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what is the modern touring breakdown kit


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#1 mariner

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 12:59

Way back UK car dealers would rent you a " touring kit" of parts you might need on a long european holiday. You the paid for what you used and returned the rest.

This was because british mfrs didnt have a very big dealer network in Europe so parts were hard to find.

The items were things like bulbs, fanbelts, points, condenser etc ( pretty much any thing made by Lucas!!)

A simple pub/bar or parlour game for the 21st century - if you are going on a long journey away from your road cars dealer network what parts would you take to maiximise your chance of keeping going?

my vote - serpentine belt(s), some relays , bulbs, an O2 sensor ( but which one) , coil pack, maybe a sparkplug, an OBDII code reader.

Any other ideas from all you techincal and racing experts ?

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#2 Tony Matthews

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 13:10

Never dismiss the humble tow-rope! Or tow-bar, I've never tried one, but the delux version with the sprung centre section makes my thumbs itch when I see them in catalogues.

#3 Magoo

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 13:22

Cell phone. That's all I need.

With a current model car in good working order, there's very little point in taking along anything in the way of spare parts. If you take one part you may as well take 400, and I don't want to take 400.

Maybe one or two quarts of oil if you don't want to get nicked on the price at highway plazas.

I would especially never bother with O2 sensors. A failure is never going to stop the engine. I can stare right back at the little yellow lamp on the dash for a week. Doesn't bother me.





#4 mariner

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 13:50

I once had a chat with a guy in the USA who ran a model train store - he had a '69 charger which he used daily.

His point was that he could keep his car running longer on his own than any modern car. He wasnt anti - modern car ( nor am I ) but with old cars you coul clean plugs, points and carbs etc. The most critical engine parts were condenser and fan belts.

I missed the tow rope and cell phone but they don't help you get parts under my rule that there is no dealer network.

#5 Magoo

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 14:54

I once had a chat with a guy in the USA who ran a model train store - he had a '69 charger which he used daily.

His point was that he could keep his car running longer on his own than any modern car. He wasnt anti - modern car ( nor am I ) but with old cars you coul clean plugs, points and carbs etc. The most critical engine parts were condenser and fan belts.

I missed the tow rope and cell phone but they don't help you get parts under my rule that there is no dealer network.


Since a current model car doesn't require frequent servicing of spark plugs or condenser or fan belts, I fail to see the advantage.

With a cell phone, I don't intend to call for parts. I intend to call a cab. Late model cars are incredibly dependable and, in practical terms, almost never break down. Compared to cars from the point and condenser era, there is no comparison in that regard. However, when a newer car suffers a failure, you are not going to diagnose and repair it by the side of the road. Being prepared for those exigencies, extremely rare as they are, would require not only a whole bunch of parts, but a trunk full of tools and diagnostic equipment.

Edited by Magoo, 29 October 2012 - 14:55.


#6 Magoo

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 19:22

On the other hand, two friends just drove from Detroit to Las Vegas for SEMA, chewing up serpentine drive belts as they went. Their extra parts and tools came in handy.


Their fault entirely, however. Modified car with interference issues. I think when you build a car you have little voices telling you what spares to take.

#7 Bloggsworth

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 09:02

With a lot of modern cars thare is no point in taking spare headlamp bulbs as you won't be able to change them anyway, as it can be a front bumper and various other bits off, before you can even get at the bulb-holder! When I worked at Delemare Road we used to make up touring kits and they were seriously comprehensive, including, on the odd occassion, rotoflex couplings! So nowadays a mobile phone, a credit card and an international breakdown card...

#8 mariner

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 10:09

Maybe you wont even need a cell phone soon

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-19781862

BTW - nobody so far has, srictly speaking, answered my question because it was very specific " away fromyour road car dealers network" !

If you are far from the dealers parts and diagnostic facilities do you just accept a 1,000 mile tow charge instead of taking any parts?

To sort of focus the discussion , I want to drive my Ferrari F430 up the Dalton Highway in Alaska to Prudhoe Bay ( dont ask me why!!) and the nearest dealer is probably in Seattle. I have heard the Dalton Highway tow charges can be up to $1,500 just to Fairbanks so to use your cell phone at Prudhoe Bay ( if it would work) means , say $3,000 to recover the car to the dealer.

