back to article Granddaddy of the DIY repair generation John Haynes has loosened his last nut

John Haynes, creator of the Haynes Manual and at least partly responsible for the skinned knuckles of enthusiastic amateur car repairers around the world, has tightened his last bolt and headed off to the great workshop in the sky aged 80. Haynes passed away on 8 February after a short illness. Born on 25 March 1938, John …

  1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    Ah the Haynes Manual

    Was really helpful for my first old banger and my previous car, been meaning to get one for my current car (After having a fit of rage trying to replace a lightbulb and ending up taking the whole light out to find I was putting the bulb in upside down).

  2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    The Haynes Manual of Life

    Death: follow the birth process (sections 1.1 - 1.6) in reverse order.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: The Haynes Manual of Life

      LISTER: And worse than that -- in 25 years I'll be a little sperm, swimming around in somebody's testicles! I mean, pardon me, but that's just not how I saw my future!

    2. Borg.King

      Re: The Haynes Manual of Life

      Death: follow the birth process (sections 1.1 - 1.6) in reverse order.

      What should we do with the inevitable box of pieces left over?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: The Haynes Manual of Life

        What we do now; put them in a coffee tin and stash said tin in the garage "just in case".

        1. Admiral Grace Hopper

          Re: The Haynes Manual of Life

          My next-door neighbour taught me how to use a spanner (and develop and print B&W negatives - thanks Pete!). He was a fitter/mechanic in the RAF post war and told the tale of he and a colleague servicing a pile of transfer boxes for Spitfires. Clearing down their workbenches at the end of the job, his colleague had a small collection of springs and washers. Pete asked with concern what they were doing there. "Spares!" said his colleague, who threw them in a tray and walked away. Pete moved all his colleague's work back into the to-do pile and wandered off for a word with his Chief.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    RIP Haynes

    Although your manuals could have been a bit less terse than "assembly is the reverse of disassembly".

    iFixit's instructions also follow their lead as well with "to reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order".

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: RIP Haynes

      That's "reassembly is the reverse of dismantling".

      Probably makes sense on the newish car they used for the pics which invariably lacks the many years of corrosion and wear present on what you're actually working on. Straightening the butchered bits and drilling out the sheared bolts is left as an exercise for the reader.

      There's also this problem.

    2. xanda

      Re: RIP Haynes

      "assembly is the reverse of disassembly"

      Roughly translates as "We're tired of having to write this now..." ;-)

      Still, using said manuals throughout the 90s to fix our big Japanese motorcycles meant we could run such beasts on a student/trainee budget.

      Despite some of the latter editions being of somewhat dubious quality and tricky to read at times, we for one were grateful time and again for the insight they offered; giving us a fighting chance to know whether or not the local garage was making a meal of things.

      A salute to John Haynes - it's a sad day to be sure.

  4. confused and dazed


    A Haynes manual was always the first purchase (along with a cassette deck) for any "new" car. You could barely read the pages in the one of my dad's Maxi 1750 for all the oily thumb-prints.

    But the most exasperating statement was always "now re-assembly in reverse order"

    1. Vulch

      Re: RIP

      I always tried to have two copies of the manual. One stayed in the house so I could have a quick read through before I started and the other was the garage copy that got covered in oil and eventually disintegrated. I think I got through 4 copies of the Morris Minor guide over the years...

      1. Christoph Silver badge

        Re: RIP

        I managed to just use the one for my first two cars - both were Half-Timbered Morris.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: RIP

      "You could barely read the pages in the one of my dad's Maxi 1750 for all the oily thumb-prints."

      I had a Maxi.....The best advice would be to keep the manual and throw away the car.

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: RIP

      I asked for "the service manual" when I bought my '82 Tercel, and they tossed me the Haynes. That was a very nice intro to the series.

      Haynes was hard to find in the US, being overshadowed by Clymers, but Clymers had horrid "pictures" which were usually an illegible puddle of ink, and the Haynes was either a diagram or a well-done photo, so they were worth the extra effort to track down.

