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Old 05-10-2023, 08:59 AM   #1
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2023 23' International
Englewood , Florida
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Question Best mechanics tool set for 2023 23FBT

I've looked at lots of tool sets for our first trip which is going to be 5,000 miles (bold move "young" one). If nothing goes wrong with a brand rig I'd be shocked so I've been looking for something that will fit in one of the 3 storage compartments. The CEO wants something that's "NEAT". The best tool set I can find that will fit without ripping it down is the Lowe's $99 Kobalt 257 piece set which should just fit into the front compartment. I'll take other tools such as pliers, vise grips and screw drivers from my big mechanics boxes since I have duplicates/triplicates/etc.


Anyone got a better choice?



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Old 05-10-2023, 09:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by englewoodfl View Post
I've looked at lots of tool sets for our first trip which is going to be 5,000 miles (bold move "young" one). If nothing goes wrong with a brand rig I'd be shocked so I've been looking for something that will fit in one of the 3 storage compartments. The CEO wants something that's "NEAT". The best tool set I can find that will fit without ripping it down is the Lowe's $99 Kobalt 257 piece set which should just fit into the front compartment.


Anyone got a better choice?





These kits look impressive, but thereís a whole lot you donít need and many things missing that you do need.

First, a good quality pop rivet tool and a bunch of aluminum rivets (⅛Ē) for the inevitable sheared rivets. Masking tape so you donít scratch the finish while installing them.

A small drill with the correct twist drills for drilling out rivets might be useful.

Also:
Pliers.
Screwdrivers.
Allen key set.
Sockets, extensions, handles to change tires.
A bottle jack.
A small wrench set.
Mechanicís wire and duct tape.
Wire stripper/crimping tool.
Extra wire.
Electrical multi tester.
Butt and ring connectors.
A bag or box to put it all in.

Thatís my basic list. Others will no doubt have recommendations from their own experience.
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Old 05-10-2023, 02:13 PM   #3
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2020 25' Flying Cloud
Chula Vista , California
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I have a small mechanics tool bag that carries the basic tools plus those mentioned above.
Also carry the following 1/2" drive tools; torque wrench, 24" ratchet, 6" extension, and three sockets, 13/16 deep thin wall for the lug nuts, 3/4" for the ball, and 1 7/16" for the drum brake nut.
I throw in,
Small snap ring pliers for the brake drum nut safety lock.
Electrical tape
Yellow duct tape
Yellow or orange safety vest
Coveralls
Knee pads, That pavement is hot out in the desert.
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Old 05-11-2023, 08:15 AM   #4
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2023 23' International
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I have a take with spreadsheet so I'll add what I don't all ready have on that. I surprised about the people that mention electrical and vinyl tape.


My plan is to lay everything out by Starshine (the AS) and take a really good photo. I'm a documentation and procedures person. At the Ford yesterday they commented that they had never had a customer do an order like mine - said most people just order max tow and that's it.
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Old 05-11-2023, 09:12 AM   #5
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Kobalt is junk. Spend the money on tools that will last a lifetime.


https://shop.snapon.com/categories/Hand-Tools/700010
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Old 05-11-2023, 09:25 AM   #6
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Here is something I have learned about road trips. Ace hardware stores are about everywhere. You can pretty much buy tools as you need them. I am not sure that you need a "mechanics" tool set with an Airstream. Mostly I have needed the drivers for the fasteners and electrical tools and some plumbing. Tools cost about the same wherever you buy them. Having said that I carry a fairly large box of tools in the truck since Have room and load capacity. I carry it all the time whether I am pulling or not. And I still have to go to Ace on some long trips.
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Old 05-11-2023, 09:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
Here is something I have learned about road trips. Ace hardware stores are about everywhere. You can pretty much buy tools as you need them. I am not sure that you need a "mechanics" tool set with an Airstream. Mostly I have needed the drivers for the fasteners and electrical tools and some plumbing. Tools cost about the same wherever you buy them. Having said that I carry a fairly large box of tools in the truck since Have room and load capacity. I carry it all the time whether I am pulling or not. And I still have to go to Ace on some long trips.
Great advice, and how I've built my toolbox over the years. Set yourself up with the basics, then add "specialty" or other tools as needed.
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Old 05-11-2023, 09:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by englewoodfl View Post
I've looked at lots of tool sets for our first trip. The best tool set I can find that will fit without ripping it down is the Lowe's $99 Kobalt 257 piece set. I'll take other tools such as pliers, vise grips and screw drivers from my big mechanics boxes since I have duplicates/triplicates/etc.

