Checklist of materials, supplies, tools

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Tiercel

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I am sure this discussion must have been around before, but I was wondering if there is a good idea list of tools and materials that RV'ers feel are "must-have" or at least "should have." With zero experience, I figure a piece of PEX, PEX tools, and fittings. Flex tape, Eterna Bond, epoxy, plastic sheeting, wire nuts, heat shrink, fuses, battery-operated lighting, etc
I am sure the list can get quite extensive. Each person has to evaluate what they should have and what might not be readily available at most Walmarts or hardware stores.

Is there such a list? If not, what would be items that would be high on your list?
 

DonTom

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what would be items that would be high on your list?
I buy what I need on the way during my trips. I had to buy a battery operated drill and drill bits on this trip, so I could drill up my new motorhome a little. That was to run a couple of wires. I also bought some tie wraps, a small soldering iron and misc tools. I find I am often working on my RV doing this trips, mainly changing or adding electrical stuff.

I think I am now done changing things in this new RV. I think I have everything the way I want.

IMO, the best way is to decide what you need as you need it. You can always find a place to buy common stuff on the way.

-Don- Frierson, LA
 

Tiercel

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IMO, the best way is to decide what you need as you need it. You can always find a place to buy common stuff on the way.

-Don- Frierson, LA
That really is a good point and my wife would applaud you. I am a checklist guy. My wife is a "hey, if I forget it I'll buy another one" gal. I hate buying stuff I already have and then having duplicates. Also what if you are boondocking. Who wants to pull up stakes and find a Walmart to get a roll of Teflon tape for a connection? What if at 1 AM in a blinding rain you discover water is dribbling down the inside of your bedroom window?

I really don't want to buy more PEX tools to fix one fitting. The only place I have PEX is in the MH so that is where I keep them.
 

Rob&Deryl

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On the road from mid NH
Don’t over pack.
When you have the need, there are home stores, Walmarts etc all over the country. I packed too many sockets and wrenches. Still didn’t have the size I needed 😳. If you pack pex, you will need abs.
One set of things I am really happy to have packed is a set of Dewalt tools all using the same batteries and just one charger.
I packed a compact 20v drill, a 20v jigsaw (I cut up wood from the Forest floor the other day for a campfire) and a 20v air Compressor. We used the drill today. I have one trailer tire that seems to loose a pound every few day. The compressor is great. I almost, but didn’t yet, get a 20v leaf blower to clear of the slides and awning when needed (out west here, the wind seems to do it).
 

DonTom

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I hate buying stuff I already have and then having duplicates.
I want to keep separate tools in each RV as well as each house anyway. Whatever I buy for this RV will stay forever in this RV. Same with clothes and everything else.

With this RV I had to start from having nothing. I did a lot of shopping in ABQ, NM. That is one of the many reasons I stayed there for a week.

I won't even take stuff from my Y2k RV to put in this one. That way, each has everything needed. Not much of a list before a trip that way.

-Don- Frierson, LA
 

Tiercel

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I already have the house in GA and our main house in PA set up pretty much like that, but it bugs me when I look for a specific coat or item and cannot remember what house it is in. I have taken photographs of closets and drawers to help me remember where stuff is, I really don't want to do this with the RV. It is nice to check off and pack less, but it shorts out my internal wiring.
 

JayArr

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Mission British Columbia Canada
A butane powered soldering iron has come in handy a few times. I carry an assortment of ropes and ratchet straps as well as pre-lubed bearing sets for my axels in case I burn a set on the road.
 

JudyJB

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One tip is to put tools in a fabric toolbag instead of a metal or plastic toolbox. It will rattle a LOT less. Also, add extra bulbs for tail and running lights, as well as extra hose washers and such. And one thing I really use often is velcro strapping--the kind that comes in a roll and will stick to itself.
 

Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
I too have PEX in my motorhome, and even though it turned 20 years old last week, PEX is rarely a problem, in fact the only section of PEX I have experienced issues with is a nearby fitting that started leaking after I changed out the kitchen faucet last year. The only PEX tool I carry is a PEX tubing cutter, and a few sharkbite fittings. Sure Sharkbite fittings cost more than crimp fittings, but I don't plan to use many, and don't want to carry a crimper, crimp bands, etc.

As to tools, 80%+ of the time any repair I need to make can be done with the contents of a typical 120ish piece socket set, a multi meter, and wire splicing tools (wire strippers, ratchet crimper, linesman plyers, etc.), and a small cordless drill/driver. With electrical issues of one type or another covering a significant portion of my repairs / projects. Though many are upgrade vs repair projects (upgrading to LED lights, vs fixing wiring issues with the brake lights, marker lights, etc).

There will always be those single use tools that are only needed for certain jobs, but doing those jobs without the specialty tool, steering wheel puller, water pump tool, etc., but when you need it, you need it, for those jobs I generally wait until I need it, before buying the tool, or borrow it from an auto parts store.
 

