Why You Need Chevrolet Factory Manuals - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Why You Need Chevrolet Factory Manuals

Chevrolet Factory Manuals

You can find these invaluable books as a GM licensed photocopy of the original paper back book that has been cut apart and thrown on a flat bed scanner (most of the time half way straight) for about $25 each. All of these books were originally published by Helm publishing; which still has reprints for some years from the original type settings (that means that there generally are no greasy thumb prints, or mold, or coffee stains on the pages and that they are much easier to read).

The list of books that you need to restore and maintain your car is as follows:

The Service manual
The Chassis Service manual
The Fisher Body Repair manual
The Assembly manual
The Wiring Diagrams
the Accessory Book
and the Parts book.

The Service manual explains what special tools you need to pull from the tool room by GM part number (many of these special tools are still sold by Mac or Snap-On if you can chase down their truck or buy on line). It tells you how to R&R (Remove and Replace) all of the parts that would normally wear on a car inside of the service warranty (generally shocks and brakes). It also explains a how to overhaul the big ticket items such as the motor, transmission and the rear end of the vehicle. As well as smaller parts such as the steering column or the alternator. It further has trouble shooting guides to diagnose any problem with items such as the brakes, motor, tranny, ignition, electrical, cooling, air conditioning and some suspension parts.

The Chassis Service manual explains everything there is to know about your front end and the rear end. It explains how to rebuild the rear end (again in case you lost your Service manual, and the same information for the brakes is again repeated from the larger service manual. What you get that is different is all of the specs to align the front end. It also shows how to R&R every part that bolts to the frame except the gas tank and fuel lines. So you can rebuild your front end by replacing tie rod ends, and ball joints; as well as explaining how to rebuild your Saginaw steering gear box.

The Fisher Body Repair manual was used by the body and paint techs to restore to original condition any car damaged by accident. It shows how to R&R all of the sheet metal, and the chrome trim. It also dimensions the location of where every piece of chrome trim or decal goes on a blank universal replacement part. The repair fenders at the dealer differed from the assembly line fenders in that the tech had to drill with a hand drill all of the holes in the panel that were normally stamped out on the assembly line part. So if you are using patch panels this is were the dimensions are found to place the reproduction or original part you found in the trunk in the correct location. It also details how the interior parts are removed and replaced for painting or because they were crushed along with the former occupant in a collision.

The Assembly manual is an invaluable aide in that it lists every part, by part number, (on the BOM at the bottom of the page), and every option that ever was offered for your year model, and make of vehicle. It shows how all of the parts were put together on the assembly line by way of an exploded diagram, and it lists all of the torque values for every fastener and what adhesives to use. It has a drawing of every part in your car and shows where it goes.

Wiring Diagrams are self explanatory other than the fact that they were in full color printed on heavy card stock, and large enough to nearly cover the hood of a car.

The Accessory book listed everything sold by GM that was available as a Dealer Installed add on. It also had a brief explanation of how to install it with diagrams and drawings. This goes beyond floor mats and air fresheners as often many options where never factory installed but were only found locally as special packages of trim or combinations of parts that the factory didn't offer.

There are two pdf copies of the parts book floating around on the web both are on one CD that generally costs $75 bucks. It lists all of the part numbers for every Chevrolet part that was current in 1977 and went back as far as 1949. It lists them all by group number and if you know the part number, name or group it can be searched using Adobe reader. Even though it says Illustrated there are precious few parts drawings compared to the paper originals which cover a counter top as the books were about eight feet thick when laying cover to cover. The part numbers are all obsolete (the part number for any given part changes every time a part that would fit your car is modified to fit a newer car) the only real advantage is that the name remains fairly constant so if you know what to call it you can ask the counter clerk to try and find it in his computer at the service counter if GM still makes one. There are exceptions to the rule such as the SBC water pump gasket which didn't change from it's introduction in 1955 until it was discontinued in 2001.

Sources for these books can be found on-line. Some of the vendors that I have bough from include these links.

The Motor Bookstore
Exact reprints of the original automobile factory manuals produced by Chevrolet.


Faxon Auto Literature


Helm Incorporated


There exists free information so if you need say a wiring diagram look here:


Or if you want to see an original brochure or owners manual look here:


Here you can find a limited selection of old repair manuals it includes a 1977 Camaro and a 1976 Impala or a 1970 Suburban or a 1962 Chevy II. The motors and wiring didn't change much across models if they can help the price is right.


If your car had parts that were still in production in 1980 (such as a starter, or water pump, etc. Then here you will find the current GM part number listed here:


If you want to know if any OEM part you can find will fit your car all you need is the Hollander Exchange Number for that part. These condensed and highly edited reprints list common Hollander Exchange Number's for most parts (but not nearly as complete as the original manuals that where up to ten inches thick which listed every part made by every manufacturer for four to six years before the date of that edition of the book). If you don't buy the reprint you have to search for your car's year Hollander catalog which doesn't state on the cover what years they cover; only inside the book does it list that info. You can buy originals on line off e-Bay but they are as pricey as they are rare.


Big Dave
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 11:57 AM
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I couldn't agree more! Just get them!
ArenaSwe is offline  
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-23-2012, 03:34 PM
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great post!
68CUSTOM is offline  
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 11:23 AM
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Thanks for posting this Big Dave! I have only gotten the chassis service manual so far but it has been a big help.
AngryForest is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-27-2019, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2019
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I've got an assembly manual and owners manual from Hubbard's Impala parts in North Carolina. Just wanted to mention another source if somebody is looking.
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