Tools Time

What should be considered the minimum tool selection on a boat depends largely on the size and type of boat.  We can break it down into several categories. Size, power plant, and power or sail.
The basic set for all categories consists of:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Sledge Hammer
  • Shovel
  • Chain Saw
  • Blasting Caps
  • Cement Mixer
  • Rubber galoshes
  •   Oh, sorry, wrong list..
  • Here is the real list...

K&O Engine Dyno

You probably might not have one of these, but, you probably don't need one, all the time, either.
[ Unless,  your  "The" guys.]
So, we'll run down some of the latest tools and basic tools almost all boat repair and some Do-it-Yourselfers should keep on hand, as well as tips on how and when to use them properly.

Safe tool usage and More

Boat dealers give these key floats away like candy. So don't turn one down next time. Dig'em out of those junk drawers you threw them in. They are great for those small cotter pins, washers, key ways, fender inflators, fuses, panel nuts, linkage clips, etc... They're also great to keep some  matches dry. When doing mobile service, I always have some in my tool kit. And don't forget to put one in your car glove box with some fuses in it.

My partial list of  specialty tools any marine mechanic should have.

You can only struggle with something so long, before you do something about it. The tasks of a marine mechanic can put you into some gosh awful places, doing some gosh awful things. There isn't any tool to make it easier to hang upside down while you change spark plugs on an engine, or change the port starter on a triple engine power boat, but the enclosed text and graphics shows just a sample of the tools I have found to solve some of those problems. And if there wasn't a tool that suited my needs, I would make one So, if I have your interest, lets go...
Warning: To those of you who have slow download problems, there are lots of graphics on the following pages.

Vacuum testing an engine is easy and very important. There are a multitude of problems that can be detected before damage is done to the engine. Don't overlook this one important step in the tune-up procedure. I have it in two parts, 1) is text and graphic covering basic readings and 2) a full page graphic of various maladies.

Attention: Mercruiser  Alpha I Gen II owners and repair persons, If you don't have a pair of these water pump cover  alignment pins and are doing water-pump repairs, you run the risk of air ingestion into your cooling system which could cause an overheat that is almost undetectable by the overheat warning horn....
For more information....

When space is tight, and those manifolds still seem hotter than blazes, this old spark plug boot acts as a good plug starter, goes in straighter than a flex socket, and saves the skin from burns. You can put another sparkplug in the other end for an extension....

And wouldn't it be nice if customers would leave their safety lanyard for the mechanic, so he wouldn't have to dig one up.....

These rubber pencil grips, I found at the 5 and 10 cent store, not only give better grip on the screw driver, but when slid down to the tip, hold the screw in place when you need an extra hand, or just can't get a second hand in there to hold the screw. They hold canvas snaps too.....


A "must have" these days is the MicroVAT Battery, Starting, and Charging System Tester

MicroVAT takes advantage of new Impedance/Current test technology to detect the full range of battery failure modes including bad cells, sulfation, internal shorting, and other chemical and physical failures. Testing takes less than five seconds and works on batteries discharged down to as low as one volt. This saves you valuable time by reducing lengthy charge and re-test situations.

  • Automated diagnostic tests, plus detailed test data for expert-level troubleshooting.

  • Automated system test of battery, alternator and starter in under a minute.

  • Detailed test data: alternator ripple, internal resistance, starter draw, state of charge, charging amps, and volts.

  • Fan-cooled 50-amp load for accurate alternator test under loaded conditions.

  • Tests discharged batteries down to one volt. 

  • Exclusive "IC" Test impedance/current test technology.

  • Diagnostic result: battery, alternator, starter.

  • Two-position memory for test data storage.

  • Easy one hand operation with easy to use button and thumbwheel controls.

  • Simple menus, prompts and button/thumbwheel controls.

  • Internally powered -- four AA cells.

  • Wireless printer option.

  • Integrated high and low amp probe options.




And while we're on the topic of batteries... it's time to get a "Smart Charger"

When your 12 volt battery goes dead, a jump-start is only a quick fix for the problem that may reoccur. The solution is to recharge the battery, using a Smart Battery Charger. There are several brands available. The two chargers I own are not from Black&Decker however they seem to work/look very similar.

Fully Automatic Charging
The Smart Battery Charger is fully automatic and electronic, with a Digital Smart microprocessor control and an LED indicator for selecting your charging rate. The three stage automatic rapid charging operates at 40 amps, 20 amps, 10 amps, and 4 amps, with an average 5 minute engine start time and 4.5 hour full battery charge.


The Smart Battery Charger features 3-stage recharging technology.

This device also features a reverse hook-up warning alarm.

The LED display lets you know when the battery is fully charged.

Works with Any Boat
The Smart Battery Charger is ideal for any 12 volt lead-acid battery types, including those that power cars, boats, lawn mowers, RVs, ATVs and more.

State-of-the-Art Technology
It uses a 3-stage automatic high-frequency charging technology to build the battery back up to its normal output level, making it more efficient at charging than conventional model chargers.

Built-in Safety Precautions
The Smart Battery Charger also has a spark-resistant reverse hook-up and overcharge protection circuit built into it to insure that the clamps are not accidentally affixed to the opposite terminals, which would damage the battery. The automatic float mode monitoring tells the unit when the battery is ready to avoid overcharging.

De-sulfate Mode

Many models have a de-sulfate mode that can help restore an older battery to almost new performance. The process can take a day of more however, it is fully automatic and built in to charge the battery after the de-sulfate process has completed. If the process can not be completed the charger will give an error code of why the battery can not be charged properly. 




Have a tool tip you would like to contribute? Send it to us and
If we post it, we'll send you a Nautical brass key chain that sells for
$10 to $15 at most boat stores. If you have a picture, that's even better.



Directory  |  Diesel Engine  |  Tools  |  Mailbag  |
Home Page   |   Odds n Ends    |  Boat Builders  |  Engine Page  |  Electric Page  |  News Page  |  Safety page  |  Trailering  |  More About Us   |   Related Sites   |   Special offers   |   Event Calendar   |   Opportunities