Author & Automotive Expert James D. Halderman



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Halderman newsletterNovember 2013
In October, I gave presentations at the Illinois College Automotive Instructors Association ( and the California Automotive Teachers (CAT)  ( conferences. During the presentation, I used a small and light-weight lithium ion battery designed for use in racing motorcycles. I needed a power source to check the operation of some of the hands-on projects that I had given out to the instructors for them to put together. For information on this light-weight batteries visit:  I purchased a 12-volt four-cell one that weighs just 14 ounces and has 120 CCA from

For a copy of the presentation go to and then:

  • Click on the pull-down menu labeled "Jim's Stuff"
  • Select "Conference Power Points".
  • Then select "Have Fun Teaching Electrical" (Right-click and then "save target as" to save to your hard drive).
  • The parts list and suppliers that I used are included.

Did you know that all Halderman textbooks now have lesson plans posted on

  • Click on the pull-down menu labeled "Classroom content"
  • Select "Lesson plans".
  • All free and sorted by chapter for all titles.

Some states, including California, now require that all instructors have written lesson plans for the courses they teach. Having this resource will save instructors many hours of work.

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
Tech Tips
Straight Talk
ASE Sample Certification Question



Most bolt torque specifications are for ________.


a.         Clean threads only

b.         Clean and lubricated threads

c.         Dirty threads

d.         New bolts with dry threads




The correct answer is b.  The torque specification for engine bolts prescribes that the threads are clean and lubricated with engine oil.  Answer a is not correct because even though threads must be clean, they must also be lightly oiled.  Answer c is not correct because dirty threads would interfere with proper rotating torque and result in less clamp force.  Answer d is not correct because new bolts are not necessary for all engines and the threads should be lubricated, not dry.



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:

Tech Tips

Hollow Pushrod Dirt

Many engine rebuilders and remanufacturers do not reuse old hollow pushrods. Dirt, carbon, and other debris are difficult to thoroughly clean from inside a hollow pushrod. When an engine is run with used pushrods, the trapped particles can be dislodged that can ruin new bearings and other new engine parts. Therefore, for best results, consider purchasing new hollow pushrods instead of trying to clean and reuse the originals.TechTip

Straight Talk

From the October 5, 2013, Wheels section in the Dayton Daily News:


Reader Asks About Hybrids

Wheels: Straighttalk

Ralph N. from Springfield asks:


"I have heard many people talk about hybrid vehicles but I do not understand them.  Please answer some questions that I have regarding hybrid vehicles. What is meant by a hybrid? Do they have to be plugged in? What happens if the battery goes dead? How much does a new hybrid battery cost? What is the advantage or a hybrid? Thanks for your help."  



Thanks for writing and this is a commonly asked question because of all the new terms being used.

The word "hybrid" means that the vehicle can be propelled using two sources of power.

  1. An internal combustion engine, usually a conventional gasoline engine tuned to provide the highest possible efficiency and fuel economy.
  2. One or more electric motors that can help propel the vehicle and act as a generator to recharge the high-voltage battery pack.

A hybrid vehicle does not need to be plugged in because the high-voltage battery is kept charged by the motor/generator. The high-voltage batteries are kept to a state -of-charge of between 40% and 80%.  Not allowing the battery to be discharged below 40% and not be charged over 80% greatly improves the life and the batteries are lasting the life of the vehicle without needing to be replaced.

There are some new hybrid electric vehicles on the market that add additional battery capacity and these are called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and can be driven for a short distance (10 miles to 40 miles) on battery power alone and then the gasoline engine starts and the vehicle operates as a conventional hybrid vehicle. While the cost of the PHEV is a lot higher, the advantage is that it can operate on electric power during a short commute. However, a PHEV does have to be plugged in to charge the battery back to the level needed to provide electric-only operation.

Hybrid electric vehicles offer improved fuel economy yet they do cost more than a conventional similar vehicle. The fuel economy improvements come from two major operations of a hybrid electric vehicle.

  1. Idle stop, also called start-stop. The gasoline engine stops when the vehicle is stopped, yet the air conditioning and heater system continue to operate.
  2. Regenerative braking. The brakes on a hybrid vehicle use the electric motor and turn them into generators to recharge the high-voltage battery when the vehicle is slowing or when the brakes are applied. The conventional brakes only operate at speeds below 15 MPH so that brakes last the life of the vehicle on a hybrid vehicle.



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.