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Cadillac Catera Maintenance & Repair



  • Hi, I'm new to online forums, but am interested in some advice about getting a Catera. I currently drive a Lincoln Towncar, but am looking to buy something with fewer miles. I've seen ads for several Cateras in my area that have low miles and are in my price range. Having never actually seen one (and not wanting to drive 30 miles to go visit someone who has one unless I'm really thinking about buying it), I'm trying to figure out how roomy the interior, specifically the rear seat, it. I have 3 kids that have to be in car seats. My Towncar fits all of the comfortably, but I know a lot of other cars don't. Anything you can share with me would be appreciated. Thanks!
  • The Catera is NOT the car for you. I have two friends with Cateras, and they are much smaller in the back seat than the Town Car or even a Crown Vicky. These are on the large size for compact cars, but small for mid-size. Plus, as a lot of messages on this site can attest to, they are pricey to repair. These are basically German-built cars re-badged for Cadillac. This means the parts are from Europe, and has a lot of extraneous equipment that is expensive to replace.
  • Nick_ZNick_Z Posts: 2
    If you haven't read this forum, I would strongly suggest it. These cars typically have a lot of problems. I own one and like it, it is very nice inside and out. The issues are around how it was made and not very many mechanics like to work on it. The price is cheap because of that
  • az_hvyaz_hvy Posts: 30
    As much as I love my Cat I have to admit its not a family car. My Cat is kinda like a spoiled rich girl, when its not happy you have heck to pay. Don't get me wrong its fun to drive and very luxurious but its not an only family car. The front is very comfortable but the back gets a little crowded ( I have no kids but even my 2 Great Danes don't like riding in it} but it does have a big trunk, enough room for 2 kids or an Xwife
  • My 97 Catera which I purchased new -- hadn't driven it nor even started it for a couple of months and when I started the engine all the transmission fluid spurted from underneath the car. Never took out of "park". Car and transmission only have 69K miles on it. New short block only has 15K on it.

    Took Catera to dealership at 48K; they stated it was time to change the transmission fluid. I did so. Dripped transmission fluid about a month after transmission oil changed. Read manual should not change the transmission oil. Dealer mechanic stripped drain plug and glued back in and stripped three bolts. Took to another garage where they took care of this problem.

    The latest was not drip but all transmission fluid spurted out onto garage floor. Any idea of what this could be? Also some water (not transmission fluid mixed in with fluid). Thanks.
  • fehufehu Posts: 7
    They obviously din't fix it the second time around either. The Catera's have a sealed transmission. not supposed to mess with them unless is absolutely necessary. Probably a TRANSMISSION LINE. Not that difficult but time consuming as with everything on a Catera. If you want other good answers then get step by step instructions from this guy he is really really good. it may cost you 15 bucks to find out but it's worth it. He helped me fix my catera when it wouldn't start. Tell him I referred you Fehu.
  • az_hvyaz_hvy Posts: 30
    On my 98 Cat the brake strip is only working on the driver side I assume the bulb on the passenger side is burnt out Im sure the cloth cover needs to be removed to replace them If so how hard is it
    Thx Hvy
  • Ok I have replaced the relay panel and the trunk and radio work (KINDA) now but the face lights on the radio still burn all the time, Which eventually kill the battery! Im wondering if the radio is bad because when I play a CD and turn it off and get back in the radio comes on instead of the CD I was listening to! And If I change the Bass and Treble levels and turn it off they go back to the middle like I never moved them up. Its like the radio forgets what it was doing before it was turned off! Does this sound like anything anyone else has heard? I have had a few people tell me too that the BCM or the ECM may be going bad, and If so why is it just the radio that Im having probelms with!! Thanks for any info and help!! :confuse:
  • I've not had the problems that you are now describing (thank the Lord!), All of my radio problems were solved by replacing the relay board. Sorry I have nothing to tell you that may help. Good luck to you.
  • Thanks for the help! Hopefully Its just the radio and that will slove it!
  • when you noticed this problem on your car, did the brake lights work at all ?? on my 98 catera, the abs, engine & TC lights were all on, and they hooked it up to the OB computer and the man said it needed a speed sensor, BUT my brake lights dont function when I apply the brakes. please let me know.. Thanks !!
  • When I put on my left or right turn signals, the side turn signals on the back side blink too but on opposite sides. EXAMPLE: when iI put on my right turn signal, it will blink fine in the rear, BUT the little side one on the back blinks but on the left instead of the right. it should be where they both should be blinking on the right. can anybody tell me what this problem is... it is soooo weird... Thanxx.. :confuse:
  • rolorolo24: DO NOT BUY THE SPEED SENSOR! I just had a similar problem with a friends 2000 Catera. We got codes like U280??, P0500 and another code that was for a transmission bus controller error. His ABS, TC and CEL were all on. At first his speedo was fine, then it started acting up.

