Hello, I have a "new" 1911 T that has a Ruckstell axle. It has been recommended to me that I install auxiliary brakes to make sure I can stop if the axle gets stuck in between gears. The other plus would be to hold the car on a hill. I have heard ACs look good on an early car, RMs are good going forward but not in reverse (hill holding), and that Bennett brakes are inconspicuous yet do everything well. Obviously, this becomes confusing and I was wondering if the group could weigh in on what might work for me.
Thanks, and Merry Christmas! Bill
PS. What's the difference between "new" and "old" Rocky Mountain brakes?
The primary difference is the old RM brakes would hold going backwards because of a difference in the way they mount,the new ones are not terribly reliable going in reverse. You may wish to look into A.C. brakes and do a good job of hill holding
Even without a Ruckstell it is important to have external brakes because the regular foot brake is in the transmission and not the axle, so a broken pinion gear or U joint can also cause you to have no brakes. I have had an original Ford pinion gear break and my wife and daughter who were also in the car were very glad we had Rocky Mountains! 15 years ago and more the only readily available externals were the Rocky Mountains, and those had been out for many years, so you see a lot of them.
The original Rocky Mountains stop very well both forward and in reverse. The reproduction ones don't stop as well in reverse but are much better than not having any external brakes and do a very good job forward. The AC and Bennet brakes are very similar.mthe original Bennet uses a special drum the same diameter as the stock emergency brake drum but about 3/8" wider. Both the reproduction AC and Bennet use the original small brake drums.
The AC are readily available, work well and look very good on an '11.
My personal order of preference would be original Rocky Mountains, then the AC.
this thread may get long, but the information and advice given by CR and Gary are all right on. They have covered the crux of the issue.
Oh, and welcome!
In any condition, an '11 is a very nice car to be starting the hobby with.
AND.......It won't be long before someone says discs are the only way to go. Anything less, and you dont love your grandchildren. AND how inconspicuous they are. AND how even if you do manage to see them, the added measure of safety FAR outweighs them being butt ugly and out if place.
waaaiiitt for it....
Finally, someone who calls outside brakes what they are! My wish is for someone to start making cable operated brakes! Both Rocky Mountain and AC are that way. I guess maybe Bennett was not? Cable operated brakes are so much simpler with far fewer parts, and easier to adjust! I have all the correct RM parts to use for my 1917 Coupelet, but that stuff isn't showing up much any more.
When it comes to brass Fords, the earlier the vintage, the less desirable it is to make obvious modifications. -For instance, the hand-Klaxon, which looks okay on the non-operational driver's door on my '15 Touring wouldn't look at home anywhere on your '11. -For this reason, I'd recommend the smallest effective brake drums you could put on your wheels and I suppose that means AC brakes. -On a car as early and rare as yours, even Rockies would look out of place. -Yeah, I think I'd go with the AC's.
We have a renewed interest locally in Model Ts and touring and I have helped install all three types of auxiliary braking systems. To me, the most effective, safest, and ugliest (but beauty is in the eye of the beholder), are the disc brakes. They are bullet proof and once properly installed, do not require adjustment. However, the ACs and RMs will need adjustment especially after installation and long use. This is made easier with auxiliary transmissions, as you can put the car in neutral and easily check the braking. On my small drum cars I use the ACs and like them. The linkage kits work well even with Warfords (the linkage for my center door had to be adapted as the body does not allow the linkage above the Warford). Bear in mind that any Model T still has very marginal braking due to lack of front braking and small tire contact patch.
I am with you Hal. Driving with Henry brakes is much the same as with other features of a Model T, learn how to use them. Coast to a stop when possible, applying the brakes only at the last. If you need to make an emergency stop, use the other pedals as well. Never been a problem for me.
I will admit if you've modified your T and like to cruise in the 40 plus mph range or have an overdrive, extra braking would be a good thing. Even 3 to 1 gearing may diminish braking power enough to warrant auxiliary brakes.
But for the original set up, the transmission brake is fine.
Other than the way, as G.R.Cheshire (La Florida!)states, rocky mountain brakes mount do they look the same? Are parts interchangeable? In contrasting the two if the parts were laying on the ground how would one know which is which?
As far as I know, the reproduction Bennett brakes were made for Chaffins, and the guy who made them is no longer doing so. This limits us to just AC's and new Rocky mountain types for small drums, and that makes selection easy. AC's work both ways.
Unless you want to hot rod your T with discs!
Allan from down under.
The bottom line is, why couldn't these repro guys done the job correctly in the first place?
Consider auxiliary brakes if you have safety hubs. If an axle breaks, the transmission brake will not work.
I have Rocky Mountain brakes on two of my early T's and and AC brakes on two others. Since I did nothing to alter the cars in any way that cannot be undone by removing the brakes I really don't see why anyone who drives their cars would want to be without some form of improved braking. I also think that they don't really detract from the originality of the cars. I prefer the Rocky Mountain brakes as they are self actuating and with the larger drum they give you much more braking surface. AC brakes are still a great economical alternative but with either system I make sure the Ford braking system is fully functional as well which deals with the reverse issue for Rocky Mountain brakes and makes the AC brakes that much more effective.
