I need to help a friend put in a new set of bands.
Looking at the three main options and doing some research I found the following:
Kevlar – can last forever, I can work really nice, but seems to have a tendency to destroy drums if everything isn't perfectly in order.
So that leaves me with:
Scandinavian Cotton – The old standby, doesn't last forever, but gets the job done. The drawback here is lent that I can plug up the oil line.
Wood – from what I read it seems to avoid the problems listed above and last a very long time.
I would like to hear problems people have had. Anyone use wood ones and decided they didn't like them and replace them with something else?
Tried them once several years ago, I found wood ones a pain in the butt to fit the rivets and had chatter as well, I do several rebuilds a year for club members, recommend and use nothing other that Kevlar.
I tried wood bands in my 4-door and the brake band is now weared out. It will be replaced with Kewlar and the main reason is that I had more chatter than I like.
I have found out it is essential to ensure that the band is as perfectly round as possible so I run them through a roller to make them that. That way I get very fine results with Kewlar.
Your milage may vary.
I can't testify about wood bands because I haven't tried them. I can tell you that I've had absolutely no trouble due to Kevlar. From what I've read on the forum, I believe the drum damage some people have had from it is due to abusive driving habits and/or poor band adjustment.
Lots of guys on here like wood bands a lot, but I don't. Here's why. I bought a T once which had wood bands in it. The seller was very proud of that, but this was his first T and he didn't know much about T's in general. I had to make a panic stop one time due to another mindless driver, and the brake turned to mush. I went back to my shop and tightened that band, and it seemed fine. A week or two later, I had to get on the brake pretty hard again, and the same thing happened. That time, I replaced all the bands with kevlar ones and never had that problem again.
I have used kevlar bands exclusively for more than 15 years and many thousands of miles in several T's with NO problem. Kevlar bands are the best you can get. Period. As Steve said above, anyone who has had a problem with them either had them adjusted too tightly or was slipping them excessively. If they are adjusted properly and you drive your T correctly, the kevlar bands will last forever, and so will your drums.
Adjust the bands so that you can push all pedals to within 1-1/2" of the floorboard. New bands will gradually "wear in", allowing the pedal to reach the floor. You'll need to adjust the bands twice or 3 times over the course of a few hundred miles in order to maintain that 1-1/2" distance from the floorboards. After that, you might need to adjust them every year or two if you drive quite a bit. And you should never need to replace them.
I have them in my cars. No negative issues to report. They have a firmer feel to them compared to fabric that takes some getting used to, but I'll use them again.
Matt I ran them for years had very good luck with them, also they will tolerate a cracked drum. The pedal is quite firm and I may not choose them for a heavy car but in a lighter car they work fine.
Hope this helps you
Here's a mixed testimonial:
When I got my Model T last fall, it had wood bands which the previous owner had run for many years, about 1,500 miles. Since my previous T experiences were solely based on woven linings, I did not like the "feel" (reverse chattered a lot) so I replaced them with Scandinavia.
Probably a too-short and unfair "trial" on my part, as they were quite worn. After an oil change subsequent inspections of the "lobster trap" yielded quite a log-jam of wood splinters circulating in the oil a hundred miles or so after new Scandi linings were installed. (no lint so far !)
I don't think anyone can fault their wear-ability if they operate smoothly for you. Regardless what lining is used, there's no machinery nor any material that cannot be mis-used to the point of failure !
I have wood bands in my TT with a high speed gear and they seem to work well. I put them in because I was a beginner T driver and was worried about ruining my expensive new drums. As a disclaimer, I have auxiliary brakes that actuate just before the brake band but hard pushes on the pedal do actuate the brake band. When the time comes to replace them, Kevlar will probably be what I use due to more confidence in my driving skills.
Now the clutch material is a different story. I have a jack rabbit clutch that doesn't suit a TT but that is whole different discussion.
I've used Scandinavian linings that were available 15 to 30 years ago and they wore too fast to keep me happy. I put wood bands in my speedster that had less than cherry drums and like them - slightly firmer pedal than Scandinavian or Kevlar but I haven't had the chatter folks that some folks have complained about. The speedster gets abused some and I'l stay with wood when they need replacing. I put Kevlar in my '26 coupe with nice drums and like them. Regardless of band material, make sure the bands are round and the material is installed properly. I like both wood and Kevlar but won't be wasting any more money on newer Scandinavian linings.
I had a bad experience with wood (turned to mush after around 50 miles). I replaced them with kevlar and have not had a problem since. We live in a vineyard and farm area with many hills and secondary roads (gravel and dirt) So my theory is that wood just is not up to the task. No more wood for me.