      I remember a bookstore clerk giving me a Clymers, and being miffed that I wasn't satisfied with it, and arguing "what's the difference!?" - that was quickly settled when he did get the Haynes and compared them.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: RIP

        I have a Haynes manual for the last two vehicles I've owned, and a couple for ones I don't. (I ended up having to wrench on them for one reason or other.)

        The other US contemporary is the Chilton book, which is a gargantuan tome of information that is only needed if you are trying to completely re-build the car from the frame up, using parts found on eBay, the local auto parts store, junkyards, and the occasional visit to the stealership dealer.

        For the large part, they are a useful reference; my truck's skid plate, for example, isn't held into the frame by two different sets of bolts, which the haynes book says otherwise. *shrugs* they at least make life a little easier.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: RIP

          Yes, for the cars I've worked on, I always liked to have both the Haynes and the Chilton. It's helpful to have two perspectives on a given task.

          I've also made good use out of the Haynes small-engine book, keeping my lawnmowers and such running.

    4. Chz

      Re: RIP

      They did exist in North America, and I preferred the GM A-Body (Pontiac 6000, for my sins. Made a great winter beater though) Haynes manual to the Chiltern one.

      My "baby" was a BMW E24, and the Bentley guide was the gold standard there.

    5. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: RIP

      Oh, and don't forget "simply withdraw".

  5. Graham Newton

    Not always helpful

    My all time favourite was for a Fiat 128 3P :- "The manifold is held on by three bolts one of which is inaccessible"

    1. PerspexAvenger

      Re: Not always helpful

      Hey, that's advance warning that you're in "here be dragons" territory. I'd call that pretty helpful...

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Not always helpful

      This is true - engine removal was usually recommended!

      1. usbac

        Re: Not always helpful

        I have owned several Triumph Spitfires. The same thing applied with the inaccessible manifold bolts. To this day I don't know how the factory ever put the thing together!

        I had both the Haynes manual and the original British Leyland factory service manual. I don't know which one was worse?

        "This is true - engine removal was usually recommended!" I got really good at removing/re-installing the engine. I could drive the car into the garage, pull the engine/transmission, fix whatever little ting that required removing the engine, and drive it out about 2.5-3 hours later. About the 7th or 8th time you do it, you start to get good at it.

        The Spitfires were a nightmare to keep running, and I sure like the reliability of modern cars, but damn I miss those little cars... So much fun driving our mountain roads in the summertime with the top down.

        1. Oengus Silver badge

          Re: Not always helpful

          I had the Triumph Herald and Vitesse. They had the same basic design and the Herald had the same engine. We regularly changed motor and gearbox while we did maintenance on the originals. We also sometimes slipped the 2 litre 6 cylinder into the Herald instead of the 1200cc 4. We had about 6 engines and gearboxes available and 4 cars. In those days there was hardly a weekend that we weren't doing something on one of the cars. Finding a wreck with a 1300cc and 8 port head was a bonus. In the garage I still have the twin carbs from a 948 Coupe and another set from a spitfire (they are in a box beside the TR3a that is undergoing restoration using a Haynes manual as well as the original hardcover factory manual).

  6. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    "assembly is the reverse of disassembly".

    In my case it was assembly is the reverse of disassembly, followed by disposal of the spare parts which I seemed to have acquired from the process

  7. Alister Silver badge

    Ah, the Haynes Manual, always so optimistic:

    Haynes: Difficult to reach ...

    Translation: Assembled at the factory and never meant to be touched.

    Haynes: This is a snug fit.

    Translation: Clamp with molegrips then beat repeatedly with hammer.

    Haynes: This is a tight fit.

    Translation: Clamp with molegrips then beat repeatedly with a bigger hammer.

    Haynes: Lightly slacken...

    Translation: Start off lightly and build up till the veins on your forehead are throbbing then clamp with molegrips then beat repeatedly with hammer.

    Haynes: Prise off...

    Translation: Hammer a screwdriver into...

    Haynes: Undo...

    Translation: Shear off.

    Haynes: As described in Chapter 7...

    Translation: That'll teach you not to read right through before you start. Now you are looking at scary photos of the inside of a gearbox.