I don't think anyone has brought this up yet. The Rocky Mountain brakes currently being offered work very well going forward and almost every time they would be needed the car is going forward. If you have a good band in the transmission brake you can stop very well going backward by pushing hard on the pedal. In the case where the car might roll backward if the axle or driveshaft breaks when going uphill, the parking brake will hold it. It is very important to have working transmission brake and parking brake when you install Rocky Mountain brakes. I would even recommend lined shoes on the parking brake.
Kurt's comment about a broken axle disabling the transmission brake also applies when you don't have safety hubs. Luckily, Betsy has AC brakes and they stopped the car when she broke one of her axles.
Who made the !st repo RMs? Think weakness was at the rear center point. This can be corrected by some elongation of the hole thru mounting bracket at this point, I think I've been told. How much elongation to give adequate slide for maximum forward and reverse braking?
I'm not a big fan of the new rocky mountain brakes as they do not work in reverse but, as long as they're adjusted so that the transmission brake engages when you press the pedal down harder they work perfectly fine. I have a set I'm gonna be putting on the 25 touring albeit with one of Rich Baughman's linkage sets so the hand brake will remain completely independent in case of an emergency. The car has a big drum rear end as well so it'll have two completely independant powerful braking systens.
Don't have any negatives on my repro Rocky Mtn. brakes. They just plain work fine!
Hadn't ever driven a T with them until my install in 2003. Now have years and thousands of miles on them. They brake very well. Like to stab them to check the speed on those steep downgrades. Even with throttle closed, the T will roll too fast, those Rockys do the job.
As for holding, mine fully tighten around the large drum with the parking brake on too, so have both emergency brake and parking brake. As for roll back on steep stops, the Ford transmission brake holds too, along with the Rocky, so I have never experienced rolling back with the foot pedal held down.
In rain, just lightly tap the brake pedal and any moisture is soon gone. So they work in rain too.
High up in Montana this summer, love my Rocky Mtn Brakes!
Climbed high enough to get snow on the dogbone!
And came back down safely with R-M Brakes.
Larry Smith, did you ever find the elusive second page of original RM brake instructions? If yes, I would sure appreciate it if you could scan both pages and post them, thanks!
You didn't throw out disc in your OP brake choices but it always comes up when talking brakes. Since it has, a functional answer to the requirement you set up in your second sentence, "make sure I can stop", is ugly disc brakes. All the others "may work for me" as you say in your last sentence and that could be the case.
The question for some may be: Do you want all the stop you can get, or not? I don't know. I have both disc and stock brake cars in my T shop and have made that decision when I crank one up.
I've always been unclear about what is so beautiful about a set of Rocky Mountain brakes, or any of the others for that matter, with their cables, levers and gear, that may, or may not, work with special hubs, work when they get wet, work in reverse, backed up by the parking brake, etc. All of this hanging on the rear drums of a Model T, brass or otherwise, already modified with all sorts of transmissions and axles.
What I do have is a beautiful set of disc brakes on my stock brass car and drive it in the fourth largest city in the U.S. I have used ALL the disc stop I could get both on tour, and in town, and we don't call them ugly anymore at my house where they can hear.
Also, I didn't know having them qualified me as having a hot rod. First one I ever had! I'm in!
Good original question and great thread.
Ken in Texas
I've seen on some of Jay Leno's videos that his shop installs drum-looking covers over his disk brake conversions to make them blend in better, has anyone done that on their T? If so, please show some pictures, thanks!
when you used all the disc stop you could get on tour, did the guy behind you without discs end up in a ditch?
Thank you for asking about him.
Yes, I'm part of the "slow group" and can almost always hit those beautiful disc brakes (bdb's) as hard as I like because there is seldom anyone behind us on tour except the trouble trucks. Usually a Ford truck which has discs too so it's every man for himself! He did fine but he had trailer brakes as well.
Seldom do we have many Model T's around the "slow group" except passing. The Model T Go-Fast crew is long gone and we don't see them except when they break down along the road or at the next stop. My bud James H is usually in front of me with his stock '15 and he has bdb's. When I see brake lights, I know he means it. Most of us with discs have brake lights.
The idea of covering up the discs has come up already in this thread but I don't think it's fair to keep them secret from other Model T's. It doesn't happen often but if you're following when I do a hard stop in that '14, you better be ready to stop with whatever you call brakes or not follow so close to a car with disc brakes, modern or not.
I don't usually ask permission to use them any more than the rocket bunch asks mine to go 60 mph. I like to smell the flowers and be able to be able to make a hard stop if I have to and neither of those involves fast.
Ken in Texas
I too am part of the slow group. The benefit is that I get to see every car on tour. We leave early and are passed by every car on the way to lunch (Apparently the first serving of food tastes better than the late serving, though I've rarely had a need to complain...always tastes good to me even if I usually am at the end of the line!) We usually wave when they go by and especially make a point to wave when they break down and we pass them (assuming they are beyond any help I can provide on tour route). I always assume they need cheering up