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Cadillac Catera Maintenance & Repair

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Comments

  • easyselleasysell Posts: 4
    I just bought a 97 Caterra today. Test drove about 15 miles and seemed to run real well. Purchased it and on way home it didn't want to accelerate from a stop sign. Pulled over shut it off. Restarted and accelerated ok but sluggish compared to test drive. Then I noticed the volt gauge was only 1 or 2 slashes over red zone. Later battery died and had to be jumped. The prior owner left all his maint receipts in glove box. There were many. He did lots of maintenance and repairs. He had alternator and battery replaced about 10k ago. There is also a light on dash on left side that looks like a gear ring with a star in the center. I don't have an owners manual so I was wondering what it is. He also replaced timing belt and pulleys as well as water pump and had trans rebuilt. I assume the rebuilt alternator has failed again. Would this cause the very sluggish acceleration? Reading all these post has me very worried. Is this car as high maintenance as all these postings suggest?
  • dallasdude1dallasdude1 Posts: 1,139
    You might try premium fuel, the best premium. Then there is the so called rebuilt alternators, which are just cleaned and brushes replaced. Try a new factory alternator. They run a little higher, but function to spec. I can obtain one here in Dallas for a bit over $200. Dealers want much more. Also be sure that the sun roof is not draining the battery. Many of the first Cateras had this issue, which was correct in later models. Then the light on the dash may just be the sports mode and pressing the buttom on the top of the transmission shifter (S for sports mode)should make it go away.
    Good luck
  • dallasdude1dallasdude1 Posts: 1,139
    Sounds like your car is knocking. Try the best premium gas you can. An octane booster may help out. Then take two asprins and see if you have other problems in the morning. It sounds like you have more than one problem.
    Good luck
  • My advice would be to take it back. The problems only go away for a short time and then return for a longer visit.

    I have the same voltage problem. I'll drive for a while and the car wont start up. Then I'll notice te voltage reading low when I'm parked or at a red light. The gauge will go back up once I start driving....but back down again once i'm sitting still. One day my car wouldnt crank so we had someone to TRY to jump the battery off. the battery didnt take a charge. We treid for about 20 minutes and realized that ANOTHER problem is the neutral switch.

    The funny thing is this is probably the 4th time ive been wanting to trade this car in, it goes down. Then we (parents) have to scuffle for a way to put money into the car to get it running. Once its running, we never seem to have the money at the right time to trade the car in and get a new one. EVERYTIMe its the same thing. its like the car reads our minds and says "Oh no you wont get rid of me" lol. Never fails
  • lol, I dont think tyhe asprins will help lol.

    About 3 months ago, I was veeeery low on gas so I went to a little off-brand gas station.....it was seriously the only one I could make it to. The car had been a little shaky so I figured it was b/c i was low on gas. After I got the gas, the car got worse and my dad told me i needed a tune-up....because the car was shaking and skipping. I also had to fix the coolant leak. i got the leak and the tune-up at the same time but the car got worse. While trying to drive it from the service shop, the car wouldnt stay on when I took my feet off the gas. I think that was b/c it was a vaccum tube left off. It was throwing out white smoke from the exhaust. Every problem has been since then. From the neutral switch to the battery to the transmission.
  • dallasdude1dallasdude1 Posts: 1,139
    You are aware that there is a voltage regulator. GM commonly puts them in the alternator. They allow the battery to recharge, and then turn off the current so that the battery won't over-charge. That could be what your looking at. The energizing of the voltage regulator. Or you may have a alternator which is only producing current at higher RPM as when your driving.
    Get "Pimp My Ride" to hook you up!!!
  • dallasdude1dallasdude1 Posts: 1,139
    I think thats what they call problematic. Just how many miles does that 98 have?
  • dean125dean125 Posts: 1
    I'am a ASE cert mechanic and have a no start problem, I recently replaced the head gskts in both heads,timing belt and air intake temp sensor, it has been to 2 large GM/caddy dealers and they pulled the heads back off and reassembled (at owners expense and request) retimed the motor and they can not find the problem either.
    It cranks like it is out of time it also has no signal coming out of the pcm for the AIT sensor. Has anybody had any such problems? It rolled in my shop running fine with only a water leak on the right head.ANY help would be greatly appreciated
  • calicagocalicago Posts: 53
    Hey don't panic 1. get an crank sensor or as it's called cps 2. The tune up is an good tune up all they did was change the plugs maybe wires. Test the coils also or get them tested.
  • calicagocalicago Posts: 53
    :) Put a new CPS in it that will do it
  • dallasdude1dallasdude1 Posts: 1,139
    The crank position sensor is a cheap way to start. That is prior to replacing the computer/module.