Anyone got a better choice?


The Stanley sets are decent quality and about the same price as the Kobalt stuff. If you visit the local auto parts or performance shops they often have deals on semi pro grade kits for decent prices. If you can find a deal on used Mac/SnapOn/Proto/Hazlett or similar high quality tool set sometimes it is cheaper than buying a new low quality set.

https://www.lifestoryresearch.com/20...eview-rankings

https://woodworkingclarity.com/best-hand-tool-brands/

https://tendsupplies.com/blog/best-h...manufacturers/

What airstream recommends:

https://airstreamsupplycompany.com/p...iece-tool-kit/

There are some interesting articles on the boating sites for tool selection. The situation in a boat is more serious than a trailer as a breakdown can mean total stranding with no way to get help. They tend to go overboard on completeness but in a boat it is better to have and not need than to need and not have.

https://www.google.com/search?q=what...arine+tool+kit





From other threads here:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f53...it-213918.html

https://www.google.com/search?q=airs...dd+to+your+kit

Is there a recommended tool list in the FAQs? If not it should be probably be added.

https://www.google.com/search?q=faqs...rums.com+tools
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Old 05-11-2023, 01:54 PM   #9
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Before I would get a mechanics tool set, get a good household set of tools. More useful to build around. Sockets etc are nice to have in your garage, but in your airstream you don’t need them much. You want a torque wrench for tires and for the hitch. A small pipe wrench is helpful, a good size rubber mallet, channel lock pliers, WD40, silicon seal, tape to seal leaking pipes, pipe thread seal, rivet tool and rivets, fuses. Then get the size wrenches that are specifically needed for things on your trailer.

I probably have way more tools than necessary. But I’ve had a need for many of them at some point. As said above, hardware stores are close by.
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Old 05-14-2023, 07:11 AM   #10
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Kobalt

Went with the Kobalt (Lowe's) tool box - https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-257-...ase/5014204839


It fits into the front storage. Can't be much taller than this or it wouldn't go in easily.
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Old 05-14-2023, 07:35 AM   #11
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Rechargeable screw driver/gun and nut-drivers/screw-driver tips for it (and any sockets you need to drive your stabilizers).
Duct tape, Electrical tape, multi-meter.
Pliers, adjustable wrench, and hammer.
3-in-One oil or WD40.
Tube of sealant (self-sealing and/or RTV)
Free tire gauge from Discount Tire.
Pocket knife.

Donít overload or overthink this.
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Old 05-14-2023, 08:04 AM   #12
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And I would throw in a pop rivet puller and an assortment of pop rivets. You'll likely need 1/8 by 1/4 grip, 5/32 by maybe up to 1/2" grip range, and a few bigger 3/16 up to 1/2" grip range. You can buy an assortment box of pop rivets.

It is not unusual for us Airstreamers finding a broken rivet after traveling, especially inside the trailer. As we say, Airstreams are designed to flex so they don't develop stress cracks in their aluminum bodies. The normal flexing can shear a pop rivet. The rivets used in the exterior body aluminum sheets are "bucked rivets" and are much stronger. They very seldom fail.

David
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Old 05-14-2023, 09:22 AM   #13
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I kept track of the tools used for the hitch install and put them in my tool roll. I also went around the truck and made note of the size tools Iíd need for a few maintenance items. Then I grabbed the tools needed for electrical and plumbing work on the trailer. Everything fits in a tool roll and Iím sure Iím missing something. I figured if Iím in a bind I can buy or borrow on the road. It almost seems replacement parts are just as valuable. Things like pex elbows, crimp rings, latch parts, and a coffee can of spare screws and widgets.
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Old 05-14-2023, 09:52 AM   #14
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Airstreams are not made using “pop” rivets and “pop” rivets are not proper replacements for either bucked or olympic rivets. (and they leak)

I have Pop-rivet tools, olympic tools, and rivets/bucking bars etc…. and after many years of Airstreaming I’ve only replaced ONE rivet…. which was one at the awning lower attach bracket…. replaced using a rivnut and stainless bolt.

Average Airstream owner will never use a rivet tool…. and I certainly do not believe it is necessary for ones’ first trip or tool-bag while travelling.

