Looking for alternative to Chilton Manuals! Online Maybe?

Joined: October 1st, 2014, 8:46 pm

October 27th, 2017, 4:57 pm #1

I've been wanting to pick up some manuals for a couple of my vehicles. I hadn't thought about it for a while, but I got an email that with my local library card, I got free entry to this "manualesque" website.

It allows you to search your vehicle and gives VERY basic instructions of how to do things. Basically 1. remove motor 2. replace internals 3. replace motor

So I'm looking for a good source for possibly an online service that you guys would recommend. I don't want to sign up for one and find out it's crap.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Joined: October 8th, 2014, 2:05 pm

October 27th, 2017, 5:51 pm #2

The Haynes web site claims they have "on demand" online content for some vehicles and you can buy articles either by the task (i.e. replace PCV valve) or the whole set for a given vehicle. I haven't used it so I can't say anything about the quality or selection.

Here's a page where you can look to see if they have content for your vehicle. They don't have any of mine, so I'd guess the selection is limited:https://haynes.com/en-us/ondemand#hayne ... print-form

I generally prefer Haynes manuals over Chilton's if I can't get a factory maintenance manual. And even then sometimes Haynes will tell you how to remove a part using common tools instead of the specialty tool the factory manual assumes you have.
If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
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Joined: December 20th, 2016, 1:30 pm

October 27th, 2017, 5:56 pm #3

I've been wanting to pick up some manuals for a couple of my vehicles. I hadn't thought about it for a while, but I got an email that with my local library card, I got free entry to this "manualesque" website.

It allows you to search your vehicle and gives VERY basic instructions of how to do things. Basically 1. remove motor 2. replace internals 3. replace motor

So I'm looking for a good source for possibly an online service that you guys would recommend. I don't want to sign up for one and find out it's crap.

Anyone have any ideas?
Find the manual you want on Amazon or elsewhere.

Get title, ISBN, author, publisher, date published, and edition.

File an inter-library loan request with your local branch library.

I have yet to be charged and out of print books are available.
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Joined: January 4th, 2015, 12:41 pm

October 27th, 2017, 6:09 pm #4

I've been wanting to pick up some manuals for a couple of my vehicles. I hadn't thought about it for a while, but I got an email that with my local library card, I got free entry to this "manualesque" website.

It allows you to search your vehicle and gives VERY basic instructions of how to do things. Basically 1. remove motor 2. replace internals 3. replace motor

So I'm looking for a good source for possibly an online service that you guys would recommend. I don't want to sign up for one and find out it's crap.

Anyone have any ideas?
There are step-by-step instructions on how to do pretty much any repair for any reasonably common vehicle to be found on YouTube, usually with pretty good tips and workarounds. That's with the caveat that most of the videos are put up by shade-tree mechanics who are mostly doing them for the fun of it, so the advice won't always be 100% accurate.

With a little common sense, critical thought, and cross-referencing, I've had a lot of luck finding instructions for my (admittedly dirt-common) Rangers this way.
"Vox populi, vox humbug!"
- William Tecumseh Sherman
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Joined: September 12th, 2014, 3:32 am

October 27th, 2017, 11:58 pm #5

... for the same reasons you've cited. For example, a lot of the undercarriage work on my tundra requires removal of the skid plate. While the haynes book shows where the bolt locations are, it was pretty useful watching someone going through the motions, if only so get an idea of if I really should be under the thing when unlatching it. :D

I went and picked up the haynes manual for my truck anyway, primarily because the shade tree mechanics tend not to include things like the torque values for minor unimportant things like the oil pan drain plug or oil filter cover.

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Joined: September 16th, 2014, 7:01 am

October 28th, 2017, 10:38 pm #6

I've been wanting to pick up some manuals for a couple of my vehicles. I hadn't thought about it for a while, but I got an email that with my local library card, I got free entry to this "manualesque" website.

It allows you to search your vehicle and gives VERY basic instructions of how to do things. Basically 1. remove motor 2. replace internals 3. replace motor

So I'm looking for a good source for possibly an online service that you guys would recommend. I don't want to sign up for one and find out it's crap.

Anyone have any ideas?
Depends on the car - But you have to realize the FSM is written as if you already know all the basics to get hired as a Dealership Mechanic, and just need the sequence. The aftermarket books are literally "Written By Idiots, For Idiots."

The Factory Manuals writers are employed by the carmaker, the Engineering Teams actually send the writers all the stuff they figure you need to know, and if they leave something out the writers can ask questions and print the answers. And all the recalls and redesigns get into the later editions of the books.

Haynes and Chilton are flat out Guessing from taking a single example car part-way apart and taking pictures. They don't have access to any Non Public information about the car, that would be a Copyright Violation - best they can do is the Standard Bolt Torque charts from SAE or other reference sources. Electrical diagrams are similarly guessing, and you can't do that tracking down trouble. They told my brother once to tighten the 6mm lock-bolt on the Harmonic Balancer to 180 Foot-Pounds - Not Inch-Pounds. {SNAP!} Oopsie... I would have gone "Hey, wait a minute..."

