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Repair manuals-Chilton vs Haynes


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#1 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 05:29 PM

I don't attempt to fix, work on, etc any of my vehicles without a good "mechanical/electrical/suspension, etc, manual" before I start the repair.
Recently I aquired a Haynes manual for one of my vehicles.
Then, after reading through it, bought a Chilton for the same vehicle.
I was amazed at the differences between the two, from the paper and print, to the size of the print, the use of blurry photos vs line drawings that showed how a part or such were put together, the electical diagrams, etc.
So, before one spends the $26 to $30 for a manual, compare them, which one meets your expectations, which do you find to provide a higher comfort level should you use them?
I took the two manuals to to friends, who are quite good at mechanical work and are very good at repairing the "unknown to most" parts of a vehicle.
I asked them to chose two subjects in each manual, and to spend 5 minutes reading of each manual's section of their choice of the subject.
Then they were asked, "which manual did you, as one who has the more than basic knowledge of the subject you chose, did you feel was most helpful to those who don't have your knowledge?".
Both chose the Chilton over the Haynes, hands down.
So there you are, if you are in need of a manual for repairing your vehicle, pick the Chilton over the Haynes.
I am not saying that the Haynes is not producing good manuals, only that due to what I have worked with and two experienced professionals, the Chilton may be a better choice.
Grumpy
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#2 Dan

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 06:18 PM

I say neither. I find the extra money spent on the factory manual very worth the additional cost. I started working on a wrangler I bought, went with the Chiltons at first then saw factory authorized manuals on CD for $5 more. Chilton is like 400 pages, the factory manual is 1800 pages. It has full wiring diagrams and it has the most valuable thing the Chilton and Haynes do not, and that is theory of system operation. It tells you how things are expected to work and has flow charts for how to troubleshoot every subsystem in the car. I also love the VW/Audi factory manuals, great troubleshooting procedures that help you isolate the broken part instead of emptying your wallet searching for the broken part.

#3 opie_7afe

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 06:28 PM

i got a haynes manual used from a online used book store, im glad i only paid .75 cents and 3.95 shipping for the book because it lists the wrong generation of car! sure it has information for the other generation but is it the same NO!. so i would say go on ebay and just buy the factory service manuals..much better and gives the best/easiest way to go about things...i dont like the chiltons manuals either it don't include some stuff. sometimes you can find the FSM's for free online. but usually used versions run around 65$
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#4 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 06:28 PM

Can not disagree with what you posted, except, most don't require a factory manual.
Most do not have the special tools to work on vehicles produced in the last 20 years as speced in such factory manuals.
What most require is a "guideline", a "reality check" on what they may be attempting on a modern vehicle.
Then there is the "will it go under the hood or under the car with me so I can look at what's there and such.".
I got several factory service manuals, and they are great, but, like I said, not really the best for the "average" person to get the most out of.
By the way, the newer Chilton's have most of the charts, etc you mentioned in them.
Grumpy

#5 C. Charles Hahn

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 07:33 PM

I have access to the local community college's "research databases" which includes Chilton's online library, ALLDATA online, and Mitchell 1's OnDemand. Between the three there's not much I can't find information on including diagrams/images of the special tools the factory manuals specify. I've been able to pick up cheap Harbor Freight tools and modify them to work in a pinch before when I had a job I knew I'd only be doing once.

Nice part is when I need to take something under the car with me I just print it off and then don't have to worry or care if it gets dirt/oil/grease on it like I would with a book.

