All the tools you need to maintain and repair your Airstream
If you want to maintain and repair your Airstream, then its important to have the right tools on hand before you decide to dive into an Airstream repair or maintenance project.
Here’s a list of essential tools and products to keep on hand:
Hardware tools for your Airstream
Torque wrench and Breaker bar
A breaker bar comes in handy when trying to set-up or release your anti-sway bars, or when loosening up bolts on your hitch. I keep an 18″ breaker bar socket to make the process of setting up my Blue Ox anti-sway chains much easier than using the shorter wrench supplied by Blue Ox.
A torque wrench will allow you to properly tighten all the hitch bolts to their recommended tightness. You don’t want to find out that you didn’t tighten your hitch receiver bolts while towing your Airstream up to Tioga Pass in Yosemite.
Socket sets (English and metric style)
I tend to carry both an English (i.e 1/2″, 3/4″ etc.) as well as metric sized (measured in millimeters) socket sets so I’m ready to handle any type of bolt I might encounter. Having both types of socket sets also makes it easier for you to lend a hand when someone else in the campground has realized that they didn’t have the right sized socket in their tool kit.
Cordless (battery-powered) drill
If you want to set up camp quicker with less effort, a cordless/battery-operated drill and a 3/4″ socket will make quick work of lowering the stabilizing jacks of your Airstream.
If you also want to be able to get off your Airstream’s tire lug nuts in case of having to change a flat tire, then consider upgrading to an impact drill instead, which should give you enough torque to get those tire lug nuts on and off quicker.
Goes without saying that if you’re going to have a drill, you better have the proper drill bits as well. I look for drill bit kits that also have screw head bits for Philips and flat-head screws as well.
Tire pressure gauge or Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
I don’t know how many times I’ve looked at one of the tires on my Airstream and thought it might be a little low on air. A high-quality digital tire pressure gauge can help you quickly check tire pressures on you Airstream as well as on your tow vehicle. If you don’t always remember to check your tire pressure with a handheld gauge, then consider upgrading your Airstream with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that will provide real-time data on your tire pressure.
Because sometimes you just need to hit things and hit them hard without breaking something. The rubber mallet has become my go-to tool for a lot of situations where I need a little more brute force. Last use of the rubber mallet was for a stuck hitch receiver on my tow vehicle which loosened up nicely with two well-placed whacks from my rubber mallet.
At some point as an Airstream owner, you will be visited by the electrical gremlins. Lights, outlets and appliances will randomly start to go out and then turn back on. Lights will dim and flicker. A good voltmeter can help you trace down where these electrical gremlins are hiding in your Airstream as well as preventing you from accidentally working on a live wire while doing a repair.
Pipes, hoses, faucets and all things carrying water will leak at the most inopportune time. A roll of plumbers tape can usually stop any of these leaks and save the hassle of water damage to your Airstream.
Just like plumbing, electrical wiring can have its issues as well. Wiring insulation can wear thin or you might need to make an emergency splice of a wire. Electrical tape can help insulate and protect the wires from sparking or creating a short-circuit in your Airstream
Duct or Gorilla tape
Duct tape (or Gorilla tape) can be a life-saver if you need to temporarily patch or hold something in place. It can also be used to patch up a leaking water hose or help secure a closet or cabinet drawer with a broken latch.
Adjustable (Crescent) wrench
While your socket set should be able to handle most needs, an adjustable crescent wrench comes in handy for plumbing repairs and other hard-to-reach hex nuts and bolts.
I have two pairs of pliers – blunt-nosed pliers and needle-nosed pliers to handle almost any situation.
Wire stripper and cutter tool
As some point, you’re going to need to strip, splice and cut an electric wire so a wire stripper or lineman’s tool will come in handy.
12 volt blade fuses
Try blowing a fuse to your hot-water heater or furnace while winter camping and see how your level of boondocking enjoyment plummets. Keep an assortment of these blade fuses in your Airstream tool kit for that blown-fuse emergency.
Electrical terminal connectors and wire splice connectors
Again, if you’re doing your own electrical repairs on your Airstream, you’ll want to have the proper electrical connectors for either splicing two wires together or a terminal connector for the end of the wire to its connection in your Airstream.
I use Zip ties as a semi-permanent solution to hold wires and hoses out of the way.
Similar use to the Zip ties, but I use the velcro straps as a temporary tie-down. I use them primarily on the metal supports of my Airstream awning as an added safety feature to hold the awning in place when retracted and locked up against the body of the Airstream.
Rivet tool and replacement rivets
I’ve been lucky thus far with my Airstream ownership and haven’t had to replace or repair any rivets, but its only a matter of time. Airstream rivet repairs can be a little tricky so make sure you have the correct style rivet for the one that you are replacing.
If you’re crawling underneath your Airstream of working on the hitch, wear a quality pair of heavy-duty work gloves not only to protect your hands, but also to keep them clean.
Vinyl gloves are typically used to keep your hands clean when hooking up or dumping the black and grey tanks of your Airstream or when handling your sewer hose.