At that point the spares kit becomes worth taking

#9 John Brundage

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 11:50

Maybe you wont even need a cell phone soon

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-19781862

BTW - nobody so far has, srictly speaking, answered my question because it was very specific " away fromyour road car dealers network" !

If you are far from the dealers parts and diagnostic facilities do you just accept a 1,000 mile tow charge instead of taking any parts?

To sort of focus the discussion , I want to drive my Ferrari F430 up the Dalton Highway in Alaska to Prudhoe Bay ( dont ask me why!!) and the nearest dealer is probably in Seattle. I have heard the Dalton Highway tow charges can be up to $1,500 just to Fairbanks so to use your cell phone at Prudhoe Bay ( if it would work) means , say $3,000 to recover the car to the dealer.

At that point the spares kit becomes worth taking

If I could afford a F430 and chose to take it on a ride like you are suggesting, I would make sure I had enough cash to pay the tow.
If I had my Volvo VR70, I would bring my code reader, some basic tools, spare fuses, DVOM, hose clamps, duct tape, oil, anti-freeze, power steering fluid, accessory belt, a small roll of 14ga wire, terminal ends, and cash. I might consider taking a couple of spark plugs. I did have a fairly new one in my wife's car fail--the center electrode loosened and slid down.

#10 Magoo

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 11:52

To sort of focus the discussion , I want to drive my Ferrari F430 up the Dalton Highway in Alaska to Prudhoe Bay ( dont ask me why!!) and the nearest dealer is probably in Seattle. I have heard the Dalton Highway tow charges can be up to $1,500 just to Fairbanks so to use your cell phone at Prudhoe Bay ( if it would work) means , say $3,000 to recover the car to the dealer.

At that point the spares kit becomes worth taking


It would be interesting to see a sort from the mfg'er on the most frequently replaced components for that vehicle.


#11 Dipster

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 12:46

It would be interesting to see a sort from the mfg'er on the most frequently replaced components for that vehicle.



But can you rely on dealers to help quickly if you need spares to get you back on the road?

I run a Land Rover Defender (originally purchased for my use Nigeria and it as grown on me). It is fairly high mileage now and does now need a little more TLC than I would like. When I was in South America and Africa I carried loads of spares (quite literally in a large trunk) as you simply would not find many LR dealers or spares.

I am now in Europe and have been very surprised to find that the situation is not really very different. I am presently in Lagos, Portugal and learnt that a local owner of a Citroen C5 has to go to Faro or parts and service - that's about 50 mles each way.

So I think you need a mobile, credit card but also lots of patience whilst you wait for your parts to arrive!

#12 Terry Walker

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 13:01

Well, for starters, I'd get a REAL spare wheel.

Not so long ago I was enjoying an eyelid movie whereby I won a big lottery, bought a nice new RR Phantom drop-head and drove it home.

But the drop-head was in Sydney, and I live in Perth, which is over 2500 road miles away. There are about 3 dealers in Australia. And the run-flat tyres are good for maybe 150 km at say 80 km/h. Now I've driven that run many many times, and there's a stretch of some 900 miles where the chance of finding someone to replace a damaged tyre is -- let's put it this way -- SFA. And the RR Phantom doesn't have a spare. None at all. Nada.

So I cancelled the eyelid movie and remembered my various long trips in the past, where I prepared my car by driving down to the junkyard and buying a spare spare wheel just in case. It came to pass that somewhere between Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Olgas I once got a flat. I could press on knowing I had a spare still in the back of the car.

Now, the reason I had the two spares was that sometime in the late 60s when the trans-Australia road was still a goat track I managed to blow two tyres within thirty miles, right in the centre of nowhere. I had to abandon the car, thumb a lift toting the best of two bad tyres, get a sleeve put in it (it had a circular chunk out of the sidewall thanks to sharp stones) and a new tube (at Nullarbor Roadhouse), hitch a ride back to my car, and then continue driving very cautiously indeed the remaining 1,000 miles to Perth. Just outside Southern Cross, with 200 miles to go, I ran a big end, but that's another story.

