Hard to believe how fast time flies. Already a year since we got my Uncle's T out here to CA. We had to take a bit of time off. Update for now is that we just experienced the excitement of getting the wheels off of our 1916 T (with some phone help from a new Model T friend and a new hub puller). They will be sent to Dave Seiler's to rebuild with new spokes.
After that, for safety, our next desire is to install Rocky Mountain Brakes so we have more security for stopping.
1. Before we put money into getting and installing the RMB, do we need to install the Ruckstell first (if we think we want it) or can the Ruckstell be installed in a year or so if we determine that we need it?
2. My understanding is that the Ruckstell adds lower/additional gears that seem to help with hill climbing or maybe maneuvering... what are your thoughts on whether someone should install it or not?
Thanks everyone! Can't wait to keep reading and to update you with photos and news about our repairs and subsequent questions (I am sure)!!
Donna, installing a Ruckstell first will save having to do the brake installation twice. It should only cost extra time if you fit the brakes to the standard rear axle first. I guess it comes down to the availability of a Ruckstell and the funds to purchase it.
Allan from down under.
Donna, welcome to T land. Transferring the brakes from one rearend to another is a minor operation. I would not recommend a ruckstell without auxiliary brakes.
The brakes should definately be installed with a Ruckstell. As Andy said, it's a minor operation to transfer from one rearend to another. The drums must be installed on the wheels either way, and you can use the same wheels on either rear end. The other parts are easy to install on the axle housing.
A couple things about Ruckstell: 1.It is possible to get stuck between gears which causes a neutral. If this happens, you will have only the parking brake to stop you unless you have the Rocky Mountain brakes. So be sure to install them with a Ruckstell.2. Ruckstell will amplify the power of the transmission brake, and the engine compression braking. So it is good to use Ruckstell when descending a steep hill. Be sure to do your shift before you start down so the engine is pulling as the shift is made. Then back off the throttle to slow down. With the Rocky's and the Ruckstell in low range, you have very good stopping when going downhill. There are enough hills and mountains in the Los Angeles area to make both very usefull.
Thanks for the input thus far.
If I understand correctly, it sounds like I could use the same set of Rocky Mountain brakes if I install them now and then waited to get a Ruckstell later. But I would have to remove and reinstall those same RM brakes later when I updgrade to a Ruckstell? (Time and work, but not need to buy a whole new brake kit). Is that correct?
From all my research, and the advice of the forum and other Model T gurus, I completely understand that if/when I get a Ruckstell added, I definitely want to also have RMB. Got it. The dilemma now is (as always, right?) Money and timing and all the things we want to do. So I am wondering about the opposite order: Brakes first.
I will prioritize RM brakes before the Ruckstell at this time if it is true that I can use the same RMB once we add the Ruckstell in the future. I assume RMB make the car and braking safer even if we don't have a Ruckstell, yes?
Finally, can someone explain why a person would want a Ruckstell? All I really know is that everyone has one and I believe they make climbing hills easier and give you a couple additional speed options?
There are some nice disk brakes out there now which would be an alternative to the Rocky's. The advantage is better stopping and being able to ride them down a long hill. Also they work well in reverse and when wet. The parts suppliers have the disk brakes. The disadvantage is higher cost and not period correct.
Also, an alternative to the Ruckstell is the Warford auxiliary transmission. The advantage there is having a three gears: low, straight through, and overdrive. The disadvantage is higher cost.
Donna, the idea of the Ruck. was to give the T an intermediate gearing between High and Low . For higher speeds people would change the axle gear ratio from stock to 3 to 1 ratio to allow a little higher top speed for driving a faster if you get accidentally get caught on a major highway. My dad went the 3/1 route because sometimes he had to use the highway and kept getting pulled over by the Patrol for going too slow. I'd say it added only about 5 mph more that was comfortable for the engine to handle. Yes I have Rockies too.
I don't know the history of you and T's. The T on your profile sure looks neat.
I grew up in Southern California so am familiar with some of the roads there. I suggest you connect with one of the T clubs there to handle your questions.
I suggest getting your car running straight stock... no Ruckstell, no Rocky Mountain brakes. Make sure that everything is stock and properly adjusted. Use cotton or wood bands NOT KEVLAR for learning. Learn to drive conservatively from a knowledgable club member. Be sure the parking brake works. If you must modify (I understand and have experienced this urge) first replace the metal parking brake shoes with lined shoes.
Once you have done some driving you will know if you enjoy it and will have some idea of what type of driving on what type of roads you will be doing. Only then will you be ready to decide if you want to change things (new rear end gears, Ruckstell, auxilliary transmission, etc.) or add auxilliary brakes.
A good un-modified car is best for learning to drive and may be more valuable than one that has received modifications.
Modifications that you think you want, or that acquaintances like, just may detract from the utility or value that some others perceive.
