Model T Capabilities on Hills?

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kfazenbaker
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Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by kfazenbaker » Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:10 pm

Hi all,

My husband Ernie recently acquired his first T. The T’s are his thing - I’m just along for the ride (ha!). He’s not internet savvy, so I’m the one posting for him. I apologize in advance if I say something silly as I try to post for him.

What we have is a 1927 touring model T. It’s titled as a 27 and does have the gas tank up under the dash. The engine serial number is for a 23. We assume the transmission is also a 23. At the very least it’s not a 27 as the pedals aren’t turned out.

We bought it from a man who purchased it at an estate sale. He had it 5 years and never did anything with it, so decided to sell it. Before him, it had quite a lot of restoration work done to it. We were told an elderly gentleman had it, but passed away before he was quite finished. It took some fiddling to get it started, but it now will start on 1 crank when warmed up, and within usually 4-5 cranks when cold.

Here’s the problem we have. We live in WV and our driveway is about 1000’ long and hits a 23% grade at its steepest point. The T will make it up with just my husband and I, but add our 4 kids (adding ~350-400 pounds) and it stalls about 50’ from the top - which is also the steepest point.

We bought the T to have fun as a family. There are miles and miles of gravel roads around us. But being in WV, most of them have some steep hills. We’re a bit afraid to go exploring until we better understand the T and its limits.

So, does anyone have thoughts? Is our driveway more than a T can reasonably handle? Ernie is still learning to drive the T, and with COVID he hasn’t been able to get an in person lesson. So are there driving tips for steep hills? Something else we should check with the engine?

He hasn’t opened the differential, but he believes it has the standard 3.63:1 gears.

Thanks for any thoughts!

~Katie


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Les Schubert » Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:20 pm

I would recommend a Ruckstell rear axle conversion. For a cheaper fix changing the rear axle ratio to 4-1 (which actually only involves changing the pinion from a 11 tooth to a 10 tooth). A 9 tooth pinion is available which gets you to a 4.44-1 ratio.
But I think the Ruckstell is the best choice (although perhaps a couple of thousand $).
With those hills also please consider some improvements to the brakes. There are a variety of options available!!
Welcome aboard. I’ve been driving my 27 for 45 years!!


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by kfazenbaker » Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:33 pm

Thanks for the reply Les. The ruckstell is more expensive than we are able to invest at the moment. The 4:1 or 4.44:1 is a possibility, but Snyder’s said no one makes them now?

We do have a Rocky Mountain brake that came with the car, but hasn’t been installed yet.


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Humblej » Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:37 pm

You should have no problem climbing a steep hill fully loaded in first gear with stock engine, trans, and rear end.

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by TWrenn » Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:14 pm

I agree with Humblj. But keep in mind a '27 is a LOT heavier than oremore '26-27s. Maybe richen up ur fuel on the carb a little, that might prevent stalling? Sounds like with such a heavy load its starved for fuel by the time you reach your summit. Or possibly not enough fuel in the tank? That steep of a hill you really need the extra "head" of the fuel pushing into the carb, even in a '27.


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Norman Kling » Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:33 pm

I have 2 26 T's and a22. I can tell you that with a full or even half full tank in the 26 I can climb any hill the T is capable of climbing without running out of gas. With the 22 I need a full tank and even then I take a longer less steep route to avoid stalling it.

I have had Ruckstell's in all my T's and like them very well. It is much better than a lower gear ratio. With low and Ruckstell engaged together I can climb the road to Dante's view at Death Valley. The earlier T;s wouldn't even try to climb that hill.
If you do go to any type auxiliary transmission, be sure to use auxiliary brakes on the wheels because it is possible to get stuck in neutral and lose the brakes except for hand brake. With Ruckstell it will also amplify the foot brake when in ruckstell so it is like adding compression of the engine and brake at the same time. Very good for going downhill. Sometimes you can find a used Ruckstell at a swap meet for about $1,000. If you do, be sure to open it up and check for wear. You might be lucky and not need any repairs. But it would be a less expensive way than buying a new one, and an advantage would be you can keep the stock rear axle assembly for a quick swap if you need to work on the Ruckstell. Also, the addition of the Ruckstell adds at least $1,000 to the resale value of your car.
The disadvantage of lower gear ratio is that it will also cause a slower car on level which could be a disadvantage on a tour.
Anyway, whatever you do, you should check the rear axle to be sure the babbit thrust washers have been replaced with bronze.

