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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I just purchased a 27' Watkins with a 2gm yanmer engine and was wondering what tools should I keep onboard. I have an assortment of screwdrivers and channel lock pliers also vice grips and side cutters not sure what wrenches and sockets and other things I should keep onboard.
 

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Go to a Harbor Freight and buy the jillion piece 1/4 drive and 3/8 drive socket set in metric and SAE with (if you call in the next 5 min) open and box end wrenches. Just across the same aisle will be the jillion piece screw and nut driver combo set. At the check out counter will be box cutter knives...get a blister pack that includes a few blades. And don't forget the hammer....default tool.

Eventually, you'll learn what you really need and be able to buy a few good tools that will prob last longer than the boat.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks I have a can full of wire nuts and terminal ends and crimpers, also a nice multimeter.
 

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Go to a Harbor Freight and buy the jillion piece 1/4 drive and 3/8 drive socket set in metric and SAE with (if you call in the next 5 min) open and box end wrenches. Just across the same aisle will be the jillion piece screw and nut driver combo set. At the check out counter will be box cutter knives...get a blister pack that includes a few blades. And don't forget the hammer....default tool.

Eventually, you'll learn what you really need and be able to buy a few good tools that will prob last longer than the boat.
I'd stay away from most of the Harbor Freight tools. Most are nearly worthless and may actually create more damage. I usually only buy very select tools that I need once or twice and then won't ever need again, but that doesn't describe tools for the boat.

I made the mistake of buying their open end wrenches, thinking that I'd only rarely need them, for repairs on the boat. However, I've already used them several times, much to my frustration. They are poorly machined and don't fit nuts well and have a tendency to round off the nuts rather than remove them. The entire set are going to some second hand store. Don't waste your money on Harbor Frieght, buy some decent tools from the start and save yourself some frustration.

-- Bill
Belle Voile
PSC 34
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, I'm not a fan of Harbor Freight, I have done industrial maintenance for many years and have a large selection of good tools. However I've not worked on sailboats and found myself wondering what could go wrong and what do I need to fix it. I suppose in time I will figure it out, but for now I have an idea of what to start with.
 

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Haven't read all the replies so I may be repeating or contradicting what has been said--apologies in advance.
What not to buy: Duct tape. WD 40. Combination-type multi-purpose tools. Super-cheap tools. Chinese tools if you can avoid it.
Where to buy--Be real careful about buying tools at Harbor Freight that you're going to use more than twice. Sears has decent tool sales sometimes, but their quality is crap in recent years. I've gotten real good deals at hardware store end-cap sales. Best bet is to go to Lowe's or Home Depot if you need something. Cheap tools rust quickly on a boat and good quality tools always make a job easier.
Get a socket set, but keep the least number of 3/8' drive sockets and wrenches you need for your boat, and leave the rest home. Make sure you have an assortment of extensions because access to fasteners can be very difficult sometimes. You don't have room for stuff you don't need and picking through a couple dozen sockets in a cramped, rocking space will just irritate you. If your engine is metric, get the metrics you need, and get a 7/16", 1/2" and 9/16" for the nuts and bolts you're likely to find on your boat's hardware. I find 3 sizes of Crescent-type wrenches fill the gaps well. I got a good deal on Gearwrenches once and love them. Mark your metric tools with Dip-it so you you can tell them from SAE at a glance.
Sears sells sets of assorted screwdrivers cheap when they have sales.
You'll need various pliers. Needle nose, standard slip joint and be sure to also get a multiple-joint Channel-lock type. A pair of vise-grips too. I have a small lineman's pliers that's handy for cotter pins.
I have a monkey wrench with a lightweight aluminum handle for through-hulls.
Get a wrench or a 3/8" drive socket to fit your engine oil filter.
Absolutely get a cordless drill, the most compact one you can find. I like Milwaukee but others are as good. You'll use it a lot. Get an assortment of bits and a wire brush that chucks into the drill. You may also want a drill pump for it to get water or oil or anti-freeze out of places it doesn't belong.
I splurged on 3 Sears nut drivers in the sizes that fit the various hose clamps on my boat and am glad I did. Slotted screwdrivers work, but are a pain in the ass where you can't fit or reach the part with 2 hands--most of the time. Nut drivers won't slip off the screw head.
Get a compact hacksaw and a small wood saw.
You'll need tools for electrical work: wire stripper, cutter and crimper. Maybe the Harbor Freight knock-off of the expensive version will do there.
Assorted, small wire brushes will always be handy.
I have a small hammer with a rubber head and a resin head that's useful sometimes. Also a small ball-pein.
Get a box-cutter knife with a retractable blade, and a lot of blades. A razor scraper is handy, too.
Get good lights for work spaces.
One thing Harbor Frt is good for--boxes of 50 or 100 disposable nitrile gloves. Make sure to get the heavy-duty ones, and get at least one size larger than you would normally wear.
Get cloth tool bags, and try to find them in light colors so you can see inside them in low light. I have a bag for screwdrivers, one for wrenches and sockets, one for electrical tools and equip. and a big one with side pockets for all the rest.
JV
 

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another thread for the stickies

set of metric and sae box wrenches
set of ratchets
screw driver style hex drives
channel locks
lineman's
side cutters
needle nose
mallet
clamps assorted
scrapers
files
drive pin
feeler gauges
strap wrench
wire stripper
crimper
assorted visegrips

the stuff I forgot
 

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Particularly for a smaller boat, I like to think about tools in terms of tasks that I am likely to be able to accomplish while at sea to get home. It would be easy in theory to bring the entire garage tool draw kit, but you might not be able to fit on the boat. So what tasks are you capable of at sea that might get you home? I'd think different if you plan on cruising to parts unknown, then you need more including a ton of spares and tools....but for a smaller cruiser used locally:

1. Can I change fuel filters and bleed the fuel system. Filters/wrenches associated with that.
2. Can I change the raw water impeller and clean the strainer. Spare impeller and wrenches associated with that, maybe something to pull it out, spanner wrench for the strainer.
3. Can I change the oil filter. Extra oil and filter and maybe a filter wrench.
4. Can I replace coolant. If fresh water cooled, antifreeze and fresh water pre-mixed.
5. Can I tune and fix the standing rigging. Wrench, big screw driver, maybe some quick connect wire rigging stuff and wire.
6. Can I temporarily fix a torn sail. Sail tape, palm, thread...etc.
7. Can I patch a leak in something. Rescue tape, duct tape, plugs, etc.
8. Can I fix a simple electrical problem. Multimeter, crimper/crimps.
9. Can I fix a simple plumbing problem. Extra tubing, connectors, etc.

Beyond the simple stuff, go home and get the big tool kit and go to the store and get the part you need. YMMV depending on what you plan on doing w/this boat, this thinking is more about a smaller boat used for shorter coastal cruising where space is limited.
 
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