NON-factory shop manuals, general repair & other VW books


redlocks12

New member
This site is amazing. I am a proud new owner of an 85 Westy, and working hard to learn how to maintain/repair her myself. I have found invaluable information here, from Gary at Go Westy, and also have the Bentley manual. However I think I also need something much more elementary. Like a book about engines someone in elementary school could understand. Any suggestions? Thanks for the time and energy devoted to this site.

Kate
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
My wife was going to a bookstore so I asked her to look at general automotive "how it works" books. She found one she liked, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Trouble Free Car Care. It's by Alpha Books and available through the site bookstore. Author Dan Ramsey, look for ISBN: 0028635833. US$16.95 list.

She said the first chapter was very much a primer for how an engine works. Other chapters discuss specific areas like brakes.

All very general and NOT a substitute for the shop manual, but may give you the underlying priniciple behind some of the manual's unexplained "do this & do that's."
 

redlocks12

New member
Thanks to you and your wife. Sounds like the book I need. I'll give it a try. My Westy is in the shop right now having the seals replaced on the transmission. My mechanic let me stick around and watch. THAT helped alot...to be able to see it happening. Hes very knowledgable, but his German accent is so heavy I have a hard time understanding everything he says! But I'm catching on I think. Thinking also I might take a class at the community college. Thanks again. Kate
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Excellent idea -- a community college primer course. Also, check your local car clubs. They often hold tech sessions and will allow visitors. For example, my Antique Car Club has several tech sessions a year. One was on the state inspection procedure & rules, a subject important to all drivers. The MBenz Club had one on suspension & alignment not long ago. I've got a couple of friends that come over to watch & help me with some of my shop projects just so they can learn.

Many, many of my responses are not based on some magic knowledge or experience, just sitting back and thinking it out with the old 'principles.' And I tell even those that don't do their own work to get a shop manual and study it so they can discuss problems intelligently with their mechanic -- also to avoid being taken advantage of.

But be careful. Westy mechanic-in' can be habit forming. And I think a crack habit is cheaper than tools!
 

redlocks12

New member
Yeah, I'm hoping the tools will be more productive in the long run than crack!
I was just thinking this morning that I wish I knew someone like yourself nearby that would let me hang out and learn. My mechanic seems to have taken an interest in teaching me, but I think a college course (or degree!) will be cheaper! Not that I don't like the guy, but it's expensive everytime I have to go see him! Right after we bought it, I had to have a catalytic converter put in. He showed me the one he took out and it was empty! Something not quite right there.
Good thing there is so much to love about these cars. Ordered the Idiots manual today. Made me feel good somehow. Kate
 

erifah

New member
I know the feeling about having a new (to me) 1982 Westy, having a mechanic/guru let me watch the fun, all while following along with a book.

Come to think of it, I secretly like to think of my Westy as something like my own private USS Enterprise, and I'm her Capt. Kirk. And of course, Jack at Bisbee Bug is my Scottie. ("Captain! The Pancake Drive won't take much more of this! She'll Burrrrn up!") first time.
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Nothing beats that "watch it done while reading the book" method. My shop manuals have lots of little notes in the margins and post-its stuck here & there. At my age you forget a lot of those little things VW & the Bentley assume you already know like wrench sizes, torques, and my favorite -- the last instruction in the list that says "Before you start . . ." Heck, at my age I can't remember where I put my coffee cup, never mind all those little details they leave out of the exploded diagram. (The coffee cup is usually in the microwave where I was reheating it from the last time I forgot where it was!)
 

redlocks12

New member
Its funny, I'll sit here in front of the manual and feel like I am reading Chinese. But then when I talk to my mechanic or actually crawl out there and take a look, I know what I'm looking at and it all begins to sink in. Its quite shocking actually!
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
An off-site email prompted me to visit the Bentley web site recently and I note they offer original owners' manuals for many models and even some camper supplements. Bentley also publishes and distributes a number of other books on VWs and general repair subjects applicable to VW. I would imagine most are available through the site bookstore at a discount, although may be 'special order.'
 

rgarrettjr

New member
Originally posted by Capt. Mike:
My wife going to a bookstore so I asked her to look at general automotive "how it works" books. She found one she liked . . ..
As a gentle reminder, a good way to support the Westfalia site is to buy books (and other merchandise, too) through the links to Amazon on the Westfalia.org web-site. For example, I just bought two CDs. Ciao!
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred from another post to consolidate similar topics.

