Sunday, April 04, 2010

Tools at the track

I've been carrying the same tool box to the track since I started racing my first M3 in 1997. The large metal box, a Kennedy 1022 I think, was a gift from my father many years earlier and sat unused under the workbench for a while after upgrading to a full-sized roll-away in the garage. While it has served faithfully for many years, it's size and weight -- 22 Lbs empty -- have become more of an issue while loading and unloading the car. The large size of the box makes it too easy to throw in parts and tools, and the lay-out of the box was not particularly well suited to storing auto repair tools.

Since I'm planning on driving to many events this year, I decided to lighten the load a bit. First I cut the number of tools I bring to the tracl to the bare minimum. I inventoried everything in the box keeping only the essentials. Gone are my 16 oz. ball-peen and dead-blow hammers, nearly the entire 1/2" drive socket set, hex-keys, screwdrivers, wire-cutters, and a bunch of other junk that has taken up shop in the bottom of the box over the last couple of years.

I knew I wanted a tool bag instead of a tool box -- the soft construction makes packing the car easier -- but I initially wanted a bag large enough for my Snap-on Torque Wrench which is over 24" inches long. An on-line search showed few soft bags in that size, so I decided on a smaller bag and to keep the over-sized torque wrench in my 16 Gal. Tote instead.

I found a Husky 16" Large Mouth Tool Bag that seems to work very well. It has ~20 internal pockets and a dozen external pockets. I moved at the necessary tools into the bag yesterday and they fit really well. The size and weight of my tools have reduced by at least 25% and the soft bag is much easier to pack the the steel of the box.

It's probably not as waterproof at the Kennedy so I've added a couple of trash bag to one of the external pockets in case it rains. The bag will debut at the NASA event at Pikes Peak next weekend, we'll see how it does.

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