Emergency brake as service brake

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Bruce Compton
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Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Bruce Compton » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:30 am

Has anyone ever tried to use the emergency brakes as service brakes ('26-'27) with cables or slotted rods from the brake pedal through an equalizer? I'm thinking of using a 3:1 rear end and will want better braking as I'll lose some with the rear end change.

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George N Lake Ozark
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by George N Lake Ozark » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:25 am

I think Model T Ranch has something like that available
Last edited by George N Lake Ozark on Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Kerry
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Kerry » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:45 am

A stock T engine doesn't like 3;1 much, have you tickled the engine some?


Allan
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Allan » Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:06 am

Bruce, in my experience, you will lose more than some braking. I would say a lot. It was way too much loss on my lightweight speedster. It will seem even more on a standard weight T.

Allan from down under.


Phillip
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Phillip » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:21 am

I installed the equilizer on my 27 roadster pickup last year. I like mine and it works pretty good. It has to be adjusted to use both the transmission brake and emergency brake to work right.
Phillip
College Grove TN

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Charlie B in N.J.
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:26 am

The original emergency brake set up has, as you know, a stationary pivot point and a cam at the other. Unless the shoes are well worn in and properly adjusted you really don't get a hell of a lot of drum/shoe contact. Even then it isn't much because the pivot end is really kind of stationary so the contact occurs at the cam end. I'm thinking it's much less than the brake band so it's use as a foot brake as it came from the factory might not be a good idea. Might even be less than the trans brake. I don't know where you'd get one but there was an old time kit that was used with the brake shoes cut apart and it was a wedge device that moved the pivot end of the shoes closer to the drum probably giving a much greater drum/shoe contact & increasing braking power.
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Gonenorth » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:09 am

Have a '26 Touring. I installed the equalizer and set it up to engage the service brakes before the trans brakes activated as well. My impression: the whole set up was only marginally better than just using the trans brake. I experimented with different shoe linings as well. Again, not much difference there. In the end I went with Rocky Mountain Brakes. They work...and work well. Granted they don't do much to stop you in reverse if you are moving too fast. But they are a vast improvement over the standard transmission brake.


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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Stephen_heatherly » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:34 am

I have a 26 with stock brakes and use a combination of both the hand brake and brake pedal when driving the car. I have always found the brakes to be more than adequate when used together, but individually they leave a lot to be desired. If you do end up installing 3 to 1 gears you will really need some form of outside brakes. Personally, I would not consider installing high speed gears in the rear end. Unless you have some sort of accessory transmission and a very powerful engine, your car is going to really struggle and the loss in pulling and braking power will overshadow the slightly higher top speed you'll get with the high speed gears.

Stephen


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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Norman Kling » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:48 am

I don't know where you are located, but if it has even slight hills, you might find it very hard to start out in low gear if you are at a stop sign or a signal headed uphill. Also if you pull over to let slower traffic pass on an upgrade. So if you choose to raise the gear ratio, it is very important to use a Ruckstell or Warford auxiliary transmission for starting out on hills or pulling some hills after starting out. If you use an eusiliary transmission you will also almplify your transmission brake when you are in a lower range. I would recommend you leave the parking brakes as Henry made them and install rear wheel auxiliary brakes. There are Rocky Mountain brakes if you want to look more period correct, but those don't work very well in reverse so the Ford parking brake is very useful if you should be rolling backward or have a problem with the drive shaft or rear axle. There are also disk brakes and those who use them will tell you they are excellent braking.

An aside: A few years back the San Diego club held a national tour headquartered at Barona which is in the mountains east of San Diego. It was an uphill grade from Lakeside to Barona and easy drive in a standard Model T, however there were a few cars with higher gear ratios who, after the first day, parked their cars and rode with other members because of the difficulty climbing the hill.
Norm

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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:08 pm

I don't know how far you want to go with this and I don't think it was the main topic of the post some years back on the Forum but some one set up a hydraulic shoe system on a T. Home made if I recall. It used a foreign car drum system with the drum being about the same size as a T rear drum. It was a real nice setup. Perhaps some one here will recall it.
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Mark Nunn
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Mark Nunn » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:54 pm

Search "metro brake conversion" for Nash Metropolitan discussions. I believe that is what Charlie is referring to.

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walber
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by walber » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:14 pm

Nash Metro brakes have been adapted to small drum rear ends, I don't know that anyone ever sold a kit for the conversion. I had a set on the front and rear of my speedster for quite a while and they worked well.

Mid 50's Mercury brake drums have the same bolt pattern as a T wire wheel and can be used for large drum rear axles. Again, I don't know of any kits for this. I made up a set of backing plates and used wheel cylinders and hardware from a 90's F150 PU and they have worked well too.

Any hydraulic drum brake conversion will require some (or a lot) of user modification. Your life and others may well depend on the quality of that work. I would never touch it for anyone else.

