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How to use a Ruckstell axle?

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I have just acquired a 1927 Model T Speedster. It has a Ruckstell axle. I am familiar with Model Ts and can drive them. When do I use the Ruckstell? How does it integrate into the standard Model T "shifting arrangement?

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Posted (edited)

Basically, when a Ruckstell is in "high" gear, you are in Ford direct drive. This means the Ruckstell lever is all the way forward.

 

To get into Ruckstell "low" gear, you back off (slow down) on the throttle put the clutch in the halfway or neutral position, and quickly/firmly pull the Ruckstell lever to the rear. Release the clutch while you accelerate on the throttle. Do this in a linear order but quickly and it should work just fun.

 

To get back into "high" do the same, but push the Ruckstell lever forward.

 

 

If you hear a bit of a clunking sound when  you shift, it is normal. The "clunk" usually indicates you got it right.

 

Always try to shift when the engine and car are going at the same speed, meaning, don't shift when the engine is pulling the car or when the car is pushing the engine-as when you are ascending or descending a hill.

 

If you are going to shift into Ruckstell "low" for hill climbing purposes, always try to shift before the ascension. Shifting while ascending-or descending-can get the Ruckstell "locked" into neutral which means you better have external brakes (like Rocky Mountain, etc). If a  Ruckstell gets locked in neutral you will be totally and quickly freewheeling.  The standard Ford foot brake is in the transmission and if the Ruckstell locks in neutral the Ford transmission is totally useless and the stock Ford emergency brake will be nearly useless as well. This is especially dangerous going up a hill as you will be freewheeling in reverse!!!!!

 

Unless you are surrounded by hills, most of your driving will be in Ruckstell/Ford "High" which means you really don't need to do anything. Sometimes while navigating through slow traffic, it is useful to get into Ruckstell "low" as it is "higher" than Ford low but not as high as Ford/Ruckstell "high". This will keep you from using the "low" band as well.
 

 

Hopefully this isn't to confusing as using the Ruckstell is extremely simple. When used properly it is a great addition to a Model T and for this reason is a very desirable and useful accessory to have. Having driven tens of thousands of miles in Ts with and without Ruckstells, I can tell you that a Ruckstell is a certainly welcomed accessory.

 

Remember that since a Ruckstell has more moving parts than a stock T rearend, it requires a lighter weight gear lube. The standard 600W will leave some of the Ruckstell parts dry. SAE140 is the best and fill it like you would a standard T rearend. Don't forget to grease the outer axle bearings (grease cups) just like a stock T. Other than this, a good Ruckstell requires virtually no maintenance and will operate trouble free for thousands of miles. 

 

Enjoy your speedster and let us if you have any other questions! I think I will be driving mine this weekend too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)

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Motoringicons. Thanks for the tips. Looks like I usually leave the Ruckstell in forward (High) and drive like usual. All the way back for parades and very slow. Does the Ruckstell have any effect with high gear? Or just the same as Ford high gear?

you mentioned that the "600W will leave some of the Ruckstell parts dry. SAE140 is the best and fill it like you would a standard T rear end". I seem to have a good amount of lubricant in the rear end.  I normally use the 600w from Restoration Supply. I would "assume" that "modern oils" would be a no-no(?) Some of these attack bronze. 

Where and what lube should I get?

IMG_4380 (1).jpeg

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Posted (edited)

The Ruckstell has no effect in high gear. In essence, the Ruckstell internal gears are "locked" when they are in high gear so the differential is operating like a standard Ford differential.

 

There are SAE140  gear oils that you can buy from a regular auto parts house that will specifically say they do not attack bronze/brass. They are the common gear lube brands you see at any parts house. Google if unsure and find a spec sheet.  Restoration Supply also has their own version of SAE140, of course, is without a doubt safe for the Ruckstell. I have always just bought stuff off the shelf, but off the top of my head I forget what brand. As I said, 600W is too heavy for a Ruckstell. 

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)

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I am carefully going over the car. The rear end lube looks very thick, like honey and overfilled by removing the square head plug on the higher side of the rear housing. I wonder if the previous, previous owner did not know the Ruckstell should have had the 140 wt you suggested. Probably drain the rear and replace it with 140.

Will followup up when I get it sorted out, first. And will relate our adventure(s)! Thanks, Bill

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