Read Before You Leap
An excellent analogy when it comes to explaining why it's always a good idea to thoroughly research a project before blindly jumping in is the Disneyland tourist's credo: "It is better to meet a nice mouse than it is to get killed by a giant rat." In essence what this means is you better buy a tourist map and go directly to the happy kingdom rather than wander aimlessly into a strange Orange County alley and get murdered. Without understanding which parts go where and the precautions and preparations that should be taken before installing them, your latest project can easily turn into a mechanical homicide of sorts. That's why before starting on any project whether large or small I always refer to a trusted primary source. This can be a factory shop manual, if one is available, or a good aftermarket publication.
The problem with factory shop manuals is they tend to be very expensive and assume one already understands the terminology. A good example is the five giant volumes I had to buy from the GMC dealer for big bucks when I wanted authoritative data for my '05 Sierra. Not only is there tons of information I will never need to know, the GMC factory manual was designed for mechanics that went to a trade tech (college) to learn what it all means. I know this kind of sounds discouraging, but thankfully there is an alternative. They are called Haynes manuals and they are put together by a group of guys that strip an example of the truck or car covered down to the bare frame, and then put it back together again. All this while considering the needs of the do-it-yourself mechanic who doesn't have all of the right tools, and doesn't know what half the parts are, or how they should be installed. To prove my theory I ordered a bunch of different Haynes manuals from LMC Truck that apply to some of the trucks I own and started tearing things apart ... but of course not before studying the Haynes manuals that is.
On the back cover is a full-color chart that shows how to read spark plugs.
The factory manual tells you to use antiseize, the Haynes manual shows you how to use it.
Unfortunately, no one can tell you where all of the sharp edges are, you have to find them
Here's how the Haynes '99-06 GMC and Chevrolet manual gives a tip on how to start a hard-t
Thanks to the Haynes Tool Guide I was reminded the correct way to use a Crescent wrench. D