Suspension and Steering Systems


  2. A. Course Title: Suspension and Steering Systems
    B. Course Number: GM 224B - 30518
    C. Semester: Fall 2019
    D. Days/Time: M T W Th F 2:30:00 PM - 4:30:00 PM
    E. Credit Hours: 4
    F. Instructor: Gilcrease, Sam
    G. Office: Don Whitaker Automotive Technology Center (ATC) 214
    H. Email Address:
    I. Office Phone: (575) 492-2863
    J. Office Hours: Monday: 7:00:00 AM-8:00:00 AM (MST);
    Tuesday: 7:00:00 AM-8:00:00 AM (MST);
    Wednesday: 7:00:00 AM-8:00:00 AM (MST);
    Thursday: 7:00:00 AM-8:00:00 AM (MST);
    Friday: 7:00:00 AM-8:00:00 AM (MST);
    K. Time Zone: Mountain Time
    L. Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of GM 114, Automotive Fundamentals; GM 124B, Automotive Electronics II; and GM 124A, Engine Performance I. GM 124B Engine Performance II
    M. Corequisite(s):
    N. Class Location:

    This course covers the operation, diagnosis, service, and repair of General Motors suspension and steering systems. Areas of instruction include GM front and rear suspension, wheel, tires, and steering. Open to GM ASEP students only. Meets ten hours per week. This is a four credit hour course.


    This course incorporates fundamentals important to obtaining employment upon graduation. It may not be suitable if used as a transfer to institutions of higher learning. Please consult with the receiving institution if you intend to transfer this course credit to another institution.



    • Basic hand tool set and tool chest (GM ASEP recommended set a minimum)
    • Personal Protective Equipment (e.g. eye and hearing protection)
    • Work uniform (provided through sponsoring dealership, consistent with retailer policy)
    • Leather work shoes/boots (tennis shoes are not allowed)
    • Text books: (GM Fundamental Curriculum Series) Brakes/Steering & Suspension ISBN-13: 9781256647881 and Selected GM Handouts
    • Pencil and Pen
    • Highlighter(s)


    • 3” – 3-ring binder
    • Locker padlock
    • Lap Top Computer (see instructor for specifications)

    You can buy your books online at the NMJC Bookstore.


    Students attending New Mexico Junior College will be evaluated according to the following grading scale:

    						90 - 100%	=	A
    						80 -  89%	=	B
    						70 -  79%	=	C
    						60 -  69%	=	D
    					 	 0 -  59%	=	F

    Note: All departmental requirements must be completed with a grade of “C” of better.

    The above grade will be earned and distributed based on items listed below:
    • Attendance (see attendance and preparedness policy)
    • Daily Preparation (see attendance and preparedness policy)
    • Tests
    • Quizzes
    • Classroom Assignments
    • Homework
    • Notebook (if assigned)
    • Lab or Shop Work
    • Wearing of Work Clothes
    • Wearing of Safety Glasses
    • Following of Safety Rules
    • Participation
    • Attitude and Cooperation

    Lab Exercise:
    Lab exercises will be directed and documented through the use of worksheets. Students will complete specific tasks identified by the worksheet and respond to related questions as indicated. The instructor’s electronic grade book is the official record of worksheet completion/task competency. Students will be given regular reports of their progress in lab assignments. Points for worksheets will be awarded in the following manner:

    5 – EXCELLENT (demonstrates a mastery of the assigned task)
    4 – STRONG (demonstrates an understanding of the assigned task, but needs assistance)
    3 – COMPETENT (Revision is needed, strength outweigh weakness)
    2 – WEAK (developing, but weaknesses outweigh strengths)
    1 – VERY WEAK (no understanding of the concept or critical thinking)
    0 – NO CREDIT GIVEN (did not follow established lab procedures or safety violations)

    Note: Worksheets submitted late will receive a 10% deduction in points for each day late. See Section VIII, M (GM ASEP Make-up Policy) for additional information.


    New Mexico Junior College’s institutional student learning outcomes represent the knowledge and abilities developed by students attending New Mexico Junior College. Upon completion students should achieve the following learning outcomes along with specific curriculum outcomes for respective areas of study:


    • Students should be able to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving abilities in their program of study.
    • Students should be able to follow written and/or verbal instruction to properly complete a technical task
    • Students should be able to use specific terminology to communicate an understanding of the terms, phrases and processes in the applied field.
    • Students should be able to identify and use appropriate occupational tools to complete given tasks.
    • Students should be able to demonstrate appropriate professional behavior.