I have wood bands in my '15. The big plus is a clean engine. The big minus is band chatter. I did what's been suggested on the forum to minimize chatter - cutting a notch in the bottom of the band for more oil access, and adding ATF to the oil. The chatter is always there just when a drum (any of them) comes to a stop.
I decided to switch to Kevlar after an incident where I had to back down a steep hill (guess why). The chatter in reverse was so bad, I had to use the hand brake to control the car instead.
FWIW, I found installing wood bands very easy. It takes two special tools – a spade bit ground to the right dimensions, and a hollow rivet set ($6 at the hardware store). I set the rivets with press instead of a hammer, which gave more control.
I found that until they are broken in, and that can take quite awhile, then tend to grab quickly and chatter frequently. Once broken, they are smooth and I like them.
Matt, You asked what we don't like about the woodies, Sorry I can't post anything bad cause I like them and value a clean engine and filter screen. I've had mine a long time and lots of miles with no problems or regrets so I recommend them.
I can't help because I love my wood bands
I have run wood bands on my 27 roadster for many years. My new compromise is; cotton for low and reverse and Kevlar for the brake. It works well and I think reduces the risk of cracking a drum
I had 2 sets of Kevlar bands in my 26 Touring and had a lot of trouble with cracking the low drum, which happened twice. Ive been running wooden bands now for 3-4 months and like them a lot
I intend to put them in my 13 Touring.
I agree with Les with the modification that I ride with wood on the low band, cotton on the reverse and Kevlar on the brake. Has worked great for four seasons and about 3,000 miles with just a few adjustments - mostly on the low pedal.
I give the low band a hard time since I have 3:1 gears in the rear - have to slip it some to get going without stalling.
No chattering at all.
I switched to wood in my 1912 depot hack after a tour we had. It was a stop sign at the bottom of a steep blind hill. The written tour guide didn't mention this and several of the T's smoked the cotton and kevlar bands by the time they came to a stop,(sometimes passed the stop sign). I got advice from a friend whose business is repairing T's. He said I would be much happier with wood if they were "cottonwood" and installed properly. He was correct. I adjusted them one time after a tour day and haven't touched them since. No chatter and no mess. I treat them properly as I do with kevlar in my other T's.
All T drums were designed to have cotton applied to them. The cotton takes the abuse, not the drum, and does eventually wear out.
Cotton band "failures" are the result of drivers using the vehicle in ways other than it was designed for.
I just put wood bands in my TT, high speed gears and overdrive - 400 miles so far, no issues and no chatter, have not had to adjust at all, so far
I used wood bands on the coupe after the first couple of years after I first got it running, based on the advice of various LBMTC members.
I found they chattered.
I then switched to kevlar and no had problems for the past twenty years. So I always recommend Kevlar.
I must say I admit the chattering may be due a worn set of transmission bearing, but the wood bands caused it to chatter and the chattering was not there with either the cotton or Kevlar bands.
I got a lot of chattering with wood too. I now use Kevlar.
Brake burnt out on first tour with them. Neil Tuckett reports similar tales from other customers. He supplies a Ferodo bonded band which has served many thousands of miles in his and customer cars. Thats what I'm running now.
I had a bit of chattering with new wood bands; I added some ATF for a bit and it helped, and after they wore in they've been great.
I run wood bands in my car as well, if they're not seated properly, they'll chatter, but if you get them well seated you won't notice a difference between them and kevlar, with the exception they can't crack drum.
The only real problem with this is, they are wood, and to install them you have to take the hogshead off to install them. Also if you're not in the habit of pumping your brakes to stop, then you'll char the wood brake band...not good. And depending upon how badly you char them determines if they're still usable or not. That's why I always tell folks to let the engines compression take most of the stopping power, when it starts to lug, stomp down into low and when it starts to lug shove the hi/low pedal into neutral and only use the brake pedal to keep you from rolling once you get slow enough, then it only take one or two pumps of the pedal to stop you.
But I like the wood over everything else that is available, and they wear just a well as the kevy's do too.
Reading of the many varied experiences with the different kinds of linings, I wonder if there's a lot of POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC going on here. I'm not shouting, that's just how the Romans wrote Latin. After that, therefore because of that. The rooster crows and the sun rises. Therefore the rooster crowing causes the sun to rise.
"My car had wood/cotton/Kevlar linings and X happened." The wide range of conflicting experiences makes me wonder if maybe the ill effects attributed to the various linings are actually caused by other factors.
Hmmm. So, the Romans shouted ? ; )
A friend installed the wood bands, they too chattered at first. Once they got seated they have been fine. Could be some of the people that install them take them out before they get seated. ?
If I installed them I think I would use cotton or Kevlar on the brake band but then again I have outside brakes and only use the transmission brake as back up.
Side note; wood transmission linings have been around for a while, they were sold back in the day too.
