Seabisciut, my 1926 coupe does not need a Ruckstell he took on Tenney Hill Road, a dirt road all the way to the top in direct drive (high gear), a total distance 1.38 miles, average grade 5%, with as much as 8% grade in some places, total time 3:27 minutes.
What a fun ride. Thanks for sharing !
I'll take it . . .
Your typical T in good tune can take the hills on most public roads. The issue comes when you are on a club tour and others have a ruckstell and are climbing the hills at a slower pace. The T not equipped with the extra gear is forced to ride the low pedal.
Thanks for sharing Warren. If that is an old cemetery on the left at the start of the video, we've been on that road before. Beautiful area
My observation after 45 years of T driving, is that a Ruckstell can greatly reduce the risk of breaking your crankshaft!!
Lugging a T in high gear is one of the riskiest things for the crankshaft. Now having 4-1 gears can reduce the likelihood of significant lugging (or having a Warford or other under drive)
Best of luck
I think those of us with a Ruckstell would argue that it's the people who can't take the hill in high that force us to engage it. Not the other way around.
I'll take a Ruckstell any day. I agree with Warren, but still like Ruckstells, they make driving a T so much easier.
I agree with everyone, I was just getting your attention with headline. My '26 coupe "Seabiscuit" does not have a Ruckstell, but has had a complete engine rebuild. Sambuca my 1917 Canopy Express Delivery has just got a Ruckstell installed and I love it.
Sambuca going up same climb, but on paved Route 13, shortly after engine rebuild in 2012
I have found that when I am alone in my T, there are hills I can climb in high, however, I think that it is safer on the engine to use Ruckstell. On those same hills I MUST shift down when carrying passengers or any load. The Ruckstell is also good for going down hills. It actually multiplies the power of the brakes and engine compression. I also agree that if one needs to slow down, it is impossible to get back enough speed to continue in high on many hills.
I with out a Ruckstell have been behind cars that shift into Ruckstell low and drive at a nice steady pace up a hill, which is great except, I could not match their speed without one. This is not the case of them using theirs because of the car ahead of them. You know those speeds, too fast for low to slow for high! So I got a Warford!
The only time I use my Ruckstell in my area is when traffic or other circumstances kill my momentum at or near the bottom of a steep hill. At that point, I go ahead and shift into Ruckstell high ahead of time with the engine pulling the car at an easy throttle setting to avoid having to try and shift into Ruckstell with the throttle wide open and the engine lugging in Ford high.
There is no such thing as Ruckstell high! You are either in Ruckstell, or you are not!
Looking at the period Ruckstell manuals and sales literature, they call that position "Intermediate High".
(Message edited by cudaman on September 29, 2017)
Nice footage, thanks for posting.
Larry, I understand what you're saying, but I'm with Mark with the nomenclature. I regard the 4 speeds as:
At least that way people kinda understand exactly which gear you're in in the least possible wordage. :-)
I guess 3rd gear would be too complicated?
Larry - I understand the point you have repeatedly tried to make, and you're exactly right! There is no such thing as "high" Ruckstell, or "low" Ruckstell. As you say, you're either "in" Ruckstell, or you're not. When you're not, it's just "direct" drive, same as a standard factory rear end. The problem, as I see it, is there seems to be no convenient or "understandable" way to describe a shifting procedure, or sequence". I drive both of my Model T's that are equipped with Ruckstell rear ends, just like a modern, standard 3-speed stick shift. Let me demonstrate the difficulty in explaining this without saying "high Ruckstell", and "low Ruckstell", which, as you say Larry, is improper:
On level pavement, when first starting out from a dead stop, like at a stop sign, I start out in Ruckstell and low pedal. After a few feet and enough engine rpm, I let the pedal back to "high" while still in Ruckstell. I again continue accelerating to maximum rpm and then shift out of Ruckstell and continue accelerating to cruising speed. (....just like a modern 3-speed standard shift.)
