Author Topic: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?  (Read 24445 times)

Offline RonH2K

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Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« on: December 11, 2008, 05:56:49 PM »
I did a search of the forums and couldn't find quite what I was looking for, so here goes...

I'm starting to put together a tool kit to be part of my Auto Bug Out Box and would love your input.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm not really that "handy".  Unless something is very obviously broken, I'm probably not going to be able to fix it.  (I've committed, to myself, to be brutally honest here in an effort to learn as much as possible!)

So, what kind of tools should be in the kit for my wife or I to do basic, obvious repairs while out on the highways and byways?  What about one of these "25-Piece Tool Kit" type packages you see at Wally World for cheap?  Get something like that or get a subset and spring for quality tools?

Thanks, a bunch!



Offline firetoad

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2008, 06:45:03 PM »
I am a little biased because I get my tools as part of my job and they are all high quality items.  That being said, I have owned lower quality tools for my personal tools most of my life.  They can get the job done but it has always been anyone's guess as to when they would give up their last breath, e.g. broken ratchets, broken stocks, stripped hex wrenches, rounded sockets and so on.

You should be able to pick up a similar set to the Walmart tool kit, albeit more costly, from Sears, i.e. Craftsman.  You could also go with the Kobalt line from Lowe's.  I don't know that I would suggest going any more top of the line than that though for the intended purpose.

As far as recommendations for a starter kit, a basic 3/8" drive set, metric and sae, standard and deep sockets.  Include a couple of good screwdrivers, some security torx wrenches (since they can be used with standard torx as well), a metric & sae set of hex wrenches, quality pliers, quality channel locks and pair of Vise-Grips.  Don't forget to add things like a tire plugging kit (super cheap!), spare belt(s) and spare fuses as well!

This isn't overly detailed, but hopefully it is a decent start!

Offline CTF250

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2008, 08:47:01 PM »
I agree with firetoad, giant Sears fan here, their hand tools are guaranteed for a lifetime no matter what you might do to them.  They have some great sales on starter kits such as ratchet sets, basic wrenches, screwdrivers etc.

In addition to Firetoads other suggestions such as fuses and a spare belts and tire sealer, I would suggest a set of jumper cables and a flashlight.

Most importantly, learn your way around under the hood of your vehicle.  All the tools in the world wont help if you cant figure out what might be wrong or what might be broken

 

Offline 19kilo

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2008, 09:26:59 PM »
A Chilton's guide for you car might be handy to.  I had one for my S-10 but had not thought about it until this post. 

+1 for reminding me to look for one.

Offline ejsandstrom

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2008, 07:48:40 AM »
A a guy that make a living with hand tools, I always recommend Mac an Snap-On. However they are a little pricy for shadetree, and home handyman types. Second I recommend Craftsman. They have a really nice kit of sockets and such as this
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00934209000P?vName=Tools&cName=Mechanics+Tools&sName=Mechanics+Tool+Sets
Lots of tools all in a nice kit. You can tell in one glance if something is missing.
Last on my list is (if you can find one) is a metwrench. They are a metric/standard in one wrench. I wouldent use it to rebuild a small block, but for something to throw in the trunk, its great.

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2008, 08:05:47 AM »
You may also want to consider something like THIS.

It's relatively inexpensive and can be used on any vehicle, not just your, but the spouse's, partents, etc...  Albeit very simple it can point you in the right direction when you have no clue where to look. It is not the be-all-end-all of code readers but it should be able to put you in the seats at the ballpark. Not to sound cliche but knowing where to look is half the battle.

Of course, don't use it as a substitute for the grey matter between your ears... :)

Offline creuzerm

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2008, 09:05:04 PM »
The best tools are what's in your head.
Get a Chiltons or Haynes book, and just start going through the card. Do your own oil change, replace the breaks. Replace the spark plug wires. Replace a burned out bulb. Rotate your tires.  Change an air filter, the wiper blades. Pretty soon, you will find your handyness. No ace mechanic, but competent to handle most of the stuff you need to do for maintenance. You will also be more apt to realize when a shop is taking you for a ride...

As for a tool set. I have fixed 90% of the cars I have fixed on the road with the following (in order)
  • Jumper Cables
  • 12v air compressor
  • 1 gallon of distilled water
  • A good portable floor jack with a X shaped tire wrench
  • duct tape
  • a 4 in one or 6 in one screwdriver
  • A wire stripper and some wire splice connectors
  • a Crescent Wrench
  • Tow strap

If you need much more then that, your likely to need parts as well.


