I know it's a bit late to ask this question after having done a couple of hundred miles, but there's something specific that is bothering me, and it pertains more accurately to stopping/slowing down.
As I'm approaching a stop I generally drop the car into low gear as one would in a normal manual shift car. I figure this way I'm saving putting too much stress on the brake band. If the deceleration is going to be a long drawn out affair I also tend to 'pump' the low gear/clutch pedal in order to splash some oil around in there and not wear the low gear band too much (I also had a bit of an emergency stop situation a few miles ago and in my haste to stop I momentarily forgot what car I was driving and just went heavy on both the clutch and brake pedals and the car came to a stalled halt).
But now I'm beginning to think the approach is not the best one as I started to experience a fair bit of slip and judder in the low gear band. This was after the emergency stop, so this could well have been the pivotal moment as far as the band was concerned. I've adjusted it back up so it's working OK, but I'm worried it was my driving style that caused it to happen and I don't want it to happen again.
So in short, should I be driving it the way I have or is it best to go into neutral and rely solely on the brake pedal for regular stopping/slowing down?
If you are holding LOW down all the way, there's no wear taking place. Wear only takes place when the drum is slipping in the band. If the band has the drum stopped, ie you are totally in LOW, then no slippage, no wear. However, I would not recommend downshifting as a normal means of slowing down. Anticipate your stops. Close the throttle WAY early and let it coast down. Use the brake only to bring it to the final halt. Downshifting can over-rev the engine and PARTIALLY downshifting will wear the LOW band. A good rule of thumb: Keep your feet off the pedals as much as possible. And when you do use them, use them to bring the drum to a stop as quickly as possible.
I do a bit of both because I press the low pedal down, then release it to get to neutral and finish off with the brake.
The length of time I use low varies with how I feel and the situation.
I do pump the brake if possible to dissipate the heat.
I did this with cotton, Kevlar and now wooden bands.
BTW - In my opinion the wooden bands are the best for performance and feel.
Thanks Hal. Yep, I definitely close the throttle as early as possible and coast. I live in a rural village with very narrow and windy lanes, so I tend to stay in Ruckstell low when driving on those roads as one can coast so much slower.
I'll refrain from dropping down into low and see how I fare.
Thanks Fred, typing together :-)
I agree with Hal about anticipating stops and coasting as close to a stop as possible. Go easy on the petrol (lever all the way up). Some will be aghast at this, but I use the hand brake to help out the foot brake. Hand brake linings are easier to replace than foot brake linings, so I let them take some of the wear.
I also agree about not braking with the low pedal for the reasons stated. When starting up in low or reverse, I like to be aggressive with the pedals, stepping down on them as hard and fast as I can without stalling the engine. The less time the drums spend slipping against the linings, the better.
I put thousands of miles on my T each year. I live inner city, and drive my T nearly every nice day. It's not uncommon for me to put 30 miles on my T, just driving to and from work.
I try to plan ahead, but stoplights change, cars pull out in front of me all the time. I throttle down as soon as possible, I always down shift to slow way down, and only use the brake for the final stop.
I have more than once had to double peddle for a quick stop. Pressing any two peddles, will lock up the driveline and skid the drive wheels, and will stall the engine. If you time it right you can get a rolling start too. I have been told it will not hurt the engine. I have heard the brake drum tends to crack from heat, I have not heard of to many issues with the low gear drum. I will pump the low gear sometimes just to ensure its well oiled.
Again, if you are truly IN low gear, meaning the low drum is stopped, pedal down hard, there is no need to "pump" the pedal. "Pumping" it only means MORE slippage, MORE heat generated, MORE wear. "Pumping" the brake pedal is another story. The brake pedal IS slipping, until you come to a complete stop. Before then, yes, there is heat and wear taking place and pumping to allow more oil to it is not a bad idea. If you are using the LOW pedal like a brake and slipping the band (Not just downshifting to low and keeping it there), then I guess "Pumping" might prolong the inevitable, but it is a poor practice in my opinion.
Someone described braking in a Model T as not a routine action but a planned event. I have good success by retarding the spark and throttle early in preparing for a stop - that really helps to slow the car down by using engine braking; then using the foot brake normally. I also keep the handbrake at the ready just in case like Steve J. said.
Another thought about moving out in low gear (on level ground) that seems to make sense to me is give the car a small amount of throttle to keep the engine from stalling and then press down firmly on the low pedal to get the car moving - then accelerate. Seems to me the low drum is receiving less overall stress/heat this way. This wouldn't apply to taking off on a hill or grade.
This is one of several areas where a Ruckstell is a real advantage! I have two "T's with Ruckstell rear ends, and I drive them just like a modern 3-speed manual transmission. I start out from dead stop in Ruckstell, and on level pavement, I can go from dead stop to full lockup with low pedal in no more than two feet! That is slipping with low band to the absolute minimum. And as has been mentioned, the only time the low band wears is when it is slipping,....once locked up, no wear occurs. FWIW,....harold
O.K. (from the thiefs poing of view)
Well fist you start it (brake lever back), make sure you push the clutch and brake (must be the one next to the brake) in before you release the lever -oops, restart
So try just pushing the clutch in before releasing the brake -oops, restart
Well dang that pedal shouldn't be pushed in with the brake on well just leave it alone when you release the lever -oops, can't restart the car moves
At this point the thief can scratch his head and figure the lever must not be the brake
Now he can try pushing every lever to make the car go but nothing happens due to the brake being back. -totally confused and give up to tow it backward away where one wheel comes off and the other locks up.
In all seriousness when coming to a stop my first choice is given enough time.
1 Switch off the ignition
2 let up on the gas
3 Alternate between all 3 pedals to insure none get hot
4 When going slow enough shift into low so there is no slipping
I read to use reverse as the initial means of stopping because that band gets the least amount of wear. I dont use it in emergencies, for that I use the two pedal kill the engine choice. But I use reverse if I have a planned stop sign and no traffic.
The reverse drum isn't strong enough to take the abuse from braking on a regular basis - when pulling down transmissions, there are cracks in the cast webs in at least half of the reverse drums. Not so in low or brake drums, but I wouldn't use low either as a regular brake.. Though, if going down a known steep hill, it's a good idea to start at the top in low and keep the pedal firm into low all the way down to avoid uncontrollable high speeds and brake fade.
Should the regular brake start to fail in a panic situation, then it's just to press all pedals - but it's likely the emergency brake that'll save the day - if it has lined shoes and the oil seals are working..
So keep the emergency brake in working condition and be prepared to use it, should anything fail.
Accessory brakes are a great way to eliminate these issues. Then, pull the lever back to neutral, coast to a stop using the brakes. Much easier on the transmission and brake pads are not difficult or expensive to replace.
listen to Roger...don't use reverse as a brake