  8. wolfetone Silver badge

    Everyone buys a Haynes manual after buying their car. My old man did it, I still do it, everyone does it.

    What people don't say though is that if there isn't a Haynes manual for a car then that car isn't worth getting. I can confirm that the Peugeot 3008 that I'm stuck with until May doesn't have a manual for it, as there wasn't a demand for it (according to Haynes). It isn't coincidence that a car that's just pure crap doesn't have a Haynes manual for it.

    Even the Lada Riva has a Haynes manual! I should know, I bought a Lada a month ago and bought the Haynes manual for it a week later!

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      I bought a Lada a month ago and bought the Haynes manual for it a week later!

      Which was more expensive?

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        If you listen to my wife she'd tell you both were a waste of money!

      2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Which lasted longer?

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          The Lada's from 1976, so technically it's outlasting my marriage at the moment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      if there isnt a Haynes manual...

      "What people don't say though is that if there isn't a Haynes manual for a car then that car isn't worth getting."

      I utilized Haynes manuals EXTENSIVELY, but my last two vehicles have had factory service manuals online, and great technical forums which often describe with more pictures and in greater detail than a Haynes manual.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: if there isnt a Haynes manual...

        I got very grumpy when I discovered Haynes didnt cover every car- because inevitably the car I got would be one of them!!

        Having said that, those three cars covered over 500,000 miles with only one breakdown - inevitably it was at 5am, on the M25, heading for Gatwick!!

        I also have the rare privilege of John listening to me at an auto show many years ago, and the company producing a "Beginners Manual" based on that conversation; covering the basic skills they expected you to know, but that most teenagers with their first car hadnt got a clue about.

        Sadly no longer in print - I think they did it as a stop-gap before updating their exisiting range of car/bike manuals.

        I'll bet he is up there taking apart the pearly gates and documenting every step.

    3. x 7

      How old is that 3008?

      As a rule they'd wait 3-5 years before publishing a manual, as before then there wouldn't be enough breakdowns to make it worthwhile

      Except for a Lada or Yugo..........(and don't forget they were all imported through Abbey Hill, just down the road at Lufton)

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        The 3008 was built in 2010. I just checked the Haynes website again and there's still no manual for it.

        As for the Lada, it's a 1976 Lithuanian import. So it's not doing too badly for an old Lada, although it's a non runner at the moment. it will be when I've done it up though!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "it's a non runner at the moment. it will be when I've done it up though!"

          Verb sap.

    4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Sadly, Haynes never wrote the manual for the Coupe Fiat (1995-2001) so I and Joe Knight wrote one instead :)

      From the number of coupes remaining and the number of manuals we've sold, I reckon about one in three owners also has the book.

      1. jake Silver badge

        They say memory is the first to go ...

        1994-2000, Shirley?

        (From memory; double-checked at

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: They say memory is the first to go ...

          My bad Jake; they were first for sale in the UK from 95 (I've had mine since then) but announced in 93 and released in Europe in 94.

          Though there are rumours still of half a dozen still unregistered but allegedly for sale in the Far East.

  9. 335/113

    A light tap with a rawhide mallet may be necessary

    A useful euphemism when something will inevitably end with blood and breakage.

    Happy days reassembling Bonneville gearboxes. A pint of ambrosia!

  10. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    When the WAFUs at the local airstation (RNAS Yeovilton) got an interesting bit of new automotive kit, they used to take it down to the boys at Haynes for a chat.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      They also do MoTs and servicing which I didn't know until I had to tow my mates TVR there. More surprisingly they got it working.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        They may have gotten it working, but for how long? It's a TVR after all.

      2. x 7

        "They also do MoTs and servicing................"

        While it was in being serviced they'd strip it down and rebuild it............that's how at least some of the manuals were written

  11. Mycho Silver badge

    I lost a spanner

    The Haynes manual never told me how to reach down inside the car body and retrieve the spanner I lost while following its instructions to the letter.