I carry some 24 foot long, extra heavy duty jumper cables I made up. I can pull up behind you and jumpstart as long as you aren't pulling a trailer. If you are, I can pull up in front of you, back up close, and still reach. The 12 foot ones at walmart are good enough for most people. I tend to pull over to help break downs - gonna get myself shot one of these days...

Air compressor. I don't know HOW many people don't check the air in their spare tire. A flat spare tire is as good as none at all. Probably worse, with no spare, you KNOW you don't have a spare.

Gallon of distilled water. Great for topping off batteries, radiators, dehydration. I had a timing belt break on a car, and the tow truck overheated. I used my gallon of water to top off his radiator just enough to get back to the shop. Not often you get to rescue your rescuer, eh?

They make a really neat baby floor jack in a plastic carrying case. I can't find one for myself, but I have used a friends on a few occasions. The jacks that come with a car SUCK. I use them to keep the car from rolling, they are just about perfectly shaped for that. A real jack, and a tire wrench you can really put some muscle on to break those rusted on lugnuts is a great item to have. I have a bottle jack for my trucklet, but it won't fit under a car. Still looking for a good tire wrench.

Duct tape. I love this stuff. Duct tape is like the force, it has a light side, and a dark side, and it holds the universe together. Taping hoods down, lights on, fenders away from tires, the truck half closed over that oversized box you got at the store. Wonderful stuff.

A multi-bit screwdriver. The kind that you pull the bit out, and flip it over work great. The bits are much larger, and harder to loose. They are also less apt to fall out of the screwdriver.

A few scotch clips and some pink and blue wire splices with a cheap wire cutters is a handy tool to have around if you understand electrical stuff.

Crescent wrench. Known as a 'Mexican socket set' where I grew up. (no disrespect to any Mexicans on the forum) This one wrench will fit all nut and bolt sizes. A pain to use, because you really need to tighten after each 'bite' on the bolt. They are more then enough to tight up a bolt.

Toe strap. Hey, I carry one, I figure if I break down bad enough that I can't fix it on the road, any pickup or SUV, or even larger cars can drag me off the road. Can't do it if you don't have a tow strap.

Toss in a 50-80 piece 'mechanics' tool set, and somebody who isn't very handy can fix 90% of what happens to cars on the road. Dead batteries, flats. There is also enough tools on board that you can get pretty deep if somebody who knows a bit about cars happens along. The kits are pretty cheap, $30-40. Probably some on after Christmas clearance at your local big-box store right now.

Offline Ultio1

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2009, 09:16:38 AM »
I would strongly suggest a 12 V led light that can be connected to your battery. a car battery can power most LED lights for just about the life of the battery.  A roll of plumbers tape has gotten me out of so many jams it isnt funny. (you should keep a few nuts and bolts with that) Dont forget a good long book. In case of bad weather emergency. I also keep a tarp and a wool blanket in every vehicle I own.

Offline Ultio1

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2009, 09:21:39 AM »

Offline creuzerm

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2009, 12:37:59 PM »
I have a 12v magnet mount headlight style spot light. I haven't used it all that much yet. Maybe twice in 8 years? I still carry it around as it looks like it's one of those items that when I need it, it will be worth it's price in gold! I always have a couple of flashlights in the vehicle, so they are 'handier' to use for little stuff.

Plumbers tape, do you mean that teflon tape for sealing leaks?
I tossed in a roll of self-vulcanizing rubber 'tape' into the truck. I haven't used it yet. So I can't report back on it's usefulness.


Offline Ultio1

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2009, 12:46:21 PM »
Probably not the right name for it but thats how I have always known it.




Offline firetoad

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2009, 03:21:21 PM »
Perforated Metal Strap.   :)

Offline sludgy_nixer

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2009, 06:44:47 PM »
You may also want to consider something like THIS.

It's relatively inexpensive and can be used on any vehicle, not just your, but the spouse's, partents, etc...  Albeit very simple it can point you in the right direction when you have no clue where to look. It is not the be-all-end-all of code readers but it should be able to put you in the seats at the ballpark. Not to sound cliche but knowing where to look is half the battle.

