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Cadillac Catera Maintenance & Repair



  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    Does the third brake light (strip light on trunk deck) work or is that out too?
  • gw1998gw1998 Posts: 6
    Yes, it's out also.
  • mexdebmexdeb Posts: 7
    Finally I´ve maybe found an answer. I live in Mexico and have had many problems with my 98 Catera. The timing belt problem was fixed and thank God I was re-embursed 100% with no problem. Now I have this issue with the car not starting same as etienne2. If I wait 20 min. it starts up fine. No one here can seem to diagnose correctly . I got a new fuel pump and then a sensor that I can´t traslate to what but it has to do with the tire rod or something. Could this be the crank sensor, what is it and where is it located. I am desperate, just spent more than 1000 dollars and the day I drove it home from the shop it wouldnt start, waited an hour and it started right up . Hope you can help.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    Since you obviously have a computer you can go to this link and I've explained in detail how to replace the "crankshaft position sensor" on the 1998 Catera which I'm 99.9% sure will take care of your problem. It even explains how to test the new sensor before you permanently attach it. You will have to register to the site to see the images but it is free. Good luck and let me know if this solved your starting problem. sirmqc era-crankshaft-position-sensor-replacement.html
  • mexdebmexdeb Posts: 7
    Thank you so much, I am astonished at the quick reply. Plan to contact my mechanic ASAP tomorrow morning. Will let you know the outcome. Thanks again.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    I guess I'm not going to be of much help to you. Cadillac designers have really engineered a nightmare with the Catera and even the simplest elctrical circuitry like brake lights can involve several relays and plug-in connections. I don't know exactly where the brake light wiring is located but I seriously doubt if it would be anywhere that a car lift or jack could get to it and damage it and certainly none of the wiring would be in the vicinity of the radiator but then again, like I said they "engineered a nightmare". If I were you, I would start at the brake light switch to see if it has power. Even getting to that can be a major battle. If worse came to worse I would consider running a direct wire from the battery to the brake light switch and then another wire from the switch to the brake lights (since they don't have a double filament bulb - turn signals are seperate lights). Not exactly Cadillac style but may prevent you from getting pulled over and getting a citation. Sorry I wasn't much help. Maybe somebody else will have some ideas. Guess I've been lucky as I haven't had any electrical problems with my Catera :lemon: Yet :) . Good luck though.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    PS: I forgot to mention this but if you have to resort to running a hot wire direct from the battery, be sure to install an inline fuse between the battery and the brake light switch. Just in case..... ;)
  • Hey Everyone,
    Someone worte about car not starting and then after cutting it off it w/n start. My 2000 catera was doing that also. Found out it was the crank sensor i ordered the part at $50.00 and mechanic put it o for $125.00. away cheap that time becaue my mechanic wanted $200.00 for the part alone.

    Hope someone can use this information.

    Always maintain the peace within you...

  • mexdebmexdeb Posts: 7
    The mechanic came over and started the car right up with cables which I knew it would but wanted him to see it for himself. He tried to tell me it could be the battery or the alternator and had to rule that out first after I told him I knew what the car need and showed him your diagrams. I can´t believe this mechanic he´s just as bad a a doctor in as you can´t tell him what to do. You better believe I am not letting him touch my battery which is new practically and I will not let him get near my alternator as I brought it from the states rebuilt and have had no problem with it so far now 3 years. It was the third alternator the car has had since 2000. Anyway since its a holiday we agreed to talk again on Monday meanwhile he shut the car off and it started up again right away which I knew it would since I know there is nothing wrong with neither my alternator or battery. He just smirked. I am talking to the manager next and telling them just what I want and not listening to anything else they try to pull. Thanks for your help just thought I would update you. Much appreciation from Mexico.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    Hi again - Yes it sounds to me like your mechanic needs to go back to mechanics school for a refresher in Mechanics 101. If your car is not starting, there are two scenarios. Either it will not turn over or it will turn over but doesn't start. If it won't turn over, it is one of two things, either the battery or the starter. The alternator has nothing to do with starting the car. If the battery is running down and you feel like it is the alternator, the best way to test the alternator (especially since the alternator on a Catera is not easy to remove - then again not much of anything on a Catera is easy to get to) is to start the car. After it is running, pull the positive cable from the battery post. If the car dies you have a faulty alternator and it needs to be replaced. I was under the impression that the times your car wasn't starting, that it was turning over okay but just wouldn't fire up mainly after it is warm and/or has been driven for a distance. Then after it cools off it starts fine. Like I said, install a new crankshaft position sensor, and I'm 99.9% sure it will solve your problem. Good luck with the manager.. ;)
  • youngie1youngie1 Posts: 1
    Hello Etienne.