Another thing I failed to mention, is that when the engine slows down such as when pulling hard uphill, you can retard the spark to about half way up the quadrant and you might not stall the engine. Try different positions of the spark lever and find the best one for pulling the hill.
Welcome to the hobby.
Norm

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by George House » Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:42 pm

When you have to go to low gear pulling a hill; make sure you lock that low Band hard on the low drum with your left foot. If it slips it’ll really heat up the drum and could cause it to crack.
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Jim Eubanks » Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:10 pm

I have a infamous driveway! I can tell you that without a ruckstel it is hard to get up it however a lot depends on how sound you engine is and what the band situation. I was having problems with my 26 in low gear and a friend suggested bending the pedal back to make up for years of strain. I have kevlar linings on by bands and now can pull the driveway in high ruckstel. Just completed a weeks tour with no pulling problems.


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by John Codman » Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:31 pm

The '23 engine shouldn't have any effect on the performance. The '23 has the same horsepower as the '27. A '23% grade is a lot or a vehicle with 20 hp and a 600 lb or so load. The total weight is close to 2,500 lbs. I would agree that a Ruckstell axle would be a good solution.

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Oldav8tor » Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:56 pm

I have a 1917 touring and frequently have four big people aboard. I installed a Z high compression head which gives me a few extra HP.

I changed the pinion to a 10 tooth which gave the car better performance on hills. If you decide to go that route I'd enlist the aid of someone who knows their way around rear ends. 10 tooth pinions are available, post a WTB on the classifieds or Chaffin's Garage and others carry new manufacture.

My fuel tank is under the seat and I've had a couple of instances of near fuel exhaustion on steep hills so am installing a low-pressure inline fuel pump just for use in such emergencies. Much like the fuel pumps in airplanes that we turn on for take off and landing, just in case.

Try to get a little speed up before you hit the grade and make sure the band isn't slipping.
Another thing I failed to mention, is that when the engine slows down such as when pulling hard uphill, you can retard the spark to about half way up the quadrant and you might not stall the engine. Try different positions of the spark lever and find the best one for pulling the hill.
Retarding the spark also reduces the chance of breaking a crankshaft :D

Katie, for someone who claims the Model T is hubby's thing, you've sure done your homework. Impressive!
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by kfazenbaker » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:49 pm

Thank you everyone for your replies. I certainly hear everyone telling us a ruckstell would be our best option. We can save up for one certainly, but it's just not in the budget right now. In the mean time, we found a 10 tooth pinion and we're hoping that helps just enough for now. I'd say it would be a few weeks at least before Ernie would have time to install it, but he often seems to get bit by the tinkering bug and end up in the shop at all hours.

Humblej - perhaps we shouldn't have a problem, but we do. That's why I'm here. ;)

TWrenn - starved for fuel was our initial thought. The fuel tank was pretty gunky inside, so we flushed it best we could but then added an in-line fuel filter. That lasted a couple short runs, and we pulled it back off which helped a good bit - it wouldn't come up the drive with just Ernie when we had the filter on. The gas tank is full, so we can rule that out. I know he's tried playing with spark and carb adjustments to some extent, but the details are beyond my knowledge.

Norman Kling - Thank you for all the information - we will certainly keep it in mind as we move forward. The reduced speed from the lower gears isn't a problem - we're not doing any tours. Our ideal speed range is 5-10 mph on our back roads. We used to joy ride in our horse and buggy, but for personal health reasons had to let the horses go. As a family we're going for the same experience in the T. No hurry, just enjoying the ride.

George House - thanks for the tip.

