Author & Automotive Expert James D. Halderman



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Halderman newsletterDecember 2012

Welcome to the December edition of the Halderman newsletter.


It's the holiday season. Boy did they seem to get here quickly? For me, holidays are all about spending time with friends and family. I hope you are able to get away from your shop, the office or the classroom so that you can spend time with loved ones.


I am thankful for all the blessings in my life. And I'm thankful for all the support I've gotten throughout this year about my new website. I wish all of you many blessings throughout the holidays and as we head toward a new year.


I've enjoyed connecting with you many of you on social media and look forward to future correspondence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.




Holiday Gift Ideas
ASE Sample Question
Straight Talk
Some holiday gift ideas

Auto-minded people can be tough to shop for. Here are some good suggestions for the auto enthusiast on your list.

1.   A gift certificate for automotive books (See or

2.   A gift certificate for automotive tools

3.   A magazine subscription to an automotive magazine

4.   A tire pressure gauge

5.   An automotive-related 2013 calendar

6.   Tools of any type

7.   A gift certificate for an oil change (or four - one for each of the four seasons)

8.   Clothing with an automotive theme, such as hats and jackets

9.   Model car kits, automotive theme clocks, or posters

10. Vehicle art

11. Tools (Did I mention tools before?)

12. Car products such as wax, a car duster, car washing soap, buckets, sponges and towels. (See

13. Hand tools

14. Power tools

15. Garage trouble light (LED lights are recommended)

16. Automotive car parts suitable for hanging on the wall

17. Automotive books-See

18. Tools

19. A gift certificate for car washes

20. Money

21. A sofa made from the front or back of a classic car or truck

22. Wall art

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Symptoms of a Broken Blend Door?

Blend doors can fail and cause the following symptoms:FAQ


* Clicking noise from the actuator motor assembly as it tries to move a broken door.

* Outlet temperature can change from hot to cold or from cold to hot at any time especially when cornering because the broken door is being forced one way or the other due to the movement of the vehicle.

* A change in the temperature when the fan speed is changed. The air movement can move the broken blend door into another position which can change the vent temperature.

If any of these symptoms are occurring, then a replacement blend door is required. For details

regarding an alternative repair option visit

ASE Sample Question

A lack of cooling is being diagnosed. A technician discovers that the high-pressure line is hot to the touch on both sides of the orifice tube. Technician A says that is normal operation for an orifice tube system. Technician B says that the orifice tube may be clogged. Which technician is correct?


a. Technician A only

b. Technician B only

c. Both Technicians A and B

d. Neither Technician A nor B



The correct answer is d. Neither technician is correct. Technician A is not correct because the line after the orifice tube should be cool indicating that the refrigerant has passed through a restriction and is expanding. The temperature also gets cooler as the refrigerant absorbs heat to change states from a liquid to a gas. Technician B is not correct because a clogged or partially clogged orifice tube would stop the flow of refrigerant causing the tube to be hot only on one side of the orifice tube. Answers a, b, and c are not correct because neither technician is correct.

Straight Talk

From the November 24, 2012, Wheels section in the Dayton Daily News:


The case of the vibrating Chevrolet pickup truck



Wayne G. writes by e-mail:


"I think the U-joint on my 1999 S-10 is going out. When I checked underneath it appears to have 3 of them.  How hard are they to change and how can I determine if this is the problem and which one is the culprit? It started out as a mild vibration when starting out. Now I hear an occasional clunk when I shift from reverse to drive or vice-versa and the vibration is more pronounced".RustDust



Many pickup trucks use three universal joints, commonly called U-joints. This means that the drive shaft is two pieces and uses a U-joint at the transmission and at the rear end (drive axle) and at the connection of the two-piece drive shaft. These joints contain needle bearings and these can become worn causing noise or a vibration. To check the U-joints, first look at evidence of wear which will likely be indicated by "rust dust", a fine powder around the joint area that is rust colored. If you see rust dust, then the joint is worn and should be replaced.

If you do not see rust dust, the joint can still be worn and often cannot be detected with the drive shaft in the vehicle. In this case, the drive shaft will need to be removed and each joint moved to check for binding or looseness.

The "clunk" you hear when shifting into drive and or reverse is likely a lack of grease on the splines at the front of the drive shaft. The driveshaft needs to be removed and applying a special high-temperature grease to the splines will cure the clunk in most cases. In other words, it appears that you need to find a shop to remove and inspect the drive shaft Up-joints and splines. I recommend that this be done by a professional service technician because it requires a lift to get access and experience with how to properly diagnosis and replace U-joints.




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.