    Still I tended to find them as much better than the manufacturer's guides. I think I actually once bought a car that came with one in lieu of the latter.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: I lost a spanner

      Following the Haynes manual, I replaced the engine in a Mini. Job done, we pushed the car out of the garage, whereupon a lot of oil came out of the bottom.

      What the manual understandably didn't tell you was to make sure after reassembly that you hadn't dropped a screwdriver down the back of the engine. As the car moved, the screwdriver became wedged between a CV joint and the gearbox casing. I then discovered that the back of the casing is thin alloy, concave to accommodate the CV joint with very little clearance. So now I had to take out the new engine and replace the gearbox.

      1. agurney

        Re: I lost a spanner

        I've always use Haynes manuals as guidance rather than gospel, though religiously buying one for every "new" purchase of a car or motorbike - they invariably paid for themselves after a few months of buying someone else's problems.

        I didn't lose a spanner, but found a dropped and lost screwdriver after a few years that had fallen between the radiator and fan (1960s or 70s mini, escort or transit van .. memory's a bit dim). The acrylic handle had been polished to 45 degrees and was a spit away from causing <shudder> grief </shudder>.

  12. jake Silver badge

    "DIY Generation"? WTF?

    I rather suspect that my Grandads (both born in the 1880s) would take exception to the thought that DIY didn't exist prior to 1956's Haynes Manuals.

    I have a couple dozen dog-eared, grease & oil stained editions in my bookcase. Thank you John, you did a very good thing. RIP

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: "DIY Generation"? WTF?

      Agreed. I recall using a DIY manual to do extensive maintenance on a Lambretta in about 1960.

      At the time I occasionally consulted a fat hardback called something like Automobile Engineering that belonged to my father. I'd guess he bought it in the early 50s, but it must have been published between the wars. It contained photographs of a very short-haired chap wearing roomy bib-and-brace overalls and an immaculate white shirt. One of the jobs he was shown doing was passing a car mudguard through a massive roller to remove a dent.

  13. Simon Tappin

    Another hero gone :(

    Loved the manuals and they bring back many good and bad memories. RIP fella.

  14. defiler Silver badge

    Nobody's mentioned a Haynes ToolTip?

    This is usually a complex process in itself, yielding nothing more than a piece of elaborate scrap that will still fail to do the job, prompting the amateur mechanic to say "oh sod it" and source the manufacturer tool...

    "The cam cover gasket may be replaced without removing the engine from the frame" (or similar such words) meant that my Honda Blackbird pissed oil everywhere until I could bring some proper time to bear on it and drop the engine out. Getting that big gasket into place with about 4mm clearance was a sod of a job that in the end failed.

    Still, I tend to get the Haynes manual when I can. As the article says they tend to be more practical than the manufacturer ones.

    1. micheal

      Re: Nobody's mentioned a Haynes ToolTip?

      Ditto trying to remove the rocker cover on a CB400Four F1 Super Sport

      Not worked on my BB yet aside brakes and oil changes, so will look forward to that one

  15. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    First remove the engine...

    And similar. Memories of many happy hours trying to reconcile the image of shiny clean metal with the rust and mud-caked structures under my car.

    If only there was a Haynes Manual for life.... {sigh}

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: First remove the engine...

      There are!


      Modern Man

      Large Hardon Collider

      I can personally recommend the third.

      Unless you're into classics, the car manuals are of limited use, as modern cars can no longer be fixed with an adjustable spanner, screwdriver and hammer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: First remove the engine...

        I can personally recommend the third.

        That one may have a bit of a cock-up on the spelling

        1. Chris Miller

          Re: First remove the engine...

          I was wondering who would spot that, Wilson.

      2. JimmyPage Silver badge

        Re: First remove the engine...

        The Apollo one is brillliant ...

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: First remove the engine...

      This the life one...

      Baby Manual (3rd edition)

      Conception to two years. All models covered.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: First remove the engine...

        I read the author's name and thought "Wow is there no limit to that Bank's genius if he even wrote "manuals" like that"... And then remembered Iain != Ian

  16. Gergmchairy

    one that stuck with me, when replacing a heater matrix in a Ford Escort..