Jim Eubanks - We're still learning what kind of shape our T is in. I wish we could have talked to the man who put so much work into it. Many of its parts are new, and every time Ernie goes to remove a bolt it comes right out with no effort. The engine sounds good. But none of that tells us just how deep he went with the rebuild. Ernie says he's pretty sure the bands are new, but he can't tell if they are cotton or kevlar. We're thinking cotton though as he adjusted them once, and having driven it a while it seems they need tightened up a bit. So from what we read, that implies cotton, yes?

John Codman - yes, that seems to be what we're coming to believe. Heavy car with a heavy load and our driveway so steep is just too much. It handles some pretty steep hills with all of us, but when we actually measure, our driveway is steeper than we realized. Next time we go out we're curious to measure some of the other hills we hit for comparison.

Oldav8or - I think for now we will try switching to the 10 tooth pinion. Ernie talked to Chaffin's today and they're out, and having trouble getting more in. Snyder's said they can't get them anymore. Somewhere else I found showed them as discontinued. I did manage to find a used one that we ordered, so hopefully it's as decent as it looks in the pictures once it arrives. Ernie says the band isn't slipping. Unhappily, it's a 90 degree turn onto our drive and then all up from there so there's just no getting a run for it. That last steep part has been the bane of every truck we've had to get in. And the T gets *so close* to the top, it just doesn't seem like it would take much to make it that last little bit. At least until the kids get much bigger. Ernie has been talking to everyone he can find a phone number for to learn what he can, so his (our?) knowledge of the T's has increased dramatically from when we first bought it. And thank you for the compliment. We run a dairy so work together all day long. We've only been married 12 years, so I still make an effort to listen when he talks. And he talks about the T a lot. ;)

Thank you all again for your thoughts and suggestions.

~Katie

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Susanne » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:50 pm

The other solution is the one that T owners have used for over a century - back up the hill. Your reverse pedal is lower than your low pedal. Plus if for some reason you lose it, you are going forward, not backwards down a hill... which is at best scary, and at worst fatal. Especially we with "under the front seat" gas tanks, 'backing UP" is not an option if you have less than half a tank.

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:09 pm

Sue beat me to it. Back up the hill. Cheapest and one of the best solutions.
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Dan Haynes » Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:16 pm

In pre-Ruckstell days, drivers used to reverse up steep hills; reverse is lower-geared than low forward gear. Long hills necessitated backing up because the carburetor would starve for gas and all the oil would slosh to the back of the crankcase, away from front bearings. 23% is steep in anybody's book, but if ignition and carburetion are good and the chassis components don't have a bunch of friction losses (transmission bands and/or rear brakes not dragging and everything greased up and free-running), you should be able to make it with a running start. If the engine is tired, a Z head would probably be money well spent.
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Humblej » Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:54 am

You ask what the model T capabilities are on a hill. That answer is based on what a properly working, properly operated model t can do. you are not getting good hill performance so you are considering improvements beyond the stock t configuration, a 10 tooth gear or a ruxtel should be considered IF the properly working and properly operated model T is not meeting your needs. You say you are new to model T's, and new to this particular model T, so let me suggest you go thru some basic tune-up and adjustments to make it work properly and reliably. Secondly, with the help of more experienced model t owners you learn the ins and outs of operating it properly.

Proper use of the mixture knob and the spark lever are tough for new owners to master, without these set right you will not have adequate performance and pulling a hill may be a challenge.

A tired timer, plugs, and coils will kill performance.

Add-ons like a fuel filter seldom help and often rob performance.

I would give it a year learning how to drive and tuning it up before I would spend any money on a 10 tooth pinion or ruxtel axle. If there is a local model t expert become his new best friend. Best of luck with your new endeavor, you will either end up hating it or loving it.