Note that many of the FSM's have been Leaked (Wink Wink, Nod Nod) on the Internet after a year or two, and the carmakers are in no big hurry to squash them. Often the "leaker" is a Dealer Service Tech who needs access to it himself after hours, and after a few years they purge them from the Dealership computers to make room. Crazy, but true. Bring the CDs and DVDs home and upload it.

And many are at the Public Library but please scrub your hands before reading. Librarians get mad.

Toyota's FSM's are reasonably priced - in the $50 to $100 range depending on the car - You have the Chassis manual and in some cases a separate Detail book for the automatic trans, and a Supplemental book if they made major mid-series changes.

GM's are a little more money but much more comprehensive - I have the C-3500 SRW Cab-Chassis Truck and they have sections covering all the odd (stuff) you need to know that guaranteed IS NOT in the Chilton or Haynes (I've looked - You carry the disposable book, and keep the Big Tome at home.) The Hydraboost brake system, the odd rear drums (two sizes!) that can be used with Single or Dual Rear Wheels, the myriad little options on Electrical and Fuel systems, the front rotors and suspension are Totally Different than the 1/2 Ton that Haynes covers,

Of course that GM book is in four volumes just for a 5 year span, and is an 8" high stack at 9X12 printed. And the electrical diagrams look like a US Road Atlas - But they have everything you need where you need it.
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Joined: April 15th, 2003, 12:28 pm

October 29th, 2017, 5:56 am #7

I've been wanting to pick up some manuals for a couple of my vehicles. I hadn't thought about it for a while, but I got an email that with my local library card, I got free entry to this "manualesque" website.

It allows you to search your vehicle and gives VERY basic instructions of how to do things. Basically 1. remove motor 2. replace internals 3. replace motor

So I'm looking for a good source for possibly an online service that you guys would recommend. I don't want to sign up for one and find out it's crap.

Anyone have any ideas?
Then use the ones the pros use. AllData.com is the one I use (although I do use a friend's shop account, and I help him with internet and ad stuff) and it is about the best you can find, because it will tell you all the factory ways to do something, and how long it should take.

Other than that, youtube.
__
Designer / maker of Jeep gauges and assorted automotive bits and baubles.
TeamADW.com
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Joined: September 16th, 2016, 6:41 pm

October 29th, 2017, 9:46 am #8

Depends on the car - But you have to realize the FSM is written as if you already know all the basics to get hired as a Dealership Mechanic, and just need the sequence. The aftermarket books are literally "Written By Idiots, For Idiots."

The Factory Manuals writers are employed by the carmaker, the Engineering Teams actually send the writers all the stuff they figure you need to know, and if they leave something out the writers can ask questions and print the answers. And all the recalls and redesigns get into the later editions of the books.

Haynes and Chilton are flat out Guessing from taking a single example car part-way apart and taking pictures. They don't have access to any Non Public information about the car, that would be a Copyright Violation - best they can do is the Standard Bolt Torque charts from SAE or other reference sources. Electrical diagrams are similarly guessing, and you can't do that tracking down trouble. They told my brother once to tighten the 6mm lock-bolt on the Harmonic Balancer to 180 Foot-Pounds - Not Inch-Pounds. {SNAP!} Oopsie... I would have gone "Hey, wait a minute..."

Note that many of the FSM's have been Leaked (Wink Wink, Nod Nod) on the Internet after a year or two, and the carmakers are in no big hurry to squash them. Often the "leaker" is a Dealer Service Tech who needs access to it himself after hours, and after a few years they purge them from the Dealership computers to make room. Crazy, but true. Bring the CDs and DVDs home and upload it.

And many are at the Public Library but please scrub your hands before reading. Librarians get mad.

Toyota's FSM's are reasonably priced - in the $50 to $100 range depending on the car - You have the Chassis manual and in some cases a separate Detail book for the automatic trans, and a Supplemental book if they made major mid-series changes.

GM's are a little more money but much more comprehensive - I have the C-3500 SRW Cab-Chassis Truck and they have sections covering all the odd (stuff) you need to know that guaranteed IS NOT in the Chilton or Haynes (I've looked - You carry the disposable book, and keep the Big Tome at home.) The Hydraboost brake system, the odd rear drums (two sizes!) that can be used with Single or Dual Rear Wheels, the myriad little options on Electrical and Fuel systems, the front rotors and suspension are Totally Different than the 1/2 Ton that Haynes covers,