    2. Remove Dashboard.

    nightmare, but i would never have done it without the Haynes Manual!

    Beer for John..

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "one that stuck with me, when replacing a heater matrix in a Ford Escort..

      2. Remove Dashboard."

      You _could_ perform that task in the mark1&2 without that step, but it was definitely easier and much quicker if you did.

      As a radio tech I was tasked with installing kit in a civil defence wagon that entailed dismantling the entire dashboard with lots of haynes references, photos sketches, notes and parts placed along a workbench. The boss walked into the garage, panicked and called in a motor mechanic who put it all back together (using the factory workshop manual) whilst neglecting to fit the aircon ducts - so I had to dismantle it all over again to put those in.

      The interesting thing about that particular vehicle (late 1980s Vauxhall Carlton) apart from the wheelbase being 1 inch shorter on one side than the other was that I used 20 more screws putting the panels back together than came out of it. The thing was noticeably less rattly afterwards but it always pulled to one side.

  17. David Pearce

    I often feel like the main dealers know less about a modern car than I used to know from reading a Haynes.

    These days if the computer diagnostics doesn't identify the problem you have had it, even with a totally non-electrical fault.

  18. x 7

    I can remember meeting him briefly years ago: my father did the brickwork for what was then the new the office in Ilchester (they've since moved on to the current site)

    Seemed a nice bloke. One of my schoolmates wrote some of the early manuals, especially for the bikes - he thought the same about him.

  19. cosymart

    The most useful bit...

    To remove X remove the 5 bolts holding Y - I could never find, let alone remove the 5th bolt! as it was invariably in a location that required an ambidextrous orang-outang with a swivel joint for a wrist :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The most useful bit...


  20. GlenP Silver badge

    I had the manuals for all my earlier vehicles, and did a lot of the work on them. I gave up once I got a car that was all electronics and decided it was safer to leave things to the professionals with the diagnostic kit.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      I gave up once I got a car that was all electronics ...

      For me it was not the electronics, but the slide into "too technical for a mere amateur" territory. Back in the day, they would have instructions for a (say) full gearbox overhaul - complete with all the settings/measurements/etc. I mostly gave up on them some time ago when the (for example) gearbox section comprised of words to the effect of "not a DIY job".

      1. jake Silver badge

        The factory does it on purpose.

        And it's getting worse.

        Consider my Father's Nissan Altima. At around 65K miles, the silly thing refused to shift from park into drive. Dad, not being the clueless sort, found the safety switch over-ride and got himself and Mom home safely. I wandered over the following weekend to figure out what was wrong with the thing. After a little simple troubleshooting, it turned out to be a microswitch that (combined with another switch on the brake) applied power to a solenoid that moved a lever that allowed shifting out of park. A 49 cent part.

        Except Nissan won't sell me one. They insist on selling the complete shifter assembly "because the old one might be worn out and a safety hazard". At somewhere north of $600+labor. So I pulled the microswitch, with the intent of finding one that I could install in its place. When I got it out, I demonstrated my circuit tester to my youngest niece (she was 6 at the time, and an aspiring mechanic), only to discover that the fscking thing worked normally out of the car!

        We got to looking at the problem, and discovered that the metal actuator arm on the microswitch had become bent with wear. I bent it back and re-installed it in the car. Result: working car and successful unexpected lesson for my niece. Win-win.

        It went out again 70K miles later. I re-bent the part, taking note that there was no appreciable wear on any of the other shifter components after 135K miles ... the shifter assembly that the Stealer insisted had to be replaced, mind you.

        Total cost to my parents: $0/parts, $0/labor, and 2 mom-cooked meals for the wife and I. The Stealer would have charged just about $1,600 for the two repairs ... and they tell me this is NORMAL for modern cars!

        A quick glance at TehIntraWebTubes suggests that this is a generic problem with the Altima, and has been for years. Nissan is well aware of it, and could have fixed it permanently over a decade ago at ZERO ADDED COST OF PRODUCTION! Now ask me why I'm sticking to 1970ish and earlier restorations. At least the old car set is (mostly) honest.