By all means do with your car what you want but consider starting with a real T ( no extra transmission, water pumps, distributors, add on brakes or shocks... on and on) and experience the docile reliable Model T experience as you learn to drive. Then you can move on to whatever floats your boat! Just remember that each change you make will have advantages AND disadvantages, also the car will never be as reliable as a stock T once it is modified.
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), TH
I am a person who lives in southern California. The good thing about a Ruckstell is the intermediate gear and that you don't need to use your leg all the way up hill. Donna might be familiar with Mt Palomar or Idlewild, both areas are popular touring areas for Model T's Both have long upgrades. Can you imagine driving 5 miles or so uphill with the low pedal down all the way? Same way, driving downhill with the low all the way down? Also the people behind you will be very impatient if you go all the way up in low. With Ruckstell it is still slower than high gear, but almost all grades can be climbed in Ruckstell without having to hold the pedal down. Also if you need to shift down the combination Low, low gives you a much better start on a hill. Rocky Mountain brakes will slide both wheels when you use extreme braking. If they are adjusted correctly will stop just as well as disc brakes. The main advantage of disc is they also work in reverse. The disadvantages of disc is the appearance and the possibility of hydraulic failure. Either kind will do the job of stopping going forward. I don't recommend a higher axle gear ratio unless you live in the plains. It is hard to start out from a stop in Ford low on a small grade. So you will need to shift down just before you come to a stop at a stop sign so you can start out in Ruckstell. This is an inconvenience and also in the populous southern California, you will do a lot of city driving with stop and go. So the standard Ford ratio is better. That opinion is from me who has one Ford with Ruckstell and 3:1 ratio and two with standard ratio. For Ford tours that extra 5 mph is not needed, because we tend to keep up with each other and most cars will have standard gearing.
One thing I don't thing has been covered, is that there are two sizes of standard parking brakes. The cars up till 1925 have small parking brake drums and to use auxiliary brakes on the rear wheels you need the right size drums or disk adaptors to fit your hubs and backing plates. The 26-27 T's have larger parking brake drums and the Rocky Mtn brakes for those two years use a band which fits the standard Ford brake drum but the earlier cars use a separate Rocky Mtn drum. The reason I mention this is because The axles assemblies are interchangeable between the earlier cars and the later ones. So you should be sure which kind you have and purchase the correct brakes for the axle rather than for the year of the car. Also the Ruckstell axles can be fitted to both types of housings and if you purchase a used one, be sure it is the same size as your brakes, if you buy the brakes first. If you buy a Ruckstell conversion kit from the vendors you can install it in either axle housing. You will need to do some work on the left side axle housing to make the conversion. Chaffin's will do this work for you if you send them the left housing.
The shifter can be located in the center of the universal joint or on the left side next to the parking brake. You will need to decide where you want your shifter to be located before you order it. They are made differently, but either will work with a Ruckstell.
I have Ruckstells and Rocky Mountain Brakes in all of my T's. Come on over sometime.
Hi Donna, Don't think I have seen you or your car around the SoCal area but hope to sometime. Your more than welcome to come and check out the local T clubs in Long Beach and Orange County. There is also the SoCal T club.
Terry gave you some very good advice. You'll get some very nice wheels from Dave and be ready for some driving. There are two regular workshops that offer help on your car sponsored by club members. LB is once a month on Saturday and the OC club has one most every Thursday night. Another club member has his shop open nearly every Friday and Saturday for Model T work, talk and inspection and general bragging and lies. Your fortunate here to have lots of help and advice some of it very good?
After you've done some driving and have your car all tuned up you can decide if need or what options you want. I know Terry said the Warford would cost more $$ but I disagree. The newly manufactured Warford probably is somewhat more $$ but really offers the best in an aux tranny. You can find the original ones for very reasonable prices that work very well. There are several options also for additional braking. Looking and talking with other T owners will give you some ideas of what you like and need.
A stock Model T can be very reliable if everything is properly maintained and in good condition. You may not have heard of the Montana 500 which happens every year and some local members drive their cars 500 miles in three days to determine the fastest car. Most all the STOCK cars average 50 MPH or Better!
Your car can be very happy at 35 to 45 all day if everything is in good condition and well tuned.
Enjoy and I hope to meet you some day.
Donna, I would recommend you get the car in safe and reliable driving condition and drive the car for a while before purchasing a Ruckstell for it. A Ruckstell is a wonderful accessory to have and pretty much eliminates the need to use low gear in the transmission except for when taking off or climbing an unusually steep hill. You may find out, though you don't really need a Ruckstell for the conditions you typically drive the car in. I would suggest that you install some form of accessory brakes on the car before you really start driving it. Braking with the stock transmission brake is iffy at best and a failure in the rear end means no transmission brake. If you should later decide that you do want a Ruckstell you can simply remove the accessory brakes from the stock rear axle and install them on the Ruckstell. No changes to the brakes would be necessary.