ASE provides a Sample Task List for the E1 Certification test, so that technicians have an overview of what they might be tested on. The sample tasks break down into four main areas, and Raybuck explains the importance of each:
Frame preparation--"Every truck manufacturer has its own list of dos and don'ts concerning the frame. So (for a technician) to demonstrate an understanding of those dos and don'ts shows his skills and shows that he knows not to do something outside of what he's supposed to be doing.
"It's understanding that you have to maintain the integrity of the frame, and so certain body and equipment installations have to be done in a proper format that maintains the strength of the frame and doesn't weaken it. For example, a lot of this deals with where you can and cannot drill holes in the frame itself. Upper and lower frame flange: don't do it. The web of the frame yes, but, you can't just drill anywhere; only certain locations.
"And there are certain maximum diameters. All of that can be very important in how somebody mounts a peice of equipment properly and maintains the robustness of the frame, versus improperly, which could weaken the frame and shorten the life-cycle of the vehicle."
Suspension systems--"Vehicles with a lot of electronics in them, or a lot of computer systems, will often need a ride-softening format, versus a heavy-truck harshness format. Suspension can also involve lengthening or shortening the wheelbase, or I may need to improve the vehicle attitude, or maintain the vehicle attitude. In some cases I might be putting something heavy on one side, so now I may need to add an additional helper spring on one side to maintain left-to-right balance.
"In certain sized vehicles, the OEMs have a tendency to say, ‘We want a nice, smooth ride,' and that sounds like a wonderful idea, but if I'm AT&T and my full-bodied van is at 90 percent GVWR the second it leaves the first day, and it doesn't go down from there, they may put in additional helper springs, or air bag systems or rubberized suspensions that help keep them off the stops, but help maintain the vehicle so it's not squatting in the rear all the time."
Drive shaft preparations--"In the medium-duty truck market, the dealer, for his general spec' truck, will often pick the longest wheelbase available. Now, the customer comes in with a specific need, and the truck has too long a wheelbase on this application. Well, the easiest thing to do is to shorten the wheelbase by unbolting the suspension and sliding everything forward properly, but with those changes, I now have to re-do my driveshaft.
"Or, if I have a PTO application, and I have a driveshaft to my pump, that has to be in proper phase, U-joints have to be properly lubricated, it has to be spinning at the proper speed, so you're not causing warpage. All those key items need to be looked at."
Body & equipment--"Prepping is painting, wiring, properly getting everything set, and then installation is following the OEM's or body manufacturer's recommeded practice for attaching it to the truck frame itself. Do I have the proper cushion strips and spacer, am I fitting everything properly for fuel fill applications? If I'm installing a hoist for a dump body, have I filled the first hydraulic cylinder with oil before I start?"
Unfortunately, the training available from traditional industry sources for the Truck Equipment Tests is "somewhat sparse," at this point, says Clark, though that hasn't made much of a difference in the percentages of technicians who pass the test, as compared to others.
"Since ASE tests assess job skills knowledge, professionals working successfully in the category should be able to pass by relying on their work experience," he says. "Some shops, however, are organized by specialty departments, so technicians may not have the scope of experience necessary to be successful."
In those cases, Clark says maintenance managers can step up and provide their technicians with ASE Truck Equipment ‘Study Guides'--available at no cost from ASE. The organization does not provide training for the tests, though--for good reason, Clark says.
Delmar is currently the only provider of Transit Bus ASE test preparation products, and is now offering the materials in both online and print formats.