chilton vs factory service manual - size matters

I'm not so much of an truck enthusiast as a major do-it-yourselfer. When I researched what manual would be best to get for my 2003 Silverado 4x4, I read most of the posts about Chilton or Haynes
manuals. I decided to go full-blown and get the FSM. ($140 at helminc.com)
What I didn't read about or expect is the shear amount of info in the FSM. It comes in 5 phone-book-sized volumes. Stack the volumes on top of each other and they measure 9" thick. Those are standard 8.5" x 11" pages. I couldn't count the pages (in this lifetime) because of the complex numbering. And this is just the main set of manuals. There are several other specialized sets for diesel, emmisions, etc.
When I received the shipment I was perplexed why the box weighed so much. When I opened it I worried for a moment that they got my order wrong and sent me 10 manuals.
Anyway, I'm just posting this for people who don't realize this major difference. Now I almost can't wait for something to go wrong with my truck so I can try the manuals out!?!
--zeb
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I've always gotten the factory manuals on all my vehicles. Yes, they're expensive, but worth it. You won't be sorry, in my opinion.
Garrett Fulton
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Factory service manuals:
To any aftermarket manuals are akin to, comparing shit to Shinola!
But, in the service sector, you'd tie up a million dollars in FSM's. Also, you'd tie up vehicles for a month waiting for the volumes you don't have.
So far the Mitchell On Demand was the best, but All Data is becoming the standard now, because there is more information in the All Data CD or DVD series now. Before All Data was limited, because they were a start up company.
Refinish King

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I have allot of the FSM on my 1990 GMC and I'd feel equipped if I could figure out where to look when something goes wrong! I was disappointed, for an alignment it still says "use the alignment machine". Gives me specs though!
GMC Gremlin

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GMC Gremlin wrote:

You may not be looking hard enough. They should be there.
Ian
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You'd be the man to ask about it! Do you think it could be in a missing volume? I was more so just interested in how to do it, rather then trying too.
GMC Gremlin

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GMC Gremlin wrote:

If I remember (which isn't likely) I'll take a look in a 1990 service manual and see where the specs are located. Pretty sure it's just under the "wheel alignment" section.
Ian
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If you have a level floor:
Or can compensate your floor, I use bubble gauges. To diagnose what the guys with the fancy computer machines do, and the vehicles still wear tires.
The insurance companies refer me work, even though I'm freelancing in other shops, and still trying to get another building.
Refinish King

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I know there are people who look down on bubble gauges. I don't, because I don't know how it's done with either....
GMC Gremlin

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I have two different sets of gauges and one set of toe plates. The bubble gauges basically work the same , just different mounts. First you need a level floor OR a way to level an area for the vehicle to drive on. I have the later in that I use an old frame machine plate. I check it for level every alignment. BUT once you have a level spot you then check the ride height of the vehicle (all front/rear specs are based on the vehicle being at that height as a starting point) Then you attach the gauges. Then read the bubbles position. One set I have has a level that you can preset to the correct camber angle and then if it reads 0 your OK. The other just reads the angle. Caster angle is read on an angle meter on the end of the gauge using a wire that you line up with the upper and lower ball joints. Toe can be done easily with a tape measure and a set of straightedges and 4 blocks to set against the rim. Just measure and calculate out the difference. Wider in front = Toe out Wider in the back = toe in.
If you don't have the specs handy and are just trying to get it close enough to take it to a shop then you can use 0-1/8" toe in on rear wheel drives, up to 1/8" toe out for front wheel drives.
--
Steve


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I did have a situation once where something was totally missing in the factory service manual. An '85 Chevy 1/2 ton truck, 6.2 NA diesel. The section on the glow plugs, removal, installation, discription, operation, circuitry, the whole deal, was missing. Completely. Only time I've ever seen that, though.
Garrett Fulton
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Agreed. While I think the aftermarket manuals certainly have their place for the shade-tree mechanic who does not have the money to spend on the OEM manuals, the aftermarket manuals certainlly contain incorrect information. They try to include too many different YMM vehicles into one manual in order to maximize profit.
I have the Hayes manual for my 1997 S-10 and it states the oil filter is not on the engine and in a closed box. Nope... it screws into the engine just like most oil filters. They were not even close.

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wow, are you nuts? Read the manuals to enjoy learn, but HOPE nothing goes wrong so you can enjoy the manuals without the expense and grease. john

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