Of course that GM book is in four volumes just for a 5 year span, and is an 8" high stack at 9X12 printed. And the electrical diagrams look like a US Road Atlas - But they have everything you need where you need it.
I don't remember if either Haynes or Chilton books were available back then, but I had a 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator with the 351 Cleveland 4-bbl, "top-loader" 4-speed transmission and the 8-inch rear end with 3:51 gears that I bought in 1973. IIRC, I did have an 'aftermarket' repair manual, but as it was lacking on many subjects I worked on myself I splurged and bought the factory service manual for the car.
Boy, was that book an eye opener! It had information in it that unless you were a Ford/Mercury/Lincoln you would never know. If you had to drop the transmission to repair the gears, it had a listing of what regular and special tools needed to work on it, torque values for every bolt and nut, tolerance dimensions and clearances, tricks and shortcuts for disassembly and assembly and a fault symptoms-check/repair chart for each transmission used for that year and model. Every system of that vehicle, every option and every model (basic, XR-7, Eliminator, etc.) was covered in those books. Even FoMoCo supplied aftermarket parts and systems were covered: Edelbrock intake manifolds, Crane and Isky camshafts, Holley carburetors, Hooker headers, Cherry Bomb mufflers, etc. Remember, this was during the high performance wars between Ford, GM and Chrysler for street racers, NASCAR, NHRA, CAN-AM and other racing venues. These were the "Race on Sunday, drive on Monday" days of racing before insurance, safety and pollution concerns neutered high-performance cars.
If you are planning to "do it yourself" maintenance, repairs and upgrades to your vehicle, and keeping it for over five years, buying the FSM is a very good idea. It will save you money when you fix that one problem that takes you five minutes and a $10 part that would otherwise cost you over $100 for the dealer or repair shop to fix! $60-100 an hour labor costs and a $10 part costing $50+ through the dealer adds up in a hurry.
Regarding YouTube videos on car repairs: they are good for showing you visually how to do a repair/replacement, but have the correct book/s on hand so you know the correct way to work on the problem, have the right tools and the correct torque, tolerance and clearances values.
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Joined: June 28th, 2017, 11:03 pm

October 29th, 2017, 8:43 pm #9

Depends on the car - But you have to realize the FSM is written as if you already know all the basics to get hired as a Dealership Mechanic, and just need the sequence. The aftermarket books are literally "Written By Idiots, For Idiots."

The Factory Manuals writers are employed by the carmaker, the Engineering Teams actually send the writers all the stuff they figure you need to know, and if they leave something out the writers can ask questions and print the answers. And all the recalls and redesigns get into the later editions of the books.

Haynes and Chilton are flat out Guessing from taking a single example car part-way apart and taking pictures. They don't have access to any Non Public information about the car, that would be a Copyright Violation - best they can do is the Standard Bolt Torque charts from SAE or other reference sources. Electrical diagrams are similarly guessing, and you can't do that tracking down trouble. They told my brother once to tighten the 6mm lock-bolt on the Harmonic Balancer to 180 Foot-Pounds - Not Inch-Pounds. {SNAP!} Oopsie... I would have gone "Hey, wait a minute..."

Note that many of the FSM's have been Leaked (Wink Wink, Nod Nod) on the Internet after a year or two, and the carmakers are in no big hurry to squash them. Often the "leaker" is a Dealer Service Tech who needs access to it himself after hours, and after a few years they purge them from the Dealership computers to make room. Crazy, but true. Bring the CDs and DVDs home and upload it.

And many are at the Public Library but please scrub your hands before reading. Librarians get mad.

Toyota's FSM's are reasonably priced - in the $50 to $100 range depending on the car - You have the Chassis manual and in some cases a separate Detail book for the automatic trans, and a Supplemental book if they made major mid-series changes.

GM's are a little more money but much more comprehensive - I have the C-3500 SRW Cab-Chassis Truck and they have sections covering all the odd (stuff) you need to know that guaranteed IS NOT in the Chilton or Haynes (I've looked - You carry the disposable book, and keep the Big Tome at home.) The Hydraboost brake system, the odd rear drums (two sizes!) that can be used with Single or Dual Rear Wheels, the myriad little options on Electrical and Fuel systems, the front rotors and suspension are Totally Different than the 1/2 Ton that Haynes covers,

Of course that GM book is in four volumes just for a 5 year span, and is an 8" high stack at 9X12 printed. And the electrical diagrams look like a US Road Atlas - But they have everything you need where you need it.
IMHO, if one doesn't often do much work on their own car, or if one's too cheap to spring for the Factory Manual, I think the Haynes book(s) are still a good thing to have.

Some things, like bulb replacement, that one could do themselves, it's just knowing the correct locations of the fasteners or sequence of removal / reinstallation.

Other things that are best left to a proper mechanic, it helps to be able to judge the specific parts / amount of labor required (and on one occasion, it helped save me from being royally ripped off).
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Joined: September 11th, 2014, 5:58 pm

October 29th, 2017, 9:08 pm #10

"Some things, like bulb replacement, that one could do themselves"
I wish I could say that. One of my current cars is close to impossible to do that. You have to remove the light unit to change a bulb.
And the haynes manual even has to warn you not to do it when its too cold, as removing the light unit when cold may break the bumper..

Stupid designers.
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