Tools to Carry in Your Jeep


andy Bint's toolboxScott Blystone: "I had my first on-the-road repair -- needed a cotter pin to hold the throttle linkage together. Fortunately, I was just blocks from home. Got me thinking -- what kind of repairs have people had to commonly make on stock 3B's? For now I have a spool of wire and a Leatherman multitool in the Jeep, and am looking for suggestions for other items. Lets hear about those breakdowns!"

Ron Ingram: "I guess what you need to carry would be dictated by how far you plan to be from home or help and how important it would be to effect a repair. In addition to some common hand tools, you might consider having duct tape, electrical tape, a couple of adjustable hose clamps, a length or two of insulated electrical wire, several feet of baling-type wire, spare fuses, a can of tire sealant, and a spare set of points and condenser (save your old ones the next time you change them). These are just some basics you might keep with you at all times. If you head to the wilderness on a regular basis I would certainly include more tools and repair parts as well as spare fluids."

Jyotin: "Given the state of most Jeep toolboxes, I wouldn't want to carry anything that would fall out of the rust holes that always start in the toolbox...."

(Yes, Andy Bint's toolbox above is pretty close to the cleanest one I've ever seen -- hope he can keep it that way! See also The Flatfender Toolbox on CJ3B.info. -- Derek)

JC Jenkins: "U-joints are my favorite, also I carry a length of rubber fuel hose on the radiator support rod along with a couple of clamps, I always have the big socket for the hub nuts, and never, never leave home without the Hi-lift jack."

Distributor partsReed Cary: "Now, if you head to Baja, I would take a spare water pump, fuel pump, carb kit...."

Bart McNeil: "Years ago, in desperation, I took a night school auto mechanics course. (Best money I ever spent. Really.) I learned that ignition failure is the most common problem in on-road breakdowns, so I always carry enough stuff to do a minor tune up, including: distributor cap, an ignition wire, condenser, points, a spark plug, fuses, feeler gauge, small file, cheap timing light, card with tune up specifications.

"Also electrical wire, wire nuts, electrical tape, baling wire, rope, 1/2" breaker bar with lug nut and plug socket, adjustable wrench, screw driver(s), pliers, knife, hammer or axe, a few nuts and bolts of various sizes, motor oil, water. Nothing above needs to be new or expensive. It just needs to be be there when you need it. I am not a mechanic but have used most of this stuff several times on the road and saved many hundreds of dollars in towing road service and aggravation. Speaks more of my preventive maintenance program than my mechanical abilities."

Sergio Lwoff: "After reading the lists above, I have the following additional suggestions which might be helpful, especially on the 'far from home' trips:

"Page 343 (Appendix 2: Toolbox) of the Jeep Owners Bible by Moses Ludel, includes a quite comprehensive list of tools and spares. PS: I always carry a cylinder head gasket!"

Drivetrain Parts for a Long Trip

JPFlat2A posted a great list of suggested drivetrain parts to take on a multi-day trip in a remote area:

First and foremost is to get it tuned up, oil changed and get it ready to go.Second would be to crawl underneath and do a complete and thorough inspection of the underside and chassis. Put a wrench on every nut and bolt. Take your time and check it over as a pilot would his aircraft.

Spare parts? I'd concentrate on drivetrain. Jeeps don't make good tripods.You need 4 good wheels no matter what else happens. Can't tow the Jeep very far on 3 wheels. I'd get spare L-R rear axle shafts, press new bearings on and have them greased ready to install. I'd carry an extra rear wheel hub, axle key, nut, seals etc.

I wouldn't worry to much about brake parts; you can always pinch off a brake line if you have to. Brake fluid, yes carry some.

Front wheelFor the front, I'd have a spare front wheel spindle, wheel bearings and seals greased up and ready to go. I'd carry some 1/4" or 5/16" grade 8 bolts to remount the front spindle in case the spindle bolts pull out of the threads in the knuckle. You can re-bolt the spindle to the knuckle by using these nuts and bolts.

Used front wheel spindles should be dime a dozen. You might consider turning down the inside portion of the spindle that fits inside the knuckle to where it would also fit inside the rear axle housing, much like a spindle to be used for a full floating rear axle. Why? Because in an extreme case of rear axle failure with no replacement shaft, you could bolt this spindle to the rear axle housing, install a front hub and wheel bearings, then put your wheel and tire on and get down the road. No, it won't be a driving axle, but remember the tripod comment above.

I wouldn't worry too much about a front axle shaft if you don't need 4wd for the trip.

U-joints? Yes, carry one or two and the tools to change them out.

Overdrive? If you do have one, remember to take the old gear, nut, washer, and rear cover with you. Why? If the overdrive fails, you can re-install all of this and get back on the road.

Steering? Check the tie rod ends. Maybe carry one of each, including the double tie rod end. If someone has an onboard welder, you might be able to get a repair and get going again. The double end is kind of unique.

