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  #1  
Old 04-14-2003, 09:53 AM
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Are those CD Manuals useless or what?

All,

Just started (not finished though) the serpentine belt change on my 320CE.

Those CD manuals were next to useless........not even any good as coasters.

What I don't need after waiting 10 minutes for the PC to boot-up is to hear that all you have to do to complete the job is "remove, replace". A monkey could have provided more helpful instructions.

I thought the Haynes manual was hopeless......I'll look at it in a different light now....

In my industry (Aerospace) the Manuals are written by the least-skilled engineer, given the least amount of time and the absolute minimum budget...........looks like they work that way in Stutgart too.
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  #2  
Old 04-14-2003, 11:03 AM
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I hope someone points out a procedure you overlooked, because at this rate - I'll NEVER be convinced to buy the CD on ours. Watching this forum for over a year now, I've seen few kind words about this product, and have been stumbling along with the Haynes manual and lots of useful advice from the folks here. Makes me REALLY appreciate the quality of service manuals available from the Japanese parts departments.

Steve
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  #3  
Old 04-14-2003, 11:47 AM
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Sometimes it's good

I did my belt change from the information in the 107 manual. I have found that the manual is most helpful to an experienced mechanic. Everything isn't spelled out and I wouldn't call them excellent but it has helped me a lot and saved me thousands.
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  #4  
Old 04-14-2003, 12:27 PM
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I have never seen a manual that had everything in it.

The CD is all the manuals that were produced. (or almost) They were designed for professional technicians. From my point of view they spend too much time talking about disassembly and reassembly issues. A professional tech wishes theory of operation, wiring diagrams, and test procedures.

DIY requires assembling as much info as one requires. Much of this is considered basic to a trained technician. There are lots of places to find general and DIY info and once that is assembled you will require what is available no where else better...the CD manuals. Just the wiring diagrams, which are imposible to find in print in as complete of an assembly, would cost as much or more than the CD. Print the diagram in question and mark it up with crayon and when you figure out you did it wrong print another. Spill a beer on it (I mean spill a can of oil on it), print another. Tape them all together to form the whole car.

I very seldom use the CD because I very seldom use manuals for those old cars. When I need something I find it simple to find quickly in the CD. Sometimes the books are harder to find. The manuals are also much easier to use if you understand MB's number system.

No silver spoon here.
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  #5  
Old 04-14-2003, 12:42 PM
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The CD manuals are very useful for test procedures. Invaluable if you are working on the Injection systems, electronics etc.
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  #6  
Old 04-14-2003, 01:11 PM
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The primary problem with the CDs is the lack of a proper index. These basically amount to a set of scanned pictures of the paper manuals. This means one cannot search for anything, which is what a digital version should be best for.
If I have to wait for that stupid movie to load one more time, I will certainly scream. I have played with the idea of building my own index, but never invested the time.

I recently ordered a Haynes manual for my 124 from Britain. Other than occasional issues with the RHD and alternate engine differences, it is quite good.
It has easy-to-read wiring diagrams which usually match the US model.
I always grab it first, and go from there.

I also bought the 'Technibooks W124 Owners Workshop Manual', which is not very good. Lacks diagrams and detail.

Also bought the Bentley book, which is an interesting read, but more of a 'buyer's guide' than a workshop manual.

There would not be half as many posts on this board if folks had easy access to a proper manual. Too bad that MB feels the need for this to be a profit-center for them. They could build a real tech website for enthusiasts with older cars, and make money cross-selling cars/parts/merchandise/services etc. to their most loyal customer base.
Bet they would net more off this approach than they do on their lousy documentation! Goodwill begets goodwill begets profits...
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2003, 01:31 PM
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I'm sure that MB does not consider DIYers in its customer base. Neither their cars nor their manuals were designed for DIY.

I have utmost respect for an efficient DIYer, I have no pity for those who have no respect for the skill and intelligence necessary to work on the modern car.
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2003, 01:51 PM
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No need to watch the movie. If you have sufficient room on your hard drive, install the complete CD in it's own folder. Next, look through the folder for your specific manual, let's say "300E", the file you are looking for will be "300E chassis" or something similar, with the internet icon. Create a shortcut of that file and plop it on your desk top. Now when you want to work just double click that icon and you are right into the manual, no movie no selecting which model. Very quick If you don't have the room, find the file on the CD, make the short cut and leave the CD in the drive.

