I hate Haynes manuals

And Chiltons are no better. I’ve gotta get a shop manual for my truck.

OK…here’s what happened. I took my truck to get it inspected today. It failed.

Apparently, what I took to be road noise increasing due to tire wear, was actually the left front bearings moaning in agony. So…gotta replace the bearings.

Whoa there big boy…not so fast: The 4WD F-250 doesn’t have front bearings that you can just change willy nilly like on any other vehicle…it’s got “hub bearing assemblies” that have to be replaced as a unit.

Great. An engineering solution that turns a $25 dollar part into a $365 part. Pure genius…for the auto parts industry. Actually I did find one that was “only” $115. It only has a 90 day warranty and there’s no telling what else was done cheaply to make it so much less expensive than the next higher model…but what the heck…I don’t drive the truck that much anyway.

So…I decided that since I was going to have the darn thing almost completely torn down anyway, I may as well pull the axleshaft and check the seals and splines and all that.

And we get to the reason that I hate Haynes manuals: In the instructions on how to remove the hub bearing assembly, there is a picture of the nuts that you have to remove…you know…in case you don’t know what a nut looks like.

Yet, when it gets to the part about removing the axleshaft main seal and and axleshaft…not an illusration to be found. Because apparently, even people so mechanically disinclined that they don’ t know what a freaking NUT looks like, know exactly how the axleshaft and its main seal are removed.

It would be one thing if this were a one time occurence, but it happens almost every time I try to use a Haynes or Chilton manual to do maintenance on a vehicle. They show stupid illustrations of common, everyday things, but when it comes time to actually disassemble the components that are specific to that vehicle and in a unique configuration…nothing. You’re on your own. “Remove the left vertical digifloppy”….OK…What, specifically does a left vertical digifloppy look like? Is it screwed on, bolted on, pinned on, glued on or held in place with baling wire and duct tape? How, exactly, does one go about removing it? We’re just supposed to know these things apparently.

Needless to say, I elected NOT to remove the axleshaft and inspect it and just replaced the verdamt hub bearing assembly (which sounds a lot easier (and, for that matter, SHOULD have been a lot easier) than it actually was).

BTW, while I was under there, I noticed that the hub lock vacuum lines were dry-rotted and cracked. It’s a good thing I haven’t needed 4WD in a while. Replaced them on both sides while I was down there. Didn’t even need pictures for that.

Now I just gotta get it re-inspected tomorrow AM and I’m legal again for another year…yea.

[UPDATE] Inspection done. Good to go for another year. [/UPDATE]

[UPDATE] BTW: It occurred to me that this very gripe about Haynes and Chilton’s manuals is why I use so many pictures and such detailed instructions when I’m doing my gunsmithing posts…because I know very well how frustrating it is when someone is detailing procedures and just assumes that you know something that you don’t. [/UPDATE]


1 thought on “I hate Haynes manuals

  1. I understand what you mean.
    I recently purchased a used 1998 Toyota Tacoma 2WD P/up, and went to change the oil for the first time.
    The manual says (paraphrase): "Remove the filter. Do not tip the filter, as it will be full of oil." And it shows a very close-up picture of the filter. That's all.

    But what it DOESN'T show you is that the filter is just above a cross-member, mounted upside down at the side of the engine block, with no room to swing a wrench from the front or back.

    What I had to find out, the hard way (after much time and swearing), is that I have to jack up the truck, remove the front passenger tire & come in from the side (even then it's still a reach). Then lay LOTS of rags across the cross-member, to catch the oil that will invariably spill anyway. Then, etc & etc.

    All of which is now carefully annotated in my manual.

    Why couldn't these engineers have done it the same (or similar) way as my wife's '96 Toyota Camry, with the oil filter mounted on top of the engine block, within easy reach, and the oil already drained out of the filter when you go to replace it?? THERE is the platinum standard to shoot for.

    B Woodman

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