Author & Automotive Expert James D. Halderman



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Halderman newsletterSeptember 2013
Dear Karl,  What's new

School is back in session. I remember those days during my years of teaching. The hustle and bustle of prepping your lesson plans and getting to know your students. Thank you for taking a moment out of your day to read this month's newsletter. Here's what's new for me:  
Lesson plans
for Automotive Engine Performance-4th (ISBN: 0-13-303775-9) and Advanced Engine Performance Diagnosis-5th (ISBN: 0-13-254009-6) have been posted on my website.

Look under "Jim's Books" and then click on "Systems books".


* All the Flash animations (over 400) on my website have been converted to HTML5 so they can be viewed on Apple devices. Also they can be viewed on smart phones too.


* Drive axle identification (by axle manufacture and by vehicle manufacturer). Images are now posted on my website. Look under "Content by ASE Area" under "A3" or under "Jim's favorites."


Teaching Tip:

Use the crossword puzzles or word search games (posted for each chapter) for student homework or as a daily quiz. Helps students learn the meaning of key terms and most enjoy doing them too. These resources are available on my website at no cost to you.


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 Certification Question



A customer states that the carpet on the floor on the passenger side is wet and noticed this when the air conditioning was first being used in the spring during damp weather.  Which is the most likely cause?


  1. a.     Evaporator refrigerant leak
  2. b.     Clogged evaporator case drain
  3. c.     Saturated desiccant in the drier
  4. d.     Clogged screen in the accumulator



The correct answer is b.  Water is created when warm moist air comes in contact with the cold evaporator.  This water should drain out of the evaporator housing and fall onto the ground during normal air-conditioning operation unless the drain hole is clogged and the water overflows onto the floor on the passenger side of the vehicle.  Answer a is not correct because an evaporator refrigerant leak would cause a discharged condition and the refrigerant would supply evaporate into the atmosphere and would not cause moisture to form on the carpet.  Answer c is not correct because a saturated desiccant in the drier would allow moisture to build up inside the sealed system and would not cause water to form and drip onto the floor of the vehicle.  Answer d is not correct because a clogged screen would reduce the flow of refrigerant within the system and could not cause water to drip onto the floor of the vehicle.


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

Use a Micron Vacuum Gauge for Best Results TechTip

A typical vacuum gauge reads in inches of Mercury (in. Hg) and the recommended vacuum level needed to remove moisture from the system is considered to be 27 in. Hg or less. However, many experts recommend using a vacuum gauge that measures the amount of air remaining in the system. This type of gauge measures vacuum in microns. A micron is one millimeter of a meter

and there are about 760,000 microns of air at atmospheric pressure. A vacuum reading of 29.72 in. Hg is about 5,000 microns. Many experts recommend that the micron level be 500 or less for best results. This is particularly important when evacuating a dual-climate control system where two evaporators are used and there are long lengths of refrigerant lines.

Straight Talk

From the August 24, 2013, Wheels section in the Dayton Daily News:


The Case of the Dodge truck transmission

Wheels: StraightTalk

Carl B. from Beavercreek asks:

"I recently purchased a used 2002 Dodge truck with about 100,000 miles but it looks like new. I have been hearing a whine noise that sounds like it was coming from the transmission. Being a serious do-it-yourselfer, I changed the automatic transmission fluid by dropping the pan. I replaced the filter and installed a new gasket and then refilled the transmission using about the same amount as I took out which was about four quarts. Now the transmission drops into neutral when I stop. The fluid level indicates that it is full. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks".



It sounds like you did the right thing about replacing the automatic transmission fluid. Because it goes into neutral when at idle tells me that it may be low of fluid. Most Chrysler products must be in neutral rather than in park when checking the fluid. If you checked it with the gear selector in park, then it could be too low and this could be the source of your problem. The procedure to use is usually stamped on the dip stick so check this to be sure.


Update: Carl wrote back with some good news:

"Good call on checking the transmission fluid level in neutral. It was 1.5 quarts low. WOW! I'm beginning to think it was low all along because I didn't get 5+ quarts out of it when I dropped the pan. I bought a manual yesterday and confirmed the correct way to check the level and you were spot on. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!"


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.