Previously I purchased a copy of the GM eSI technical manual database on DVD and while it can be a bit easier to navigate sometimes, much of the content is exactly the same as what I can access via Mitchell's and ALLDATA.
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#6 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 07:47 PM

It would appear that the resonders have missed the point of my thread.
Education is the key to knowledge, without knowledge it is very difficult to be able to diagnois or understand a concern.
Once one has done these three keys, they may move on to the correct process/procedure.
If all of you would take a breath and consider the average questioning post by those to this forum, they miss these "key" factors that is being those should start to read and learn and accomplish, rather than just post "my car has a dull spot", etc.
I utilize all the resources that have been mentioned in the response posts, what I am attempting to do is provide a method, that is simple, easy and fairly factual, of a readily available set of resourses to the "average" person looking to learn.
A "start point" if you would care to term it that.
Please keep in mind that many of you who are real professionals, gearheads, etc have a large resourse of tools, etc to draw upon in performing repairs.
That "average" Joe does not usually have such, heck I got thousands of dollars in tools, equipment, etc and that still is not enough for the majority of repairs on newer vehicles.
On my old "cars", I got most everything, and these simple, easy to attain, etc repairs are covered in the manuals, as I learned this week, I don't remember everything and found in a minute or two some things I forgot I had done 30 or so years ago.
This world does not have to be all "digital", all "internet related", and in case you were to ask, have produced some digital CD's, DVD's, etc on certain processes for the OEM's so I am aware that is required in this new electronic world.
Guys, just give the "new gearheads" an easy start point to learning, other than how to type in and ask "what wax is best".
Grumpy

#7 Dan

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:06 PM

Ron, its funny you think cars in the last 20 are harder to work on. I think cars produced after 96 are the easiest to work on. Having real time data feeds showing what the cars systems are doing is amazing. When I have to stoop to OBDI cars, I am usually cursing left and right about how its impossible to tell whats wrong from a single trouble code. Then Cars from the early 80's and late 70's... I'm lost, so much vacuum plumbing and analog doo-hickies, I don't know where to start!

#8 Nth Degree

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 09:06 PM

I think either book should really be a guide for those who already have some knowledge about what they are doing. If the average Joe, who has an office job and no real mechanical knowledge, thinks he is going to have one of these books around and be able to save himself a few dollars doing a repair himself, he is sadly mistaken. Cars nowadays are way beyond a wrench and screwdriver. The manuals will help speed things along for someone who is not familiar with the exact locations of things, but they should not be used as a teacher of mechanics. If you don't have the knowledge to diagnose and figure out how to fix the problem without the manual it is probably best left for the professionals. My dad was a mechanic for as long as I can remember and I spent a lot of time around the shop. I can't even begin to tell all the times I saw a car towed in because someone took it apart and didn't know how to put it back together. Needless to say, it always cost a lot more money because it's a lot harder to put something back together when you aren't sure which bolts came from where. Half of the time that wasn't even the problem in the first place.

#9 Accumulator

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:55 AM

Ron Ketcham- Thanks for your take on the Chilton vs. Haynes question.

I'm a FSM kind of guy, but I agree about how the FSM makes it sound like you need specialized equipment for all sorts of stuff. I can usually figure out a work-around, but you have me wondering how a Chilton's might be a handy addition for work on stuff like the Tahoe and the Crown Vics :think: As it is now, I sometimes en up looking stuff up in the FSM, then calling my dealership guys for advice, then searching the 'net...and then *finally* figuring out what I'm actually gonna do.
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#10 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 10:40 AM

As I stated, have access to factory service manuals, etc, however, for "simplicity" find the Chilton to be very easy for quick, at my finger tips, reference and guides.
The post was intended to bring some knowledge of such manuals to those who do not have the training, experience of many here.
How else can they get some start to gaining the knowledge if they can't get the basic information?
These type of manuals are very easy to find your way around subject matter.
That's all I am attempting to do, put the new, trying to be a gearhead, on a simple and inexpensive path to the basics.
Grumpy

#11 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 10:44 AM

Like most of those who are of the younger generation of gearhead, "find the concern, replace the part" is the way of the last 25 years or so.
An example is found in the bodywork area, don't fix most parts, just replace.
I admit to being "old school", and would rather work on my old Ferds than my newer Chrysler.
Get out the OSB reader. find the code that indicates the problem, go order the part, etc.
I can do it, but it is not near as much fun for me as working on some vehicles that a lot of parts are not readily available, so one has to be creative.
Grumpy

#12 Nth Degree

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 10:55 AM

Mechanical work is much like detailing; time and experience are the best ways to learn. It's also important to know when you are in over your head as well as what you can and can't fix. As for body work, the reason for the replacement mentality probably boils down to many parts being made of materials other than metal and the relative cost vs. time.

