It's frustrating when you don't have a manual. My son has a used car with 197,000 miles on it. Last night, its burglar alarm decided to start beeping the horn for no reason. The horn just kept beeping, but we had no manual to determine what was wrong. I suggested he unlock the doors, hoping that the burglar alarm would see no reason to beep if it knew the doors were unlocked. The beeping stopped, but I'm still waiting for it to start up again in the middle of the night. I tried looking it up on the Internet, but got no satisfaction. I wish he had a manual.
Manuals for test equipment and for automobiles are available. Sometimes they are expensive; sometimes you can find them for download on the internet, or on CD from eBay.
I always buy the factory shop manuals for my cars, even though they may cost $150 or more. Unlike the aftemarket manuals, they truly show you step-by-step procedures with torque specs for every fastener and cautions about parts that might easily be damaged or installed incorrectly during the repair process. I even have one for the 1962 Impala.
Charles, you can get the owner's guide and the factory shop manual for this used car if you simply spend a few minutes looking for it.
Larry M - Agreed, but you always need to verify the information.
Like you, I always purchase the OEM shop manual for my vehicles.
Recently, I had to replace the shock absorbers in my 1997 Explorer. The Ford shop manual showed two different torque values for the exact same bolts on the front and the rear shocks. Since I purchased Monroe shocks, I called them and asked about the difference. He checked, and said that his information also showed two torque values, but he readily agreed that they should both be the same as the application is identical.
I then looked up the proper values based on the size and grade of the bolts, and determined that the lower value was correct. It's likely that I would have stretched the bolts if I had torqued them to the higher value.
The moral of the story is even OEM manuals can have errors.
I ran into a similar problem with a used minivan. Every time I unlocked the car door, the alarm would go off, and it was loud. It would stop as soon as I put the key in the ignition. I tried everything to get it to stop. Finally, it just stopped by itself.
It is certainly correct that a good manual for some product is very handy and often quite valuable. Unfortunately sometimes things do not come with manuals, or, worse yet, the manual for some product is found to be a work of fiction, probably written by a marketing person who never ever talked to the designers. I have a Chinese made dual band two-way radio like that. Somebody wrote an accurate manual for it and is getting rich selling a manual that works.
At one of my previous jobs I had to write manuals, not only for the equipment that I designed, but for equipment designed by "people no longer with the organization." Often times it was an interesting exercise, since the functioning of a complex discreet digital logic system would need to be determined and understood. What made that acieveable was the fact that it was all discreet logic with no programmable devices of any kind. That give at least a chance of understanding. The other benefit of creating good manuals is when one needs to service a system ten years later, and has very little recollection as to what was done.
Not a plug but a great source. I have bought several shop manuals from these folks for all my vehicles because once a vehicle is 10 years old the manufacturer doesn't sell them anymore. I heard about them from the literature department at Chrysler many years ago
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