    I am experiencing the same problem as one of the other guys. My ABS, TCS lights come on simultaniously, & the speedometer goes dead. Do you have any idea what this can be? Also, my left & right turn signals don't work, they just make the relay give off a strange electrical noise. Any solutions will be appreciated!
  • catera06catera06 Posts: 2
    I am having problems wiring the bosch universal four wire sensor into the five wire set up if you could please help with what goes where it would be greatly appreciated.
  • mexdebmexdeb Posts: 7
    I am not able to register at the link you gave me. I have tried but can´t get the email back to register. May have something to do with the weird email server I have here in Mexico I really want to get the slides you posted as I really doubt they know how to fix it here. As to your last post my car would be totally dead not even crank but after waiting 20 min 30 min it would start. The reason I had to put cables to it to get it to start is that I had been starting it to try it out evey day but didn´t run it for any time at all and that ran the battery down. After jumping it it started right up. Is there any other way I can get the slides from you? I really appreciate it. I still have the option of taking it to the cadillac dealer instead of the chevy dealer and hoping they will help. At least they were more honest and said they couldnt figure it out and did nothing but tell me to keep driving it and call when it wouldn´t start. They also told me to sell the car as soon as I could because it was too difficult for them to handle and I think they shudder every time they see me drive in. I am ordering the part from a friend thats coming to visit and I think for 70 dollars its worth it. Thanks for helping.
  • rab7rab7 Posts: 1
    I drove my catera to work ran great, got in it after work and at start up it was idling real rough sounds like a diesel it has a disticnt mechanical noise like a bent rod or valve. I've heard that sound before in other type of vehicles when timing is out as I've read through this site I can see that this vehicle has a lot of issues especially electrical so I'm hoping for a bad sensor or something like that anyway if anyone has had a similar experience i would greatly appreciate some feed back.
    Thanks have a great day.
  • I have a 97 Catera. Ever since i got it, its been nothing but troublesome. After payin 4 and putting in about 3 its because a 7,000 car. Anyway, now theres a new problem and any help would be greatly apprieciated! Basically, everytime i drive my car, I get a lot of smoke coming out of the drivers side of the hood. Than, after the smoke comes out the hood, it starts coming through the air vents. It comes out the vents and i think under the steering wheel sometimes. Despite all this the car doesn't over heat. I had a shop look at it and they said the only problem it had was it was leaking power steering fluid. Nothing he has done could fix the smoke problem. I now turn to whoever reads this and ask a favor of them. Please let me know anything you can, anything at all, about this problem. Any information would help. Thank You
  • mike192mike192 Posts: 1
    i start my car either in the morning before work or after work to come home, for the first five minutes my engine bogs out as if there is no gas.any suggestions would be appreciated?
  • Did you get any replies? I am having the same trouble but it lasts a lot longer then 5 minutes. When I step on gas nothing happens. My car has been cutting out while driving.
  • I need help! I have taken my car to shop 3 times and they don't know what is wrong except code says lean. The car idles rough and won't accelerate when I step on the gas. It will cut out while driving. They have checked codes and it involves lean but they can't find anything wrong with it. Of course when they drive check engine light stays out as soon as I get into the car it comes right back on. They have replaced fuel filter, ignition coils, and plugs. Any advice? Please, I am a single girl and need a car. Thank you!
  • Hey,

    My 2000 was doing the same thing. Would cut off suddenly and wouldnot start back up for 15/25 min. It was the crank sensor. If anyone want to speak with my mechanic who is very good with cateras please contact me @

  • cissiecissie Posts: 7
    Hi, I have a 98 Catera. I love this car it is almost 10 years old and only has 25,000 miles on it. We live in NJ and you do not need a car for here were we live. My question is my air/ heat unit will not turn on, completly dead, no sounds, no air, no lights, would anyone have idea if this is a fuse? Or the compressor? Please advise. Cissie
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