    Only some dealerships sent their technicians off to train on the Catera. Others passed and are ill prepared to work on Euro cars. A while back they couldn't even jump start mine because so and so was not in that day. The service adviser was sure it was something big. It was the battery and the overflow tank was leaking. Needless to say, its just bad news if you break down away from home.

    I trust that when the timing belt was replaced the tensioner and pulleys were as well replaced? In any case please tell what the timing belt replacement runs. Then the reworking of the heads is because of warp age? There is no way that the oil cooler is leaking? Many folks out there have had head work done only to find out that a banjo bolt had come loose on the transmission cooler.

    Dealers are not going to admit to errors by their service dept's. I've seen them forget to put on the oil cap, over tighten oil plugs/oil filter housings, and other silly errors. Service writers live on commission and rarely turn down work. Everyone is on commission and therefore in a hurry and poorly trained. The whole thing is pathetic. Then they are scratching their heads wondering where they went wrong and or blame unions for their indolence. In Europe the Opel Omega is one of the most reliable cars made and here its a nightmare?
  • 97,542. Oh its problematic alright lol
  • Would hooking up to the machine just these problems. I might have to get it towd to the dealership.
  • mazeusamazeusa Posts: 5
    Thanks gnguru, I wish I have known this fact before the $145 for the new remote and the reprogramming :cry:

    Ohh well, it is a Catera afterall...
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    No problem mazeusa but I also wanted to let you know that if you ever need another remote, the best place to get them is on EBAY ($15 or less to $30 or so for most of them). The majority of them are factory remotes and they give you the programming instructions with the remote at no extra charge.
  • dtsluvrdtsluvr Posts: 5
    Thank you gnguru, the crankshaft sensor was the problem. Since I didn't have the money to put it on at the dealer that was requesting 500.00 I went to my local auto zone and picked the bran new part up for 75.00 with tax and my husband installed it. Since we don't have a manual for this car it took me a little time to try to figure out were the sensor connected at the top. The inter net let me know that it was located between the oil lines.
    I read somemore of the post on here and seen where alot of people routed it along the manualfold. That is what I told my husband and the job actually took 5 min, from start to finish.
    Thank you for your help and the others also.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    That's great. I'm glad "Plan A" solved the problem. For any others changing out the CPS, I'm sure I have a previous post on here with pics and detailed instructions on the CPS replacement. And dtsluvr, don't worry about not having an Owner's Manual. It wouldn't be of any help when replacing the CPS. As a matter of fact the tecnical Service Manuals aren't much help as they are very vague both in descriptions and pics. Alot of the wording in the service manuals is like those emails you get telling you that a long lost relative of yours was killed in a plane crash in Uganda and they want to send you an inheritance of $3.8 million and they show you a pic of a car wreck instead of a plane crash.... LOL Anyway, thanks for thanking me and I hope your Catera gives you miles of smiles ;) .
  • calicagocalicago Posts: 53
    Hello Gnguru it took a while but I found the problem the passenger outer tie rod was worn out had to take load of the the wheels to realy get a good look also a bushing was bad on the sway bar going to repalce them both and bushings then another wheel alignment. My wife should be very happy about that now I just need to figure out these heated seat issue. chears :)
  • calicagocalicago Posts: 53
    I agree with you on that point it's always 99.9 % of the time a cheap or minor fix to a major problem
  • easyselleasysell Posts: 4
    I previously wrote about a problem with my Catera suddenly becoming sluggish at a stop light. Then later the battery died. The battery and alternator were both replaced within the last year by previous owner. The volt meter was 1 slash above red, the oil pressure gauge read right above red. The radio would cut out when you tried to turn it up. When the battery was charged overnight the volt gauge would go up to about midway, oil pressure up to about 60 psi and the radio could be turned up. So I took it to NAPA. They did a load test on battery and then alternator and determined alternator was putting out low voltage. So I replaced alternator with a Bosch unit. The oil psi stays up around 60 psi and the radio doesn't cut out. The battery seems to be holding a charge. But the voltmeter still reads about midway.
    I keep a jumper box in the car just in case. Does anyone know if these voltmeters are highly innacurate or is their another piece to the puzzle? I figure if there is a relay in the circuit that is bad it's either on or off. A fuse would be blown. Are there any knowledgeable ideas out there? I live in Denver if anyone knows a dealer or repair facility that has a good Catera mechanic. I'm good at replacing parts but diagnosing is not my forte. I don't want a mechanic throwing parts at it.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    The voltmeter should be exactly at the midway point as that is 12 volts. Normal operating range is between 11 and 13 volts (each notch on the voltmeter equals one volt). If the voltmeter reads above 13 or below 11, the battery will either be overcharged or undercharged causing problems with the electrical system so you're right on the money halfway. So I would just let it be. A sound proverb for a Catera owner is that old cliche = "if it isn't broke - don't try to fix it!!". :D
  • easyselleasysell Posts: 4
    Thanks gnguru. My son is actually the driver. I test drove it after I put the new alternator in. So I quiz him about the gauges. I guess we'll just drive it a few days and if the battery dies again I'll be on here again. Reading this sight was real depressing at st. But as you stated, it is a sight for fixing broke stuff. Regarding the issue on the brake pads and the sensors. If you replace the pads before the sensors are effected can the sensors be reused? Also is there a web site where I can get a picture of the dash and all the different icons and what they mean? The owners manual didn't come with the car.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    Yes, as long as the loop in the brake sensor warning system has not been broken (dash light would come on if loop has been broken), the sensors are still good and can be reused. Not sure of a site for viewing dash icons. The Owner's Manual doesn't really show the entire dash listing each icon but shows each one seperately on various pages of the manual. Some are self explanatory like an oil can is of course an oil problem and small radiator is cooling problem but some are definitely hard to understand. If you tell me exactly which ones you have a problem with I'll be glad to tell you what they mean. My email address is in a previous post if you want to e me direct or we can do it through this site. I'm sure posting on this site helps numerous people that we never hear a peep from. Cheers :)
  • jpmccrjpmccr Posts: 31
    My wife has a 99 Catera with around 77K miles on it. We had the oil changed recently and the mechanic said we had an "excessive" oil leak. I looked and I noticed a dip of oil hanging on the bottom cross member below the oil pan(?). There is a wet spot on the pavement where we park. Any ideas what could cause the leak and what can be done for a fix. Thanks . . .
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    My best guess would be the valve covers are leaking as this is a common problem with Cateras. Of course for a fix you will need to install new valve cover gaskets, not a fun job at all................ :(
  • phil2400phil2400 Posts: 29
    I have a friend that purchased a nice '99 Catera a couple of years ago. He still has a year's worth of payments left, but the car has a serious problem. Even though it runs OK, motor oil is mixing with the coolant, and gumming up the radiator. His mechanic first thought the transmission cooler in the radiator broke, and he replaced the radiator. But, it is still happening, and the motor oil is disappearing from the oil pan. His mechanic has diagnosed a blown head gasket, but other symptoms are not there. Compression is good, and no water is leaking into the cylinders. Only oil into the cooling system. I understand that a head gasket problem may be causing this, but, being unfamiliar with these German engines, is there another gasket that can fail, and allow oil to be pumped into the cooling system? Where is the oil pump located, and is there a known issue like this? BTW, this car has 125K miles. It did have Dex-cool in the radiator.
  • dallasdude1dallasdude1 Posts: 1,139
    Phil the oil cooler is in the motor. Held there by banjo bolts (bolts which have liquid ports) which might need tightening. Thats an excellent opportunity for oil and coolant mixing. Wish I had a dollar for each time this was assumed a head gasket.
  • i just recently got an 01 catera as my first car, after i got it home i relized that one of the plastic cadillac symbol caps was missing from the rim. Any idea where i could find new one/s
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    Well, that's an easy one to answer!! If you're looking for a "new" one as you say, you'll have to go to your nearest Cadillac dealer and they can order it for you if they don't have one in stock. However, you might be able to fine one alot cheaper at a salvage yard. If that's the only problem you have with your new car, consider yourself lucky!! ;)
  • phil2400phil2400 Posts: 29
    Thanks for the tip. Are there any good repair manuals that will help guide me through this? Can the banjo bolts be gotten to easily, or do I have to drop the oil pan? I will look over the car again later today. Again, thanks.
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