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Corey Walker » Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:14 am

I know you’ve already addressed the fuel starvation. My friend has a driveway as you described, long and an uphill grade that gets steeper as you come to the end. My 21 got to where it wouldn’t get to the top. The tank I bought off eBay and I cleaned it out but I guess more stuff came loose after a couple years. I finally removed the sediment bulb and it was getting clogged with gunk inside the tank before it ever got inside the bulb or to the screen inside. It had me fooled because fuel would flow but I guess just not enough and the screen inside the bulb was clean.
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by jiminbartow » Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:40 am

This is a dangerous situation, for the Model T has notoriously inadequate brakes and if you lose power on a long hill, and start rolling backward and neither the drum brake or emergency brakes hold, you can quickly lose control especially you have sloppy steering. I assume that going downhill is no problem. Going up, especially with a partially full tank with the gas feed drain in the right front corner of the tank, the gas tank is most likely tilted back enough so that the fuel stops flowing out through the drain and you are running out of fuel halfway up. In order to keep from running out of gas, it was a common practice in the old days to get to the top of long hills to put ‘er in reverse and back up the hill. This was especially true when fuel tanks were under the seat, but this may not be necessary if you make sure your tank is full so that, even if the tank is tilted back, the gas will continue to flow out of of the tank and feed the engine. The same holds true when going down hill where weak brakes can also be a factor. Be very careful when going down this hill, keeping your speed slow and under control using the low gear, brakes and levers, so that you will be able to stop at the bottom of the hill. Jim Patrick

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Norman Kling » Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:39 am

Here are a couple other thoughts. They might not apply to your car, however it is possible.
I heard this story from my uncle. He was one of 3 sons of my grandparents. Back in the day, they drove a Model T from Los Angeles to Yosemite. When they got to a steep hill, grandpa would say, "Get out and walk boys". The three boys would get out and walk, sometimes even push as they went up the hill. The car was a touring and they had camping gear tied on the running boards as well as grandpa, grandma, and their 3 sons.

On one of my cars, a 26 Touring. I rebuilt the engine. Bored and sleeved to standard size pistons, new valves and a new SCAT standard grind crankshaft. I had won as a door prize on one of our tours, a "High Volume Intake Manifold". I put that on the engine with a standard NH carburetor. I had very good performance on level ground at high speeds, and in low when I reved the engine, however at low engine speeds it ran better at part throttle than on full throttle, and was slower on tours than other T's. I took off that manifold and replaced the stock manifold and it cured my problems. I can go up hills in high, that I used to have to shift down. I think it is something like trying to blow out a candle with your mouth wide open v/s puckering your lips and blowing. You get more suction with the smaller opening in the manifold than with full flow. I don't think there is anything wrong with the high volumn manifold if you have exhaust modifications and perhaps a different stroke cam and high compression head and maybe longer stroke crankshaft. But some speed equipment goes together in a package and using one part of the package without the others, lowers performance.

I was going to give you two things, but I thought of another. Too low float level in the carburetor or a blocked fuel intake to the carburetor could give symptoms of running out of gas when pulling with throttle fully open.
Norm

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:14 pm

The problem with backing up a hill, at least for me, is that Model T steering gets rather squirrely in reverse. I never go anywhere without my running board cans. Their primary purpose is to save me an unscheduled long walk, and they have done that more than once. But a secondary purpose arises if I encounter a particularly steep hill with a low tank. I can put enough gas in the tank to take it head-on.

As for oil draining away from the front of the engine on a steep hill and letting the front bearings go dry, at the very least it's good to have an accessory outside oil line to take oil from the hogshead to the front of the engine.
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by SurfCityGene » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:32 pm

Katie, I'm surprised with all the driveline ideas that no one has suggested a Warford! You might keep you eyes and ears open for a used original alum one. They many times can be picked up very reasonable. The Warford has an underdrive that will allow the Model T to climb up the side of your barn if you have the door closed! It only requires a 12" shortening of the drive driveshaft and tube. Many times a used one will come complete with the shortened rods. In the mean time comments about tuning and caring for the timer, coils , and carb are best advice. I'm thinking the reverse gear might be your solution after that turn to make the top grade. Take Care and enjoy!
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Tom D » Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:22 pm

I just read over this post, and I may have missed this. But I will ask anyway. You say it almost makes it to the top, but not quite. Did I miss this- Is it stalling in high gear or low gear? I know your driveway is steep, but I am having troubles seeing a properly running T stalling on the hill in low gear.
Tom


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Norman Kling » Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:16 pm

Tom brings up a point. Even with a high gas tank in a 27 it is possible to have fuel blockage, either the sediment bulb screen is dirty, or you have an inline filter. T's don't like in line filters. Symptoms would be similar to running out of gas.
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by A Whiteman » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:27 am

I would like to say a welcome to the hobby :-)

May you both enjoy the T and the new friends you are sure to meet with it.

