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Cadillac Catera Maintenance & Repair



  • bradcadbradcad Posts: 9
    I have a 2000 Catera... these cars tend to run a bit hot... they were designed to warm up quickly... German preference I guess... and then should stay right about in the middle of the gauge... but some run a little hotter. Whenever my radiator light has come on (only 2 times over 1 1/2 years) I just add coolant to the overflow tank... light goes off... seems to work. I wouldnt advise ignoring any trouble dash light... check all fluid levels to be safe.
    Brad Cad 2000
  • calicagocalicago Posts: 53
    Did you get the rotors cut you might have an high spot on them; and make sure the ware sensors are not rubbing and use a lot of brake clean :)
  • dallasdude1dallasdude1 Posts: 1,151
    Try Shell gas. That is their best premium. That sounds like knocking and the check engine light should have come on. Don't take it in and get codes, they will say that your high mass air needs replacing. This will save you lots of money.
  • leevandam1leevandam1 Posts: 28
    I have put a new water tank on my 01 catera...... light on dash goes out (water tank level) after several miles light goes back on, and I notice that the tank is indeed low on water...... could this be due to a bad thermostat? OR what do you people think it is/////// the motor temp stays at normal range even in our (al) hot weather...... Thanks Lee.......when I stop the pressure keeps pushing water back into tank, and if I loosen the cap it will over flow ....... thanks again......
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    I doubt that it is a bad thermostat, especially if the water temp is about normal which is usually slightly above the halfway point. The water has to be going somewhere (hopefully NOT into the engine and out the exhaust = bad head gasket, not good!!). Have you watched to see if water is leaking out anywhere? Like possibly a loose hose clamp? If you haven't seen any water leaking anywhere, is it possible that when you changed the tank, that some air was left in the system and the water you're adding is replacing the air? If this was the case, eventually the water level will stay steady and the light will not come on. Just my thoughts. Good luck. PS: You might also check the heater control valve which is between the engine and firewall toward the passenger side. These are notorious for going bad on Cateras....
  • lol dude too good i can't do a burn out and i tried my best to wreck it but the worst i got is the ditch and a flat :D

    oh and a part that can't even handle the presser the water pump puts out o think that the prob but i thinkl the parts i got are old and no good so hay i say buy i got the sports pack like MIB? i took apart the gear selcter and painted the lil button red

    :D i fly but i don't leave the ground :P :shades:
  • ok i got a 97~99 and i am in a bit of a bind i got a part in my car(part of the coolant system) and it keeps bustin open like a...a....a... it blows open is the best way to say it but i need the part all i need is the name and im good but i got a small prob with that too...whats the avg. price? my dad got lucky in the junk yard in omaha,NE but the car is tooooo new to be in the junk yard so we can't FIND IT! this is driving me mad i want to use my lil red button agian :( i miss racing in it! i am now driving a 96 plymouth mini van tv, xbox, fan, converter, the life on the road right? wrong all white van? nicknamed "The sperm" so if u can help me that be a GREAT help ty!
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    Hard to help you without knowing where abouts the part is. Can you describe where the part that keeps blowing open is (front of engine, behind engine, driver or passenger side of engine????
  • acurryacurry Posts: 27
    i have an 2000 catera i had a hairline crack in the radiator, so i got that replaced. also the hot water control vavle has gone bad three time fluid leaks when i turn off the car and also had the heater hose replaced once. i think it sounds like your water control vavle like i said i have been through three i guess its a poor made part. goodluck
  • leevandam1leevandam1 Posts: 28
    before I changed the tank the water light would come on about 5 minutes after starting the car...... there is no sign of fluid loss ( on the floor) and we have used the car with the light on for weeks or months.... level SEEMS to go to a low point and stay there... no problems with performance.....but the tank IS low on fluid..... might try to purge the system of air, etc... eh. Can fill it (the tank) and it seems to loose a given amount and stay LOW.
  • leevandam1leevandam1 Posts: 28
    this morning I checked the storage bottle and it was right up to the "cold" line. I started the car, let it idle and then checked under the car..... ah-ha... there was a dripping of fluid on the floor, seems to be at the rear of the engine area. could not crawl under the car, but there it is.... will try to jack up the car and check underneth it .... what and where should I look spicificly please.... wow we may be getting near the end of my quest, eh..... thanks for all your help, guys...... Lee
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    99.9% positive that it is your heater control valve. I don't think you can get one at the auto parts store and you will have to get it at your local Cardiac (arrest LOL) dealer and it will be right around $90 to $95. Not too bad to change out yourself if you've done simple mechanics. If you have it done at the dealer it will be in the area of a $500 bill. Good luck.
  • leevandam1leevandam1 Posts: 28
    gngurdu ..... whew,, thanks... so how much of the motor do I need take apart to work on the replacement, I mean.. where is it, and how do we get to it... do we need to disassemble the top half of the motor, or what...(S) again thanks.. Lee
    could you kinda talk me through it.... thanks.. ( I would not mind doing it if I knew where to start........( other than opening up the hood (s))....lee
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    I'm just getting ready to go a a 500 mile day trip but when I get back this evening I can give you detailed instructions and maybe even pics on how to do it. No, you don't have to take any of the motor apart..LOL It is between the motor and the firewall and I believe it has 3 hoses attached to it. If you look at your radiator resevoir tank you will see two 3/4 " black hoses running back to the firewall from just in front of the tank and below it. The top hose goes to the heater comtrol valve so that will tell you where it is. I'll write more detailed instructions or send you a link to replace it later.
  • leevandam1leevandam1 Posts: 28
    ,man, you sure do have the CATERA down pat.... appreciate all the trouble you are going through for me... again THANKS...... I will keep checking. My wife and I are well into our 70's +++++ and she won't let a thing keep her from her Cat. she loves that car, and so do I... Lee
  • back its a lil part of the colling system and it small ill send you a pic if u like thanks
  • leevandam1leevandam1 Posts: 28
    Hey there..;;;hope the trip went ok..... my email addy is
  • Hi, gnguru... sounds like you're a bit of an expert. Can you offer me some advice?

