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Cadillac Catera Maintenance & Repair



  • weaz08weaz08 Posts: 5
    Thanks for your response. I will call the shop to get the code because they did not write it on the invoice it just says that the code is "emissions system flowing backwards"
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    That's a tough one. The DTC code would be a big help in pinpointing the problem. However, if in fact the EGR valve is stuck open or closed or not functioning correctly, your car should be experiencing a rough idle and/or kind of "bucking" during acceleration and possibly "knocking" to some extent. Just some thoughts but anyway, holler back when you get the code.
  • A pulley broke which caused the timing belt to "jump" I have now found that I need a new head gasket, which in all of this is another problem. Im getting it fixed now, so hopefully I'll be up and driving again soon
  • Good Luck Stephanie, I had a 2000 put timing belt, electrical parts then engine went out I got rid of the car and bought a 2002 cash van with 78000 miles I'm less stressful and NO CARNOTE Oh i bought sensors
  • ld3303ld3303 Posts: 3
    Thanks#525 and #526 for your input.i will try them both and let you know whatts up!!
  • votage is reading low battery light comes on, replaced battery alternator tesys strong light still comes on new battery dies should replace alternator
  • weaz08weaz08 Posts: 5
    It actually drives pretty good except for now the cooling fans are not kicking on and it gets hot. I need to check that out too. I called the shop this morning and the manager is not in today but I talked to one of the mechanics and he thinks it was P411 but I would have to call tomorrow when the manager is in so he can pull it form the data base. Is P411 a good code for emissions?
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    DTC PO411 is "AIR System No Flow Detected" so yes, it definitely has to do with emissions. The diagnostics to repair the problem are very extensive and involve many steps, 32 to be exact. Of course you would hope that it wouldn't take all 32 actions to solve the problem. If you are working with a Cadillac garage, they would have the diagnostics sheets. If you're working with an independent mechanic and he doesn't have the sheets, I will be more than happy to scan them and send them to your email address. Unless you have an extensive mechanical background and garage I really don't think this is something you would want to try to fix yourself but that is up to you. As for the cooling fans not coming on, there are 17 diagnostic steps to troubleshoot that and I would put that problem at a higher priority than the check engine light being on. Hope this helps and let me know what you think. Thanks
  • weaz08weaz08 Posts: 5
    I actually pulled it out of the Cadillac shop and have it at home. I have a mechanic that is a friend of the family taking a look at it. If you can send me the diagnostic steps to try and fix both problems that would be very much appreciated. I just couldn't leave it at the shop it was at because they were going to charge me $95hr just to try and find the problem and he said it could take 2-3hrs. You can send it to the email address here or to

    thank you very much,
  • bev6bev6 Posts: 1
    Please son was working on his Cadillac Catera and a big gust of wind came up and slammed down the hood. Now he can't get it open. It appears that the latch is not holding it down, so is there other latches that we don't know about.
    He is really frustrated with this car, as he ran into something and poked a hole in the radiator, and now the battery is dead, so he can't even push it, as the steering wheel is locked and when he had the hood open to jump the car, it slammed down and now its STUCK!! We even tried to jack it open with my husbands jack and it started to bend the hood. PLEASE HELP US!!
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    Of course, as with all cars there is a double "safety" latch on a Catera. I know for a fact that the safety latch on a Catera is very hard to locate and many people have trouble getting the hood open. However, if your son has worked on the car before, I would think he would know how to open the hood correctly. If the safety latch is holding it down it will move up and down about an inch or so before catching. I'm kind of in a hurry right now but if in fact it is not the safety latch holding the hood down, I will get back to you afterwhile with info on how to get it open. In the meantime, DO NOT try to use a jack to get it open. It won't work...............
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    Okay. I need more info. Is the hood stuck and locked down in the completely closed position or is it being held down by the safety latch (in other words, can you move it up & down about an inch or so or not)?? Let me know.
  • I have a 1997 Catera. Recently, the A/C will only blow cold air when it's not hot enough to use it. Also, once the engine has been running for awhile or sitting in the hot sun, it only blows hot air. The cooling fan does not seem to be kicking on to cool the refrigerant but it does kick on enough to ensure the engine is not overheating. The system does not have any leaks and is fully charged. Could this be a relay or bad fan or something else entirely??? How could I check it?
  • I purchased an 01 Catera a few months ago, the front end recently started shaking pretty bad that would come and go. I was told that it the tires had worn prematurely. I had one mechanic tell me it was a design defect and that new tires and front end alignment would be a very temporary fix. It doesn't sound like Cadillac acknowledges the problem. What to do?? Please Help!!
  • Remember that any rotating mass can cause a shake, so there is another strong possibility...a broken engine mount, which any good mechanic can check easily by starting the engine.