All the best!

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Hap_Tucker » Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:40 am

Katie,

Welcome aboard. And you are already doing much more than being "just along for the ride." Below is a staged photo showing how Henry Ford, at the wheel, and Ed Huff, the riding mechanic on the running board, ran and won their first race back on Oct 10, 1901.
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(Disclaimer: Caution - professional riding mechanic -- don't try this at home....) (For more on that race see: https://corporate.ford.com/articles/his ... -race.html )


For an excellent article that discusses heads, gearing, auxiliary transmissions, Ruckstell axles, total weight of the car, etc. see the technical discussion on the Tulsa Website at: http://mtfctulsa.com/Tech/power_and_torque.htm Remember in the article they are discussing the steepness that the T can climb in high gear -- not low gear.

And since it sounds like you all are new to T's I would recommend you take a look at the safety items listed at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/599638/696360.html It is at that thread and at the posting "By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Saturday, November 26, 2016 - 09:20 pm:" The Model T can be operated safely -- but it does have some known areas that can bite you. Just like you shouldn't run up behind a horse because it might kick you, there are several items you shouldn't do with a T or it might "kick you" so to speak.

Again, welcome to you and your husband to the Model T Hobby.

Respectfully submitted,

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Pep C Strebeck » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:11 am

Tom D wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:22 pm
I just read over this post, and I may have missed this. But I will ask anyway. You say it almost makes it to the top, but not quite. Did I miss this- Is it stalling in high gear or low gear?
Tom
I agree with Tom, this is a very important question that was not covered in the original post: When the Car stalls, is it stalling in High Gear or in Low Gear?
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Steve Jelf » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:11 am

It occurs to me that while this is a starter-equipped car, you may want to hand start it sometimes. I suppose some folks never do, but I think most of us use the crank at least occasionally. Of course on a lot of Model T's there's no electric starter and the armstrong start is the only choice. If you do hand start, there's a safe way and there's a dangerous way.

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by TRDxB2 » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:24 pm

Humblej wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:54 am
You ask what the model T capabilities are on a hill. That answer is based on what a properly working, properly operated model t can do. ...You say you are new to model T's, and new to this particular model T, so let me suggest you go thru some basic tune-up and adjustments to make it work properly and reliably. Secondly, with the help of more experienced model t owners you learn the ins and outs of operating it properly. ... Proper use of the mixture knob and the spark lever are tough for new owners to master, without these set right you will not have adequate performance and pulling a hill may be a challenge. .... I would give it a year learning how to drive and tuning it up before I would spend any money on a 10 tooth pinion or ruxtel axle. If there is a local model t expert become his new best friend. Best of luck with your new endeavor, you will either end up hating it or loving it.
I would follow Jeff's advice. There is more to driving a Model T than stepping through the gear(s) so to speak. Getting familiar with the throttle, spark levers and mixture knob to adjust to road conditions while driving takes some getting use to. Knowing when one is properly "adjusted", both engine & transmission bands, is another learning curve. Get the brakes on, left the kids out the last 50' feet up the hill and have them push it (whether needed or not), that will add to the fun & memories. In the mean time get you can keep an eye open for some deals.


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kfazenbaker
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by kfazenbaker » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:12 pm

Y'all are awesome giving us so many thoughts and so much advice. Thank you all very much!

We are pretty much coming down to believing our drive is just too much for our T as is. Between the steepness of our drive, the lack of a run (the steepest part being at the top), the loose gravel where the wheels do slip some, the 27's already being heavier, and the big load with all of us, it really is more than the T will do.

