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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just curious ...

I just found my second Bentley (the electrical) which was lost in my recent move and, as I flipped through it, I realized how useless both Bentleys have been to me, over time, as compared to you guys here on Bimmerfest.

Is that your experience also?

That is, I generally look in the Bentleys before doing a job (e.g., I tried today to identify whether I had hydraulic or mechanical serpentine drive belt tensioners) ... and more often than not ... the Bentleys prove to be useless (or nearly so). (See example thread here.)

Do you find the Bentleys nearly useless (as compared to the DIYs here)?

 

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Freude am Fahren
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There's times it's freaking useless and times they're useful. Some stuff isn't covered here at all, and that's when they become useful.
 

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I have found mine very useful, both to myself as well as to quote info to members here that need assistance. Not being a mechanic by trade, as some here are, it reduces the learning curve on things that I have not done before on my car. It's not perfect, but when I need more in-depth info I come here or to other forums.
 

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Conservative Modder
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A lot of the stuff in the first volume is just plain wrong, example: check out the absurd instructions for changing out the front sway bar. I have never even used one sequence out of volume one, I just use it for stats and capacities et cetera. The forums are where I get my DIY sequences (and much better photos too).

The second volume is very useful in my opinion. The condensed circuit diagrams are essential, you won't find any of that stuff on this board.

Graham
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
volume one, I just use it for stats and capacities
Interestingly, I just posted a combined "12 fluids" stats in this thread ... almost all based on volume I (with windshield washer fluids and A/C oils and fluids from volume II). Some of the descriptions can't be correct because they're mutually exclusive (as noted).

Is this the right summary for the DOZEN fluids in the BMW E39?

BTW, if certain procedures are wrong, we should list them so that we can write in the Bentleys not to trust certain procedures:
As a start, I'll make the list here:
1. VANOS seals replacement (I think I read that the Bentleys were overly complicated ... needs to be confirmed)
2. Sway bar replacement
3. ??? what else is patently wrong in the Bentleys ???
 

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Funny, I always assumed everything in Bentleys was accurate. I find Volume 1 fairly useful as a reference but I usually follow DIYs posted online as they are more detailed and walk you through the entire procedure. Plus I can often query the original author, which is very helpful. I don't find Vol 2 very useful as I tend not to attempt to repair electrical issues.
 

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In the 1970, 1980, and early 1990, the Internet was not wide-spread yet, so Bentley and Haynes manuals served the purpose.

Now with the Internet all over the place and countless forums on any cars, soon or later these repair manuals will be less and less useful.
I have a rule of thumb: I will pay no more than $20 for a repair manual. Your other option is to subscribe to alldata.com and pay monthly fees and have access to all kinds of tech manuals.

Haynes is about $10-15/each
Bentley $110/each

Bentley/Haynes manuals Pro:
- Torque Values are good to have
- Factory electrical diagrams are good
- Good for engine rebuild

Bentley/Haynes manuals Con:
- Pics are B/W not color.
- Written by a few people, who are not more skilled than many of us wrenchers here.
- Very few tips and tricks

On the other hand, forums are written by the users and thousands of people with a wide array of experience.

The Forum Con is sometimes people post the wrong info.
The Forum Pro is the wrong info is usually corrected by others; it has tons of mods, tire experience, CCV, ICV, Vanos, DICE, the experience of people doing something wrong so you learn not to do it etc etc that you will never find in Bentley.

So the bottom line for me is: If Bentley was $20, I'd buy it; $110, no.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In the 1970, 1980, and early 1990, the Internet was not wide-spread yet, so Bentley and Haynes manuals served the purpose.
True. There were no "search engines" of the type we use today; nor the forums. As you said, forums can easily contain garbage; but they also contain jewels.

The thing the Bentleys don't keep up with are (a) they don't seem to cover the stuff that actually breaks that nobody expected to break (e.g., fsu, abs, windshield covers, vapor barriers, exploding radiators, vanos seals, etc.) and (b) they don't have the nice pictorial DIYs like the type YOU (cn90) write.

Anyway, I still reference the Bentleys, but, less and less and less. Right now, I need to find a DIY for serpentine belts, for example, and I go to the Bentleys only if I can't find it on the net for my model year car.
 