  21. confused and dazed

    Wheeler dealers version of reality

    The Haynes manual must have been the inspiration for "wheeler dealers". The fantasy that un-doing a 30 year old Alfa Romeo bolt by hand with a drop of easing oil is very attractive ..... but it is just that, pure fantasy ....

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Wheeler dealers version of reality

      Ed uses damn WD40 like he's sponsored by it ... he has no need of real penetrating oil as WD40 is magic. You notice how the bolt threads are never dirty when he tries to undo them for the first time? A light squirt of WD40 has washed years of rust and grime away!

      I admit to having manuals for my vehicles and yes, they are greasy. It's interesting how closely the content of the early Range Rover one matches the genuine workshop manual - whether the manufacturers had input into Haynes or Haynes had a hand in producing manufacturer's manuals I'm not sure.

  22. Nunyabiznes

    Good man gone

    I have quite the collection of Haynes (and Chilton's) manuals. They might not be comprehensive, but they are certainly helpful. Sometimes just having the firing order handy is worth the price.

    I gave my non-mechanical son a Haynes for his car when he went away to college. I take great pleasure in asking him if he RTFH when he calls me with issues. :)

  23. Laura Kerr

    Still have the ones for my old bikes

    Including the one for the BSA A65, complete with its deathtrap brake maintenance instructions.

    The manual was spot on for the engine, but the cycle parts were a different matter. The Haynes manual blithely stated that the brake shoes were interchangeable. They weren't, as I found out after nearly going under a bus when the brakes suddenly faded. I couldn't work out WTF was wrong with them.

    Then I found an original A65 handbook at a swapmeet. There was a whole section devoted to maintaining the brakes, including diagrams that showed the brake shoes had offset liners. Once I'd found a set of original shoes, they worked just fine.

    Good manuals generally, though. Saved me a fortune back in the day.

    RIP John.

  24. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    1969's Landy (LWB) + haynes manual = great fun.

    Landies was designed to be repaired in situ no matter where you were, something that helped a lot.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      I had a '72 LWB, very early Series III.

      Trying to match the parts actually fitted with the manual could be interesting though as Landies weren't so much updated as evolved over time.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        >Trying to match the parts actually fitted with the manual could be interesting though as Landies weren't so much updated as evolved over time.

        That Discovery must have been painful...

    2. m0rt Silver badge

      Using nothing more than a single adjustable spanner and a pair of pliers/molegrips.... I was told.

      I really miss my swb Series 3. Who knew that leaf springs = easy to take speedbumps at speed*.

      *for a given value of 'speed'

    3. david 12 Bronze badge

      I had the LWB MKII from 1969, and the factory manual was very good (they told the parent company that we were a 'dealer' to get us a copy). And I can't remember the other publisher of the good m/c and Toyota manuals I had. For stuff that I owned, all I can say about the Haynes manuals is that they made the competition look good.

  25. Red Ted

    When changing bearings

    I have indelible (note: not fond!) memories of changing wheel bearings on various motorcycles, and always reading the line "Tap out the bearings with a suitable sized drift" with a sense of foreboding as it was now Sunday afternoon and I needed the machine to get me to work on Monday.

    1. myhandler

      Re: When changing bearings

      Ah the drift - do people still use that word?

      Got a couple of promising ones in my toolbox but not sure they'll find a use now.

      1. micheal

        Re: When changing bearings

        Drift was always read as "broken screwdriver or 1/2 drive ratchet extension"

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: When changing bearings

          An old valve works well as a drift for removing bearing races.

          Hint: skinny end down!

          1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

            Re: When changing bearings

            Not Spitfire (Merlin) ones though ... I really wouldn't want to hit one of those with a hammer

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: When changing bearings

              Then it's a good thing not many of us have a Merlin engine in need of bearing replacement. If you DO have that luxury, you could do worse than talk to my friends down at 51 Factory. And you thought Silly Con Valley was just about computers.

  26. Toltec

    Optional instructions

    To remove the cambelt drain the coolant system before slackening the water pump bolts and rotating the water pump to release the tension on the belt.