    Turns out the problem was with the ABS module. The ABS and TC are controlled by the ABS module, and the speed sensor is also wired to go to the ABS module before sending signal to the ECU and the speedometer. All these codes were due to an ABS module that went bad. After doing a bit of research, we found a www.bba-reman,com that would rebuild just the ABS controller for roughly $160. The trick was to remove the controller from the module to ship it to them. The great thing was the electronics can be removed without messing with the brake lines. The hard part is the location of the ABS module makes it very hard to reach 3 of the 6 screws that hold it on. And they use a Torx star bit to remove them.

    Once removed, call BBA-Reman and confirm some details with them before shipping it. They had ours back within a few days using overnight delivery. The car can be driven without the controller in place, since the brakes will still function fine. Once replaced, we reset the CEL with a scan tool, and it drove just fine. None of the lights have returned. BBA-Reman also gave us a one-year warranty.

    In our case, the module had to be repaired to turn of the CEL so we could get the car to pass emissions. 3 days after the repair, it passed with flying colors.
  • bm4ebm4e Posts: 8
    rolorolo24 i also have a 98 catera haveing the same prob except my brake lights work im changeing the speed sensor & 02 sensors today i will inform u if it fixes the prob
  • az_hvyaz_hvy Posts: 30
    Yes the brake lights worked not real sure what to tell you about yours not working but Im sure to has nothing to do with the modulator
  • I changed the brake light switch, and guess what, the brake lights are workin AGAIN.. :) im sooooo so if anybodys brake lights do not work at all, then 99% of the time, its going to be the "BRAKE LIGHT SWITCH" the Switch costed me 20.00 bucks at Advance Auto Parts.
  • really wierd. car runs fine. interior dome lights only come on when the key is off and the radio comes on when it wants to but only when the key is off. check engine light comes on check oil light comes on and oil temp light comes on. the P0705 code says trans range sensor circuit malfunction (prndl input) and the other one is U2108 and says lost comm with abs tcs control system ENHANCED. please help. the car is my grandmas and im trying to help her out. the local mechanics charge her 70 bucks just to hook it up to a diagnostic tool. any help would be much appreciated. its a 2001 catera sport i think. the rims say sport but theres nothing on the car that says sport and my email is i really need help with this
  • ssklsskl Posts: 45
    Try disconnecting neg. terminal (since it's easier, just don't let it touch any metal to keep from grounding) from battery for 5 minutes to reset temporary codes, reconnect and see if some problems go away, can't hurt anyway.
  • Disconnecting the battery will not clear the codes. I had the battery completely out of the car for a week, and the codes remained. Only my scanner cleared them. I was sending the ABS controller to be rebuilt after getting the U2108 code, P0705 code, and then a P0500 code. Turns out a bad ABS controller will trigger all those codes. These guys,, rebuilt the ABS controller for $200, including shipping to and from. And, the controller can be removed from the ABS module without cracking the brake lines open. Just send in the electronics that is attached with 6 screws. 2 of them are a real PITA to get to, tho.
  • bm4ebm4e Posts: 8
    I have a 98 catera the abs, tc cel are all on. Now the cel is flashing & the car chugs, Does anyone have any ideas how to fix it?
  • Your headlights do come apart but you want to be very careful because the ajustment screws are in plastic and they will break very easy and then the headlight is shot. The stain is most likely on the outside since the light is closed on the front side and there are rubber covers on the back side where you can change your bulbs.
    I cleaned my headlights with rubbing compound but it takes a lot of elbow work.
    Don't use any sand paper or anything like that. Start off with a strong compound and then after you get the stain off you need a mild compound to bring the shine or clear look back in.