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I always

Read the Bentleys several times before approaching any repair...Then I read on bimmerfest the 'real' way, never hurts to be well versed in any repair you're gonna do. I find it useful and informative, that said, I'd rather find someone on here that has done the repair, it just gives you 'warm and fuzzies' ...plus the guys here are a big help!:thumbup:
 

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Funny, I always assumed everything in Bentleys was accurate. I find Volume 1 fairly useful as a reference but I usually follow DIYs posted online as they are more detailed and walk you through the entire procedure. Plus I can often query the original author, which is very helpful. I don't find Vol 2 very useful as I tend not to attempt to repair electrical issues.
Read the Bentleys several times before approaching any repair...Then I read on bimmerfest the 'real' way, never hurts to be well versed in any repair you're gonna do. I find it useful and informative, that said, I'd rather find someone on here that has done the repair, it just gives you 'warm and fuzzies' ...plus the guys here are a big help!:thumbup:
Helpful for me. Just because someone can annotate a few pics and post a DIY doesn't mean they know what they are doing. I use DIY's and Bentley together.
+1.
I find the Bentley very useful.
Just because you see a DIY on the forum, doesn't mean it is totally correct, and the right way to do the job.
And, I pray I never have to use the 2nd volume book.
 

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Helpful for me. Just because someone can annotate a few pics and post a DIY doesn't mean they know what they are doing. I use DIY's and Bentley together.
+1 Use both Bentley and Forum sources. Bentley doesn't have a word about CCV replacement, yet is helpful for removing radiators, door trim panels, headlights, bumpers and much more. Because Bentley tries to cover all E39 variations it can be incomplete or misleading however. For the OP, my '03 530 has mechanical tensioners and I replaced the one on the water pump/alternater side with a new mechanical tensioner from Pelican. Also bought a hydraulic tensioner and returned it for a refund when I realised which type I had. Don't see how there can be anything bad about the mechanical type as referenced in previous posts. It's only a sturdy looking spring with a plastic roller and bearing. The roller and bearing on a hydraulic tensioner could wear out as easily. Also, the spring is never going to leak. Just my two cents.
 

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xray...

how do you know if you've never had one...sure there is plenty online, but your perspective is pretty narrow minded, what if the person that wrote a DIY just happened to miss your model, or the differences between his car and yours, you get it halfway disassembled then realize the pics don't match up...then what?

Bentleys is a good resource, sure not every thing is covered, but you from reading it can get pretty damned close on almost every repair...Not PERFECT for everyone...but closer than anything else...
 

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how do you know if you've never had one...sure there is plenty online, but your perspective is pretty narrow minded, what if the person that wrote a DIY just happened to miss your model, or the differences between his car and yours, you get it halfway disassembled then realize the pics don't match up...then what?

Bentleys is a good resource, sure not every thing is covered, but you from reading it can get pretty damned close on almost every repair...Not PERFECT for everyone...but closer than anything else...
Wow, so I learned something new today, because my opinion differs from yours, I must be as you say "narrow minded"; that is an interesting conclusion to arrive at. You are not by any chance one those democrats that is going to save the American people from themselves?

If you feel you need to buy one then by all means go ahead, I am not stopping you.

But for me.....I have enough experience around cars and between what is available online..... it is good enough for me. The mere existence of this forum and the many other BMW forums with all the DIY information and the continual searching for solutions pretty much validates that there is limited value to the Bentleys.
 

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Tightrope walking
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I pulled out the entire wiring harness in my race car and the Bentley manual was invaluable for certain aspects of it. Sometimes you have to figure out that oddities are not the fault of the Manual, but because the car you're working on was a 'final run' type of vehicle - like my 7/95 build M3. In certain circumstances, the factory just puts in what they have on hand, which would explain why my power distribution matches perfectly with the chart for a 1996 318ti, and not a 1995 325i/M3.
 

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Wow, so I learned something new today, because my opinion differs from yours, ... "narrow minded"; that is an interesting conclusion to arrive at. ..
But for me.....I have enough experience around cars and between what is available online..... it is good enough for me. The mere existence of this forum and the many other BMW forums with all the DIY information and the continual searching for solutions pretty much validates that there is limited value to the Bentleys.
No, the narrow mindedness comes from the perspective that every DIY includes your model, and your specific build...Which others have cited as varying between model years.

