How much would you do -- - mjm
--- without a workshop manual for the car?

I know some backroomers service and repair their own, but how far will you go without the book of words?

I don't mean checking oil levels etc, but "real" service/repair work.
How much would you do -- - George Porge
Usefull for reading before you start and torque wrench settings other than that mostly common sense will get you through most suspension / steering / brakes etc

How much would you do -- - BazzaBear {P}
Well, I replaced the engine in my first car - an Astravan, and basically worked on the principle of trying to put everything back where I remembered taking it from.
Doubt I'd want to do it again mind, it was born of necessity. Oh, and my dad helped, but his memory wasn't as good as mine so fitted some oil breather type thing (see how mechanically minded I am?) the wrong way round, resulting in oil piddling all over the floor when we got it running.
Wouldn't you just know it was a part which needed various other bits removed to get at it?
The replacement engine also had a couple of extra pipes than the original didn't, so we had nothing to attach to them. I seem to remember we blocked them up with body filler! :o
How much would you do -- - DP
Usually I will tackle things like brake pads (the last four cars I have owned (3 different makes) have all used near identical brake calipers with identical pad replacement procedure), and I've found basic maintenance tasks like oil and filter changes and air filter changes don't really vary from car to car.

With anything more involved than that, I like to look at a manual. The timing belt change on the Mondeo for example would have probably been possible without it, but it would have taken a lot longer - there is a logic to the order things have to be removed that isn't immediately obvious until you get to a certain stage of the job, and in some cases could involve having to go back several steps to remove something correctly. Belt tension was simply a case of aligning two pointers on the tensioner which was simple enough to work out just by looking at it, but there is also no way I would have sussed the correct procedure of pre-tensioning the belt, rotating the engine, then repeating parts of the process to fully tension the belts. Plus of course the torque wrench settings for vital components such as the tensioners and the pulleys would be unknown, and the cost of getting this wrong is too much to risk.

I usually invest in a Haynes manual (or manufacturers workshop manual if available) within days of buying any car. Same goes for my motorcycles.

How much would you do -- - martint123
Without a manual, I changed 2nd gear and starter ring gear on an MGB by lifting the engine/gearbox out with a warehouse crane and working in the corner of the warehouse when I was on leave. This was some years ago and it was the norm to be able to wander into the dealers parts department and get items like gears and ring gear off the shelf. At the time a workshop manual was around two weeks wages for me.

Now I get a decent manual shortly after getting the vehicle even if it needs no work doing to it.

How much would you do -- - Cliff Pope
Manuals were unobtainable when I had a Triumph Roadster 1800. I stripped and repaired a gearbox, rear axle, steering box. It was just a matter of noting where everything went, putting the bits carefully in boxes, and then putting it together again, using bits from another car where necessary.

Manuals are useful for giving pictures to identify components, and how to differentiate different types of brake caliper, etc, but are not really easential if you have a basic grounding of experience.
They used to be written by people who actually did the jobs they describe, and had accompanying pictures of real live oily components. Now they are written by people who sit at desks and use posed photographs of brand new components. Whenever they get to a difficult bit they say you can't service that t, take it to a service agent. In the past they gave tips on obviating the need for special tools, or how to make simple tools out of bolts and bits of angle iron.
How much would you do -- - Mapmaker
I reckon manuals are indispensible for such things as changing lightbulbs.

You think I'm joking, blond, or both.

Removing bits of plastic trim can be a real so and so if you don't know where the catches are - guaranteed to end up breaking a clip. A Haynes manual is brilliant for that sort of thing.
How much would you do -- - bedfordrl
Haynes are better than they used to be , but with the Range Rovers and Bedford i invested in the works manuals .
Recently bought a manual for the Bedford on CD from E-bay so now i can print the relevent page off, get it covered in oil and fling it.
How much would you do -- - Big Vern
Removing bits of plastic trim can be a real so and
so if you don't know where the catches are - guaranteed
to end up breaking a clip. A Haynes manual is
brilliant for that sort of thing.

I would say this is the one thing a Haynes manual would be invaluable for ..... if it coverd it!! I have been through 5 cars and for each one the Haynes manual would helpfully state : (x) remove the trim... whithout any guidence as to where the clips were or what style they were, i.e. slide forward / pop off etc etc in this sense they are annoyingly usless.

They have not got one for my current car, and whilst it has slowed me down a bit I am getting on ok without it so far. I doubt they will ever do one for Dads W140 S-Class :o) so I wil have to keep going blind for that.
How much would you do -- - Robin Reliant
I feel the same as Mapmaker. Modern cars are so cramped under the bonnet that even the simplest jobs can involve removing other parts you would never think of otherwise.

I must admit though, these days a quick look at the Haynes to find the procedure for what years ago would have qualified as an easy job now has me often saying "Stuff that", I'll book it in".

Ask Honest John

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