Driving with a Ruckstell

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Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by Divcoone » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:46 pm

Can anybody give me some pointers on how to drive with a Ruckstell.
Bob Giles

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by A Whiteman » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:49 pm

Have a read of this document, it explains the process.
Ruckstel operating instructions.pdf
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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by bobt » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:55 am

I own two T's, Both with Ruckstell's. You can make it easy or complicated to use them. This is only how I use them and I am not saying that this is correct but It works for me. First, remember that a Ruckstell has nothing to do with your transmission. Basically, it's a two speed REAR END. This is how I use and shift mine. For speeds around and under 30 mph and reversing, I use Ruckstell low ( lever back) For speeds around 30 mph and over and cruising, I use Ruckstell high ( lever forward) I use Ruckstell high from stoplight to stoplight ie: Ruckstell lever forward and clutch pushed all the way in and release clutch all the way out to go faster. This is how I shift the Ruckstell rear end. I push the clutch 1/2 in for neutral while letting off the throttle until the engine is at idling speed and FIRMLY chunk it into high or low then give it the gas. I don't shift from high to low until i'm at a slow speed. I hope this helps and I can't imagine owning (driving ) a T without a Ruckstell. Happy motoring. bobt

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by Kerry » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:25 am

I have 2 T's with Rucksells, I drive the diff changes the same way I drive the Eaton 2 speeds in trucks, just with throttle control, no touching of the clutch. Works for me, may differ for others.

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by rickd » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:31 am

I have a Ruckstell on my 14 Touring. I have to keep things simple, so I am either in Ruckstell or not. No shifting stuff and all the back and forth. Ruckstell low for slow going, parades and getting the car into the trailer. Ruckstell high for hills and driving at a slower pace. I leave my car in Ruckstell pretty much all the time. fwiw.

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by Original Smith » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:50 am

I would just find a deserted road, and start practicing. I usually hit the clutch, and ease up on the gas when shifting, but not always. It kind of depends on the situation.

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by Dan B » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:06 pm

For what it is worth, I drive my car with the Ruckstell axle engaged all the time unless I am on an open road and need to achieve maximum speed. The Ruckstell low/high ratios are really perfect for most scenarios and make the car much more enjoyable to drive.
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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by Fire_chief » Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:03 pm

I've been driving T's with Ruckstell's since I was 10 years old. I was taught to start out with the rear in low, go from trans low to high, then shift the rear to high. When going along and going up a hill, and the engine starting to loose power, shift the rear into low. The important thing is to not let the engine strain.

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by 2nighthawks » Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:59 pm

Robert,....I probably use Ruckstell a bit different than most, but here's what works for me:

I live in the densely populated Seattle/Tacoma area, and I drive my Ruckstell-equipped depot hack exactly like I always drove a conventional three-speed stick shift Ford or Chevrolet of the '50's. Remember, we always started out from a stop sign or traffic light in 1st (or "low" gear), accelerate to 8 or 10 mph, shift to 2nd gear, accelerate to 15 or 20 mph, then shift to 3rd (or "high" gear) and cruise along until the next traffic light or stop sign, and shift back to "low" gear just before the complete stop at the next light, ready to start the process over again when the light goes green. Here's how I do it with the Model T in Ruckstell:

Start in Ruckstell and low Ford pedal, accelerate to walking speed or slightly faster, close throttle and let Ford pedal back to "high" Ford (sorta' like 2nd gear) then continue accelerating and let Ford pedal out to high and continue accelerating somewhat and finally depress Ford pedal to neutral while closing throttle and quickly and firmly shift out of Ruckstell and then opening throttle lever to then cruise along in Ford high and out of Ruckstell,....just like high gear in a conventional three-speed-stick back in the '50's. Just before coming to a complete stop at the next stop light but still rolling slightly, shift back into Ruckstell to be ready to start the "3-speed" process all over again.

A really BIG advantage of starting out from dead stop in Ruckstell and Ford low pedal, is that, believe it or not, you'll quickly get the "feel" of it and get good at it, and you only "slip" the low band for a distance of two feet or less before "locking" up low band and thus very little wear on the low band!

Many will disagree, but that's how I do it, and it works for me,......harold

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by 2nighthawks » Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:07 pm

Oh,....one more thing,....not really important, but just to use proper "terminology", there is no "high Ruckstell", or "low Ruckstell"! You're either "in Ruckstell", or "out of Ruckstell"! There's no "high" Ruckstell, or "low" Ruckstell. Out of Ruckstell is direct drive, just like a conventional Ford rear end, and "in" Ruckstell is a reduction thru' the Ruckstell planetary gear reduction for less car speed but more power,.....FWIW,.....harold

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by Bill Coyle » Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:17 pm

I just installed and started using a Ruckstell this summer in my Roadster. On the flat lands here in northern Ohio I drive with Ford hi / low. Using Ruckstell sometimes in town and when backing into the garage. During my trip to West Virginia, it really showed how necessary it is going up and down mountains. When my speed drops to 20 going up hill I shift into Ruckstell by quickly bumping the clutch. Shifting back to Ford hi at the crest by decreasing the throttle and bumping the clutch. My friend taught me a little trick when it won't go back into hi; try it with the clutch in and just bump the reverse pedal. That little trick seemed to work well for me. I've used the trick when I can't maintain speed up a mountain in hi Ruckstell and need Ford low. Bill

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by FATMAN » Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:28 pm

Get rocky mountain brakes, if you hit neutral and it wont go into gear you have no breaks, Bob

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by DanTreace » Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:42 pm


That's the same way of use on the '27 touring. Live in flat land FL, so don't use the Ruckstell much at all. Regardless, won't shift it thru the gears all the time, would have a Model A if I wanted to shift :lol: My Ruckstell-equipped rear axle has std. Ford 3:63 ratio.

So, just use it as '2nd gear' when hill climbing, pull the hand lever back to the seat edge, while putting low pedal to 'neutral' and reducing throttle to match road and engine rpm's or engine speed. At about 15mph or so, when finished with hill climb, right at the crest, press low pedal into neutral and reduce throttle, and push the hand lever to the dash, back into Ford.

If very steep hill, ride down it slow still in Ruckstell and shift back to Ford when on level.

As for those who run in Ruckstell all the time, what engine speed?
When in Ruckstell, my engine strains if much over 20 mph.

Click on graph to enlarge for viewing
Ruckstell road speeds.jpg
The best way is always the simplest. The attics of the world are cluttered up with complicated failures. Henry Ford
Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain. Henry Ford

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Re: Driving with a Ruckstell

Post by Ruxstel24 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:25 pm

Nice chart Dan :D
I’m in the last group, 3:1, I run Ruckstell generally up to about 25-30mph. The higher ratio makes it more necessary for Ruckstell, especially for braking, but I can climb most hills around here in Ford high/direct. But my engine is not stock.
It takes some practice, but shifting is second nature to me. A lot easier to show someone than to splain it.

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