I have NO experience at all, except, Auto tech in High School, Diesel Tech in community college, as a Diesel Mechanic, worked in an auto factory for 32 years in reprocess (repair garage), involved in motorcycle racing since I was 11 and raced seadoos, and helped Pit Crew Chief for several local sprint car Racers...so I have No experience...you have all the experience in the world...sorry if I offended you.

a book is a book, a guide,and resource for specs, not a definitive source, just like DIY's there is no place that has every DIY in the world...sorry.
 

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Wrenchin' fool ...
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I have found them invaluable over these last 20+years of BMW & Porsche ownership.

If nothing else ..the ohm/volt/torque values were/are worth the price of admission. For a casual DIY-er they may not cover the daily wear items but for cylinder head removal steps, transmission removal (3 BMW clutches ... and counting),engine removal,electrical wiring diagrams, cam timing, cam replacement, etc...they easily cover their cost IMHO.

Another book that was a "bible" in its day and I refer people to still is Charles Probst's Bosch Fuel Injection and Engine Management (Bosch). Invaluable if you own(ed) cars that were spanning the CIS/L & K Jetronic to Motronic world (especially late 1980's BMWs / Porsches with early motronic v 1/3 or 1.5, etc...)

If you have a money tree and farm out the big stuff then I can see them not being worth it.

FWIW
 

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No, the narrow mindedness comes from the perspective that every DIY includes your model, and your specific build...Which others have cited as varying between model years.

I have NO experience at all, except, Auto tech in High School, Diesel Tech in community college, as a Diesel Mechanic, worked in an auto factory for 32 years in reprocess (repair garage), involved in motorcycle racing since I was 11 and raced seadoos, and helped Pit Crew Chief for several local sprint car Racers...so I have No experience...you have all the experience in the world...sorry if I offended you.

a book is a book, a guide,and resource for specs, not a definitive source, just like DIY's there is no place that has every DIY in the world...sorry.
Still not clear to me why I am "narrow minded" because I don't hold the same opinion as you....but......

If you really feel I should have a Bentley then I will send you my address and you can buy me one and ship it to me:)

Please note that I never discussed what your experience was, I discussed my experience. I merely expressed my opinion that I feel I don't need the Bentley manual. I never said I had all the experience in the world either, but on the other hand, yes I do have quite a bit of "experience", this is not my first rodeo, so please do not put words in my mouth.

Not sure why feel you need to justify your opinion by referencing your experience which you apparently feel will persuade me; but rest assured you are not the only one on this forum that has decades of automotive experience.

To be clear I am not against shop manuals in fact I love them. Yes I have seen the Bentley manual and I am not a big fan. I have a great Service Manual for my Acura published by Honda that was only $60 and is well worth the price, in fact if BMW had a similar book as well made and for only $60 then I might consider buying it. My Acura Service Manual (all in one 3 inch thick book) includes great troubleshooting algorithms for both mechanical and electrical, SRS, suspension, engine, emissions, fuel, removal and reinstallation procedures, wiring diagrams, specs etc.

I can more than adequately determine what DIY references what vehicle, model, build etc., and once again I must point out the mere existence of the various forums and the DIYs done by the good folks here demonstrates the limitations of the Bentley manual. To me the there is little return on investment on the purchase of the Bentley, but hey, that is just me......anyone else on the planet who wants to layout $100+ dollars for the Bentley has my blessing.

As an example of what can be done without the Bentley manual.... I have successfully performed the following BMW maintenance/repairs on my car and friends' cars, mind you all of the below procedures are in my mind pretty easy stuff, after all it's only a car not a rocket ship! The only real tedious/annoying one was identifying the error in the factory, wiring harness during the install of a Bluetooth TCU as this took quite a bit of time tracing out wires and analyzing the system.

* Thrust arm replacement.
* Repaired MKIV navigation
* Besian Vanos seals on 2 cars, doing a 3rd car this summer
* Oil filter housing seal on 3 cars.
* O2 sensors
* Troubleshoot and identified incorrect wiring in original factory wiring harness in order to install a TCU
* Enable Voice Recognition in a TCU via navcoder
* Modify Navigation settings via navcoder
* Customized and updated MKIV operating system
* Installed ULF Bluetooth system
* Thermostat and water pump replacement
* Twisted seat fix
* Front and rear window trim on 2 cars
* Repaired leaking rear door seals
* Brake pads
* Idler pulleys x3
* Installed Euro armrest
 
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