To those expressing safety concerns, thank you for thinking of the well being of our family. Ernie really does have a good understanding of how the bands in the transmission work, how the brakes work and how they can fail, etc. We may be new to this, but he has already put in a ton of research hours both on line and talking to as many people as we can keep finding phone numbers for. He has a wide array of driving experience already with everything from old tractors to new tractors running all varieties of equipment to older cars/trucks to big trucks with air brakes. None of that is driving a T, but it does give him a wealth of experience to pull from and his resulting understanding of different systems does help and give him a leg up as he learns. We put-put along in low gear almost all the time. Hills are taken slow and easy going both up and down. The T holds back well going down our drive, and only needs brakes applied a little bit at the steepest point. On the plus side for us, our driveway adjoins a wide open hay field, so should things go wrong, we have tons of room to roll out into the hay field and go across the hill instead of down it.

Ernie says he will check the sediment bulb and carb float again. He had the sediment bulb out once, but not since we did the first main flush of the gas tank. He's also had the carb apart, but didn't pay much attention to the float level. So he says he will double check that too. There is no in-line filter at this time. We've been keeping the gas tank clear full, and an afternoon drive for us is only 6-8 miles. So I would not expect the fuel shifting in the gas tank to be a problem.

We do already have an accessory outside oil line.

Tom D - it is in low gear. Seldom do we run in high gear - it's just too fast for the roads we travel. And we like crawling along enjoying the scenery. The engine sounds good and runs smooth. All 4 cylinders hit 40 pounds of compression when cranked over slowly by hand. We've gone over and adjusted the timing of the distributor. We've gotten several more phone numbers since I posted, and so far the people we have talked to say Ernie is using the spark and gas correctly. So... welcome to WV. We really are just that steep. And again, that's fully loaded with all of us. Take the kids out and it comes right up.

Ernie does frequently crank start, more often than using the starter. He's very familiar with crank starting - he's been using old Farmall tractors since he was little. Our first date he made me crank start his Farmall M. I manage to do it, so I got to stay. :lol:

So someday maybe it will be our kids telling their grandkids how when we came to a hill they were told to get out and push. :lol: We are currently researching further both the ruckstell and the warford. So far it seems like either would work fine for us, so we'll probably keep an eye out for used and see what pops up, or make a final call once we save up enough for a new one since both are about the same cost new. In the mean time our 4:1 pinion gear is on the way, so we'll see what that does when Ernie gets it installed. The Rocky Mountain Brake is high on the priority list too.

Thank you all again for taking time to respond!

~Katie


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Dennis Prince » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:41 pm

Katie, The rocky Mountain brakes work great going forward but not good at all going backwards so if you don't make it to the top of a hill you can't always rely on the Rockies to stop or even hold you on a steep hill. I would go with a Ruckstell over a Warford because with out good brakes it is possible to get the Warford between gears and not be able to stop it, the Ruckstell has no neutral. If your kids are like most they aren't going to get smaller or lighter so I would put them out at the bottom of the hill and have them walk up while you save up for a Ruckstell and if they have to walk maybe they will help raise money for the project.


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by jiminbartow » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:42 pm

These will be useful if you have a Holley NH carb. The float adjustment is very important. Be sure to measure fro he machined flange surface. If you get a carburetor rebuild kit, the bowl flange gasket is usually too tight to fit when dry and if you try to force it, it will tear, but if you soak it in water for a few moments it will fit just right. Secure the bowl in place while it is still wet and allow the water to dry so that it will retain the correct size. Jim Patrick

3794C769-FFCB-4528-91AD-F4831FB3DF27.jpeg
388D1FBC-EE30-4689-A3AA-4C04B071231D.jpeg


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Chris Barker » Thu Nov 12, 2020 6:03 am

This may have been suggested already, but an easy improvement - and well worthwhile on a heavy 27, is a high compression head. Only an hour to fit too. It will give up to 30% more power That could do it for you. And it's useful generally on your hilly roads.
A Z head gets good reviews, but there are others.