Of course, don't use it as a substitute for the grey matter between your ears... :)

fwiw...autozone will hook up to your vehicle and provide the codes for free. not sure if autozone is regional or nationwide.
of course this assumes you can get your vehicle to them...and they're still in business.

here's my bag kit...for now. i went with what i had but plan on replacing some items with better quality ones. if i had my druthers, it'd be all craftsman or snap-on.
the bag isn't pictured, but it's no bigger than some purses i see ladies carry...and it's only half way full.



box knife
linesman pliers
wire cutters
wire strippers
needle nose pliers
screwdrivers
small hammer
hacksaw blade
zip ties
pry bar
flashlight with magnetic base
wire connectors (pill bottle)
fuses (tin)
grease/silicone
tape (duct, electric)
velcro strips
pocket knife
tire guage
socket wrench and sockets (not pictured)
spark plug sockets
battery terminal cleaner
wrenches (standard...need a set of metric)
multi bit set
alan wrenches
some crazy multi wrench i found somewhere
crescent wrench
syphon hose

in another cargo box i have
fix a flat
jack
lug wrench
2 12v lights
battery flashlight
12v air compressor
tri fold shovel
tow strap
jumper cables
more duct tape
gloves
haynes book




Offline RonH2K

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2009, 07:59:04 AM »
Good stuff!  Please keep it coming if you have anything to add!

The bulb siphon hose, pictured, is a REALLY good idea I hadn't seen other places.

Building my list and will begin building a couple of kits as funds/time permits!

Thanks!

 8)

Offline creuzerm

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2009, 01:12:26 PM »
I have read/heard that most new cars have a screen at the bottom of the fill tube. You can't siphon gas out of them without punching out the screen.

Anybody verify this?

If this is the case, it would make a siphon of marginal use.

Offline sludgy_nixer

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2009, 05:44:41 PM »
good to know. my trucks a '03, i'll test it out.

Offline cammoguy

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2009, 11:08:02 PM »
Don't forget a few old rags or a roll of paper shop towels and some sort of hand cleaner.

Keeps the steering wheel clean and, if ugliness happens, insures a proper grip on your weapon.   ;D


Offline creuzerm

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2009, 10:17:10 PM »
It's funny the things you don't think about, when your doing them all the time.

I keep a couple of rags under the hood in out-of-the-way places where they won't get hot or sucked into moving parts. The first time I popped the hood on my brand new vehicle, a rag went on top of the suspension mounting.

I totally forgot about the rag being there. It's just one of those things that I have always kept under the hood for checking oil.

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2009, 04:49:00 AM »
Old shower curtain.  Great for those times when you gotta crawl under the vehicle and it's wet or muddy if you're "off road".  Most have attached magnets that will help hold it in place if you have to use it as a rainfly over the hood in a downpour.  PLUS...  you get + Karma points from the Mrs when you tell her to go get herself "something nice" for Valentines day, like a new shower curtain!  Just don't get caught digging the old one out of the garbage.


Tim.


Offline cammoguy

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2009, 10:33:09 AM »
Old shower curtain.  Great for those times when you gotta crawl under the vehicle and it's wet or muddy if you're "off road".  Most have attached magnets that will help hold it in place if you have to use it as a rainfly over the hood in a downpour.  PLUS...  you get + Karma points from the Mrs when you tell her to go get herself "something nice" for Valentines day, like a new shower curtain!  Just don't get caught digging the old one out of the garbage.


Tim.



LOL!!! Great idea! I have an ancient backpacker's sleeping pad that I use but a shower curtain takes up a lot less room.

I used to work in a hospital and when I went into an operating room, I had to wear a white coverall that is made from some fiber. They were made to be tossed after one use. Since I never rolled in the blood and guts, they were almost pristine. I saved all the ones I used and keep one in each car.
I've seen painters wearing them sometimes, so I guess they're available in hardware stores.
Anyhow, they're good to use so your Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes don't get all dirty.


 

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2009, 08:55:15 PM »
Old shower curtain. 
Tim.

LOL!!! Great idea! I have an ancient backpacker's sleeping pad that I use but a shower curtain takes up a lot less room.

I used to work in a hospital and when I went into an operating room, I had to wear a white coverall that is made from some fiber. They were made to be tossed after one use. Since I never rolled in the blood and guts, they were almost pristine. I saved all the ones I used and keep one in each car.
I've seen painters wearing them sometimes, so I guess they're available in hardware stores.
Anyhow, they're good to use so your Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes don't get all dirty.
 