Per Mark’s post regarding seated wooden bands, I wonder if there is a procedure where one could hasten the seating of the wood band?
I recently replaced a worn out cotton low band with wood. Works great. However there is chatter during engagement.
Brake "Burnt out" in one tour? Funny, it's been YEARS since I had to even adjust my brakes. Sounds as if the brake may have been being used like a modern car.
There very well may be other factors which determine the incident and extent of brake chatter. I tried adding MMO to my oil once, BIG mistake! That caused terrible brake chatter rolling to a stop that had not occurred previously with the same cotton bands. Had to change my oil several times to correct the problem. Perhaps different oil additives may be responsible for the majority of brake chatter, not the type of bands.
(Message edited by mkossor on August 29, 2017)
Well, when installed "eggy" or misaligned they seem to chirp!
Too bad when you don't pump the brakes they char and skip!
You CAN install them "through the door" and keep them round but it will use every cuss word you know and bring your lunch! The first two go real easy, that last one a bear! After doing a few on "black cars" on my '15, I pulled the hogsheads...lots easier.
They also seem to not like feathering into low and get mushy if done too often...on the other hand, they work real good when you "stomp" the pedal and do feathering with the throttle!
Unfortunately, they go against the Fix Or Repair Daily axiom branded with the T. They are near set and forget once set "right"!
I don't have an opinion as I really am an equal opportunity user...and have also never cracked a drum with Kevlar just by luck...but if someone were to asked me what do I have in the stash, it would be all three types...and if they further asked which are mounted on spare bands and ready to go...I'd have to mumble "Guinn Bands"
On my 26 Fordor I installed wood bands, liked them until the MTFCA Tour in Cockrane, AB. Driving out of the Lake Louise parking lot down a steep hill, traffic ahead stopped at the bottom of the hill. I had to do one of those panic stops, but in just a short bit I lost all braking. The hand brake was in good order so we skidded to a stop without hitting anyone/thing. Had to adjust the brake band a LOT to get brakes back. Later a car pulled out in front of me going down the hill into Cockrane on the highway, same thing. I hear what Martin says about pumping the brakes, but that is not an option at times. I will take my chances with a cracked drum rather that using wood bands that are usually great--only for NORMAL braking. You need to have good working backup brakes if you are going to use them. I do still have wood bands on the other two drums and have no complaints, seldom have to adjust them, just like the kevlar bands on the other car.
My 1926 TuDor has had wooden bands for more than 15K miles. There was a short break in time on them, where they chattered, but after 50 miles (?) they were fine. I have inspected them a few times when I had the engine appart and there is still plenty of meat on them. I drive a lot and these wooden bands have given me excellent service. I will continue to use them, should I have to replace these. Mike
So many wood species with vastly differing physical qualities. Are all wood bands using the same variety of wood? Not to mention variation from tree to tree, board to board, etc.....
Considering the mixed results experienced by users of wood bands, I think Erich may be on to something.
The reverse band that failed on my 16 touring had striations of what I would call spring and summer wood along the length. The lighter (spring wood) turned to mush while the darker wood splintered at the edges. When I removed the bands low and brake looked fine and still hang on my shop wall.
I have cracked two low speed drums using Kevlar, after the first issue I replaced the low speed pedal eccentric, thinking it was not retracting the band far enough, didn't help as I have another cracked drum.
This time I will be installing wood linings for low speed, but will leave Kevlar on the reverse and brake drum as they seem to be fine.
Lots of talk about different kinds of wood bands and different kinds of wood.
Are there any other wood bands available besides genuine Guinn wood bands?
I only know of Jim Guinn's bands and are the only ones I use. And I've noticed that the wood is kind of fibrous and really close grained. Because when you drill them to install the rivets, they make a very fine sawdust. But then Jim soaks them in oil before you buy them too, which might account for that too I suppose.
Somebody told me once, adding a little bar and chain oil helps them to seat in...I don't know if it does or not, because I run straight 30w and just treat them tender until they get that nice oil soaked polish look to them, then they grab and hold tight great.
I did once drive a car with Kevlar in it's transmission, like I said I didn't notice any different between the way it drove and my own car, but then I stomp like I mean it and let up the same way, none of this feathering stuff, that's a sure way to get them to chatter.
I vote with Mike Walker and Kevlar.
Wow! What a overwhelming response. This is why I love the MTFCA! Discussions like this is where I really appreciate the variety of viewpoints and experiences.
One thing I learned from Martin's post is with wood I would need to remove the hogshead. I would really prefer not to do that.
It has also been insightful to hear how many really like Kevlar. The reality is the friend that I am help is in experienced and would likely drive very little. So I am leaning toward cotton.
I would love to do a more scientific survey. Is there a good way to do a more official survey on the forum to answer the question: what bands do you use?