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Jay Leno's article on older owners manuals

Posted by jnel (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 14, 06 at 10:22

An interesting read, I think. Your thoughts?

http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/archive/artform_shell.shtml


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Jay Leno's article on older owners manuals

"In Ford manuals of days long gone, there are instructions on how to aim headlights, adjust the carburetor and lubricate the chassis. "

Yes Jay, todays manuals ARE different because the owners are different and the vehicles they own are VERY differnet (ie. no headlight adjustments, certainly no carburetors, and generally no lubrication points).

Exactly how does one explain to the average owner how to troubleshoot a Class II serial communication data line between the engine computer and the body controller?!

Too funny about the translated motorcycle manuals!


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RE: Jay Leno's article on older owners manuals

Here's a cool site with a lot of old car owners manuals, sales brochures, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old car manuals


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RE: Jay Leno's article on older owners manuals

**Yes Jay, todays manuals ARE different because the owners are different and the vehicles they own are VERY differnet (ie. no headlight adjustments, certainly no carburetors, and generally no lubrication points).**

Yes the cars are more advanced, but mostly people have become dumber, helpless, or just plain lazy.

**Exactly how does one explain to the average owner how to troubleshoot a Class II serial communication data line between the engine computer and the body controller?!**

That's what a shop manual is for. I believe he's talking about simple ordinary maintainence stuff a chimpanzee could do. Instead of surrounding the car with mystery, would it kill them to show how to change a spark plug, air filter, replace bulbs, adjust headlights, emergency brake, ect...and build the d*mn thing so one doesn't have to buy a new specialty tool every time you want to turn a screw to change a bulb? Nope, can't do that. Got to fill the manual with valuable tips, as Jay says tongue in cheek, like not to drink the battery acid.


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RE: Jay Leno's article on older owners manuals

"I believe he's talking about simple ordinary maintainence stuff a chimpanzee could do."

LOL! Once upon a time anyone could do that "simple" maintenance stuff. Welcome to 21st century Gary! The replacement of spark plugs in some of today's vehicles require access and removal of individual ignition coils which are sometimes completely buried or some that even require removal of the upper intake for access. As you noted, that's what a shop manual is for.

The service information that the manufacturers sometimes provides is often not much better than their owners' manuals. While troubleshooting a transmission electrical problem on a Dodge Caravan last week, there was a note stating:

"TCC solenoid will not function properly if electrical connector is not connected."

Well DUH!


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RE: Jay Leno's article on older owners manuals

Gary wrote" That's what a shop manual is for. I believe he's talking about simple ordinary maintainence stuff a chimpanzee could do."

Isn't this what is wrong right here? You just called 99.99% of the population incapable of doing something a Chimp can do.

Auto repair is not, and never has been "something a chimp can do". That is a stereotype that is very inaccurate, and unfair. Not to mention just how insulting it really is. Plus now auto repair (some of it anyway) has moved to a level where only .1% of the technicians in the workforce are truly trained and equipped to do the work, and we have to deal with people that think it's so easy a chimp can do it.

It really gets under my skin when I see people drop $100 to have their $500 PC looked at, and they balk at $50 to start the diagnostics on their $25,000 automobile.

Semper Fi wrote "Exactly how does one explain to the average owner how to troubleshoot a Class II serial communication data line between the engine computer and the body controller?"

Exactly how does one explain this to a technician wannabe/know-it-all consumer? The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is starting a series of articles written by Don Hammond which is going to go into great detail just what it likes being an auto technician today. We expect the series will be an article a month, and likely take all year to accomplish. In a very real sense, it just may chronical my exit strategy from this business, as the costs to provide the services that I do are rapidly outstripping my ability to generate the necessary revenues to earn a living. In short, I could Double my labor rate, and double my parts mark-ups today, and "IF" I stayed just as busy as I am now, I would still be loosing ground.


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RE: Jay Leno's article on older owners manuals

john_g, I agree that a lot of the maintenance that used to be do-able by the "shade-tree mechanic" is a thing of the past, and rightly so. But I think gary_ is talking about even simpler stuff. My VW's owner's manual doesn't even mention the types/model numbers of lightbulbs used in my car. No mention of the battery type (94R and a certain amount of CCAs and reserve capacity). Hey, I even leave the oil changes to the pros (though I supply the oil & filter). But changing a dead tail-lamp bulb? Replacing an old battery? The owner's manual doesn't even support that. I'm lucky. There's a Web site for my car that has lots of people who seem to live their lives around their cars, so there's lots of information for me. But there seems to be no reason to pass off even such simple (routine?) tasks with "Take it to your dealer."


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RE: Jay Leno's article on older owners manuals

**Auto repair is not, and never has been "something a chimp can do". That is a stereotype that is very inaccurate, and unfair.**

john_g you seem to have what taken what I said wrong.

steve_o seemed to get what I was trying to say. The topic is owners manuals then and now, not shop manuals and service tech skills. The comparison was made that 'then' you got a 40 page book full of helpful tips designed to help one help oneself. 'Now' you get a 40 page book full of dumb warnings designed to protect the manufacturer from product liablity.

Generally speaking, one doesn't need to seek out a $90 per hour ASE certified master tech to change a light bulb, fan belt, or wiper blade. One shouldn't be led to believe that he has too because these things are just too complicated for the dumb owner. Got engine management or computer controled transmission troubles, time to seek out a pro.

A chimp does have the intellegence to be able to do some of these minor things, not the desire, and they may lack the manual dexterity, but they can certainly master the concept of 1/4 turn counter clockwise and pull. It's not me telling people they're too dumb to try anything. It is me telling people not to let others convince them that they are. It annoys me that so many people seem so helpless these days.

PC repair. More words that strikes fear into the hearts of many. Without a minute of training, I've managed to replace my own modem, sound card, added a cd burner, and added memory. I don't know a thing about the technology and don't have a clue how any of it works. I can remove 4 screws, remove the cover, remove a defective componant from it's slot, plug in a new componant in it's place, and select 'yes' when I start it back up and it says 'windows has detected a new device, would you like windows to install it now?' Those were all chimp worthy tasks. No PHD in computer sciences required.


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RE: Jay Leno's article on older owners manuals

A man must agree with John G 100% !
People must stop this insulting put-down stuff, I too was an auto mechanic at one time - it is NOT an easy occupation- in many cases, a man must be a genius to succeed..
One can say, however, that it is the "chimps" who are writing the owner's manuals and this is another thing that must stop !
Our nation has made a grievious mistake in allowing the safety, security, and environmental nazis to run wild...


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