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Cadillac Catera Maintenance & Repair



  • I have a 1997 Catera, owned for 7 years. My current problem is the transmission. It will shift from 1st to 2nd OK then you have to coax it into third. It won't go into 4th and easily drops out of third (to nothing) unless it locks into third (the transmission light will come on when it locks), if locked, it won't down shift after coming to a stop without turning the car off and restarting. The dealership says it needs a new transmission ($4500 at the dealer, maybe $2500 for a used one by a private installer. How did you get GM and the Dealership to help?
  • stcistci Posts: 1

    Fist, excuse my bad english cause I'm french.

    I have a cadillac catera 1998 and it has an intermitent problem. It happens regularly that I cannot start because the battery was completely emptied. I changed the battery once but the problem is always present. The dealer does not find any solution with my problem. Would you have an idea where the problem come from please?

    Thank's in advance for your help.

  • Has anyone experienced a problem with their extended warranty co. not wanting to pay for a covered part? I don't know what to do I have a spun bearing to piston #3. Inspectors report says starved for oil, all fluids are found to be good in car including oil. I had oil changes done on the side by a friend he wrote me reciepts but the warranty co wants an exact cause of this if not lack of oil in the engine.Repair center unable to find exact cause of failure. Does any one have any suggestions??? What could cause the oil not to get to the piston other than no oil in the car?
  • I bougth 98 Catera from used car dealer on Nov 1, 2004 with 90,000kms on it, no problems at all until End of Oct this year. Engine coolant leaking, it has 125,000 kms on it and haven't even changed the timing belt. I like the car, lots of goody features on it. It might cost me about $3500.00 to fix all this. Should I keep it or get rid of it? Please advice guys!
    Thanks for your help.
  • I had a problem with a local GM dealer years ago, that went on for over 2 years (very frustrating). During that time I when up the chain of the company. The one who helped me most, was the Regional rep. (state level). That person reprimanded the dealer and got the work done.
  • I recently purchased a 97 Catera with 88k miles. The car was rough, but is cleaning up nicely. My major problem with the car is the transmission, it won't change gears on its own and the shift indicator lights in the center column don't work. I read a lot online that the one code, P1700 usually means that the fluid level is low and could cause this condition, so I just had the fluid and filter changed, yet it is still not shifting automatically. The codes that came up are P1700 (Manufaturer Control Transmission), P0705 (Trans Range Sensor Curcuit Malfunction), and P0455 (EVAP Emission Control System Leak (Large)) If P0705 indicates that there is sensor malfunction, where is that sensor or where do I begin? Could the EVAP Emission Control System leak have anything to do with the shifting? HELP!!! :confuse:
  • podrespodres Posts: 58
    You can probably buy another Catera for that money. Check the KBB values. Look at E-Bay auctions. It's a very nice car, but it may be time to change the color.
    TRADE IT IN!!!!!!!!!
  • my catera is overheating. i thought i blew the head gasket from what happened when it over heated, but now it shows no sign of overheating. when it overheated the oil was a milky color. what could be the problem, could it be a thermostat or what. i want to get it fixed so i can resell the damn thing, and get a jeep.
  • I have same problem with my 97 Catera. Dealer replaced the CAMSHAFT COVERS for $684 parts plus labor. That job did not take because I had to take the car back after I noticed lots of smoke spewing out from under the hood. Dealer agreed to redo the job for free. Don’t have the car back yet. The smoke is a result of oil leaking on the hot parts of the car. Right now I am trying to get the oil leak fixed so that I could sell the car and run like hell away from Cadillacs. So far I have spent thousands of dollars repairing this car. It seems to me the manufacture took the Catera off the assembly line before it was complete. And all the money we spend in repairs is what the manufacture should have spent to properly manufacture this car. Good luck with yours.
  • Our '98 Catera had the transmission replaced just a couple of months ago (Sept. '05) and back at dealership because of smoking under hood (that disappear and we didn't see an oil leak) and same start of hesitating before shifting into gear. Had tremendous help from GM themselves on replacing low mileage transmission. Now looking at approx. $1200 for: valve cover gaskets, ignition wiring and oil leak ... was told this is all "engine" and not transmission related. After car being at dealership since late Monday afternoon, at least finally have service man that answers phone and will call back. WHAT'S GOING ON WITH MY LITTLE CATERA?????? WHAT A CHRISTMAS PRESENT!! :cry: :sick: :surprise:
  • pjsconpjscon Posts: 1
    I have the exact same problem you are describing. Was the delership able to fix the problem?
  • pbspbs Posts: 3
    I just recently had a problem with my 97 Catera with 141K in mileage. A few weeks ago the emergency brakes basically fell to pieces and had to be unseized. I waited for parts and last week after GM tried to repair them (wrong parts) I experienced additional problems with a clunk in right rear wheel (more brake stuff fell apart) then the trans select lights started flashing (like X-mas lights), and the "brake light" and "check engine light" came on. Then when I tried to select a gear (ie. D) it would only light up in 3rd then was sluggish to move and the engine lagged. As it got up speed it would later light up in "D". However when trying to shift into "P" no lights come on. The dealer wants to replace the transmission switch (~ $145) as a first attempt. The worst case is a transmission at $2,400. The dealer says that they have never seen this problem before and even called GM service techs about it. This list indicates that others have had the same problem. Can anyone tell me what the actual outcome and solution was. I am a little suspicious of the "never seen or heard of this problem before" response. Overall the car has been good and my GM dealer has always been excellant in responding to any problems.
  • does any one know where I can get key codes for my catera? the orignal dealer closed and the hot lines say they dont have them anymore nor the dealer any ideas? also anyone know how many hours it takes to do a timimng belt replacement(recall was done on tentioner)for normal mantaince?how about why my temp gauge flaucates alotbetween middle and almost hot? anybody try any proformance chips?thank any body for any info you got
  • e041643, sorry to be so long in answering your message; just now saw it. I got GM to help me by calling them directly. When dealer her in Hawaii said $5+ I figured that just wasn't right with my low mileage and the care I've given the car. GM dealt directly with dealer on replacing the transmission and know costs here; figured they got dealer to be reasonable about the labor (all union here). I'm also stuck because they are only Cadillac dealer on island! Car in shop again (3rd week without car); this time saying around $1200 for repairs. Thinking about calling GM again for help in dealing with dealerhip. I do love that Catera but don't think I can afford to keep forking out for major repairs every two months! :cry:
  • hi Sylvie
    Once u have a problem, the dealer must fix it.
    Since u have a short in the electrical system, whether u have a new battery or an old battery, it will get drained.
    I also had a battery drain problem on my older 525 BMW and I traced it to a latching relay, u may have the same problem.
    It definetely takes expertise and a good manual with wiring diagrams to fix an electrical problem.
    U must start by evaluating the current drainage by inserting a multimeter between the car and the battery.
    good luck
  • hi Lynn
    I can inform u that Yahoo has a very good catera owners site where there is mechanic member whose name is Chad and offers very good responses to Catera problems.
    Good Luck
  • I am a catera owner the most problematic of them all the 97 I learned to afford it by getting a after market extended warrenty....I reccommend you do the same if you have low mileage..
  • Hi, I recently purchased what I thought was a steal. I have a '98 catera with 68K miles on it. Already this car has cost me 1500 and i've only owned it 2 days!. I had the oil changed and the person noticed a leak. His estimation was it is transmission. Through talking to other people, it was deemed to be a coolant leak. Cadillac stated that I need my engine coolant and heater control valve replaced ASAP in order to drive it. Just got it out the shop.....and the same issue is present. There's smoke emminating from the same region and when i open the oil dipstick area, there's smoke emmitting from there as well. Cadillac stated to give it a few days to let the oil burn off. Personally, I thought that they would have tried to clean it off or something...since this is a don't want your product smoking - litterally - down the street. Now my car doesn't seem to heat well unless it's at 90 degrees, but as soon as I turn it down, it's quite chilly inside. Is the heat being affected by this quite expensive repair?

    Also, my headlights seem to only light the immediate area around my car. Cadillac has stated that the aim on this car can break, resulting in purchasing new headlights altogther? Has anyone else had this experience where it's just glowing around the car instead of pointing outward? Can this be fix or do i really have to buy new headlights?