Mind you, a few years later I did the same journey on a BMW R100S motorbike without a spare, but trust me, I was twitchy all the way there (and back again). I had a pressure pack tin of pssst! which was alleged to keep you mobile but happily never had to use it.

Moral: don't leave home without a real spare. Unless you never drive more than 100 km from the dealer.

Edited by Terry Walker, 22 December 2012 - 13:03.


#13 Grumbles

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 23:08

If you're going to have continuous phone signal during the trip then I think the phone is all you need. But if I'm going somewhere remote I make sure I have two spare tyres and lots of extra fuel and especially water. I also carry enough tinned food to last a couple of days. Some people don't realize how quickly you can die out there at this time of year, only a couple of days ago a 14 year old tourist died while hiking with his dad in northern WA. His death (and many others) could have been avoided had they carried enough water. In these sorts of areas I'm not so concerned about spares for the vehicle, I'm more interested in the sat-phone, food and water. And making sure people know where I'm going.

#14 Canuck

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 15:15

I used to make a fairly regular 1600km (one way) trip from my current city of residence to my parents place on the edge of Great Slave Lake in (very) northern Canada. By far, the most important bit of kit at the time for this time of year was winter clothing as temperatures easily and often dipped into the -40s (without the windchill). Anything that prevented your vehicle from supplying heat was life-or-death as the further north you went, the fewer and fewer passing vehicles there were.

As a passenger in my own vehicle, I uttered what is in retrospect a very stupid query I wonder how slippery it is right now. No sooner were the words out of mouth than we were pirouetting down the middle of the single lane highway. We hit the very frozen (-50c that afternoon) solid snowplow windrow/snowbank going backwards on the wrong side. The impact was hard enough to blow the rear tire before digging in. The blown rear tire acted like a pin and spun the vehicle around with such force that both tires on the opposite side were blown as we hit the same snowbank, now facing forward, but still on the wrong side of the road. 3 flat tires. After retrieving everything that had been thrown from the back of the truck into the waist-deep snow over the snowbank, we got towed out of the ditch by a very kind but inept passing driver who managed to position us with the tow rope stretched across the single lane highway. What started as a simple ditch-extraction took a turn towards absolute carnage as 2 fully-loaded B-Trains (highway truck with 2 45-foot trailers each), one carrying fuel, were desperately trying to slow down, rear trailers fishtailing behind them and my would-be rescuer's tow-rope stretched across their path between us. It was quick thinking and angelic intervention I'm certain that allowed the trucks and their loads to thread between us, still under a good head of speed. We hadn't even had time to collect the tow rope, only disconnect it from the vehicles and they drove over top of it.

This being 20-ish years ago in an area not served by cell phone coverage, we sat inside my still-running and warm truck and waited a couple of hours until someone with a radio-phone stopped and called a tow-truck for us. All of the passing traffic was head north while we were headed south. The nearest centre was still 120-150km to the south and at least 200 to the north. The weather meant the tow truck would be delayed but we had an additional 10 gallons of spare fuel and weren't using it very fast at idle so while bored and hungry we weren't worried. At least not until it was after midnight and the spare gas was trickling away as we cycled the engine just long enough to warm up now. We flagged down the next vehicle we saw who just happened to be going south and hitched a ride (an event unto itself) to the nearest hotel. All things considered it turned out very well though we ended up stuck at the hotel for two nights as they first rescued and then repaired my poor old truck.

During another trip on that same road, I drove dressed up in all of my winter gear and could barely tolerate the cold. At idle, the truck was warm and normally the old Chevy heater put out enough heat that I could open the rear slider to smoke without any bother. This time however, despite the normal temp on the gauge and hit air at idle, it blew progressively colder at speed. Once home and in a suitably heated garage, I managed to dislodge the quarter that had fallen down the windshield vents in the dash and block the fresh-air door in the airbox partially open.

So - communication tools, winter clothes for being outside extended periods and things to make heat in a stalled vehicle.

#15 Magoo

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 19:09

I used to make a fairly regular 1600km (one way) trip from my current city of residence to my parents place on the edge of Great Slave Lake in (very) northern Canada.


Yes sir, that is way the f**k up there. Just under the arctic circle, innit? What do you get up there this time of year, about four hours of daylight? I've been fishing up there. The water is so cold that the fish live to be 300 years old or something. I'm sure you've heard of, and many have seen, the supposed "Great Slave Lake Monster," but it's probably only one of the biggish trout.

EDIT: Anyway, for a trip of that nature, I take back everything I said about needing only a cell phone. For that journey one would want to be prepared for any contingency.

Edited by Magoo, 23 December 2012 - 19:24.


#16 Tony Matthews

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 19:52

I think the point is that there is a sensible, basic, probably law-enforcable kit, but you modify it according to the extreme conditions you may meet. A kit for the Great Slave Lake in winter is not going to be much help in the centre of Australia in mid-summer. Water is probably the only common item.

#17 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 22:50

I agree with Terry. Most spare tyres on modern vehicles are totally inadequate.
Though with the mythical Ferrari i doubt you have enough room to carry a real spare. So leave that for City posing and get a real car!
Having done a LOT of trips in recent decades, a lot in used cars from my yard I have found that belts are necesary, [and that after the car has been workshopped] a proper spare tyre and hopefully the trailer shares the same bolt pattern and on a couple of occasions a radiator too. I generally tow with a Falcon and they have a problem with blocking up radiators, something that does not show until you hit the highway towing a trailer. I have also had a top tank crack as the plastic does that with a bit of extra presure. On all makes!! And stop leak is not much good for that.
And on my Birdsville trip in the Landcruiser I needed an alternator, I drove throgh a creek and about a km further on the light came on and the voltage started to drop. I then turned off all non essentials so I could drive the 300km to the nearest town. After about 50k it started charging again!And has ever since. But that was scarey in the great outdoors. We saw ONE car in the next 150km and even with 2 batterys we may have been in trouble driving that far. And phone coverage,, yeah right!
So when doing extended trips take a serviceable vehicle, not one of these modern Euro [and other] prams that to do a simple operation takes 3 hours in a workshop. Belts, they do fail, hoses, again they do fail a can of stop leak for the minor leaks, especially a stone through the radiator and that has happened to me. But the A/C condensor lived!!
As for getting tyres repaired, where? Drive to melbourne or Sydney from Adelaide on a weekend and nobody is open to do such. Weekdays you still need a largish town with a tyre store. No petrol outlet does that anymore
. That actually makes a tubeless tyre plug set an essential for the more handy. And a 12volt compressor. And the know how!! Though it is not hard. I sell a few for the 4wd people. They are not very dear. Though a good compressor is at least a $100, though handy for reinflating tyres when going in the sand and back onto the bitumen.
Some 4wd people actually carry a scissor type bead breaker and a tube or two. Again not something you can buy from a petrol outlet. Coffee yes, spare parts and service no.
And Canuck is right, suitable clothing, food and water if you are in more remote areas.
Again modern cars are fine,, until the electronics or security systems shut down. Some makes of vehicle owners are on first name terms with their tow truck operators as the security has shut down again and the car will not start. It does happen a lot, those stupid 'keys' that dont need to be inserted are causing quite a deal of grief. As do the electronoc keys that die and again the car will not start. Very annoying in the city, but potentially lethal in the bush. As well as bloody expensive and trip destroying.
So if you wish to go anywhere remotely away from civilisation in a Ferrari, DONT!!!

#18 johnny yuma

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:29

All good advice..even though as Magoo says today's cars--and cars generally since about 1990--have reliable habits.
But do take a basic screwdrivers/pliers/shifter /tape type toolkit ! And some Essential Fluids ,even if it only helps a less
prepared dufus.They probably have other skills which are of merit..or not.

Lee ,could not agree more.2 flat tyres in the Brindabella Ranges near Canberra stopped me recently.A local with a $60
12 volt compressor and a tubeless repair kit got me mobile..and now I carry same.

Don't forget people , you can drive long distances on a flat tyre if you are in dire straits...just go slowly ,of course the
tyre and probably even the wheel may be ruined but hey-- it beats dying of thirst or ruining your holiday.Tyres and
wheels are cheap !