It says here... "Process for filling grave is reversal of excavation."
February 11, 2019 4:37 PM   Subscribe

John Haynes, saviour of amateur car mechanics everywhere, has passed away. Before an endless sea of YouTube car repair videos made it possible to watch someone else change a suspension bushing or bleed their brakes, stabbing at the screen with greasy fingers to pause the clip while you followed it step-by-step in your own driveway, John Hayne's manuals democratized the process of car repair, from the bland to the exotic. From my first car onwards they've saved me grief, brought joy to my grandfather, mirth to my friends, and helped keep countless cars running.
posted by MarchHare (46 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
And if you think the casket maker who gets an order for a coffin with exposed transparent cutaway cross-sections is going to feel puzzled, imagine how the mortician will feel.
posted by MarchHare at 4:38 PM on February 11 [8 favorites]

RIP Mr. Haynes, I have used your manuals to good effect on many occasions. Youtube videos don't really compare.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:41 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

His MGB Automotive Repair Manual is perhaps the greatest work of fantasy in the modern era.

posted by 1adam12 at 4:44 PM on February 11 [23 favorites]

Oh man his BMW 2002 repair manual saved my ass many, many times. Godspeed, Mr. Haynes.
posted by saladin at 4:44 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

I owned a '71 VW bus...Haynes was one of 3 indispensable manuals that helped me rebuild the engine from the ground up.

Also +1 for the title!
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:50 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

I've said before: The dirty and dogeared Haynes manual sitting on the shelf in the garage is the true dark soul of the innocent-looking project car. Haynes manuals have gotten me into and out of many different kinds of trouble, I'll always have space for them on my bookshelf.

Reassembly is just the reverse of disassembly is the "one hand clapping" koan of the wrench and socket socity. There is great truth hidden there, for those who dare to look, pick up a wrench and keep going until you find enlightenment.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 4:54 PM on February 11 [5 favorites]

And for your kids, there's always the Haynes Bob the Builder manual.
posted by clawsoon at 4:54 PM on February 11

Haynes was one of 3 indispensable manuals that helped me rebuild the engine from the ground up.

Bet I can name the other two!

But yea, this guy did the world a service.

posted by RolandOfEld at 4:56 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

posted by Hutch at 5:04 PM on February 11

It's probably co-incidence, but every vehicle for which I've bought the Haynes manual has for some reason gone to the car graveyard shortly thereafter.

(not due to my wrenching, just for some other reason, like I sold it to someone else who crashed it, or it became so rusty as to be unsafe).
posted by some loser at 5:06 PM on February 11

TO HELL with using Youtube videos as a replacement for learning to read a freaking manual.

"hi, my name is joebob youtube, and today we're going to talk about blah blah blah blah i started public speaking without a script and I can't stop also here's an unrelated story and also editing exists but I know nothing about this"
posted by twoplussix at 5:10 PM on February 11 [11 favorites]

Although I think Youtube now has speed control so you can speed up the Guy Who Needed Video Editing Skills and get past the less-relevant parts.
posted by twoplussix at 5:12 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

posted by dudemanlives at 5:16 PM on February 11

I sold my twenty one year old Geo Prizm last summer with the Haynes manual and the shop manuals in the trunk. I think I only opened the shop manuals once because the Haynes covered everything I needed. Similarly for three or four other cars I worked on over the years. I got lazy recently and started taking my cars to the mechanics because they really do usually do a quicker better job, but Haynes has saved my bacon more than once, especially on a cross country trip. RIP.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:25 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

At school, because it's the 50th anniversary year, the big sophomore design project is themed around the moon landing. Today I got to the lab and discovered to my delight that someone had picked up a set of these Haynes manuals.
posted by range at 5:29 PM on February 11 [6 favorites]

posted by introp at 5:51 PM on February 11

posted by monopas at 6:00 PM on February 11

I never thought about there being an actual Mr Haynes, anymore than there is/was probably a person named Clymer. He certainly had a real impact, and I have used many of the manuals.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:13 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Like Dip Flash, I didn't realize there was a Mr. Haynes, but:


As a newish shade tree mechanic, I've gotten as much or more out of the Haynes manual for my project car than the actual service manual, even though the latter is more comprehensive. Making knowledge like that accessible always warms my heart.
posted by invitapriore at 6:19 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

He certainly had a real impact

Especially when one* throws the manual at a wall because a couple of parts just won't come apart/go together right.