Yep, those would be good ole' TYVEK coveralls.  I use them when I am removing graffiti with my portable soda blaster to keep me from looking like Casper the Ghost from the bicarbonate soda pellets.  And TYVEK is also used for the flimsy feeling (but you can't tear the stuff) "Priority Mail" envelopes the PO uses.  A couple of pair of these would be great addition for a vehicular tool kit.  You can get them at any professional paint store or Home Depot/Lowes for about $5.00 a piece.

Tim.


Offline scaryjc

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2009, 06:40:35 PM »
Here it is. I used a ammo can and got everything out of the tool box that I had double of and put it in the can.


Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2009, 02:03:21 PM »
Here it is. I used a ammo can and got everything out of the tool box that I had double of and put it in the can.



Great idea about using the ammo can.  One simple word of caution about what type of tool container you select.  We here are fond of the Home Depot line, especially the "Homer" stuff like the orange Homer buckets.  They also have an orange Homer tool box and I found out the hard way IT IS NOT WATERPROOF!  When I had a bunch of rental houses, I bought like ten of these Homer tool boxes and then broke my stuff down by category so I didn't have to lug EVERYTHING up the hills and driveways when I had to make a maintenance call.  I had an "Electrical" box, a "Plumbing" box, etc...  I had all my meters and test gear in my Electrical box when I discovered after a sudden downpour that A:  My truck bed was indeed slippery when wet and had let my Homer box slide out of the bed from the rain splash, and B:  The handle pivot hole was not only a "hole" through which water could enter, but the recessed design also acted as a "well" and allowed any water droplets that hit the lid to be directed into the recessed well area.  Yeah, lost about $1500.00 worth of meters and such.  My loss equals your knowledge!

Tim.


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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2009, 07:19:51 PM »
Yes, the ammo can is a great idea.  I have a couple empties lying around that just found a new use!  :)

Offline bartsdad

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2009, 01:35:37 AM »
A couple things:

Nitrile gloves are great for keeping you clean.

A head lamp is a must have. Try doing anything roadside at night one handed (other hand holding a light) and the benefits of a headlamp are quite obvious.

Lithium batteries in your flashlights is a must. They don't leak and handle the extreme temps better.

A couple small tarps. To get to your spare you generally need to empty your trunk along the roadside and putting the stuff on a tarp corrals it and another tarp can be used to cover it in the event of inclimate weather.

Maintain your vehicle. Fix problems before they occur.

Offline daved

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2010, 08:10:08 PM »
Dragging up an old thread here, but this is something I've talked about with a gear head buddy.
Top of the line tools are great if you're a mechanic and have a tool truck that comes by the shop. However if you're just a guy who works on his own stuff, chances are the Snap-On guy doesn't come to your house too often.
While I have a few Matco / Mac / Snap-On tools, most of my stuff is Craftsman. The tool truck may not come to my house to fix a broken tool, but I have no problem driving to Sears.
I also think it is a case of the difference between a $2 wrench and a $10 wrench is huge, the difference between a $10 wrench and a $30 one isn't that much.

Offline romeo hotel

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2010, 11:13:53 PM »
Great stuff in this thread. Thanks.

Offline Dawgus

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2010, 07:41:11 AM »
 Great stuff! The only thing I carry in my kit that hasn't been mentioned is a universal type strap wrench that fits on a ratchet. Though rare, I have seen oil filters become loose,so this may be a handy thing to have if you notice an oil leak and are able to trace it to the filter. They're pretty cheap and don't take up much room. Well worth that 5 bucks for that "just in case" situation. I'm also NEVER without a crescent wrench.

Thox Spuddy

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2010, 08:45:13 PM »
I have read/heard that most new cars have a screen at the bottom of the fill tube. You can't siphon gas out of them without punching out the screen.

Anybody verify this?

If this is the case, it would make a siphon of marginal use.

I have heard similar, however, on some vehicles if you crawl underneath the gas line is easily accessible and can be cut. You might want to borrow a technique from gas thieves and cut the line and install a valve. They will drain out a quart a week from several vehicles and nobody misses it. Might be handy, might be stupid.

Offline porkchop

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Re: Tool Kit Information / Recommendations?
« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2011, 05:18:46 PM »
I usually have a set of sockets including torx bit sockets
wrenches,
a set of screwdrivers,
pliers including needle nose, vise grips, channel locks,
a new spare serpentine belt,
a 5 quart jug of the appropriate motor oil,
a spare oil filter(don't ask it's a long story, just know that your car or truck won't run very long without it.)
and possibly a spare fuel filter(if yours is owner accessible).

I also usually have a hayes or chilton repair manual.