    Slackens water pump and turns, three drips of coolant later the bolts are nipped back up and the belt is loose.

    Reassembly performed in reverse order.

    I did shear one of the cambelt cover bolts, then snapped the lug with the hole for the bolt off while trying to drill bolt remnants and use a stud remover. Cue making a new bracket bolted to another handy lug to replace broken lug.

  27. vulcan

    If the Haynes manual took 2 or more pages to describe a repair it would take minutes to complete, if the repair was one paragraph the repiar would take a week or was impossible!

  28. myhandler

    Mr Haynes should have been knighted.

    (but with a torque wrench obvs.)

  29. Stork Bronze badge

    My favourite was "How to keep your car alive "

    Had the manuals for Ford Sierra and pug 309

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: My favourite was "How to keep your car alive "

      I had a collection of over 20 Haynes manuals, but was forced to leave them behind when we moved to a smaller house - the family said "Dad - you are never going to fix any of those cars again" - I promised not to fix any 1970's Fiats ever again - although I could probably fix them without a manual - but the odd pre-electronic Mercedes or Volvo might get a look in.

      Can't remember which car, but my favourite Haynes instruction was "Using Ford tool XY7/900695* - or any suitable piece of wood" - this was around 1976 - so probably an Escort of some kind.

      * Obviously after 50 years, this number may be remembered incorrectly.

  30. Milton Silver badge

    Never a word about the jam jar though

    Having painstakingly reassembled the engine of my Honda CB250 after a crankshaft bearing ground itself to filings—and I mean pains-taking, for I had to drill out some sheared bolts using a reverse-thread extractor, learning as I went at the age of 17: yes, I am that old—I got it running, and managed another several thousand miles on the thing.

    But the manual said not a word about the jam jar half full of bits left over at the end.

    I will never know where those few nuts, springs and curiously-shaped parts were supposed to go, or the difference they should have made ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never a word about the jam jar though

      The manual for replacing the balance shafts on a superdream left out the "put the offset lobes at 180 degrees to the crank lobes"

      cue vibrating engine when restarted

  31. TWB

    Mini flywheel

    I remember reading and re-reading the instructions about removing the flywheel and how you had to use a special tool and it might come off with a bang. We had the engine out so it should have been easy but after 3 hours and my dad on the end of a 3 foot pole and me bracing the engine I re-read and noticed a rather incidental line 'remove the drive washer' - a comparatively small part which was holding everything together..... Once removed the flywheel then came off with a proper bang - my dad thought it had shattered at first.

    Like many here I had 2 mini manuals - a clean one for reading indoors in the evening and the oily one for use in the workshop. I got others for later cars and I'd get one for my current car but they don't do one for my model...

  32. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    In our family, after my Dad spent a week in the garage trying to remove the cylinder head of a Triumph Dolomite following Haynes’ instructions, the phrase “Removing the studs should present no difficulty” became a euphamism for any seemingly-easy task that would end up taking longer than expected.

    1. Oengus Silver badge

      I seem to remember the nightmare of the Dolomite head. The alloy would weld itself to the head studs making it impossible to remove. On one we resorted to smashing the alloy head into small pieces so we could remove the head studs and used a replacement head we had when reassembling.

  33. osakajin

    Shame they are now printed on recycled toilet paper for "environmental resons".

  34. Pangasinan Philippines

    I always remembered

    The tool for centering the clutch plate on an Austin A35 gearbox/engine was 18G139.

    For some reason that number is etched into my brain.

    We just used a splined shaft from another engine.

    1. Da Weezil

      Re: I always remembered

      An early rite of passage for me was demolishing a broken BMC A series gearbox to liberate the input shaft for use as a clutch aligning tool.

      Had Haynes for most of my cars, from the MK3 Zephyr 6, The various Vauxhall Ventoras and rusted out Jags until the price of petrol moved me down to more modest 4 cylinder cars.

      Currently I am haynesless, I should investaigate if there is a the Skoda Octavia VRS TD book. I have VCDS for diagnostic work.