Okay, I really think that I have explained my "shift procedure" using proper terminology, but I also think that a "newby", who is not familiar with the Ruckstell's planetary design, with just the gear reduction or direct, would have trouble understanding "in" and "out" of Ruckstell. And "THAT" is why so many folks use improper terms like "high Ruckstell" and "low Ruckstell".
For what it's worth,.....harold
Just took my 1924 to work today for the 1st time up a big hill. She climbed it pretty good.
I don't want to muddy the already opaque waters, but I feel I should qualify my earlier post.
As I see it the Ruckstell is a replacement rear axle that gives you an optional low gear ratio on the rear end of the drivetrain, irrespective of what the Ford transmission is doing. So by definition whenever you drive a Ruckstell equipped T you're using it, whether it's in standard Ford ratio or Ruckstell 'underdrive'. Therefore, you can't switch your Ruckstell in and out like you can your headlights, you're either in standard ratio or you opt for the lower Ruckstell ratio - so you do have a Ruckstell low or Ruckstell high, it's just that Ruckstell high is the same as Ford standard.
But just saying 'Ruckstell low' doesn't really convey what gear the Ford transmission is running in, so I look at it like this:
Ruckstell Low - Ruckstell Low option selected, Ford trans in low (so effectively the lowest of the Ruckstell options)
Ford Low - Ruckstell in High (normal) and Ford trans in Low (the lowest of the Ford-only options)
Ruckstell High - Ruckstell Low option selected, Ford trans in High (highest of the Ruckstell options)
Ford High - Ruckstell in High (normal), Ford trans in high (highest of the Ford-only options)
Paul, that's the 2nd sweetest T I've ever seen :-)
Hahaaa. Thanks Deke, I guess yours is pretty nice?
I have rarely used low ruckstell and the low pedal except in parades or taking off on a steep slope. I take off in ford low and slide the ruckstell into low as I ease up into ford high, then shift to high ruckstell. I find that low ruckstell is pretty much the same as 2nd gear in a three speed. I'm staying out of the "low/high" ruckstell discussion as it is really the clearest way to express the operation.
Chadwick, that's funny! :-) I have seen numerals associated with use of the Ford transmission and the Ruckstell axle. 1,2,3,4.
Shoot, a T buddy of mine thinks that the Ruckstell is an overdrive too... 5? No. I'm kidding.
For perspective if I may: The first time I attended a MAJOR North American threshing show a long time ago, I was wandering around and found a "service station" up on the hill in the woods.
A model T power unit sat outside, probably still does to this day, during the show.
I was looking it over and talking to a fella about it and I asked "So when you let the pedal "back" you're in second, right?" Dopey me.
He proceeded to chew my backside... "No! It's not in SECOND, it's in high!" Blah, blah, blah. I walked away.
No Ruckstell's were shifted during that exchange.
My lust for a Ruxtell is the granny low (or something akin to it) that it'll provide for really slow driving....grandkids putting around the neighborhood, cruising swap meets, etc.
Wow, I did not know that using a Ruckstell was all that complicated. This is what the "Why you should have a Ruckstell Axle" booklet says:
THE Ruckstell Axle is a simple, fool proof gear shift built into the rear axle.
It requires no adjustments and is lubricated with the same oil with which the rear axle is lubricated.
As a result of installing a Ruckstell Axle, the Ford is provided with the following six speeds :
l-The usual FORD HIGH (or fourth),
2-Ruckstell Intermediate High (or third),
3-The usual FORD LOW (or second),
4-Ruckstell Emergency Low (or first),
5-The usual FORD REVERSE, and
6-Ruckstell Emergency Reverse.
Thus, the usual number of speeds is doubled, giving one reduction speed lower than each corresponding Ford speed. This total of six changes of gear provides for all the emergencies of driving generally encountered. It overcomes the difficulties of driving in heavy traffic; it furnishes the necessary additional power for hill climbing, hauling big loads and heavy going through bad roads; it improves the braking efficiency and increases the road speed.