    I don't believe that there is any 'design flaw' with the front Catera has well over 100,000 miles with no tire issues. I have Continentals and rotate every 10,000 miles or so. It is also possible that one of your tires has a broken belt...even some new tires can break a belt which will make it impossible to balance.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    I have to agree with heckofaman. That mechanic should be fired for even saying something like that if it were in fact true but it isn't. There were not any Catera so called front end defects ever. I would suspect that you have a tire out of balance or out of round. Alignment is not likely to cause front end shake but it could be a factor causing a tire to wear unevenly and eventually shake. If I were you I would get two new front tires and possibly the alignment if you want but you have to get four wheel alignment which can run anywhere from $60 to $100+... When they balance your tires, they will be able to tell you if you possibly have a warped rim which also could cause shaking. A bad motor mount would maybe cause a little shaking on acceleration but is not likely to cause the steering wheel or front end of the car to shake while just cruising along. Good luck.
  • adoschadosch Posts: 3
    I have a 2000 Catera had the same problem....we did an didn't help...took it all over to find out how to fix the shaking....put on two new tires, its been running like a dream....
  • Alright... our Cadi Catera is acting really weird. It isn't throwing a single code either.
    Here's the story:
    So about a month ago the car started to missfire a little, but then stopped. It then did it once and a blue moon, but never threw a code and wasn't that big of a deal.

    Well my mother was driving the car, stopped at an intersection, and it just died on her. The car would crank and crank and crank but wouldn't turn over. So she had a towed to a local shop. There were no codes so they decided to look at it in the morning. Morning came, the car started right up. So my mother picked it up and everything was fine.

    So then I am driving it for about 20 minutes later that week with no problems. Then I begin to deccelerate coming down an off ramp and the car dies. Same deal. Crank and won't turn. So I push it into a parking lot and try to figure out what it could possibly be. So after about an hour of sitting and my final try, the car starts. SO I begin to drive it home on the highway and everything is fine until I begin to deccelerate to a red light. Same thing again. Then my father goes back later to get the car and it starts right up. He drives it home and it dies when he deccelerates. We go back the next morning and drive it straight to the shop.

    The local shop (who we trust very much) took another look and had no idea. He recommended that we take it to the Cadi dealer because he had no idea what it could be.

    Now before we bring it to the stealership, any ideas what this could be? It seems to only happen when slowing down and when the car is warm. Then starts back up once it cools down.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    Without even giving it a second thought, the first thing I would do is to replace the "Crankshaft Position (CKP)" sensor. That, in all likely hood will solve your problem. If your "trusted local mechanic" is not familiar with replacing the CKP sensor, give me an email address and I will send you the instructions with pics. Not a difficult thing to do at all. I believe he can get the sensor at most auto parts suppliers. Let me know and good luck.
  • Well I haven't talked to the mechanic yet. Only my mother has. I am going to go down there tomorrow to pick it up and bring it back home to check a few things. I know he has mentioned the CKP sensor before, but I don't think he replaced it since he is not charging us again. I think I will give it a try.
    email is cannondalemtb (at) hot mail (dot) com
    Why would the CKP go whacky only when its warmed up and decelerating?
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    A bad CKP definitely goes whacky when it gets warm. The deceleration part, I don't know. Maybe it just happen to be at the right temperature to malfunction while the car was decelerating a couple of times. Anyway, here is a link to another forum that will give you some insight to CKP problems and how to replace it with pics. I have the service manuals and will be happy to e the instructions to you if you still want them but like "sirmqc" says, the instructions and pics aren't always that clear. After you click on the following link, click on the second link down where it says "Sticky: 98 Catera Crankshaft Position Sensor........." and that will take you to "sirmqc"s comments and a bunch of useful info. Let me know that you can get to the link okay and whether or not you still want service manual info. Here's the link:
  • Hello gang, new to the group. Have a 97 Catera that will not shift, only gets 1 and rev. When it trys to shift to 2nd...nothing!! When I use the "snow" button it stills has nothing until I turn it off, then it grabs 1st. Trans doesn't slip in 1st or rev. Really appears to be electronics? Saw many trans issues here, but none with my problem. On a good note, had a 97 before that was a GREAT car. Believe it or not, 143,000 trouble free miles!! Didn't know how good I had it. Sold the car and wished I didn't! Just picked up another (bought it with this trans problem) and hoping for the best. I was a BMW tech for years in the late 80's, have owned many German cars, all were good. I do have a strange feeling about these have to drive them HARD, everyday. Thats what they like, thats what they were built for. WE (Americans) are to easy on them. Sounds strange I know, but it's what I saw at the dealership level for years. The one with the most problems were the ones that drove easy or not often (lots of lady drivers, sorry) No prove, just a thought... and my opinion!! Any help with the above trans problem would be great, if anyone has had the same thing happen. Thinking about that circuit board in the trans thing.... There are some good ones out there..... :confuse:

  • dmmjr64dmmjr64 Posts: 2
    I just bought a 99 catera for my son. I was told by the person that I purchased it from that it needed a new oil cooler. But the dealer told me it had a transmission cooler leak. So I put in a new trans cooler in myself. Now I notice water in the oil. It's also blowing white/blue looking smoke out the exhaust. I'm thinking it still needs a oil cooler, but not sure about the smoke. Maybe a head gasket?
    I also have water coming off the front of the motor but not sure where. I have already replaced the control valve. Any help with these problems would be helpful. thanks
  • diva36diva36 Posts: 4
    I need to know if anyone has had this problem and if so what was the solution...I wasn't able to put the car in Drive this morning, It starts up fine but refuses to shift into drive it is stuck in park...HELP PLEASE!
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    I would check the "Brake To Shift" switch to see if it is operating properly. To do this, get into your car, turn on the ignition but don't start the car. Tap the brake pedal and listen for a clicking sound coming from the gearshift and observe whether or not the "brake to shift" light on the dash panel goes out each time you tap the brake pedal. If you don't hear the clicking and/or the light doesn't go out when you tap the brake, the switch is not woking and needs to be replaced or bypassed. It is located above the brake pedal under the dash. Good luck.
  • diva36diva36 Posts: 4
    Thanks I will try that when I get home from work....
  • acurryacurry Posts: 27
    if you replace the brake stop light switch also replace the cruise control switch also it is right next to it or youll have to replace that switch very soon it happened to me and you will have to same exact problem with the shifter
  • ewilleyewilley Posts: 1

    I have a 99 catera with 90k miles :sick: and here is the list of probs I need help with (it's a long list cause it's a piece of crap car-but it was free)

    1. Car won't start: for the past couple of months, after I have driven the car (usually >10 miles) and go back to start it again it will not start. I sounds like it is trying to turn over, but won't engage. Will keep trying to start it, and if the battery hold out long enough, it will usually start again after it has sat for about 20 minutes. It will then go a couple of days with no problem and then out of the blue won't start again. We thought that it was a starter issue-had it checked and it's okay. HELP!

    2. Transmission light: While driving, the tranny light will come on and it seems like firts and second gears don't work, and you are starting in third. Starting from a complete stop, the car will go supper slow until about 30 mph and then is fine, until you start from a stop. If you turn the car off and then back on-the light goes away and runs great. The light has now started to come on after I start it and let it idle for a minute or two. Again, turn off the car and then back on-light goes off and no problem. HELP!

    3. Check engine light: the engine light will come on, always with the same code P0411 and will stay on for a few days, then go off by itself. the guys at autozone all tell me that it is electrical?

    4. Coolant leak: the stupid coolant light keeps coming on every couple of weeks, and we add more coolant, knowing that there has to be a leak somewhere-but never had any driveway drips-until two weeks ago. Now the stupid thing is dripping coolant from the left front end, kinda where the battery is. HELP

    5. Burning oil?? Had gasket replaced 1 1/2 years ago cause the car was burning oil and smoking. For the last 9 months it smells like its burning oil, and will occasionally still smoke. Another gasket???

    Please Help. Also if there are any good mechanics in Utah I would love to know who they are. I hate dealerships.
  • 1. Sounds like possibly the Crankshaft Posistion Sensor. When my Catera needed this, it would run fine for a while, then the engine would quit. It wouldn't start for 10-20mins. Then out of the blue it would start up and run fine. It is quite a common problem with Cateras. I'm not sure if that is what you described but I would definatley check in to it if it has not been replaced.
    2. I recall someone else having the same problem in a previous post. Try searching the forum.
    3. See post #482 by gnguru. PO411 DTC is "AIR System No Flow Detected". He may be able to help you by send the troubleshooting codes.
    4. My Catera had a leaky Heater Control Valve. Puffs of steam would occasionally come from the hood and fog the window. It would leak from around the front driver side. I believe this is also a common problem with Cateras. After this was replaced, the sensor on my jug went bad.
    5. My valve cover gasket had to be replaced. It caused the oil to leak on to the the manifold and create a burnt oil smell and ocassionally smoke would come from the hood while parked. The coil packs are known to go bad if this goes on for too long. Sounds like you have already had this gasket replaced. Hopefully this is not related to problem #4.

    I'm sorry I wasnt much help. Searching this forum for some of the stuff I mentioned may help to shed some light on the problems.
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