      I did a Govermnent TOPS course in the mid 70's in a VW/Audi dealership where the workshop foreman told me that in my lifetime his "instinct and experience" method of fault diagnosis would be forgotten and it would all be done by computer, and that more likely whole assemblies would be swapped out rather than a "proper strip down and repair" They already had (possibly for the new (watercooled !) Golf) some form of VW diagnostic kit bolted to the wall - it was huge compared to the wheeled Crypton unit many garages had, Simpler happy times.

  35. Richard_Sideways

    No User Serviceable Parts Inside.

    Many a 'happy' hour trying to decipher the location of some bolt head from an black and white close-up photograph with absolutely no other distinguishing features... or hunting around for a lost nut or spring which just went pinging off into the darker recesses of the engine-bay, probably wedging itself into some critical cranny to be ground to smithereens on starting. Opening the bonnet on my latest car I have a brightly coloured cap for screenwash and a big plastic cover which may as well have 'EINGANG VERBOTEN!' written on it in Gothic for all the spannering I'm expected to tackle.

  36. drewsup

    R.I.P Mr Haynes

    Your advice helped me beyond mention with all the Saab's I've owned, tool pictures were especially helpful as never having seen a tri-lobed socket before, I was able to make one with standard socket and big ass file . Hats off to you Sir!

  37. BugabooSue

    With the occasion bit copied from the Factory Manuals

    I still find it funny that in the official workshop manual for the Triumph Bonneville T140V/TR7V, it had a diagram of how to adjust the primary chain printed upside down.

    The Haynes manuals said that they were “Not just a rewrite of the official manuals”, and there was the exact same diagram - upside down!! :D

    Why so funny, to do it the way the diagram showed - you would have to invert the ~400lb (dry weight) ‘Bonnie’ and stand it on its handlebars and seat - just like you would if you wanted to change the tyre on a bicycle...

    To John and his family, thank you for all the help over the years.

    My condolences. Another Great Man has passed.

    Best Wishes, Susi.

  38. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I don't suppose they ever did one for the BSA Bantam. MOT was a strip-down and rebuild. David Brown's facilities were used for taking the crankshaft apart & reassembling (the roller bearings tended to go hexagonal). We also had an old paint tin which was the exact size for compressing the spring to take the clutch apart. I was/am short-sighted and dad was long-sighted so he never believed I could read the colours marked on the circuit diagram on the tiny little handbook. Once when he took a bike in for MOT he made a note of where the tyre valves were. When he came to pick it up the bike hadn't been moved - the mechanic knew it was in top condition - as much as a Bantam can be.

    Years later I took my MGB head into a garage to get the valve seats re-cut (the blow-back through a carburettor eventually set the air filter on fire). There was a Banty leaning against the wall and it took me ages to work out why it looked different. One of the very early ones with the solid back end.

    1. jake Silver badge

      BSA Bantom manuals.

      Dr. S ... They DID write a Haynes Manual for the Bantam.

      While I've got your attention, you might want to visit this site and download everything for your "do not delete" archive. You never know, you might actually find one and want to restore it someday.

      Before you pooh-pooh that, my Wife found a Yamaha DT-1 for me to restore for her ... I had no idea, but she had wanted one in the early '70's, when her brothers were racing Hodakas and Bultacos. Hers showed up at a garage sale here in Sonoma ... A roller with non-seized motor & trans, and not one but two parts bikes, all of which had been stored out of the weather since the late 1980s.

      I say above that I was going to restore it for her (in her mind), but I managed to convince her to do most of the work herself. Was fun, if occasionally frustrating for both of us ... but today she can troubleshoot fuel or wiring problems, replace the clutch or rebuild the carb, do the brakes or repair a puncture, etc. with no help. Recommended!

  39. ninjakidd


    Without a doubt, any new vehicle I've brought, a Haynes manual is purchased not long after. Brilliant books which has helped me untold amount of times. I just wish all the pictures were in colour, that would made life even easier, but increases production costs and I guess the books would of been a lot more expensive. YouTube has taken over from Haynes manuals for me now.

    RIP Mr Haynes.

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