Author & Automotive Expert James D. Halderman



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Halderman newsletterJune 2012

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Halderman newsletter.

I hope you are ready for summer. I have a lot of exciting things happening in the next couple months. I will be launching my new website and I have a brand new title which is now available.I will also be asking my contacts to participate in a quick survey to help me figure out what gaps might exist in the automotive technology educational process. I hope you'll take a moment to fill it out. More on the survey in upcoming issues.

As always, you can contact me in through social media, and I truly do like hearing from everyone. Let's connect and keep in touch.






AAEE book
Tech Tip
ASE samples
Straight Talk
Advanced Automotive Electricity and Electronics

I am very proud to announce my new title (first edition) called Advance Automotive Electricity and Electronics. (ISBN: 0-13-254262-5). Available now here.



Automotive instructors have asked for the following in an

advanced-level electrical textbook:

1. The content is thorough enough to be able to be used as stand

alone electrical and electronic textbook for two semesters.

2. Easy to read, yet detailed enough to cover the subject.

3. Many short chapters instead of a few longer chapters.

4. Provide the basics so that they can be reviewed before

studying more advanced content.

5. Include the electrical and electronic content for chassis

systems, as well as for HVAC and hybrid electric vehicles.

Scope: The scope of this title is intended to meet the needs of an

advanced electrical and electronic course. The first 12 chapters

are designed to be a good review and prepare the reader for the

more advanced topics covered in the last 17 chapters.

Organization: The content includes the basics needed by all

service technicians and also covers the following organizations

for most systems:

1. Purpose and function of the system

2. Parts involved and operational description

3. Diagnosis and service

4. Each new term defined at first use

Tech Tip

Quick-and-Easy Automatic Transmission/ Transaxle Diagnosis

An experienced technician told the beginning technician that automatic transmission/transaxle diagnosis is often very easy. For example:

* If the vehicle does not move in drive or reverse, remove the transmission/transaxle for service because the problem is likely mechanical rather than hydraulic (valve body) or electrical (computer, solenoids, or sensors). If the unit will not power the vehicle, the unit will more than likely require removal for a thorough mechanical inspection and repair.           

* If the vehicle moves, but does not shift correctly, the problem is likely electrical (computer, solenoid, or sensor) or hydraulic (valve body) rather than mechanical. This is usually true because if the vehicle is able to move forward and backward, the major mechanical components, though not in like-new condition, are at least able to function. Therefore, correcting the non-mechanical problem should be the technician's first consideration.

ASE sample question

Question- Two technicians are discussing an electronically controlled automatic transmission that will not go into any forward gear or reverse. Technician A says that a defective computer could be the cause. Technician B says that an excessively worn torque converter clutch could be the cause.

Which technician is correct?


a.Technician A only

b.Technician B only

c.Both Technicians A and B

d.Neither Technician A nor B


Answer-The correct answer is d. Neither technician is correct. Technician A is not correct because a faulty computer will usually cause the transmission to default to limp-in mode (usually) second or third gear only and reverse. While the shift solenoid and the pressure control solenoid will not work, the transmission will still partially function. Technician B is not correct because the torque converter clutch does not affect the shifting of the transmission in forward or reverse.


Answers a, b, and c are not correct because neither technician is correct.

Straight Talk

From the May 26, Wheels section in the Dayton Daily News:



Reader asks about carbon cleaning






Bob C. writes by e-mail

"My 2004 Chevrolet Venture van is nearing 100,000 miles. I went to the dealer to find out if there is a preventative maintenance procedure to keep the car in good running condition. Among the suggestions was a "decarbonizing" the combustion chambers. What is this procedure? The car runs fine except for a slight roughness at idle. Any other suggestions? Thanks".  


Halderman: Thanks for writing. I would tend to agree that a de-carbonization would help but not just the combustion chamber. Most machines (Motorvac is one brand name) that are used for this procedure send a cleaning solution through the fuel rail (part of the fuel system that supplies fuel to the injectors). It does not use the chemical through the fuel tank where it could cause problems with the fuel pump inside the tank. The cleaning solution contains gasoline and the engine is run for a while with the cleaner flowing through the fuel rail and the injectors. As a result, this cleans the fuel injectors as well as the intake tract and the backside of the intake valve where deposits form. Part of the machine also uses a sprayer attachment that forces some of the cleaner through the throttle body where it cleans the throttle plate, which is another place where deposits form. To me, this is a very cost effective way to improve vehicle performance and should improve the idle quality and make the engine operate smoother unless there is another fault with the engine or injection system.




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.