Please do - It'll help me decide whether to buy it or not
OK, here are my initial impressions - the download isn't PDF manuals per se, but the Dialogys MPF software. Now that name rings a bell for me but I can't think why - no doubt someone will enlighten me. The whole thing seems to be quite pukka though, although certain bits aren't included (there are mentions of a spare parts CD, for example)
Basically, the package includes a whole bunch of technical notes, troubleshooting guides and the like, with the software acting as a sort of catalogue/viewer, although the 'raw' PDFs are installed and can be viewed with any decent PDF reader.
The download was easy enough, but unpacking the zipped archive proved problematic, because it was actually a RAR archive with an incorrect file extension(!)
This isn't an exhaustive overview as I've only started to scratch the surface of the stuff that's on offer, but the technical notes and troubleshooting guides are ptiarticularly useful. In particular, there are exploded views of various components which I find rather handy.
There are a number of downsides though:
- The design is very 'French' - it's counterintuitive in places, but if you just want to view PDFs then it's not a big deal.
- There's no search facility - bit of a let-down, this. However, the PDFs are bookmarked, so once you open one you can navigate to the subsections within it.
- To get the best out of the software you need to give it a lot of info about your car other than the VIN, although most, if not all, of this info will be on the oval plate in the car.
- Some of the PDFs are evidently scans of photocopied pages, and so quality suffers. On the plus side, most of the exploded diagrams etc. are of decent quality
- Potentially requires a lot of software to be installed for full use - Quicktime(yuk!), Java(double yuk) and Adobe Reader (blech!). Since it's written in Java, it may be possible to run on non-Windows machines, but don't count on it. Again, the raw PDFs are there if you want them.
Although there are a lot of drawbacks, I still think it's a potentially very useful resource especially if used in conjunction with the Haynes manual. Certainly, with the aid of some of the Dialogys stuff parts of the Haynes manual actually made some sense.
It's definitely not a product for a complete newbie, but then a complete newbie is unlikely to be looking for workshop manuals anyway. I reckon it'll work best in conjunction with the Haynes as the 'genuine' Renault documentation helps to clarify a lot of things, but the troubleshooting guides are worth it on their own IMO, especially as quite a few are presented in flowchart form.
Unless you're a mechanic, it's not a lot of use on its own (but then a mechanic will probably have access to it anyway) but if you want to know how things fit together and get a handle on troubleshooting common problems it's definitely worth a tenner of anyone's money and makes the rather sub-standard Haynes Manual for the MkII Clio a better proposition.
There may be more to follow, 'cos there are still a lot of things that I haven't tried or looked at inside the software yet
Stuff I forgot to add!
- I emailed the folks at electronicmanuals.co.uk about the file extension problem - they said they'd sort it out so I'm guessing they have by now.
- They offer an option to have the manuals sent on physical media, generally DVD-R - this costs an extra £1.50 or so and you'll have to wait for it to be delivered of course.
- If you go for the 'instant download' option, your download remains 'active' for 4 days - this means that if your initial download fails, you can have another go at it. If, for any reason, you can't access the download within the 'active' time, you can email the folks at electronicmanuals.co.uk and they'll extend the active period for you.