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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Importance Of Having Hardware - Screws, Nuts, Bolts, Washers, Oh My!

    There are, literally, thousands of fasteners in our RVs. Screws, Nuts, Bolts, Washers of all types and sizes. For me, it never fails that when I need a specific size or type and only have one, it's ONE size too big or small. Yup, you guessed it, Murphy was, indeed, an optimist. So what's a tinkerer to do? You can't carry an entire hardware store around with you (Or can you?) but, with a tiny bit of planning, you can give yourself at least a shot at having the correct one. The better you plan, the more likely you'll have the right one. Nothing is more frustrating than being one size off!  So, how can you do that?

 Assortment packs! That's the ticket! Locally, I have a tool store that sells various, plastic boxed, assortment packs of screws, nuts, bolts, and washers. Not to mention o-rings, molly-type fasteners and 12 volt electrical connectors. When they are on sale, most varieties can be had for around 3.99 to 5.99. The 5.99 sort is usually a much larger quantity in a greater assortment of sizes. You can also get stainless steel varieties, which I prefer. Less chance of rust. As we all know, a rusted fastener can be a real pain to get loose. I've got the scars on my knuckles to prove that!

Since there are so many to choose from and space/weight available on-board most RVs is limited, the trick is determining which ones to buy. The way I figured that out? I went around to all the interior screws and other fasteners in the RV and measured the sizes. Most big box hardware stores will have a very inexpensive plastic size gauge that will help with finding out the correct sizes. Use the length measure on the side to determine, I wrote them all down on a piece of paper. Once that was done I compared what was used inside the RV and added one size smaller and one size larger. Next I did the same on the outside and in the compartments. Luckily, most assortments covered the spread. Then I bought the appropriate assortment packs. There were some that weren't included, usually odd lengths. These I just bought a few from a regular hardware store and added them to the packs myself. Better safe than sorry!

Easy Access. Sorted By Type
What about the engine and other chassis mechanical fasteners. There are SO many different ones, it would be hard to pack them all, unless you tow a hardware store around. Which, I believe, isn't all that efficient. I carry a few common sizes (your engine may be SAE(US) or Metric or BOTH, so knowing which will help. I also added a couple of spare lugnuts, just in case I lose one. Don't laugh, I've done the sand on the side of the road. In addition, 12 Volt Electrical connector packs are pretty varied and very lightweight, so adding one to your mix isn't a bad idea. I do a lot of modifications and tinkering with the 12 Volt system so it's a must. Oh, and make sure you have a wire stripper/crimper tool to put them on. Makes the job so much easier! Use Plastic Tubs to store the assortments and keep them organized.

There is no way you can carry every fastener you will need for every repair. Besides, you need space for food too! With a bit of planning, you can cover most anything that breaks on the road. And that's OK by me. Peace of mind, when I aim to relax, is worth a whole lot.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"