Clutch? Carry extra rods or other components that might break. The ball studs that the tube pivots on might be an example.

Maybe one radiator flex hose that might work for upper or lower; the bypass hose; maybe rubber caps or plugs to plug off any water opening.

The nice thing about a large Jeep group touring or Jeeping together is that someone else might have what you might need.

I think most importantly is drive the Jeep as much as you can before the trip. Make repairs or corrections as neccessay. The Jeep will talk to you. You need to be able to interpret what it is saying to you.

Have a safe and fun trip. Don't worry about what may never happen.

Thanks to all the contributors above for their suggestions. More comments are welcome. Meanwhile, here's a classic list of tools:

10 Best Tools of All Time

Forget the Snap-On Tools truck; it has never been there when you need it. Besides, there are only 10 things in this world you need to fix any car, any place, any time.


  1. Duct Tape - Not just a tool, a veritable Swiss Army knife in stickum and plastic. It's safety wire, body material, radiator hose, upholstery, insulation, tow rope, and more - in an easy to carry package. Sure, there's prejudice surrounding duct tape in concours competitions, but in the real world, everything from LeMans-winning Porsches to Atlas rockets use it by the yard. The only thing that can get you out of more scrapes is a quarter and a phone booth.
  2. Vise Grips - Equally adept as a wrench, hammer, pliers, baling wire twister, breaker-off of frozen bolts and wiggle-it-til-it-falls-off tool. The heavy artillery of your tool box, vise grips are the only tool designed expressly to fix things screwed up beyond repair.
  3. Spray Lubricants - A considerably cheaper alternative to new doors, alternator, and other squeaky items. Slicker than pig phlegm, repeated soakings will allow the main hull bolts of the Andrea Doria to be removed by hand. Strangely enough, an integral part of these sprays is the infamous Little Red Tube that flies out of the nozzle if you look at it cross eyed (one of the 10 _worst_ tools of all time).
  4. Margarine Tubs with Clear Lids - If you spend all your time under the hood looking for a frendle pin that caromed off the pertal valve when you knocked both off the air cleaner, it's because you eat butter. Real mechanics consume pounds of tasteless vegetable oil replicas just so they can use the empty tubs for parts containers afterward. (Some of course chuck the butter-colored goo altogether or use it to repack wheel bearings.) Unlike air cleaners and radiator lips, margarine tubs aren't connected by a time/space wormhole to the Parallel Universe of Lost Frendle Pins.
  5. Big Rock at the Side of the Road - Block up a tire. Smack corroded battery terminals. Pound out a dent. Bop noisy know-it-all types on the noodle. Scientists have yet to develop a hammer that packs the raw banging power of granite or limestone. This is the only tool with which a "Made in Malaysia" emblem is not synonymous with the user's maiming.
  6. Plastic Zip Ties - After 20 years of lashing down stray hose and wiring with old bread ties, some genius brought a slightly slicked-up version to the auto parts market. Fifteen zip ties can transform a hulking mass of amateur- quality wiring from a working model of the Brazilian Rain Forest into something remotely resembling a wiring harness. Of course it works both ways. When buying a used car, subtract $100 for each zip tie under the hood.
  7. Ridiculously Large Craftsman Screwdriver - Let's admit it. There's nothing better for prying, chiseling, lifting, breaking, splitting or mutilating than a huge flatbladed screwdriver, particularly when wielded with gusto and a big hammer. This is also the tool of choice for all filters so insanely located that they can only be removed by driving a stake in one side and out the other. If you break the screwdriver--and you will just like Dad and your shop teacher said--who cares, it has a lifetime guarantee.
  8. Baling Wire - Commonly known as MG muffler brackets, baling wire holds anything that's too hot for tape or ties. Like duct tape, it's not recommended for concours contenders, since it works so well you'll never need to replace it with the right thing again. Baling wire is a sentimental favorite in some circles, particularly with the MG, Triumph, and flathead Ford set.
  9. Bonking Stick - This monstrous tuning fork with devilish pointy ends is technically known as a tie-rod separator, but how often do you separate tie-rod ends? Once every decade if you're lucky. Other than medieval combat, its real use is the all-purpose application of undue force, not unlike that of the huge flat-bladed screwdriver. Nature doesn't know the bent metal panel or frozen exhaust pipe that can stand up to a good bonking stick. (Can also be use to separate tie-rod ends in a pinch, of course, but does a lousy job of it.)
  10. A Quarter and a Phone Booth - See tip #1 above.

I haven't discovered the original author of that list, but if anyone knows who wrote it and where it was originally posted, I would love to give them proper credit.

Thanks to Richard and Harold Kammeraad for the breakdown photo, and Andy Bint for the toolbox photo. The CJ-2A photo is Wade Potter and Bill Marshall at the 2016 Willys Jeep Rally. -- Derek Redmond

See also The Flatfender Toolbox on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 5 June 2017 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond