Big Time Boxes: Mike Reynolds, Custom setup

April 9, 2019
Thinking outside the box with a custom setup.

Owner: Mike Reynolds

Shop: Mobile Automotive Service Solutions

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

A mobile technician needs to think outside the box when it comes to a toolbox, and that's precisely what Mike Reynolds, owner and diagnostician of Mobile Automotive Service Solutions in Charleston, South Carolina, did. Reynolds has been a technician for 13 years, and he specializes in mobile diagnostics, programming, R-1234yf service, ADAS calibrations and training. 

Reynolds purchased his initial toolbox, a Matco 4S Series Triple Bay box, new in 2007, eventually adding a side locker and a bench top. But, as he transitioned from a technician to a mobile diagnostician, he realized he needed a way to make his toolbox completely portable. 

The solution? Reynolds removed the wheels and accessories and mounted the toolbox in an IDI diesel-powered Ford E350, running power into many of the drawers so he is able to keep scan tools and computers secure and charged. 

"The ambulance chassis is a repurposed SWAT team truck that I purchased with less than 75,000 miles on it," Reynolds explains. "I went with an [earlier] model chassis to avoid issues caused by modern emissions systems. Each compartment is utilized to allow easy access to tools while on the job."

Reynolds also added a homemade collapsible tool cart to one of the side compartments. In the rear are two flash programming chargers, one portable and one with a 25' battery cable. Adjacent to the jump seat, a swivel-out desk has been mounted with a removable laptop and full function printer to create a mobile office. 

"Keeping tools organized is key in a mobile truck," Reynolds adds. "I use Kaizen foam for much for the tool storage."

Velcro keeps computers, routers and other key items from shifting during the drive, and he uses a custom-made scope lead and banana jack probe organizer to help keep test leads organized and untangled.

"I've found that using bright colors under the tools helps me easily identify when one is missing while packing up," he says.

Reynolds' favorite feature of his mobile toolbox is the electrical system, which is comprised of a high-amp alternator, 2,000w pure sine wave inverter/charger and two Hawker batteries separated from the two engine batteries by a key on power cut solenoid. "The entire system can be monitored and tracked by a cellphone, which can also remote start and disable the engine," he says. 

But, this custom setup is just the start for Reynolds, who is planning to add a "lite" version of his current mobile toolbox in the future, which he will operate as a satellite programming-only truck.

About the Author

Stefanie Von Rueden | Assistant Editor - Vehicle Repair Group

Stefanie Von Rueden is assistant editor for the Vehicle Repair Group.

Von Rueden’s background includes professional writing and publishing. Previously, she worked in the Continuing Education department at UW-Whitewater. She has covered the vehicle maintenance and automotive aftermarket since 2016.

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