I agree with you, Ron; I enjoy tinkering with older vehicles. But when it comes to my daily driver needing repairs, I like being able to identify the part, remove and replace, and be back on the road in minimum time.

#13 Dan

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 11:55 AM

Get out the OSB reader. find the code that indicates the problem, go order the part, etc.
I can do it, but it is not near as much fun for me as working on some vehicles that a lot of parts are not readily available, so one has to be creative.
Grumpy


Ahh, that's where a ton of people get frustrated with the new technology. That diagnostic code does not tell you the part is broken. It tells you the part is behaving improperly. Sometimes replacing the part works, but that is not the correct procedure. And this is why I'm harping on the FSM vs Chilton or Haynes. When you look up the error code in the FSM, it gives specific test routines you need to run to verify what part is causing the issue. The Chilton and Hayes I have on hand (probably a dozen or more) only list the text of the error message, ie Oxygen Sensor Heating Circuit voltage out of bounds. Could it be the sensor, maybe, but it could also be the wires, connection or the ECU.

Any that is why I say the factory manual is easier for even the unseasoned mechanic if they care to read.

#14 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 01:10 PM

Dan, the start of the thread was not about wether or not a factory service manual is better.
That is a known and respected given.
The thread was about which of the two readily available manuals by Haynes or Chilton is the better one for a person who is looking to purchase one of these, "Which is the better of the two" based upon members "hands on usage" of either of the two.
Grumpy

#15 Dan

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 06:24 PM

Dan, the start of the thread was not about wether or not a factory service manual is better.
That is a known and respected given.
The thread was about which of the two readily available manuals by Haynes or Chilton is the better one for a person who is looking to purchase one of these, "Which is the better of the two" based upon members "hands on usage" of either of the two.
Grumpy


Hey, its a discussion forum, we talk! Maybe you had a poll in mind?

#16 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 07:30 PM

Had a lady friend who was a Pole, oops wrong way to go and she did not appreciate my ethic humor.
Start a poll, but don't forget that there are more who come here to learn, get some ideas, find a way to learn, than wish to be shot down for asking a question that is simple for a few of us, but a new world for them.
Just provide them some simple direction and let them make their decisions from what they find by putting forth efforts on their own.
Grumpy

#17 rdorman

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:14 AM

They both stink. Factory or online such as mitchells.... But chitons is better then Haynes

#18 Jerry Spoor

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 08:01 AM

I have a paper back Haynes manual for my 2007 Camry and an online Haynes manual for a 2003 Toyota Tundra. It has been years since viewing the Chilton manuals. The Haynes manual will not match the $970 factory manuals for my 2007 Camry but there is a significant difference between $34 and $970. The Haynes manuals are adequate for what I need, so far. First of all you need to be an amateur mechanic at least. You need to have a good inventory of tools. The Haynes manual covers my drive axle replacement and timing belt replacement plus it goes beyond that. That is a lot. The detail is not as much as the manufacturer manuals but it also has tips and tricks the factory manuals do not have.

The paperback manuals are black and white. The online manuals are color but they print on you printer black and white. You can do a screen capture and crop the image in Adobe Photoshop and then print in color. The black and white is probably sufficient.

After looking extensively for a repair manual for my vehicles I am content with Haynes. This is in conjunction with many years of experience as an amateur car mechanic. I prefer the on-line version since I am well supplied with good printers and a nice laptop. The book is also OK.

If you are indecisive regarding Chilton and Haynes, get both. Compared to the price of factory manuals they are cheap.




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