(I take it back and apologize… I Have used a pop-rivet on my Airstream. It fills a hole I mis-drilled on the cover-door of my add-on rear bumper.)
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Old 05-14-2023, 10:01 AM   #15
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The socket set is for the FORD

Only kidding, and seriously though I have never used many sockets on the old or new Airstream. A socket and torque wrench for wheels is about it.

I would approach the Kit building process from a systems standpoint. What do I need to make sure I have water, or heat, or LP.

For every vehicle and junk drawer I own: Lutz Six-1 driver

For Truck: extra serpentine belt, fuel filters, and the tools for these, brass contact brush.

For electrical on truck and Airstream: multimeter, quality stripper/crimper, small assortment of connections, electrical tape, a bit of wire, maybe some essential bulbs.


Parts for Airstream: A sail switch for furnace and extra water pump

Tools: Drill with bits (namely the size for pop rivets 1/8 and 3/16), small and large crescent wrench, utility knife, razor scrapper, pop rivet tool and rivets, vice grip, needle nose pl, pliers, water pump pliers, pex cutter and crumpets,

Towing: extra hitch pin, keeper pins, a tire changing ramp/chock, tire pressure gage,

Fluids and gunk: WD40, dielectric grease, LP thread seal, Teflon tape, clear Lexel tube, lock lube, and duct tape.

Recovery: axe, shovel, snatch straps and the right buckles/hooks (never use a tow ball for a snatch strap, maybe a wench or come-along depending on how far back I am going.
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Old 05-14-2023, 06:13 PM   #16
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Hi Boxite: Airstream has installed interior aluminum skins with pop rivets since maybe forever. They also install some of the interior trim pieces with pop rivets. These rivets can break now and then. That is why I carry my rivet tool with me.

It is certainly true the bucked rivets used to attach the exterior skins to the body frame work seldom fail. And no, I would not replace it with a pop rivet. Your suggested method is much better.

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Old 05-14-2023, 08:18 PM   #17
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Park City , Utah
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No pop rivets in an airstream? Iím looking at a couple hundred right now just sitting on my lounge. Rivet tool and rivets are a must-have tool.
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Old 05-14-2023, 09:05 PM   #18
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No pop rivets in an airstream? Iím looking at a couple hundred right now just sitting on my lounge. Rivet tool and rivets are a must-have tool.
For sure.

Have to giggle thinking about a conversation of what tools to take on the road turning to Buck rivets. I have been picturing a full panel repair in the middle of a desert all day.

Oh I forgot on thing on my list. Depending on how remote, maybe a piece of aluminum and snips for an emergency skin repair.

Side tracking thought, it would be cool to track down the packing lists for Cape to Cairo or Around the World.
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Old 05-17-2023, 03:07 PM   #19
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A Kobalt surprise !!

I've always been a Craftsman guy for their lifetime warranty. Kobalt has one too but (and this is from the Lowe's tool guy), if a Craftsman tool breaks you take it to Lowe's and get an immediate replacement. If a Kobalt tool breaks, you have to send it in and get a replacement mailed back. Food for thought. I do have some Kobalt stuff, but not if the Craftsman variant is available.

You mention Ford. Our F250 crew cab holds all our tools (thus far) under our back seat. Most are visible in the pictures, but also in there is a set of plastic pry tools (popping stuck windows, the battery cell cover...yes, still wet cell for me at the moment), PEX tools and clamps, multi-meter, tire repair kit with compressor, and the DeWalt is a cordless drill. The toolbox is a cheapo one from Walmart for the various pliers, screw drivers, plumbers tape, some hardware etc. I also have eye protection goggles.
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Old 05-17-2023, 03:45 PM   #20
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I generally don't like the "sets." You usually end up with crap, or a bunch of stuff you don't need. It's your preference, but I'd get a nice tool bag, or a "tool roll" and put something together yourself. For sets, I do like the small Wera sets (top quality, made in germany). Look at the Tool-Check Plus and the Kraftform Kompakt screwdriver.
We recently were out for seven months and really didn't need too many tools. Lots of interior screws worked themselves loose, replaced the fresh water inlet/regulator, a few interior rivets. A cordless drill was used almost daily for the stabilizers and x-chocks. You can get a special socket that fits those. A big set of oil filter pliers for sticky sewer hoses. Make sure you get a torque wrench and a deep socket for the wheel lugs to tighten the wheel lugnuts periodically.
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