Sometimes there's no substitute for the Factory Manual

by Bruce Bergman

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." wink.gif

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.

Posted on Oct 28, 2017, 2:38 PM

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  1. Factory service manuals.. Z-man51, Oct 29, 2017
  2. Even the Haynes books can be good.... TheFnord, Oct 29, 2017
    1. Manuals... Chloe, Oct 29, 2017
    2. I usually bought both.... Z-man51, Oct 29, 2017
    3. The gospel of Haynes.... Snowtroll, Oct 31, 2017
  3. And sometimes they can be fun.... Cpt. Obvious, Oct 29, 2017

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