    After completing this course the student should be able to apply the skills and technical knowledge related to GM advanced ignition systems, OBD II systems, exhaust emission controls, and advanced GM fuel injection service, repair, and scan diagnosis on a full-time basis as a General Motors automotive technician.

    ASE Testing:
    Students will be required to take certification tests in eight automotive categories (A1-A8).

    Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

    • Demonstrate safe work habits when working with suspension and steering tools and equipment.
    • Diagnose manual/power steering gear (non-rack and pinion type) binding, uneven turning effort, looseness, hard steering, and fluid leakage problems; determine needed repairs.
    • Diagnose manual/power rack and pinion steering gear vibration, looseness, and hard steering problems; determine needed repairs.
    • Inspect and replace steering shaft U-joint(s), flexible coupling(s), collapsible columns, and steering wheels.
    • Remove and replace manual/power steering gear (non-rack and pinion type).
    • Disassemble, inspect, repair and reassemble manual steering gear (non-rack and pinion type).
    • Adjust manual/power steering gear (non-rack and pinion type), worm bearing preload, and sector lash.
    • Remove and replace manual/power rack and pinion steering gear.
    • Disassemble, inspect, repair, and reassemble rack and pinion steering gear.
    • Adjust manual/power rack and pinion steering gear.
    • Inspect and replace manual/power rack and pinion steering gear inner tie rod ends (sockets) and bellows boots.
    • Inspect and replace rack and pinion steering gear mounting bushings and brackets.
    • Inspect manual and power steering fluid levels and condition; adjust levels in accordance with vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
    • Diagnose power steering fluid leakage; determine needed repairs.
    • Inspect, adjust, and replace power steering pump belt(s).
    • Remove and replace power steering pump; inspect pump mounts.
    • Inspect and replace power steering pump seals and gaskets.
    • Inspect and replace power steering pump pulley.
    • Perform power steering system pressure tests; determine needed repairs.
    • Inspect and replace power steering hoses and fittings.
    • Inspect and replace power steering gear (non-rack and pinion type) seals and gaskets.
    • Diagnose, service, and repair variable effort steering systems.
    • Inspect and replace pitman arm.
    • Inspect and replace relay (center link/intermediate) rod.
    • Inspect, adjust (where applicable), and replace idle arm and mountings.
    • Inspect, replace, and adjust tie rods (sockets), tie rod sleeves, clamps, and tie rod ends.
    • Diagnose short and long arm-type suspension system noises, body sway, and uneven riding height problems; determine needed repairs.
    • Diagnose MacPherson strut suspension system noises, body sway, and uneven riding height problems; determine needed repairs.
    • Inspect and replace upper and lower control arms.
    • Inspect and replace upper and lower control arm bushings, shafts, and rebound bumpers.
    • Inspect, adjust, and replace strut (compression/tension) rods and bushings.
    • Inspect and replace upper and lower ball joints on short and long arm-type suspension systems.
    • Inspect and replace steering knuckle assemblies.
    • Inspect and replace short and long arm type front suspension system coil springs and spring insulators.
    • Inspect, replace, and adjust front suspension system torsion bars; inspect mounts.
    • Inspect and replace stabilizer bar bushings, brackets, and links.
    • Inspect and replace ball joints on MacPherson strut suspension system.
    • Inspect and replace MacPherson strut cartridge or assembly.
    • Inspect and replace from MacPherson strut coil springs and spring insulators.
    • Lubricate suspension/steering system.
    • Inspect and replace rear suspension system coil springs and spring insulators.
    • Inspect and replace rear suspension transverse links, control arms, bushings, and mounts.
    • Inspect and replace rear suspension system leaf springs, leaf spring insulators (silencers), shackles, brackets, bushings and mounts.
    • Inspect and replace rear MacPherson strut cartridge or assembly.
    • Inspect and replace rear MacPherson strut coil spring and insulators.
    • Inspect rear wheel drive axle assembly for bending, warpage, and misalignment.
    • Inspect and replace shock absorbers.
    • Diagnose vehicle wandering, pulling, hard steering, and poor steering return problems; determine needed repairs.
    • Measure vehicle-riding height; determine needed repairs.
    • Check and adjust front and rear wheel camber on suspension systems with a camber adjustment.
    • Check front and rear wheel camber or non-adjustable suspension systems; determine needed repairs.
    • Check and adjust caster on suspension systems with a caster adjustment.
    • Check caster on non-adjustable suspension systems; determine needed repairs.
    • Check and adjust from wheel toe.
    • Center steering wheel spokes.
    • Check toe-out-on-turns (turning radius); determine needed repairs.
    • Check SAI (steering axis inclination)/KPI (king pin inclination); determine needed repairs.
    • Check and adjust (where applicable) rear wheel toe.
    • Check, adjust, and/or repair front-to-rear wheel tracking.
    • Diagnose unusual tire wear patterns; determine needed repairs,
    • Inspect tires, check and adjust air pressure.
    • Diagnose wheel/tire vibration, shimmy, and tramp problems; determine needed repairs.
    • Rotate tires according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
    • Measure wheel, tire, axle, and hub runout; determine needed repairs.
    • Diagnose tire pull (lead) problems; determine corrective actions.
    • Perform static and dynamic balance of wheel and tire assemblies.
    • Install and torque lug nuts.
    • Take the Automobile Certification Examination given by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), in the area of suspension and steering.
    • Pass all GM Course Final Assessments, “embedded in ASEP,” related to this course.

  11. I. New Student Orientation Video Transcript

    II. Basic Computer Skills: How to use an email account, how to attach, upload, and download files. How to view, save, rename, and print files. Have basic word processing skills and are familiar with using different web browsers

    III. Canvas Technical Requirements

    IV. Technology Requirements for Students: A Desktop or Laptop that is no more than five years old, has at least Windows 7 or MAC OSX 10.6 with 1 GB of memory, 2.4 GHz Processor, has a webcam and a microphone. The Internet speed is between 5 to 10 Mbps per second.

    V. Technical and Academic Support

    Call the 24/7 Canvas Help Desk at (575) 399-2199 for assistance and have your course CRN (ex. 10023) and your Username available.

    If you have not already received login information for Canvas/T-BirdWeb Portal/E-mail, you will need to contact the Enrollment Management office at (575) 492-2546.


    GM ASEP Time Clock Procedures

    In order to maximize learning in the GM ASEP Program, students are required to “clock in” at or before the beginning of each class session and to “clock out” upon class dismissal, each day. Students are also required to “clock out” and “clock in” at break time. Students found to be dishonest in this procedure, in any way, will be recommended for ASEP Program withdrawal. Because of the extreme importance that the automotive industry places upon being punctual, dependable, and reliable, the student will punch a time card at break or at the beginning or at the end of each class session. A daily total of 4 points will be available for the attendance grade, two points for the morning session and 2 points for the afternoon. In order to receive full credit for attendance all time punches must be made at or before the session start time. One point will be deducted for any time punch after the session start time and up to 5 minutes late, no points will be awarded after the five minute grace period. The same time punch policy will apply to the morning break time. When a student does not report back to class after break or after lunch, 2 points will be deducted from the students weekly attendance grade for those infractions. Please note the applicable grading procedure stated above. In addition, students who are more than 5 minutes tardy may not be allowed into the classroom after the class session has begun.

    ASEP Absentee Reporting

    When unavoidable circumstances make attendance impossible, students must provide a satisfactory explanation of their absences to the ASEP instructor. In every possible case, the instructor must be informed of the necessary absences a minimum of two school days before they occur. In the case of emergency absence or illness, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor of the situation as soon as possible. This should be done before the class to be missed starts if it is physically possible for the student or an acquaintance to do so (the office voice mail will take messages at any time of the day 575-492-2863). You may also reach me or leave a voice mail on my cell phone which is 575-441-2800. It is the responsibility of the student to request and make up all work missed during the absence. In some instances, the student may not be allowed to make up missed work at the discretion of the instructor (see Make-up Policy below). For all absences, regardless of the cause, either before the absence or immediately upon returning to class the student must provide the instructor printed/written evidence explaining the absence(s). Examples of such evidence include a doctor’s excuse, court documents, funeral notice, etc.

    ASEP Excessive Absences

    Due to the accelerated nature of the ASEP Program, students that exceed two (2) absences in any core course during the semester will be recommended for withdrawal from the ASEP program. In cases of emergencies and illness, students need to follow the procedures provided below.

    ASEP Make-up Policy - This policy applies to both excused and unexcused absences.

    Students should remain out of class only when absolutely necessary, much of the classroom and laboratory activity cannot be made up; the benefit of lectures, discussion, and participation is lost forever to those who are absent.

    Upon returning to class after an absence, it is the student’s responsibility to request any assignments missed. Additionally, all work turned in late will lose 10 percentage points for each day it is late. There will be NO opportunity to make up missed quizzes and tests due to tardiness; a “0” will be recorded. Exceptions will be considered only for extreme circumstances.


    Students will be held responsible for the information on these pages.