    And one more thing....I'm having an issue where when I hit bumps, my car is flying into a different direction. Cadillac has stated that an alignment can solve that issue, but it flies off even when driving in a straight line, or it over steers in curves. I have to fight the wheel to make it move where I want it to. Luckily its dry for now here in Michigan, but i don't want to skid in this car, because it's got a mind of its own in the steering area. My thoughts are toward tie i thinking correctly for those that may have experience this also?

    Please reassure me that I didn't just waste 4500 on this car - not including the 1500 just spent in immediate repair? :cry: I've always loved how this car looked which was the principle reason for buying it. :shades:

    thanks for your response!
  • pbspbs Posts: 3
    I have a '97 Catera and did have the headlight problems. It seems that the lights slowly slip down and that attempts to realign become impossible. I have had both replaced, one by insurance after meeting with a deer, the other (soon after) the dealer replaced with no charge, after the warranty period was up. The problem appears to be in the design, the allignment mechanism seems to corrode and loosen up allowing the lights to slowly tilt down. I took it in several times before complaining to the service manager. He decided to replace the assembly without charge.
  • vr4707vr4707 Posts: 6
    hi, well im pretty sure i can help you on this one since i have the same exact car and i encountered the same exact problem. 1st of all that problem isnt rare in the catera since i have a friend with another 97 cat and he experienced our problem also. my dealership told me the same thing they told you, but they wanted to charge me a lot more. well to make a long story short, i decided to give it a crack on my own since i didnt have anything to lose. what i found was the transmission circuit board (located in the main tranny pan) was extremely filthy and the connection plug was loose (the Connector plastic clip had deteriorated and broke) so after cleaning up the board and rececting the plug, i decided to put a brand new tranny filter since i had the tranny exposed. after that the car ran fine. my friend later encountered that he also had a filthy circuit board and did the same as me. his also runs fine now. well my advice to you would be to give this a shot before spending more money than you have to. remember if you decide to go my way, you might as well replace the filter while your at it.
    I hope this can help you in any way
    P.s. catera's dont have a tranny oil dipstick so when u fill ur going to have to pump the transmission oil through the drain plug found on the right side of the trans mission, fill until fluid reaches the bottum of the plug hole.
  • vr4707vr4707 Posts: 6
    im pretty sure you can pick up that gasket for roughly a third of the price that you would pay at the dealership from a kragen or autozone. and no you dont have to replace the timing cover if its in good shape.
  • vr4707vr4707 Posts: 6
    hi i also experienced your same problem on my 97. well if the brake light that your experiencing is an icon of a circle with with 2 choppy outlines on the sides then you have to replace your brakes a.s.a.p. Now the pulsating of the brake pedal may be because either ur braking to hard and the abs is kicking in or your rotors are warped (this usually happens when the rotors are hot and they make contact with water (puddle, etc.), so what you can do is if they arent too warped and they have plenty of thickness left then you can have them turned (take advantage of this option since you will need to replace the brakes anyways), otherwise you will need to replace the rotors completely. now on the transmission. im pretty sure, although you didnt mention, the transmission is also sluggish right? well what happens is that the filtration system in these cars dont really do their job, so the circuit board inside the transmission get very very filthy and sometimes (like in my case) the connector that goes to that, loosens up as well, since theres alot of vibration that goes on inside, and the clip that holds the connector in place is not very strong. so what you would have to do is get the circuit board cleaned up (a simple clean shop rag should do it)and make sure that the connector isnt loose. i would also recommend that you change the transmission filter and gasket while you're at it.
    Well if you ever decide on doing the job on the tranny circuit board, let me know and i can walk you through it with instructions as best i can.

    Hope that my information comes to good use for you
    well if you ever decide to
  • pbspbs Posts: 3
    Thanks for the reply. The problem was the transmission switch and after getting the wrong switch first the right one arrived, installed, and tested. Everything working fine now. Cost was $299 for switch and $402.90 for labour, all CDN$'s. A bolt did sheer off during the repair due to corrosion and had to be repaired. Car runs great. Looking at the list it appears that the problem seems to appear in the '97s at around 80-90,000 miles. Maybe this should be a regular maintenance check at that mileage.