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by DLodge » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:35 am

kfazenbaker wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:12 pm
... Our first date he made me crank start his Farmall M. I manage to do it, so I got to stay.
There are many different criteria for making life choices. That seems as good as any...... :D


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Marshall V. Daut » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:58 am

If you do decide to back up the driveway, save your left leg and pull the handbrake lever midway back so that it locks there. This pulls the clutch pedal down about half way = neutral. This way, you don't have to hold the clutch pedal down halfway with your left leg while pushing down the reverse pedal with the right leg, a tricky proposition under the best circumstances, let alone while negotiating a long, steep driveway. This suggestion is especially helpful if you have big feet! Don't pull the lever back farther than halfway or else you will be engaging the parking brake shoes.
I agree with others: install a "Z" head first and you may discover that you don't need a Ruxtell, nice though they are to have in your T. A "Z" head costs a fraction of what any Ruxtell (new or used) or Warford will cost, plus the installation time/expense. The added 7 or 8 horsepower provided by the "Z" head will come in handy if you get into modern traffic and will make your Model T driving experience more pleasurable.
Marshall


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by modernbeat » Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:29 pm

kfazenbaker wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:12 pm
Tom D - it is in low gear. Seldom do we run in high gear - it's just too fast for the roads we travel. And we like crawling along enjoying the scenery. The engine sounds good and runs smooth....So... welcome to WV. We really are just that steep. And again, that's fully loaded with all of us. Take the kids out and it comes right up.
~Katie
Based on the expected use, I'd revisit the thought of changing out the rear ratio for a shorter (slower) gear.
For cruising you really want to use high gear and not beat up the low gear band all the time.
Using a higher numeric final drive ratio will slow down the car and give it more climbing power.
This install takes some labor, but the parts are much cheaper than installing a Warford or Ruckstell and the install is easier.

I'd call Chaffins for the parts.
Jason McDaniel


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Norman Kling » Thu Nov 12, 2020 2:14 pm

Very hard on both the transmission and the engine to use the low gear all the time. Whenever you engage the low or reverse, you push the flywheel farther from the magneto and eventually you will lose the magneto. I really think the Ruckstell is the way to go, because when it is engaged, you can drive along in Ford high and enjoy the scenery without putting wear on the Low gear or the rear main bearing. For climbing the driveway you can use both Ruckstell and Low together. It also amplifies the stopping power of the transmission brake. Some time in the future, you might like to enjoy one of the national tours or other tours out of your immediate area and will need to travel at higher speeds to keep up with the other Model T's which you can do by shifting out of Ruckstell and use the standard Ford high. One of my cars is a 26 touring, which is basicly the same as the 27. I also live in the mountains in Southern California. I have Ruckstell with standard Ford ring and pinion ratio. It will climb the steepest grades anywhere I have been with Low and Ruckstell. And most tours with the group, we come to hills where I use Ruckstell but very seldom need to go all the way to low. Ruckstell is very useful when driving slow such as parades. I can put it in Ruckstell and pull the parking brake lever into the neutral position with the engine at a fast idle. Then as the parade moves along, I can either give the low pedal a tap or the foot brake a tap to either speed up or slow down, or just leave in neutral to coast along. It is also useful when loading or unloading from a trailer. I even use it on our driveway which is 1180' fairly lever and could go along in Ford Low or even high, but it is easier on the engine to use Ruckstell high. The only place I would consider driving with stock Ford gearing would be if I lived in the plains and very seldom drove anywhere with hills.
Norm

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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by A Whiteman » Fri Nov 13, 2020 1:47 pm

it is in low gear. Seldom do we run in high gear - it's just too fast for the roads we travel.
Very hard on both the transmission and the engine to use the low gear all the time.
Wow, I would think that Ernie must have a very strong right leg holding the pedal down all the time!

As its is your car, it is really up to you how you drive and enjoy it :-)

Letting the pedal out will give Ernie's leg a rest and make it more enjoyable driving for him and the old car won't go that much faster if you keep the throttle down as well.

Glad you use the car - keep on enjoying. I like the suggestion that you are creating memories for grand kids - "get out and push" - they will be priceless :-)


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Art M » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:12 pm

After doing some calculations, I figure that the 23 per cent hill is right at the limit of a properly operating stock model t without very much passenger weight. In high the limit is about 8 percent hill.