    My Catera - only in the Summer - will not re-start for 20 - 45 mins after I've driven it for awhile. I don't have heat coming from the passenger dash in the Winter, but at least it doesn;t stall out. It's driving me crazy! I've already replaced the radiator and I do still have a coolant leak.

    I just can't afford to pay the dealership repair prices but I need to keep this car running for another 4 - 6 months,.

    Please, please, please help.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    LOL - Well, thanks for the compliment. I don't know about "expert" but I'll give it my best shot. Actually the "gn" stands for Buick Grand National but my Mom has a Catera and that's where I've gotten most of my experience. Anyway, back to your car. As for the not starting, have you ever replaced the crankshaft position sensor (CPS)? What kind of mileage does the car have on it? As for heat on passenger side, I have to ask you, you do realize that the car has dual controls and I assume you know the passenger control is on, right? Believe it or not I had a gal that couldn't get heat or AC on passenger side of car but didn't realize it was dual control!! LOL Assuming you're alittle smarter than her, it is probably going to be a vacuum operated door under the dash that is stuck but we'll look at that later. As for the leak, can you start the car up and watch for where the water is coming from? As you've seen in previous posts the heater control valves are notorious for going bad and leaking. They are very hard to see but if in fact it is leaking, the water would be dripping down back by the firewall between the engine and transmission. Let me know what you find out.
  • leevandam1leevandam1 Posts: 28
    Sounds like "the answerman" is still on the job. Gee, I was gonna ask "do you take " Medi-care" (s) and LOL. . I would advise anyone with a catera problem to give you some ear, a big ear. Like I have told you, my wife will not even think of retiring her Catera... and to tell you the truth neither would I. I have a valve on order from gmpartsdirect, and the price was very reasonable. Again I will thank you in public for all your help, and will keep in touch..
  • calicagocalicago Posts: 53
    Hey gnguru how are guy. you say you have an grand national turbo or did you put a three fifty five in it like so many other guys do or did you change the heads and cam us the TRW pistons moog rings up dated turbo and waste gate and intercooler with a 200 shot of nos or just stock oh by the way you are right about the heater control valve they made them out of very cheap material that the coolant they use cause a very high rate of electrolesis it destroy the control valve.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    I don't want to tie up the Cadillac Catera forum with Buick Grand National chit chat. Your title says "need your advice" but I don't see any specific questions and really not sure if your comments are serious or you're being facetious. However, I have two Grands. I did not put a 355 in either of them. They are NOT stock by any means. Engines have been completely redone including bored out using the original blocks. One of them has an in front of the radiator intercooler. No NOS. Didn't need it. They each turn easy very low 11's and can do mid to high 10's with racing slicks. Didn't really build them up to race them at the drag strip. Just like to eat a Mustang off the street for lunch now and then. LOL If you want to chat more about Grand Nationals you can email me at and put Grand National in the subject. Cheers
  • calicagocalicago Posts: 53
    Sorry about that mate soon as I saw grand national I forgot my question to you anyway my wifes 99 catera is having a wheel viberation issue the breakes are ok rotors ok might need to go with a brembo system later upper and lower control arms and ball joints seem up to par the tie rods they look spot on even the spendle looks tops but if you are going 65mph or 50mph for that matter it feels as though the wheels are going back and forth shaking very badly is their something im over looking :confuse:
  • calicagocalicago Posts: 53
    Oh yeeah I forgot to tell you the tires are new hankooks no broken belts and the wheels are balanced
  • Were the wheels balanced after or before the problem occured? I have had similar problems twice.

