Revised Automotive Handbook

Everything you ever wanted to know

By Greg Raven
VW&Porsche magazine

Automotive Handbook, Second Edition
by Robert Bosch GmbH
4½ by 7 inches, softcover
708 pages

Available from:
SAE Customer Service
Dept 769-VWP
400 Commonwealth Drive
Warrendale, PA 15096

It stands to reason that with thousands of engineers on staff working on nothing but automobile-related systems, Robert Bosch GmbH is going to know a thing or two about the technical aspects of the modern car. Knowing something and writing about it are two different things, however, as are writing about it and publishing it. But whatever their motivation, Bosch has codified their knowledge along the way and routinely supply it to whomever wants it.

For many years, most people here in the United States were not aware of the existence of this body of knowledge, probably because it was written in German. Then about three years ago Bosch published the first English edition of the 18th German edition of their Automotive Handbook. Like the German version it contains loads of formulae, charts, pictures, specifications, and definitions. Engine builders, mechanics, students, and enthusiasts finally had a handy (and seemingly exhaustive) reference.

To gild the lily, Bosch has just released the second edition of their Automotive Handbook. Gilding, in this case, involves expanding the book in just about every sense of the word. First off, it is larger: 4½ by 7 inches instead of the old book’s 4¼ by 55/8 inches. It is also, at 708 pages, nearly two hundred pages longer than the first edition. They cover eighteen areas not covered in the first edition, and the type size has been increased from five point type to seven point type to make the whole thing easier to read.

As good as the first edition was, it seemed to cover mostly fundamental information. The new edition covers that ground just as well, but adds large dollops of new material on the latest fuel injection, computer, and braking systems, to name just three. Some previously covered subjects (such as electronics, materials, and exhaust gas treatment) have been expanded to include new information.

With its larger format, it will be more difficult to hide the Automotive Handbook in an inner pocket so you can win bets at your favorite bar. But if you and your buddies don’t often discuss the modulus of elasticity of titanium (110,000 Newtons per square mm) or the confidence limits of the Poisson Distribution over a few beers, this might not be a drawback for you.

Our hats are off to Bosch and the SAE for making this book available. Although not many people will need this book, if you need it you really need it.