    The emergency brakes also had to be completely repaired at just over $900 CDN including the cable. This was an unrelated incident, but just happy that both were fixed at the same time instead of an extra trip.
  • The problem with your car is the oil cooler. It is letting your oil & anti-freeze mix. Cadillac has since replaced your oil cooler with a new design. You can find a new oil cooler on Ebay.
  • It sounds like I have a collapsed lifter I was wanting to know if there is any adjusting or something i could do if any one has any info plz leave me a email. Also I can feel the tick on the right side of the engine like it is a lifter any info plz respond
  • Aloha -- wanted to give you all an update on our '98 Catera. After being in the shop from 12/19/05 until 1/9/06 for the valve gasket/ignition wiring/oil leak, another $1K repair job, -- found our car smoking after driving about 10 miles only from dealership. Was on highway so didn't notice the smoke until I stopped; called dealership and they thought it was spillage. In a store about 40 minutes; more than enough time for car to cool down; drove home, about 5 miles and pulled into the middle of garage to move bikes -- when I pulled car out and into its slot -- I found oil leaks on floor of garage -- another call to dealer. Put papers under engine and we checked dip stick and found it to be at least a quarter over full-line; dealer towed car in next day (Tues.). Wednesday afternoon, they said there was no leak; that we were getting false oil readings but want to keep one more night! Shorten story here; car supposed to be okay and said I would pick up (first thing Thurs. 1/12th). Thursday, car not ready when I arrive at 7:00am; still needs to be rechecked; hour and a half later ... still waiting! Finally got my car back at 4pm on 12th. Here's EXACT WORDING OF WHAT DEALER WROTE ON REPORT: "70070 DG, found left side valve cover gasker leaking oil also found all spark plug holes filled with coil, caused by leaking valve cover o ring seals, advised, with S/A go tok, removed upper plenum and lower intake manifold assembly, removed bank 2 driver side valve cover, cleaned and installed new valve cover seal and o ring seals, reinstall led valve cover and all upper parts, road test car, found #2 spark plug has missfire, caused by oil leak, also wire is soaked with oil, advised got ok, removed all bank 2 driver side plug wire s and isntalled new wires, cleaned all old oil leaks from top of engine to under engine area. Road tested, rechecked all engine peramters with tech 2, all operating within specs, put car back ob hoist and recheck to and bottom of engine is dry, no leaks found, note; also drained about half qrt oil, then rechecked oil level is to spe cs now, not over filled, completed." NOW, FELLOW-CATERA OWNERS -- drove minimally (noticed new oil leaks, minor). Called dealer for recheck, 1/19. Drove car into town today and on way home "Check Engine" light is on and staying on. Cooled car down for 1/2 hour after getting home and turned back on and Check Engine light still on. Called dealer and they said that it has to do with "emission ???" and still drivable until my appt. but they would have to check that too!!!! NOW, I will say that GM has been vigilent in staying in touch with me and contacting dealer BUT, IS IT MY IMAGINATION OR IS SOMETHING SCREWY WITH REPAIR WORK OR IS CAR READY FOR JUNK PILE OR LEMON LAW???????
  • jpeepsjpeeps Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Catera and for some reason or another It will crank but then cuts of like 15 mins later. Payed too much money for this car just to keep sitting in my driveway. After it cuts off I can wait a couple hrs and it will start again. Does anyone have any suggestions to what the problem maybe. My mechanic said it is probably the ignition module. Going in the shop this week. Has anyone else had this problem and if so what was wrong.
  • hey hows it going, i have a problem where i put it in drive in doesnt want to catch and drive, it just revs. i have noticed alot of rumble when the car is shifting gears, but now it wont even drive unless i put it into 1st and then even its supper slugesh. do you think i should take the tanny pan off and see about the plug and circuit board?
  • Apparently the tech who changed my oil tighened the cannister too tightly the last time and stripped(?) something internally. Consequently, when I took it in to have the oil changed this time they cannot remove the cannister--it loosens, spins but will not come off. It can be retightened.

    What may be happening?

    Thanx for your help!

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