    The first time it was a wheel weight an automatic car wash took off.

    The second time was gravel built up on the inside of my rim behind the "spokes". (I live on a gravel road.) I have to wash these nearly every time after it rains or else the gravel will build up and cause the car to shake on the highway. I have aftermarket konig rims so this may not be an issue with the factory rims ( I had nothing but problems with my factory rims after 100k)

    I've heard many Catera owners complain about tie rod problems (I think there might of even been a recall on earlier models) but I dont think it would cause the car to shake that badly. Sounds like a problem in the wheel/tire area but that just my .02

    Best of luck.
  • calicagocalicago Posts: 53
    Before and after allthough I did here something about the opel sport having a problem like this when you get into the turn at 120klm or at 80 klm the wheels shake like crazy I have to look that up . But I did here about cateras tie rods maybe I over look something when I checked it out. :confuse:
  • leevandam1leevandam1 Posts: 28
    Hey Gnguru.... in all our discussion about the catera.. I did not mention that the motor computer went out on me, and one mech. thought it might need a throttle body because of the "readings" Well I found one, bought it and then came to findout that It was not the throttle unit, but the main computer...... SOOOOO I just happen to have a good used THROTTLE BODY for a catera. If you know of any one who needs one, let me know.... the Price will be less than I paid for it (used). and in the process of fixing mine swapped it out and found that it is ok. thanks Lee.........
  • emmanuelmemmanuelm Posts: 5
    I had an oil change and a timing chain repair on my 1997 cadi catera a couple of weeks ago, now the car is leaking oil only when I am driving the car. I do smell it but I can't see it. When I took it to my mechanic he just wants me to sell the car because he does not want to mess with it again I think. I don't want to because the car is clean and I have spent a lot of money on it already. Can somebody tell me what might be wrong?
  • joestarcjoestarc Posts: 2
    My wife's Catera was rear ended. Right after that, the Radiator Light started coming on and staying on. The insurance compay says that they won't pay to fix it UNTIL an approved mechanic detemines why the light is on. Of course, the insurance company wants me to pay up front for the diagnostic. If it's determined to be caused by the accident, they will reimburse me.

    I asked what exactly will the mechanic find that will prove proofpositive that the accident caused the light to comeon. The reply, "Well, they probably won't be able to tell!!!"

    Call me simple minded, but the light was not coming on before the accident. Right after the accident it is coming on. What else could be causing it???
  • joestarcjoestarc Posts: 2
    I am on my third battery for my 2001 Cadillac Catera. I made a simple request to Cadillac:

    - I would like reimbursement for my time, the mechanics time, the battery replacement costs, the portable charger I carry in my car, and the frustration my family has experienced (including the failure of the car to start while in a funeral procession).

    - In addition, I would like a promise of reimbursement for future charges for similar expenses.

    Why? Based on what my mechanic shared with me regarding Bulletin Number 02-06-03-008C dated May 30, 2007. Basically, the design of the charging system fails to properly charge the battery when the vehicle is used for its intended purpose, daily driving.

    Their response to date is that they would like me to take it to an authorized dealership to have the car checked out, at MY expense. My response was
    I used my neighborhood mechanic, whom I have been using for the past 25 years. He is as honest as the day is long. He is located within walking distance of my home and employer and is on my way to work. As such, when I experience things that appear to battery related, I used him. I do us the local Cadillac Dealership on larger issues. I told them that I am sure that you can pull up the complete list of problems that they have repaired. If absolutely necessary, I will take the car to them. I would prefer not to be further inconvenienced by having to schedule time with them. Last year, they had my vehicle for close to 10 days.

    As such, I indicated that if you would do the diagnostic at no cost to me, I'd be happy to take it to the dealership.

    Their response was, no I'd have to pay for it.

    So, Service Bulletin notwithstanding, they want to inconvenience me further and make me pay more to boot.

    I told them I was not satisfied and asked who I could talk with further. They told me someone would be contacting me within 24 hours. Well 24 hours, then 24 days, and now close to 24 weeks have passed by. Guess what, I have heard nothing.

    What do you know about the referenced service bulletin??? Am I being unrealistic???
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