Old_Crow

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Tom's Place, California
Well, I was a mechanic for 40 years, so I know I pack too many tools. So be it. If I need to change out the clutch on my Jeep, I can do it with what I carry with me.
On any other tools(plumbing, carpentry, etc), I'll buy as I need them, then carry them for a year, and if I find that I don't use them again in that year, I'll ditch them. If I use it, it survives for another year.
This year I ditched the 9v Makita drill that I've had for 30 years and upgraded to a Milwaukee 18v unit. I use that at least weekly.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Looking to buy a new home
Everybody will have their own "must have" list, depending on their skills and attitude toward DIY diagnosis & repairs. The common items on everybody's list need not be long or bulky, though. Nor do you need high quality tools when it's just occasional or emergency use. Harbor Freight tools do fine for this sort of thing.
  • An inexpensive electrical meter (VOM) and learn how to use it, at least for AC & DC voltage and continuity tests with the Ohm function.
  • A 120v outlet tester (plugs into a standard 15A outlet)
  • Electrical tape and duct tape. Plus hose bandage tape for emergencies
  • Teflon tape for pipe thread
  • A few wire nuts and maybe some wire butt connectors (crimp type)
  • Basic hand tools
    • Philips, slot & square (Robertson) screwdrivers (square drive is common on RVs)
    • Small & medium adjustable wrenches or small socket set
    • Wire cutters & wire stripper tool
    • Pliers
  • Several feet of roof repair tape (Eternabond or similar)
  • Tube of window & door caulk (any type or color - it's for emergency use)
  • A general purpose adhesive
This list is intended to assist in diagnosis when things don't work and do temporary repairs until you can get what you need at a Walmart or hardware store. Dozens of things could be added to enable more skilled owners to do more things or work quicker, but these will get you thru the basics. Add to your tools & supplies as you encounter needs that might be recurring.
 

Tom

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One tip is to put tools in a fabric toolbag instead of a metal or plastic toolbox.
I did that before the maiden voyage of our current coach. It didn't take too long to get tired of dumping the contents on the ground to find a tool I needed. Headed to a Sears store and bought a 'drawer' style toolbox. Over time, the toolbox filled with stuff I probably didn't need to take along on every trip :(
 

CharlesinGA

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Oct 6, 2017
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50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
I had Husky tool bag (large one) that my Brother and his wife gave me a good many years ago. Never used it but when I got the motor home I though it would be useful. I have tons of tools, duplicates, triplicates, etc so it was mostly a matter of picking the stuff that would work. Switching to a trailer and truck necessitated some changes. My trailer is Canadian built so it is full of Robertson #1 and #2 screws so I made sure I had bits to fit the magnetic screwdriver. (actually I ended up with a 52 bit set, one of the name brands, that was on a Black Friday sale several years ago) Basic stuff, plus a Harbor Freight multimeter, tape measure, fuses for the truck (miniature blade fuses) and fuses for the trailer ATO/ATC blade fuses. You want name brand fuses (Bussman or Littelfuse) as the offbrand crap is just that. May not blow when it needs to. Be sure and have 7.5/10/15/20/30 fuses, lots of 15's and at least two 30's for the converter protection fuses. Make sure you have fuses for the vehicle fuse box as they usually have some oddball sizes and shapes also.

I don't carry eternabond tape, as my trailer is fiberglass, but I probably should. You absolutely should if you have a rubber roof.

A set of the triangle reflectors is not a bad idea, along with high visibility vests to wear if you end up on the side of the road.

Wire ties, aka Ty-Wraps™, long ones, short one bit and small. I find a lot of them on the ground in campgrounds, people get them out to use one and drop a bunch.

If you still have incandescent bulbs on the inside and outside of the RV you need to figure out what you have and get spares. Including a headlight bulb.

Charles
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Nov 17, 2018
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Albuquerque, NM
Perhaps it's been fate but in the few years I've had my 'vintage' RV the only failures I've had to manage on a trip have been plumbing. Not PEX failures as Isaac1 notes but fittings and devices that give up. So it becomes a MacGyver adventure to adapt, cap off or bypass the issue and having a set of basic plumbing elements - tee's, elbows, unions, nipples, caps, etc the better the chances of mitigating the problem without a trip to a hardware store, or blowing up the trip for want of a 99 cent part. So for me, it's not so much about having 600lbs of tools but critical spares that can at least allow you to get by until you have access to parts and tools to effect a proper repair.

I have one of the inexpensive 'mechanics' tool sets from horror fright which has enough tools for most anything you'd do on the road. Then another small toolbox for electrical stuff, crimpers, splices, butane soldering, wire, DMM, tie wraps, tape, etc. A third toolbox contains RV spares like plumbing fittings, fuses, tubing, valves, relays, bulbs. Having multiple boxes makes them easier to pack and heft around. I keep track of what should be in the spares box so it's easy to inventory what's there and so things needed aren't forgotten.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

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