Out-of Print Owner's Manual

BWM Junior Member # 2089 posted 08-31-2001 10:18 PM

This is my first venture into posting so be kind. I have just purchased a 1986 Westfalia and was dismayed to find out there was no owner's manual with it. I contacted the local VW dealer and was told it is no longer in print. I have the supplement, but not the vehicle manual. Does anyone have suggestions or a possible source. I am in Vernon, British Columbia. Thank you. My email address is bwmillar@lycos.com
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Although this topic if primarily for other aftermarket books, your post is an opportunity to remind readers to check the SUPPLIERS forum under Bentley manuals and Hemmings Motor News topics. Bentley has an extensive set of new or reproduction manuals of many types, including owners; Hemmings Motor News is an excellent source of dealers in used or obsolete automotive publications. Site sponsor GoWesty (PARTS forum) has an extensive set of camper manual reproductions.
 

judlandis

New member
Just thought I'd mention a tip to those who are daunted by the high price of the Vanagon Bentley manual ($70 - $80) and have an earlier Vanagon. My local Vanagon guru was willing to sell me his old copy for $35. It's in good shape, just a little greasy-thumbed along the page edges. (They probably don't have to look very often as they generally have 3 or 4 Vanagons in at any given time and are "in practice".)

Mechanic said that he'd bought updated manuals - can't recall exactly but the older book stops at 1986 or something, and later Bentley added the rest of the model years.

(Update: I checked over the weekend and my earlier edition goes to 1989.)

He was pleased to get some $ for his old book, and I have the info. I need for my '82.
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
That's very true as long as you understand the later editions also included upgrades and tech bulletins on the earlier years. So a particular addition or change may be missing from an older edition. I'm guilty myself, using an '89 edition since the '90 & '91 vehicles were unchanged. But then again, I subscribed to the tech bulletins that might have been included in a later edition.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Peter Russek Pocket Mechanics

Shandor Junior Member posted February 18, 2003 03:55 PM

Has anyone heard of or used Peter Russek Pocket Mechanics Workshop manuals. http://www.russek-manuals.com/ I'm curious to feedback from anyone who has used these manuals.

Mango

whisky_77 Member posted February 19, 2003 10:01 AM

Haynes is not as thorough as Chilton which is good. I always make sure to have my Chilton handy when I get to tinkering on the engine.

whisky_77

pocket manual

I asked around and from what I was told, it's not as complete as Bentely, Haynes, or Chilton but it is accurate. It wouldn't be a bad addition to a library.

A. Cooper Member posted February 20, 2003 09:49 AM

Peter Russek Pocket Mechanic

I purchased one of these manuals for my 1983 diesel Westy, and would have to place it somewhere between the Haynes and the Bentley manuals (you do have the Bentley, right?).

The Russek certainly offers more step-by-step text than the Bentley, to walk one through a given procedure, but seems no better than the Haynes in this regard. But the Russek manual boasts more technical data and specs than does the Haynes. The Russek also seems to have replaced the Bentley's nice airbrushed photos and line illustrations with itchy-n-scratchy drawings done with a dull felt-tip marker. It is plain to see that these bad drawings were TRACED over the VW photos found in the Bentley (both Bentley and Russek evidently purchased the photo rights from VW).

As I've said before, there's no reason you shouldn't round out your Westy library with other manuals appropriate to your vehicle. I'll often refer to two or three relevant manuals before performing a repair.

Having said that, I'll add that once familiarized with the procedure at hand, there is no better resource than the Bentley. While it may be lacking in handy numbered steps, it is often far superior in providing torque settings, wear tolerances, testing procedures, etc.. Although I've never found a blatant inaccuracy in another manual, I will always defer to the Bentley in a case of conflicting data.

Happy wrenching!
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate similar topics.

RCB Super Member Posted March 01, 2005 01:29 AM

Greetings,Does anyone know of a book or disc that would give the estimated time it takes to do a repair job? Im curious.......RCB
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
VW has one specifically for VW models called the Factory Flat Rate guide. It gives the time necessary for all jobs. A VW dealer can get it for you -- it would be up to them to order you a copy as it's a shop support item, not a cross-the-counter consumer product. Unfortunately, I'd dare guess that most have gone to some computerized system that is proprietary.

Chilton's makes a similar manual for non-dealer shops. It tends to be more generous in time, thus some shady dealers use it instead of VW's.

Both can be abused by adding the incremental units of each phase as if from scratch, whereas the manuals have inclusive rates. For example, the manual will have a rate for R&R engine which would include removing and replacing all the anciliary parts. A crook would add them up -- remove air cleaner; disconnect ignition harness, reinstall air cleaner, ad nauseum. A ethical VW dealer should be glad to show you the rate manual -- it supports their charges.

All flat-rate manuals are assuming a trained mechanic with proper hand and factory specified specialty tools where required. Mechanics, who must buy most of their own tools, often use special tools and power tools to increase productivity and therefore 'beat the book.' I think that's perfectly legitimate and ethical. They invest heavily in those tools to beat, for example, the book time on a tire rotation. That air impact wrench cost a lot more than a rachet & socket that the flat rate is based on.
 
R

RCB

Guest
Greetings Captain Mike and thank you for your excellent reply.I think a hose is something you need to water your front lawn and not a process a mechanic should perform on a customer.
Im going to try and get a VW rate book OR the Chilton manual you spoke of........RCB
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Another source is Mitchel. They produce a shop time recommended rate book. Some may have gone computerized -- I know the high-end body shop I patronize has theirs on computer, complete with parts references and prices. Bet that's not cheap!
 

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