Author & Automotive Expert James D. Halderman



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Halderman newsletterMay
June 2013

Welcome to the June edition of the Halderman newsletter. Hopefully everyone is finding time to enjoy family, and some summer activities. In between writing, conferences and speaking engagements, I really enjoy the warm sun, especially when I can go top down in my Mustang convertible.


So, here's what I've been working on:

I am pleased to announce that my website now has all of the elements needed to teach all sorted by chapter.

Each chapter includes the following features:

  1. Lesson plans
  2. Chapter images (in Power Point format)
  3. Video links that pertain to the chapter content 
  4. Animations
  5. Word search game using the key words used the chapter
  6. Crossword puzzle using technical terms used in the chapter

(Automotive Technology-4th is now complete and the other titles will be upgraded soon)



Please continue to follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates and for the fantastic interaction I receive from many of you.




ASE Sample Question
Straight Talk
ASE Sample Question



A customer complains that power steering assist stops when driving in the rain.  What is the most likely cause?


a. The steering linkage tie rod ends are getting wet causing a bind

b. Water is getting into the power steering fluid through the high-pressure hose

c. Moisture is getting into the steering gears displacing the lubricant

d. The power steering pump drive belt is loose or defective



The correct answer is d.  A loose or worn power steering pump drive belt could cause a lack of power assist if covered with water reducing the ability of the belt to apply engine torque to the power steering pump.  Answer a is not correct because water could not cause the tie rod to bind.  Answer b is not likely because the power steering system is sealed and is unlikely to cause a lack of power assist if some water did get into the power steering pump reservoir.  Answer c is not correct because the steering gear uses power steering fluid as a lubricant and as stated in answer b, is not likely to cause a lack of power assist.



For FREE sample ASE test questions with answers, visit my website where you will find 15 questions for each of the eight ASE areas (120 total questions).

For an excellent resource for all eight ASE content areas, consider this test preparation book:



FAQ What is the that weight for on the drive axle shaft?


Some drive axle shafts are equipped with what looks like a balance weight. It is actually a dampener weight used to dampen out certain drive line vibrations. 

The weight is not used on all vehicles and may or may not appear on the same vehicle depending on engine, transmission, and other options. The service technician should always try to replace a defective or worn drive axle shaft with the exact replacement. 

When replacing an entire drive axle shaft, the technician should always follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding either transferring or not transferring the weight to the new shaft.


Straight Talk

From the May 3, 2013, Wheels section in the Dayton Daily News:


Reader asks about gasoline for boat




Paul M from Dayton writes by e-mail:



"With the approaching boating season, I am concerned about using gasoline that contains up to 10% ethanol. My boats as well as most boats out there were never designed to run on ethanol. The way this alcohol-blended fuel attracts water and destroys fuel systems and sometimes engines is a real concern. Since I do not live near a marina that sells ethanol-free fuel I must buy from local gas stations. Is there an additive that will protect my marine engine as well as my lawn mower from the corrosive effects of ethanol?     

I will look for your response in the Dayton Daily News' Wheels section of the Saturday paper."



Thanks for writing. Using gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol should not be a concern if certain precautions are taken. You are correct that ethanol can and does absorb moisture and when that happens, the mixture drops to the bottom of the fuel tank. Then if this water/alcohol mix is drawn into the engine, the engine will not run correctly and may not even start. Ethanol is not as corrosive as methanol which is highly corrosive and not usually added to gasoline. Ethanol is the same alcohol found in beer, wine and distilled spirits and is "denatured" usually using gasoline to make it undrinkable. Here are some things you can do to help avoid potential problems:

1.         Always purchase fuel from a busy station to help insure that the fuel is fresh and has not been in underground tank for a long period. The life of gasoline is generally considered to be 90 days unless treated.

2.         Use a fuel stabilizer in every tank to help prevent the phase separation which is what occurs when water and alcohol mix and the then drops to the bottom of the tank. Always follow the instructions on the container and do not use more or less than the specified amount.

3.         At the end of the season, I recommend keeping the tank full of treated fuel which prevents air and moisture from entering the fuel tank.

4.         Start every season with fresh and treated fuel.



Find more Straight Talk columns here 

Please let me know what you think of the newsletter. I would love to include any of your automotive news or any tech tips you might have. Send me your suggestions! 
You can email me here or visit my website. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn too (links above). And I encourage you to visit this website for great car reviews and more of my Straight Talk columns.
Jim Halderman
James D. Halderman writes automotive technology textbooks for Pearson Education. He is an ASE-certified Master Technician with more than 20 years instructional experience.