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Cadillac Catera Maintenance & Repair



  • catman97catman97 Posts: 3
    Just got my 97 Catera back from the shop. Had coolant pour out the back of the engine. Could have sworn it was the transmission fluid as it appeared reddish. Turns out to be the plastic heater control valve had cracked. Cost $171 for the part (certified Cadillac part) and $146 in labor. Had to have my Catera towed 45 miles to a garage where they had a mechanic who had worked on Opals for fifteen years in Europe.

    The Catera had been sitting in my garage for eight months. Remembered it as being a joy to drive and certainly was again compared to my other vehicle -- a Saturn Redline Vue with AWD and 250HP V6 which is a fine vehicle but the Catera drives like a sports car but rides like a limousine. Sweet. I live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and lots of curvy roads, like the Cindy Crawford state " The Catera Commercial depicted "The Catera is the car that zigs".

    Oh yes, the mechanic who worked on Opals for fifteen years in Germany stated he thought Opel made an excellent car.
  • country2country2 Posts: 26
    You need to figure out if you have fire to the spark plugs. If it won't start, does it turn over or try to start. Take one of the spark plugs out and plug it into the spark plug wire and lay it on the engine on metal part. Have someone try to start the engine and see if there is sparks on the plug. If you have sparks then the problem most likely is in the fuel. There is a valve on the motor to check the fuel pressure. If you don't have a gauge to do that you can use a small screwdriver and push the stem on it and gas will come out but it should be under pressure so be careful. lf the gas does not spay out then you have a feul problem. This is how I would start but this is the basic stuff. If it don't start it is most likely fuel or spark. Let me know if you want more help.
  • sandballsandball Posts: 3
    Thanks, I thought of doing that, but it uses a coil packs. Can the same procedure work for those since once it's out it isn't connected to the plugs any longer. I also removed the fuel lines when removing the manifold and fuel poured out of the fuel line leading into it.
  • sandballsandball Posts: 3
    The car started hard after a heater core and water pump replacement. After about 50 miles of off and on city driving the vehicle doesn’t start at all. I had a misfire on the #4 cylinder and replaced the plugs with 2 prong instead of 4 prong plugs I was told it would be okay to use them. The removed #4 plug looked darkened, but the engine still doesn't start. I have transmission codes of 1-2-3 0753 shift solenoid circuit and code 1850 brake band apply solenoid circuit. However, no other codes are present. Can these codes prevent the car from starting. It cranks but isn't making any attempts to start.
  • country2country2 Posts: 26
    If the motor is turning over and the key is on there should be fire to the spark plugs. If there isn't then the coil packs are shot or the computer that runs the packs is bad. Did you go back through the old post on this site. It might be your crankshaft positioning sensor. These cars have a lot of trouble with them.
  • txshldmtxshldm Posts: 8
  • phil2400phil2400 Posts: 29
    Please stop shouting (all caps). The leak may not be the head gasket. The oil cooler also is in this valley, in a bath of coolant between the heads, and the cover is a seal to the coolant. It could be leaking here. To get to it, you need to remove the upper and lower intake manifold. Once removed, and the valley exposed, you should be able to see a coolant trail from the leak and determine if it is the head or oil cooler cover. By the way, the oil cooler cover doesn't have a gasket, but uses a liquid gasket sealer. If it cracks or warps, it could leak coolant through this valley.
  • txshldmtxshldm Posts: 8
    Initially the oil cooler was what they believed it was, but after looking a little closer you could see the coolant bubbling when he pu tpressure on it. Granted he didn't remove the intakes, but from the looks of it I hoping it is the head gasket and not the head. I understand that this particular year had a problem with this type of issue in the head gaskets.
  • bm4ebm4e Posts: 8
    does anyone know where to get a body kit for a catera. I have a 98 catera & cannot find a body kit nowhere. I was told i could use one from a lexus but dont know what lexus. Any help would be great, THANK YOU
  • I had trouble with the car alarm system. I pulled out the fuse relays and fuses, and let the car sit for about 3 months. I replaced the relays, and fuses and everything seems to work except the flashers and turn signals. I still beleive there is something between the car alarm going off and not having the fasahers and signals, but the darn electronics seems to cover ewverything except the alarm system.