By far, the simplest to adapt and most effective rear brakes are the disc brakes currently advertised. They don't care about forward/reverse or wet vs. dry. They are pretty obvious to even a casual observer so how much that matters is up to you.


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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by HPetrino » Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:04 pm

IMHO attempting to use the e-brake as a service brake is attempting to get it to do something it was not designed to do and therefore is asking for trouble. I agree with Norm. Aux. brakes are the best answer. If you're gonna speed it up you need to put at least as much energy in slowing it down.

Anyhow, my $0.02 worth.


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Bruce Compton
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Bruce Compton » Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:32 pm

Wow, That's a lot of good info. I may rethink the 3:1 gear and look into accessory outside brakes. Thanks again for all the input. Great site.


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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Stephen_heatherly » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:23 am

If the car in question is a coupe like in your profile, I personally would use stock 11 40 gears.

Stephen


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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by DHarrison » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:32 am

I have a 1926-27 coupe that I installed 3 to 1 gears with a Ruckstell. I run a Z head and NH carb. The car runs well and can cruise between 50 and 55 MPH. I am happy with the gear ratio, but you need to have the Ruckstell to make it work for hills, etc. As for using the emergency brake as a service brake, I built my own equalizer and hooked it up to the rear brakes, I run standard lining in the rear brakes. It is set up so the brake pedal pulls both the rear wheel brakes on and the transmission brake. Because of the slop and stretch in the rods going to the rear brakes, it appears the rear brakes will go on first, then the transmission brake, but the rear brakes don't really come on hard unless you continue to push on the pedal hard. I have had my back wheels lock up when I was on some lose debris near an intersection. The brakes make a big difference if they are adjusted properly. I can stop with modern traffic when I need to with this brake set up. They work in reverse and don't get wet like Rocky Mountain Brakes. There are two drawbacks, 1) they can get hot if you over use them. Once they get hot the rear brake effectiveness decreases as the drums expand. So don't ride them going down the hills, take the down hills with Model T caution. 2) with the brakes on, you have both a brake in the transmission and the rear axle working at the same time, with the Ruckstell in between. In this situation, I can not downshift the Ruckstell. I have to let up on the brakes, downshift the Ruckstell, then get back on the brakes.


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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by ModelTWoods » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:54 am

Kerry wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:45 am
A stock T engine doesn't like 3;1 much, have you tickled the engine some?
My late Dad and I restored his Dad's 1927 coupe in the late 1960's and switched the rear gears from 4 to 1 to 3 to 1. Even thought the terrain within 15 miles of us was flat, I occasionally drove it up to 50 miles away where there were some hills. I never once had a problem with engine power or braking and we didn't even have the emergency brakes hooked up! The engine was .040, otherwise stock.

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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by JohnH » Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:10 am

I have always used the rear drum brakes on my 26 as a service brake. I've done so for the last 17 years and about 40,000km of driving. They are big drums with lined shoes, so why not use them? Furthermore, I live in a hilly area and drive my car fast so I know if brakes are good or not. I don't use an equaliser - the stock set up is fine if the adjustment is done carefully. For those who say you lose engine braking by applying the handbrake, you can step on the low pedal, not that I find it necessary to do so most of the time.
Rather than put all the braking forces through the rear axles, their tapers and keyways, the diff, and the uni-joint, I've preferred to apply the braking right at the wheels. And, I get 6-8 years out of the cotton transmission band lining.
The real limitation of Model T brakes is, of course, the small surface area of rubber contacting the road. Even the best hydraulic brake setup won't fix that.


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Bruce Compton
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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by Bruce Compton » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:44 am

Stephen : It's a '26 roadster with wire wheels. Bruce

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Re: Emergency brake as service brake

Post by George Mills » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:08 pm

I normally refuse to diss something....but here is something to think through. My first T was a Fordor and it came with some sort of equalizer installed. I was taught that fast stops went through the stick...regular stops through the pedal.

One day I came over a crest of a northern Illinois mountain ( read elevation maybe 25 ft) in high gear and it was picking up speed on the way down. The foot brake seemed slow to respond, so I pulled the stick figuring a stop was better than a runaway. The car chirped...jumped 90 degrees to the road...tipped a bit on 2 tires before thumping down on all 4’s and while it slowed the car dramatically...it was like an Indy driver threading through an accident to get control again.

Car stopped, heartbeat returning to normal I drove home as it was flat from there. I tore into it and the lesson from the story was that if a brake wheel cam shaft has a lot of slop and can cock...you do not, repeat do not, want an equalizer!

I rebuilt the large drum backing plate...new cams and levers...new rods up to the cross-shaft...eliminated the equalizer...and now 40 years later it has never caused a problem since.

I have absolutely no issue with the concept of an equalizer...just be careful...for me it is once burned...twice learned (with the exception of Kevlar...but we needn’t go there today) 😁

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