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Chilton manuals

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Peter McFerrin, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. What's the TB gearhead contingent's feelings about these? In particular, I'd like to get the Cherokee one, but the reviews I've read of it say that it's very confusing and difficult to use because it covers something like 20 years of Cherokees and Wagoneers, encompassing a wide range of mechanical and electrical systems. Would it still be worth it to purchase one if I plan on doing various small repairs to my vehicle, or should I spring for a '98 Cherokee Sport service manual?
  2. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    You can't lose with service manuals, but if you have done small repairs before and/or can look past vague details of a Chilton or Hayne's manual, any of the three would do. I'm not nearly as mechanically inclined as, say Mike N., but I use a Haynes for my 88' Ranger, and have many other manuals for my '69 Mustang.

    Don't worry about the time range for a shop manual, all differences between generations would be noted.
  3. I've always used a Chilton's Manual with every vehicle I've owned. The one I currently have for my '85 Toyota Pickup is excellent. They do have some vague instructions (such as telling you to remove 4 bolts, but don't go into detail on which bolts), but they are very good overall. I highly recommend them.
  4. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Each time I buy a different car, I make a trip to the auto parts store to purchase the appropriate manual. It's like a ritual.

    Someday I should just buy another car that falls within the range of a Chilton manual I already have. :)

    Anyway, I really benefit from them. I bought the Chilton CD-Rom for my truck. All I can say is don't waste your money on that. It is very informative, but who wants to go clicking away on their computer with grease all over their hands.

  5. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    You could probably find a Haynes manual that covers a smaller date range of vehicles. Usually 10 to 12.00.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    That's what I recommend too. Less money, and less confusing, since they concentrate on a particular series of vehicle, i.e. 1984-1988 Taurus, etc.
  7. The problem is, the Cherokee technically wasn't redesigned once during its original 1984-1999 run. The Haynes manual reflects this.

    I may just pop for a service manual--it depends on how much longer I want to keep my Jeep. My father will probably want to sell his Toyota Solara in the next few years and I'm sure he'd give it to me at a fairly steep discount if I sold my Cherokee and gave him the proceeds.
  8. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    At various times I've found myself equally confused by Chilton manuals and 'real' manuals. Then again, I've been known to get confused trying to figure out the Wendy's value menu board, if that tells you anything.

    I've never regretted plunking down the cash for a shop manual, and down the road it's not a bad way to show a prospective buyer of the car that you're a conscientious owner who's taken good care of it.
  9. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I had a 1987 Isuzu Trooper and had both the Chilton and Haynes book for it. Sometimes I would need both to get enough detail for certain procedures. I think they do a pretty good job explaining most things. The trouble shooting sections are also very helpfull.
  10. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Pete, If youre just doing small repairs/routine maitenance either the Haynes or Chilton manual will be ok. If you want to overhaul a transmission get a vehicle specific service manual.

    That reminds me of a "how to replace your waterpump" sequence I saw in a Haynes manual once. It went something like this...

    1)Disconnect the battery.
    2)Remove everything needed to facilitate waterpump removal.
    3)Reverse procedure to install.

    Damn, that was specific. Thanks for the help.
  11. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    Every repair has
    Step 1. disconnect the battery
  12. for my vintage VW's I have Haynes and chilten plus the service manual and about a hundred other VW repair books. I think the Haynes is a bit confusing at times..it will say something like grab your torch go under the car look to see if there are any petrol leaks coming from the tank. :eek:
  13. I keep both on hand for my vehicles, a Haynes or Chiltons as well as the manufacturer's shop manual. My sons and I do all our own repairs including major repairs. We do, however, take certain components to specialized rebuild shops (engine overhauls etc.), but we do our own removals and reinstallations. We are fortunate that we live on an acreage and have a fairly complete heated shop.
  14. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    It's been a long time since I've used a Chilton's but I do recall that they tend to be fairly accurate. Problem is, when they do go wrong, watch out. That's true of any third party service manual.

    The one problem I recall was trying to take the cylinder head off a 1983 Buick Skyhawk with a 2.0L 4 cyl. For some reason, the Chilton manual I had did not make a distinction between the 2.0L OHV built in the US and the 2.0L OHC built in Brazil. Of course in typical "when all else fails read the manual" mode, I already had parts on the ground by the time I caught the error.

    I'd check eBay for a company authored service manual first. Chilton would be a second choice.


  15. Does this eBay auction look like a good deal? It almost seems too good to be true, but I know for sure that the cost of paper and laser toner is way less than that of an actual service manual.

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