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Is the Idiot's book really that valuable?
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OB Bus
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 2:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

The reason that many of our beloved air cooled VWs are still around is the Muir book. In 1972 I was 19 and the engine in my $450 63 bug gave out. If I had a $450 Datsun, Toyota, Dart or Chevy II instead the car probably would have gone to the junk yard. Too expensive to fix.

My Mother saw the Muir book in store and bought it for me. I had close to zero mechanical skills.

With Muir, a small box of tools (and a few rented tools), one scissors jack and about $175 I rebuilt the engine. Every night I would read ahead and set up my tools and parts. The next day I would work on the engine until noon, clean up and go to work for the afternoon. Repeat for 6 or 7 days and I had a running driving bug.

Yes the book is now very dated but it filled a critical need at that time. And it is still a good read.
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 3:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

If one thinks it is a bad manual , you have read too few manuals.
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KTPhil Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

OB Bus wrote:
Every night I would read ahead and set up my tools and parts. The next day I would work on the engine until noon, clean up and go to work for the afternoon. Repeat for 6 or 7 days and I had a running driving bug.


You hit the mail on the head here. As great as other manuals are, and despite being called "owner service manuals" they really are not. They have you jump into the repair sequence, and the parts and tools you may need only become evident as you go.

A shop can work that way, being equipped with tools and spares (and "go-fer" help), and those manuals let them (but maybe not you) do a great job.

But the home mechanic, who may be working on their only transportation, doesn't have that luxury. Stopping to call a friend who takes you to the car parts store, and then have them tell you its back ordered, know the maddening "painted into the corner" feeling of your work coming to a grinding halt without recourse... other manuals are no help here; you need to have done it before, and remembered, to avoid that pitfall.

Muir gave you an itemized list of parts, tools, and other items/issues (like the need to coordinate with a machine shop, or friends to muscle parts on/off the car). This alone made the book unique and golden, since it let you PLAN AHEAD and be successful on your first try, with no "stop work" orders halting your progress and making you replan your life for the otherwise unexpected situation.

He also gave you some recourse for unexpected problems, like broken studs, little money, no tools, etc. As he said, the idea was to have you able to handle almost any situation that may come up.

Why don't ALL so-called "owner" service manuals do this? Are they lazy, ignorant, or just don't care?

Muir cared, and it showed. And that's why I loved the book, and still consult it ahead of a job to see what all I need to have at the ready.




(but it's still not worth $100, at least not that later version!)
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 4:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

OB Bus wrote:

With Muir, a small box of tools (and a few rented tools), one scissors jack and about $175 I rebuilt the engine.


I did too. I even balanced it with the goofy bent coat hanger and stack of quarters method he showed you.

I sold it a few days later, so no idea how long it ran, but I suspect I owe whoever I sold it to an apology. Even though I warned them, I don't think they believed me when I said I was really surprised it ran at all when I put it back together.
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 5:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

This is more like it... $22:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2097905
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60vwnewengland
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 5:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

I use it as a ready reference resource. Most of the time I always refer to it when Iím doing a valve adjustment or checking the timing. Then I cross check with the Bentley.

I figure if all I had in the bus if I broke down was the idiot manual, Iíd take it over nothing.
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Glenn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

60vwnewengland wrote:
I use it as a ready reference resource. Most of the time I always refer to it when Iím doing a valve adjustment or checking the timing. Then I cross check with the Bentley.

I figure if all I had in the bus if I broke down was the idiot manual, Iíd take it over nothing.

Just ask the guy next to you.
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Typ3nut
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 6:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

Try finding this Spanish version :
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DurocShark
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 6:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

Typ3nut wrote:
Try finding this Spanish version :
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OK, that's REALLY cool. I wonder how many languages it's been published in?
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 6:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

If your a John Muir fan, then this is a great read :
The Velvet MonkeyWrench 1st Ed
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typ914
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 7:45 am    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

My 2 cents.
I am just getting back into air cooled VWs and I picked up a copy of this book. I was very surprised as to how much I forgot about these little machines. This book is essential reading, sometimes even if you think you know it already.
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harrymarlin Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 12:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

DurocShark wrote:
OK, that's REALLY cool. I wonder how many languages it's been published in?


At least as of 2004, just English, German, and Spanish
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=94793

I'm doubting anyone has taken the time to do further translations since then.
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 12:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

Ahhh... Bummer. I thought it would be a neat challenge to get one in each language. But 3.. Sad
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FarmerBill
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 1:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

Iím surprised there isnít a Portuguese edition. Maybe the beetle was so common in Brazil they didnít need the help fixing them.
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Zundfolge1432 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=94793
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 5:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

Iíve got a couple of Bentley manuals for more modern cars, these are technical references , not repair manuals.

Great if you want a torque setting, almost useless for the DIY

Example...removing Hvac fan housing on an E83

Bentley: remove fasteners from fan housing....blurry picture with two arrows

If a real effort were made

Text : remove 4 T25 fasteners, two lower visible from engine compartment, two are blind under cowl

T25x30mm fastener , qty 4

All fasteners are identical
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2021 4:42 am    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

^^^This!^^^
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amishman
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2021 7:56 am    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

The John Muir Idiots Tape was a fun listen. I sold my tape long ago but it was a cool find at the time. Made this quick video showing the tape running at the time.


Link


TJ
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2021 8:00 am    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

amishman wrote:
The John Muir Idiots Tape was a fun listen. I sold my tape long ago but it was a cool find at the time. Made this quick video showing the tape running at the time.


And if you want to listen to the accompanying engine sounds, someone is selling a tape in the classifieds:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1780418
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2021 8:37 am    Post subject: Re: Is the Idiot's book really that valuable? Reply with quote

harrymarlin wrote:
amishman wrote:
The John Muir Idiots Tape was a fun listen. I sold my tape long ago but it was a cool find at the time. Made this quick video showing the tape running at the time.


And if you want to listen to the accompanying engine sounds, someone is selling a tape in the classifieds:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1780418


Ill make a copy of mine for $1.75 vs the $175 if anyone wants this.

Grifter.

8-track will cost you more.

I stole this from somone, back on topic..

Bentley is the Bible

Muir is the Catechism.
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