I built a Depot Hack and plan on hauling my grandchildren. Are Rocky Mountain brakes about the best or are there others. I am not interested in disk brakes. It has 26 drums. Al
They work quite well. But please realize that they work quite poorly if they are wet
I am very pleased with the RMB on my '25 but fully realize that even with them I need to remember I'm not driving a 4 wheel brake car.
Don't stop going up a hill they won't hold very well
The new design add little more forward braking but takes away from backwards braking
Agreed very poor in when wet
From what I've read, AC's work backing up and Rockies don't.
I have the old style Rockies and they hold OK braking backwards except when wet. I have cast iron drums which may work better compared to pressed steel drums.
When wet, it takes some time with the brakes on to dry out the linings. This is one of the reasons that I do not enjoy driving my T in the rain. I still have the internal brake band which is adjusted to engage only after the RM's are fully engaged.
I much prefer the original Rockies over the newer ones, although both have trouble when wet (This must always be remembered!).
Since you have the large drum rear end (I imagine a '26/'27?), I would go with the modern Rocky Mountains (because they are readily available and are pretty good) for 99 percent of your use. Set it up so that the pedal works on the Rockies, then put the hand brake onto the Ford factory inside lined brakes with the large drums. Keep the two systems operating independently. Be ready and aware, to use the emergency/hand brake on hills or wet conditions. I have driven several model Ts that were set up this way, and I like it the best overall. Make sure both systems are properly adjusted. I often recommend practicing with the hand brake for awhile under safe conditions. This is to make certain that you are ready and able to use it if the need arises.
All life involves risk. But we want to minimize that risk by being reasonably prepared and well maintained, and let the experience broaden the horizons for you, and the grandchildren!
Do drive carefully! And enjoy. W2
I would say go with sure stop brakes. I know you said you weren't interested in disk brakes, however they work well in both directions. Although disk brakes may look a bit out of place, it would give you the better safety margin. If you get the adjustment of Ford/modern Rocky just right you will be able to hold on a hill, but getting that perfect balance takes time and many adjustments.
I have small drum band brakes built and sold by the late-great Model T mechanical wizard, Jess Bonar. These operate identical to the AC and Bendix brakes, which is to say, they will normally lock up the rear wheels, but if they get wet, then they are just about useless. No question they work equally well in reverse, which any brake should under normal operation, and where the transmission internal brake is also operational.
I'm quite pleased with the performance of the standard transmission brake with my light weight pickup, even from higher speed - but that's on dry pavement. When I first tried braking on wet asphalt I got really scared - the rear wheels locked directly and I kept on slipping and sliding for much longer than I would have liked.. I'm driving a lot slower in rain now.
So maybe the bad performance of rockies in rain is just as well - the wheels would slip anyway..
The real help for braking would be front brakes. Unfortunately no kits available, but it's possible to build something period looking that works really good - ask Gene Carrothers from LA :
I have installed Rockies, ACs, and Discs, and if you want the very best all around stopping power, the discs are the way to go. Their drawback is price and looks. For a large drum car, the Rockies work well, but adjustment is critical. If adjusted (and maintained) perfectly, the transmission brake will help in reverse. I like the ACs on small drums, as they look good and work fairly well. I just built a linkage for ACs using an equalizer but have not had time to give it a good test. The limiting factor on any system is two narrow tires with a small contact patch. I have heard that someone is working again on a front brake system, and that would be interesting.
Also used industrial grade brake band liner that has metal woven through it. This is tougher on the drums, however, drums are cheap and easily replaceable.
Properly installed and adjusted rockys will do the job well. Most problems arise from improper installation and adjustment. There are many threads on this.
Too bad they didn't copy the original design on the Rockies. Jack started off ok, but failed to install the adjusting cams for the bands, and then rather that pursue the correct equalizer and CABLE assembly, he got a rod setup from Bennett brakes, which complicates the whole thing! Then later on, he decided to copy a form of AC brakes which they are still using. So much for doing the research!
Am I missing something about braking in reverse? Considering one foot is on the clutch and the other on reverse pedal how are you using your brake pedal?
You don't need to have a foot on the clutch when using reverse.
When backing up, I first put the emergency brake lever in neutral, then my left foot on the reverse pedal and my right foot ready to use the brake pedal if needed.
Chad, the dangerous "braking in reverse" situation is that when headed uphill, if you have to stop, for ANY reason, the modern Rocky Mountain brakes CANNOT hold the car. The way the brake band is attached and activated "energizes" the brake in the forward direction, but rolling backwards that directional attachment makes the pressure disengage between the band and drum, causing almost no braking. It doesn't take much steepness at all for a person of average strength to be unable to keep the car from rolling backwards.
The "solution" many people have used, is to set up and carefully adjust the transmission brake along with the Rocky Mountain brakes on the rear drums. In theory, it can work. A light pressure on the pedal will activate the rear brakes. With the "energizing" action, they can stop the car easily. When headed up a hill? The Rockies cannot hold the car. So a harder press of the pedal causes the transmission band to engage its drum, and it is supposed to hold the car. The problem is, that the adjustment must be nearly PERFECT to actually work that way. The braking parts do not wear evenly. Just because it worked okay a week ago, does not mean it can work today. And when you are suddenly stuck on a hill is NOT the time to find out it ain't gonna work today! Even the material expansion characteristics between a hot day and a cool day can alter that adjustment too much to be safe. I have personally known several people to nearly have disasters from that arrangement. Fortunately, none of them were hurt, and damage was minimal.
That is why I prefer to keep the emergency brake separate and independent from the service brake. As long as the inside shoes are properly lined, properly adjusted, and reasonably maintained, there are a lot less possible causes of a surprise failure.
That is my take on it.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
It is VERY important to have working transmission brake and parking brake. This is how I adjust the brakes. First adjust the parking brake. Then adjust the rods from the equalizer to the Rocky Mountain brakes to apply the Rocky mountain brake when you pull the parking brake one more notch after the parking brake is engaged. That way if you roll backward you can use the parking brake to hold the car. Next with the rod between the equalizer and the brake pedal disconnected, adjust the transmission brake so the pedal is down as far as it will go when the pedal is between one inch and one and one half inch above the floorboard. This transmission brake should hold the car both forward and backward. Next adjust the rod between the pedal and equalizer to apply the Rocky Mountain Brake about 2 inches above the floorboard. This way most of the braking will be done by the Rocky Mountain brakes, but if you push harder and pull back the parking brake, you can stop quickly or stop with wet Rocky Mountain brakes or when rolling backward.
I have hydraulic on my 26 sedan wire wheels, works but cost a lot. I also have brake equalizer from Langs for $175.00 that works very will on my 27 touring.If anything happens to either set brakes the ford brake ban kicks in. Just make sure wood spoke wheels are good and tight, these after market brakes cane cause wheels to come apart. If you have wood wheels you might be better off with the fords brakes.