), which means all of my above can be distilled down to one simple sentence: Driving a Model T downhill, at high speed, on a rough road, at night, would be an activity fraught with great danger.
I won't quarrel with 9944/100% of Bob's description of driving, but I'll offer one minor correction. Yes, you want the spark lever all the way up when starting on BAT. But when starting on MAG it should be down two or three notches. I won't go into the technical reasons, because I don't understand them.