    Any ideas that I might try before going to a dealer?
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    The turn signals and flashers operate on the same fuse/cicuit. Have you double checked to make sure that particular fuse isn't blown? Also, alot of Cateras are bad about leaking water into the tail lights if the car has sat out in the rain for any period of time. You might check them for an accumulation of water.
  • Hey Chris.... this is Lee... l need to talk to you asap... you can email me at so we can line up a phone chat. Thanks a lot.
    ( my sister in law has a problem with a Saab that won't start sometimes.... sounds like what you mentioin in this entry............. thanks Lee... ( by the way, my Caters is doing just fine )
  • tbail1tbail1 Posts: 1
    this Cadillac is a 3.0 ltr - This radiator has 2 switches on it and we need to know which one makes the fan turn on and off. At this point, the fan will not come on.
  • micldarmicldar Posts: 7

    My Cat 2000 start fine when it is cold. So, after I drive it for some time, that is, until the indicator of temperature crosses the middle (normal work temperature), it become hot as normally. The problem is when I switch off the car and after I intent to start again - dead. It only starts the lights in the panel and that's all. Then, I have to wait some 30, 40 or more minutes, while the motor refreshes a little bit and start again. It's a big mess when I have to make various stops in different places, always have to wait!

    I changed the Crankshaft position sensor, but it does't help. Some peoples said that I have to change the MAF, but I think that's not the problem.

    Can anybody help with this issue? thank a lot.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    Those are all blind alleys. I think you have a starter or starter relay problem, or on the outside, an ignition switch problem.

    How to diagnose? Well if you' re on your own, you might buy one of those remote starter switches at Autozone, and hook that up when the problem occurs. This little cheap device allows you to by-pass the ignition switch. The car won't START with the remote starter (you aren't supplying current to the ignition system, only the starter) but it will crank the starter motor. Since this remote goes directly from the battery to the starter relay, you get to test both relay and starter. The down side of this suggestion is that I don't know how difficult it is for you to access the starter motor connections on your car--I'm not that familiar with Cateras.

    You might also thoroughly clean your battery cables.

    I don't think doing this will set off your alarm system unless you disconnect the battery and then try to reconnect it. I think you have to open your doors first with your remote keypass before you mess with the battery.


  • micldarmicldar Posts: 7
    Thanks, I will follow your directions with the remote starter switch, or checking the start system with a technician, and will share the results of the operation. Actually, it has logic what you concluded about this.

  • az_hvyaz_hvy Posts: 30
    Is there anymore to fixing the problem code PO101 (Mass Air Flow Sensor) then replacing the part and disconnecting the negative battery cable to clear the code on a 98 Catera
    Thx in advance
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    Whoa now. Slow down. A PO 101 code doesn't necessarily mean you need a new MAF sensor. These codes do not identify the defective part, only the circuit or system that is having difficulty.

    Were any other codes set? If so they must be addressed before 101

    Also, check for vacuum leaks, loose oil cap, malfunctioning PCV valve, leaks at throttle body, unseated oil dip stick, something blocking the MAF inlet screen.


  • az_hvyaz_hvy Posts: 30
    Yes there was 2 more I don't have the numbers but both has something to do with running rich. My mechanic ( who I trust and has always been able to diagnose and repair problems right the fist time such as ABS Module, oil cooler and other problems in the past) had the car in and did repair Air Pump / Emissions Tube / Reset Computer. Car ran much better but other codes kept coming up. He suggested instead of "throwing parts at it" that he clear the codes and drive it a couple of days then rescan it. After doing that twice the only codes that came up is the 101 and the other 2 about runnind rich and to much fuel.
    The car will run fine but at ideal sometimes will drop down to 2-3 hundred rpms jump back up to 600 sometimes all the way to 1200, it will even die sometimes.
    Any other time I would let "Back To Basics" fix it but Dave does have a policy of only repair with re manufactured parts when new ones are not available. After being just laid off and money is tight I really cant afford to spend 550 when 300 will repair it
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    Well he's in front of the car and I'm not so if he's confident about the MAF, okay, but if he's wrong, you shouldn't have to pay for it---that's all I'm saying. This trouble code is tricky.


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