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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Replacing the Achieva's radiator (and yet another rant on Haynes manuals)

Spent a lot of yesterday swapping out the radiator in Kelly's Oldsmobile. It wasn't an easy task, and predictably, replacing the radiator in an Oldsmobile Achieva with a Quad Four is a lot harder if you try to do this the way the Haynes manual says to do it. For example, the manual states that you should remove the radiator fan, and that you can simply unbolt the fan and drop it out through the bottom of the engine compartment. Wrong. After a couple hours of fighting with that fan, I finally realized that it isn't physically possible to pull the fan out of the Achieva's engine compartment if both the radiator and the engine are in place. There is literally not a single gap it will fit through without cutting the front subframe up with a Sawzall. So I finally pushed the fan back and as far down as it would go, and gained enough space to pull the radiator out the top of the car.

This morning, I checked on Alldata, which is more or less transcribed from the factory service manuals. The procedure they give for removing the radiator fan shows the Hayes manual left out a critical piece of information: The only good way to remove the radiator fan on a Quad Four powered Achieva is to unbolt the front motor mount and push the engine back.

I mentioned this to a co-worker, and he noted that in the Subaru world, Haynes is notorious for leaving out a key note in the timing belt directions that results in one part being installed 180 degrees out. I can understand making a mistake. What I can't understand is that, when this mistake was brought to their attention, Haynes neither chose to come up with a second edition nor even include an errata insert noting this. Protecting a reputation is vital to ensuring your product's success. If you don't make sure your repair guides are accurate, word will get out, and people will turn to competition. That's why I make a point of buying factory service manuals instead, although this is the first time I've personally encountered a Haynes manual botch a description so badly that their procedure isn't physically possible. The Haynes manual came with the car, in case you were wondering.


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