    If you must take apart the front of the light , you can pry the front cover off by gently prying up on the little clips and using screw drivers to pry apart cover. there is a black mastic that is really sticky that holds them together, You need to work at it to get it apart.
    You don't want to hit or shake you headlight you will break the adjusters.
  • I had some of the same problems and it was a fuse. I don't think that is all it is with you thinks but that fixed my radio and lights.
  • If you don't want to spend the time or money on the overflow tank light you can just unplug it and put a jumper wire between the two plugs in the wire and the light will go off and you can check your water every now and then or when you pop the hood for anything else.
  • i have a front bumper and the salvage yard in town has a hood that i saw a couple of days ago. This is in Kansas
  • My name is chris.I work on cars for a living and its is your starter.The siloniod on your starter is bad.Its a part made on your starter that lets power go to the starter when you turn the key.That's why your car want do any thing when you turn the key.You need yo replace your starter.As far as your car not starting every 4 or 5 times you start it.That sounds like you have a bad connection on the wire that is attached to your starter.I had the same problem with a bad connection on my car.I took off the wire and cleaned the connection and that fixed the problem.With you changing the starter that should fix both problems.
    Write me and let me know what happened.
  • Its sounds like the front seal or a line leaking.As far as the water in the transmission fluid.The radiator is busted.Your transmission lines run into your radiator.The transmission fluid runs through the side of the radiator to keep it cool,so you could have busted a line and the radiator from the pressure that the transmission built up over the time it sat,and when you started it the pressure busted either the radiator,a line or both.
    Write back and let me know what you found out.
  • I have a 2000 cadillac catera and on the upper right hand conner of the instrument panel there are the leveling lights and one of them looks like a circle with three bars going down each side its the second from the last light and it want go off,does anyone know what the light is or goes to so i can fix the problem.
  • your rear windows not going down is more than likely your drivers door window switch the power goes threw it into your other window switches
  • :lemon: Thank you so much for posting this. I just got a 97 Catera at an auto auction by my house. It seems to have too many problems. Right now I am trying to figure out how to get the leveling light to turn off. I just had the two front struts replaced because I thought that might be the problem, but the light is still on. I dont know why. Another problem I am having is that I have to drive the car with the heat on super high in order to keep it from over heating. I filled it up with new coolant and that doesnt seem to make a difference. I think it may be the thermostat, but I cant find anyone who knows how to change it since its in the engine. I cant afford to take it to a Caddy dealer because they charge way too much money and I am a full time college student. Is there anyway to change the thermostat myself? The oil light is also on but I checked the oil level and its fine. I think it might be the tranny fluid but I have no idea how to change that either. Do you think I should just sell the car because it looks like there is too much going on with it.
  • gngurugnguru Posts: 108
    The warning light you are talking about is the Brake Pad Wear Indicator Light. You need to replace your front brake pads. You will also need to replace the warning light switches (they wear out to make the light come on) which are located right by the brake pads. You'll see a wire that goes to the switch that needs to be unplugged (one switch on each front wheel). I believe the switches are only available thru GM and will cost about 2 or 3 times more than what the best pads you can buy cost. If you don't want to replace the switches, you can put a jumper wire in the plug at the end of the wire and the warning light will go out. However, naturally you won't get a light warning the next time you need brake pads.
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