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by JRSpada4 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:50 am

Katie, greetings from the Mountain State. I'm just down the mountain from you in Fairmont. I have a 25 Touring that I drive mostly around Harrison and Marion counties. Not quite the same terrain as Taylor, Preston and Tucker, but hilly nonetheless. I do have a Ruckstell axle on mine but I drive primarily in Ford high (high gear, no Ruckstell) most of the time. I would highly recommend adding the Ruckstell. In Ford low, your top speed without racing the engine is going to be about 10 MPH and you'll wear out your leg and your transmission bands on really long hills. One of the big deficiencies in the transmission is the big gap between low and high gear. The Ruckstell will fill that gap with Ford High / Ruckstell engaged. Your top speed drops to about 23-25 MPH, but torque is amplified, as is braking through the transmission brake. You'll also find descending hills much less harrowing with Ruckstell engaged. Engine braking is magnified along with the increased braking capability.

As far as your loss in power nearing the top of the hills, I would look into what has already been suggested. Make sure fuel flow is good. Check the sediment bowl and make sure it is clear. Double check the float height. Too low and you'll run lean and starve for fuel. Too high and you'll run rich. One other thing I've found with my car is to routinely check and clean the timer. I run a Ford roller timer. When it's overdue for a cleaning, my car acts like it's running on only 3 cylinders with a definitely noticeable loss in power.

Feel free to reach out. I'm not that far away from you. I think Fairmont is about 25 miles from Independence, but of course in WV, that means at least a 50 minute drive.


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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by Cordes_jeff » Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:07 pm

I read somewhere that a T is designed to power out, fuel flow stop, and oil flow stop on a 25% grade. Sounds like your T is performing as well as a stock car will. 4-1 gears would get you that last 50 feet.


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kfazenbaker
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Re: Model T Capabilities on Hills?

Post by kfazenbaker » Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:04 pm

JRSpada4 wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:50 am
Feel free to reach out. I'm not that far away from you. I think Fairmont is about 25 miles from Independence, but of course in WV, that means at least a 50 minute drive.
Finally, someone who understands West Virginia! :lol: We’re on the western most edge of Preston, a corner of our farm is actually in Mon, so we can be to Middletown Tractor is just under half an hour. Yes, we agree with everyone that a ruckstell would be our best option, but we simply don’t have the extra funds for one right now. I expect we will likely add one eventually. Our T has a distributed instead of a timer.



I wanted to thank everyone again for all their thoughts and suggestions. To bring a bit of closure for the moment...

After a good phone call with Dave Chaffin, our final decision was to go with a 9-tooth pinion gear. After understanding what we want to do with the T, our roads, etc., he agreed that would be a reasonable choice. Adding a Ruckstell would be most ideal, but that is just not an option for us right now.

Dave also explained how to install the pinion gear without pulling the rear differential apart. It arrived, and Ernie started the process of installing it. But as it often goes with projects, one thing leads to another. He’d really believed the rear end had been redone, but once he started getting in there he said the pin that holds the universal to the drive shaft is missing entirely. The universal has a lot of play in it. A few other things, and we’d decided he’d better get in there and check it all. Good thing he did! It hadn’t been gone through, and he couldn’t even find all the pieces of the already disintegrated Babbitt washers. Yikes! :shock: Just goes to show you should never assume.

At this point, he has the entire rear end apart and is about ready to place an order with Chaffins to get everything that needs redone.

While he’s at it, he thinks he’ll pull the inspection panel and check the main bearings. And maybe just pull the head too. That’s the only way we’ll know for sure what’s been done to it and can fix anything critical that was skipped over.

So this turned into a much bigger (and more expensive!) project than we’d hoped, but for our safety we are very glad he went ahead and took it all apart.

I tell Ernie I’m going to be good on birthday, anniversary, and Christmas gifts for the next 10 years. He says in 10 years he’ll buy me a Model A for our 22nd anniversary. :o :lol:

In all it will be a little bit before we’re back up and running. But I’ll update the thread whenever we’re back on the road.

~Katie

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