*Not I, of course...
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:20 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

Also, for what it's worth, a lot of YouTube auto repair channels range from bad to dangerously wrong, but I'm really in love with ChrisFix's videos for sticking to the point, managing a good balance between detail orientation and big picture presentation, and breaking down things that I never thought I could do into a tractable action plan. It's because of that channel that I feel capable of eventually doing the transmission replacement I'm planning that I thought I'd have to defer to a real mechanic.

Also, bonus Philly accent.
posted by invitapriore at 6:23 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

The first car I ever really worked on, when I was 17, was made bearable by Mr. Haynes's masterwork, and relatively cheap parts. Saved at least a couple grand (this was the '90s) by doing brake caliper rebuilds myself, instead of paying mechanics' rate.
Didn't save my knuckles, but saved my meager savings.
posted by rp at 6:25 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

My current car is the first one I've owned for more than a couple months that I didn't have a Haynes/Clymer/both manual for. I was reflecting yesterday on how amazingly reliable cars have gotten. Looking back on cars I've owned from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s the progression is hard to grasp. My 60s car required constant wrenching; constant. I had both low beam headlights go out on my 2001 last week during my 3 hour commute and that was basically the first non baseline maintenance I've done on that car in two years.
posted by Mitheral at 6:50 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

YouTube videos are at their most valuable when you have something a Haynes manual doesn't quite cover the sub-model specifics of, like a Focus with the motor from a Volvo S40 T5 turbo, or a Fiesta with the much bigger motor out of a Focus. But otherwise it's Haynes all the way. My local library when I was a teen had racks and racks of oil-smeared Haynes books in their own special section that I always presumed kept the rest of the library's collection from contamination, and an adjacent photocopier that was always filthy.
posted by MarchHare at 6:53 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

My parents got me my first car - a 78 Chevy Malibu Classic - unceremoniously towed into the back yard, with a backseat full of parts and a Haynes manual in shiny shrinkplastic.

I owe so much to those books.

posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:56 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

posted by jim in austin at 7:50 PM on February 11

posted by Punkey at 8:53 PM on February 11

One nice thing is that if you sign up for an account on Autozone, they have a section under the help menu called "Vehicle Repair Guides" which is the Haynes (or maybe Chilton) manual for your car. Yeah, forums and Youtube videos are nice (I second ChrisFix), but nothing quite matches a Haynes manual.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:34 PM on February 11

1 Each angle bracket can be removed independently. Begin by removing the left angle bracket, then carefully, without grazing the curly bracket, remove the right.
2 Unscrew the two curly brackets, noting the order in which they attach to the backing plate on which the pipe is fixed, and place to one side.
3 It should now be possible to carefully slide the pipe down and to the left, leaving the full stop.

Thanks, John, for giving me the confidence and knowledge to tackle first a pretty specific and very daunting task, and then to do all kinds of other stuff throughout my life. Being able to pull apart, fix, and reassemble a bike engine, (something that I'd thought well beyond the abilities of ordinary folks) at a fairly precocious age radically changed my attitude to all sorts of obstacles I was to encounter later. I'm sure I'm not alone in that.
posted by GeckoDundee at 9:36 PM on February 11 [9 favorites]

If you can't figure out how to disassemble a car's suspension using the Haynes manual, for the love of your fingers, do not touch the suspension. Youtube is not your friend.

The Haynes manual is not difficult to read, and if it seems daunting, there are other things you can do in a workshop to get the kind of skills that will let you take a car apart with the Haynes manual. But for the love of Cthulhu, don't rely on Youtube for this.

RIP, Mr. Haynes. You saved me $4000 by helping me replace an entire Honda engine.
posted by ocschwar at 9:59 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Not to mention that Haynes' illustrations are an order of magnitude clearer and more useful than ill-lit and shaky phone cam videos are.

RIP, Mr. Haynes. I think I've owned your Volvo 240, Mazda 626 and Peugeot 405 books and they've saved me both money and sanity.
posted by Harald74 at 10:42 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.

I gave the Haynes NASA Saturn V Owner's Workshop Manual as a gift last year and it's really great.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:43 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

I owned the 1982 Datsun 210, 1989 Jeep Comanche pickup, 1990 Toyota pickup manuals. Starters, radiators, brakes, gaskets, even just basic maintenance. I think I learned how to do an oil change as a teenager in the early 90s from the 210 Haynes manual.
posted by not_the_water at 11:51 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

I have used Haynes manuals at least three different times to repair cars and I've never even owned a car.