    Academic Honesty
    Each student is expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity in online academic and professional matters. The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, against any student who is found guilty of academic dishonesty or otherwise fails to meet these standards. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, dishonesty in quizzes, tests, or assignments; claiming credit for work not done or done by others; and nondisclosure or misrepresentation in filling out applications or other College records. Cheating or gaining illegal information for any type of graded work is considered dishonest and will be dealt with accordingly.

    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information
    Any student requiring special accommodations should contact the Special Needs Student Services Coordinator at (575) 492-2576 or by e-mail at

    Attendance Policy
    Attendance is required at every session of each course for which the student is enrolled. When unavoidable circumstances make attendance impossible, students must provide a satisfactory explanation of their absences to their professors. College-sponsored activities are considered excused absences and the appropriate sponsor of those students who will be absent from class will notify professors. Students having absences due to college-sponsored activities will need to make arrangements with the affected classes / professor to take care of required work; however, arrangements for make-ups should be made within a reasonable time frame, usually within one week of the absence. Regarding make-up work, absences due to late registration are considered the same as regular absences.

    Cell Phones/Pagers
    All cell phones and pagers must be turned off when the student is participating in any lecture, laboratory, or other learning activity.

    Classroom Conduct
    The professor is responsible for maintaining a class environment best suited for effective learning. By registering for this class, the student is assumed to have entered into an agreement with New Mexico Junior College and the professor to attend the class regularly and to behave in an appropriate manner at all times. Disruptive behavior may result in the student being removed from the class.

    Food and Drink Policy
    Food items and soft drinks may not be consumed in NMJC classrooms. Students are also discouraged from bringing food and drink items into the classroom even though these items remain in sealed packaging. Bottled water is permissible.

    No Children in the Classroom
    In order to adhere to instructional procedures as well as maintain the safety of children, NMJC’s policy of no children in the classrooms (lecture, lab, etc.) will be followed.

    Offering the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment, is plagiarism; therefore, any student who fails to give credit for quotations or essentially identical expression of material taken from books, encyclopedias, magazines and other reference works, or from the themes, reports, or other writings of a fellow student, is guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism violates the academic honesty policy and is considered cheating.

    Smoking/Use of Tobacco
    New Mexico Junior College is cognizant of the health hazards associated with smoking / use of tobacco for the smoker, as well as the non-smoker. In an effort to provide a healthy environment for students, employees, and others who may frequent the campus, NMJC prohibits smoking / use of tobacco inside any campus building or facility.

    Tutoring Assistance
    Free tutoring services are available to all NMJC students through Brainfuse and the Academic Success Center located at the Pannell Library on the 1st floor.

    Withdrawal Policy
    Regular, punctual attendance is required for all classes at NMJC. Although the professor has the right to drop any student who has missed the equivalent of 2 weeks of instruction (based on a 16 week semester) whether it’s a face to face, online, or a hybrid course, it is not guaranteed that the professor will drop the student. If the student chooses to stop attending a class, he/she should withdraw from the class by accessing your student account in the T-Bird Web Portal at, or submitting the required paperwork to the Registrar’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. All students are encouraged to discuss their class status with the professor prior to withdrawing from the class.


    This course will follow the following general outline. The instructor may modify the outline as warranted or needed.

    Week 1: Automotive Safety
    • General Safety
    • Eye Safety
    • Fire Safety
    • Gasoline Safety
    • Battery Safety
    • Hand Tool Safety
    • Power Tool Safety
    • Equipment Safety
    • Exhaust System Safety
    Steering Systems
    • Steering Columns
    • Steering Linkage
    • Manual Steering Systems
    • Power Steering Systems
    • Diagnosis
    Front Suspension
    • Various Designs
    • Identification of Components
    • Function of Components
    • Inspection
    • Diagnosis
    • Service and Repair

    Week 2: Rear Suspension
    • Various Designs
    • Identification of Components
    • Function of Components
    • Inspection
    • Diagnosis
    • Service and Repair
    Wheel and Tires
    • Tire Construction
    • Tire Inspection
    • Tire Diagnosis
    • Tire Service Operations
    • Wheel Balance
    • Wheel Balance Diagnosis
    Wheel Alignment 15 Hours
    • Basics
    • Alignment Angles
    • Pre-Alignment Inspection
    • Two and Four-Wheel Alignment Procedures
    • Diagnosis

    Week 3: Review and Testing
    • Review
    • National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification Test Preparation
    • Hands-On Assessments
    • Final Exam Date: December 9, 2015