When I got mine, it was $30 and for the money is easily the best manual I've used. (I paid nearly twice as much for a manual that's half as good for my sister's T-Bird Super Coup.)
I believe it's very important to have the factory manual. The factory
manual always contains details the aftermarket versions don't have
room for. Do you really think a 3/4 inch manual that covers all
Chevrolet sedans from 1985 to 1989 is going to have as much about
your particular vehicle as a three inch manual that covers one model
year of the platform? You're already going to save money because
you're performing the labor yourself; the service manual is the
wrong place to be cheap.
Rinda Technologies Incorporated
I got my copy directly from Rinda Technologies and it was $300. (I've
heard you can buy it from retail outlets these days.) It's and
definitely better than any scan tool you can buy in that price range.
DIACOM comes with a converter cable that connects your parallel port to
the assembly line diagnostic link (ALDL) under dash connector of your
pre-1996 vehicle. It does
the serial data conversion and can also put the ECM into the various
test modes. Designed to run on the original IBM AT, DIACOM runs great
on even the slowest laptop.
I've used a friend's
Snap-on MT2500. With all the optional troubleshooting cartridges,
it's better than a scan tool alone. It has numerous tests and
diagnostic procedures builtin and is very comprehensive.
For OBD-II cars (1996 and newer) the AutoTap OBD-II diagnostic scanner software looks interesting. It appears to be similar to DIACOM in operation and cost ($250).
With any kind of scan tool, you can perform many of the more important diagnostic tests described in the service manual.
Some higher priced models can store minimum and maximum readings which
is useful when testing the throttle position sensor (TPS). The unit I
got has a couple of different temperature probes.
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