These manuals are great although indexing would make things quicker. Granted they are not written in a step by step process, which is what I think most folks want. The step by step is in the CD's if you read closely. The directions will say" remove XXXXXX (10-300), remove bolts holding the part in question, etc. That 10-300 refers you to the section of the manual where you'll learn how to remove the itm blocking what you need to replace.

It also helps to take some time and read through, or at least scan over as many pages of the manual as you possibly can. Makes finding the needed sections quicker in the future. Much easier to do with the books though.
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2003, 01:58 PM
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CD Manuals

I too am extremely disappointed in the CD manuals. I find them almost useless for parts identification and exploded diagrams. While us DIY'ers may be a small minority of MB owners, it would not cost MB anything to put _real_ manuals in the parts book as something which could be ordered like any other part.

I've had Jags where I can get a shop manual that details everything down to every nut and bolt, and I have a CD for my BMW which does the same. The MB CD is barely one step beyond the Owner's Manual, IMHO.

I guess I will have to bit the bullet and buy the Stu Ritter book, even though it is reputed to be mediocre for the true DIY'er. To me it's a sin that good manuals can not be had from the OEM. Remember when GM cars included the postcard in the back of the owner's manual to order the shop manuals?

Chris W.
'93 500E awake from the winter sleep
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2003, 02:05 PM
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IMHO, skip the Stu Ritter book, and buy the Haynes instead.

You are right that other manufacturers produce high quality shop manuals that everyone can understand. Audi, some BMWs, and every Japanese car encountered so far come to mind. Even my Jeep has a good legible FSM.

Pictures can say 1000 words.

Actually, in this spirit, I picked up a paper 124 parts manual. This has exploded diagrams of everything. It's basically a paper version of the microfiche. Very helpful to have a diagram to go with the CDs. Puts the pieces together, and allows you to more easily request the proper parts.
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Last edited by csnow; 04-14-2003 at 02:13 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2003, 02:06 PM
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Although the Haynes manuals I have are definitely aimed at the DIY, the Integra shop manual I have and the Helm's for our G-30 m'home are designed to be used by the techs at the dealers - or any other pro. The Helm's is no model of organizational perfection, but it has never misled me, and always mentions any peculiarities with the chassis in question. The Acura manual is concise yet complete, and is a joy to use by any reasonably adept DIY or any shop.

If the CD contains fuzzy images and a belt-change procedure lists nothing more than 'remove, replace', I would call that a problem. A tech unfamiliar with the MB belt tensioning system could easily destroy it if there is no procedure and no description of its function. You can't expect to have a MB service center handy wherever you might run into trouble, and if the shop that does the work has only 'remove, replace' to go by...

Steve
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  #12  
Old 04-14-2003, 02:30 PM
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For those who think that it would be easy for MB to create a whole manual just for them, try www.startekinfo.com At $2500 a year just how much do you want. You people have no respect for the value of this info.

The website is a distinct improvement, but their manuals are built for their technicians and they haven't satisfied them yet.

Anyone who thinks BMW or Audi are doing it better, obviously doesn't work on these cars. The two worst systems going. The Jappanese have pretty nice manuals but you have to repeat everything for each year in their format. Maybe good for a personal car but no advantage to a shop.
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  #13  
Old 04-14-2003, 02:57 PM
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Alldatadiy.com is the best deal going. Something like $25 for the first annual subscription, then something like $15 to add annual subscriptions to additional vehicles. I have Alldata accounts on two Suburus, three Mercedes, and a Ford truck. They have paid for themselves and then some.

Subaru's service manual is several volumes thick. On some things it is great. On some (most?) things it is confusing, incomplete, and written in some dialect of English that is unfamilar to me. Lots of typos.
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  #14  
Old 04-14-2003, 05:23 PM
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I was going to recommend Alldata as well.

For the W124 86-95 the Bentley manual would be the way to go.

http://www.bentleypublishers.com/product.htm?code=gmob&subject=35&subsubject=0
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  #15  
Old 04-14-2003, 05:27 PM
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Here it is...
Attached Thumbnails
Are those CD Manuals useless or what?-bentley.jpg  
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