Also, Haynes manuals are great for the more difficult stuff. When he starts using words like "challenging" you know you're in for some skinned knuckles and enough swearing to make Father Ted feel sheepish. I remember doing the splines and transmission shafts on VW truck and he had some snarky comment about how much of a pain in the ass it was, just in that super dry understated style.

The hexbolts on those drive shafts were indeed a huge pain in the fucking ass. Like astronaut grade fiddly work trying to make sure the shafts were seated, engaged and orientated correctly while desperately trying to finger-tighten six hex bolts in far enough to catch and hold it all together, all while blind and contorted at bizarre angles.

If it wasn't for that manual and the tip of which hex bolt to seat and thread first I never would have got it.
posted by loquacious at 1:19 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]

Haynes manuals were great. Past tense, because there are no Haynes manuals for my last two Subarus, one of which was a 2013, and the other a 2017. I notice the shelf space for the books at my local auto parts stores has pretty much disappeared. Not being able to use the Haynes book to see the procedure for a repair I'm contemplating has me taking work to the dealer more than I ever did before.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:53 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

I don't think I've ever owned a car that I didn't have the manual for. Even though I never had much money when I was younger I would go and get it every time I got a car. It was going to pay off.
posted by bongo_x at 2:20 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

The best piece of automotive repair advice I ever got was my friend's father telling me, "Go get yourself a Haynes manual; those Chilton ones are for shit, " when I was struggling through a drive axle replacement on my 82 VW Rabbit when I was a teenager.

Every car that I have bought since then until my current one I have always made sure that I had the Haynes manual for as well. Rest in piece, Mr. Haynes. You saved me thousands of dollars and gave me the confidence to do my own repair work.
posted by KingEdRa at 2:47 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]

You can look at the procedure for pretty much anything in those manuals and make a quick decision about whether it seems like something you are comfortable tackling yourself, and you'll almost always make the right call. That's quality, that is.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:17 AM on February 12

posted by automatronic at 3:18 AM on February 12

I have owned a few cars where having the Haynes manual saved my wallet and sanity.
posted by coppertop at 4:56 AM on February 12


As a person who has always had limited means (poor is a pejorative term), I thank you Mr. Haynes, and your contribution to my ability to make it to work, though not always on time.
posted by evilDoug at 7:32 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Mr. Haynes and his 1975-1992 VW Rabbit, Jetta, etc manual taught me how to replace alternators, clutches, and a variety of other minor issues. He kept my beloved Mikail alive for longer than I ever believed possible and when my darling 87 Jetta when to his final resting place, I kept the Haynes manual in rememberance.

When my husband and I started dating, he saw the manual on my bookshelf and said he knew right then that I was a keeper.

Thanks so much for all the help, Mr. Haynes.
posted by teleri025 at 7:58 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

Me + Haynes Manual vs 1975 diesel SWB Landrover cured me of ever wanting to tinker with cars again.

posted by scruss at 9:23 AM on February 12

Haynes branched out a few years ago, probably because fewer people repair their own cars today. I have manuals for the Boeing 747 and B-52, the Douglas DC-3/C47, and the de Havilland Comet. These are not so much workshop manuals but show the design, engineering, and operation. They also have manuals for various other aircraft, ships, tanks and other stuff that guys love.
posted by leaper at 10:10 AM on February 12

Haynes was one of 3 indispensable manuals that helped me rebuild the engine from the ground up.

Bet I can name the other two!

The Bentley official service manual and the Compleat Idiot, for those keeping score at home. All 3 had different pictures/instructions/explanations, which turned out to be frequently useful since I had never done that kind of work before and was utterly clueless. I might have been able to do it with just the Haynes, but having all 3 gave me the warm fuzzies I needed to tackle the job.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:28 PM on February 12

when I was struggling through a drive axle replacement on my 82 VW a Rabbit when I was a teenager.

This is pretty much the exact job I'm describing above. Such a pain in the butt. It made doing the hubs, bearings, rotors and calipers and even bleeding the brakes and cylinder on an old Ford F150 seem like a walk in the park.
posted by loquacious at 12:54 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]

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