Hope this helps clear it up,
RE "increases the road speed." That statement might be the cause of people thinking it's an overdrive. Because it gives a gear between Ford low and Ford high, allows higher road speed then if using Ford low to crawl along but not any faster then just Ford high, which is top gear. But then also the ring and pinion was a faster ratio then standard Ford.
Mark you are correct, here is what the booklet says.
"CHANGING from Ford speeds to Ruckstell speeds is accomplished instantly by merely slipping the clutch pedal and moving the shifting lever back,
with a quick snap-the quicker the better.
There is no danger of stripping gears, as, unlike the usual selective type of automobile gearing, the Ruckstell gears are always in mesh. Changing can be accomplished regardless of engine speed, without injuring the gears. No matter how fast you are travelling, perfect shifting is easy. Your car is always in FORD SPEEDS when the LEVER is FORWARD. RUCKSTELL SPEEDS when the LEVER is BACK".
at this price, I'll take a half dozen
No model T needs a Ruckstell, but every one could benefit from one. Even Seabiscuit would realize longer crankshaft life and overall better performance by using the intermediate gear the Ruckstell provides. There is a reason the Ruckstell is the only one of untold thousands of accessories available for the model T that Henry Ford endorsed and authorized dealers to install and service late in the model T's life. It is just that good.
I need one, for reasons.
I think that "emergency reverse" would get you in a boat load of trouble in a hurry!
Well there I go,assuming Ruckstell speeds things up! DUH.
I find the ruckstell to be perfect when cruising on narrow rural gravel roads. The lower speed is necessary when driving on roads with wash boards and pot holes .To me its ideal with this 3. gear. Just say'n
I think it's interesting that all during the '30's, '40's, '50's and even, to some degree, ever since, what is commonly nowadays referred to as the 3-speed stick shift, or, "three-on-the-tree" or, what was more "officially" called by the automotive industry,..... the three speed standard manual transmission was so prevalent. It just seems that, "all things considered", three speeds seemed to make the most sense for the average working family mans common, every day, garden variety daily driver. Must be a reason, huh?
Rolf, I never thought of that, but I think it's a great idea, so I will try it.
How many of you with Ruckstells drive in Ruckstell Emergency Low (first) when starting and go to Ford low (second) before going to Ruckstell Intermediate High (third)?
Rolf, I think this road is one you had in mind.
Where No Man Has Gone Before at least in a 1917 Model T Ford
Warren. What a fantastic video. Man you are a bald rider. Of course the model T felt right at home. Imagining a call to AAA to get help at that location. Ha ha.
Shoot... that road in your video Warren looks just like some of our sorry, no account Caldwell county roads. Man, you're not scared of any stinkin' branches, are you?
In one of my Model T s I don't ever use low band at all. It's the higher speed worm/ring gear ratio in a TT C Cab with a Ruckstell and original cast iron Warford. Not braggin' - yeah, Right - just sayin'
Rolf, I knew you would like that video. I thought about how AAA would not be able to get to me and that's why I back down that hill and turned around and went home the long way, but if I had thought to use Ruckstell Emergency Low I think I could have made it up that grade. Great looking '26 Roadster, I have a '26 coupe.
George, that's a great combination, I wish I had one and a TT to put it in. I use to drive for Bekins Van Lines and hauled many a load out of Seguin, Texas. Great looking TT C Cab!!!!
ps: that is Sambuca hauling me, my 1917 Canopy Express Delivery, not bad for a 100 year old vehicle.
Warren, you sure seem to have fun with your T's! Your videos are always a bright spot on the forum. Thanks for posting.
Thank you John,
That's the reason I post then, I want everyone to enjoy their Ts a much as I do.
Standard Ford low is plenty low enough to get you going. You are wasting your time taking off in Ruckstell, except wearing down the Ruckstell! Use it when you need it, and leave it alone the rest of the time.
I rarely use low Ruckstell unless in a parade or teaching somebody how to drive. I use Ruckstell high a lot when climbing a hill that would lug the normal high. Also when I get more off road on rough terrain or just want to go slower without lugging the engine, such as through the park. I've got Ruckstell on all 3 of my T's