'99 with issue after issue, and still more...
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Cadillac Catera and Cimarron Forum Discussion, '99 with issue after issue, and still more... in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; If I would have known about this car before I bought it, I would have passed on it! I have ...
  1. #1
    99Blacklac's Avatar
    99Blacklac is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): '99 Cadillac Catera
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    '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    If I would have known about this car before I bought it, I would have passed on it!

    I have a '99 which is just about to roll 100k miles. So far I've had:

    recalled water pump and pulleys
    HCV
    both outer tie rods
    brake light sensor
    Crank sensor ($200 labor! )

    Also, my e-brake decided to engage and ultimately fail while I was driving! Yes, it engaged itself. Luckily I was just in a parking lot when it happened. Caddy dealership wanted like $400-450 to replace, so I had them simply remove it for now.

    Yet, I still have issues. Now I have the oil leak. Nasty smell through vents, excessive smoke/exhaust. My local mechanic is going to clean the PCV. Does he still need to replace the gasket? I guess I have excessive pressure in the crankcase and it's leaking from a few places.

    My local mechanic says I also have crappy/no vacuum while the engine is cold. He said the brakes barely work until it builds vacuum? I have no idea, not at all mechanic savvy.

    I had this one for a little while. When I'm cruising down the road, my transmission will randomly to into what the Caddy dealer calls "high pressure mode". I get a little signal on my dash and the car seems to lock into 4th gear (feels like). Remember, this is while I'm driving normally. It takes forever to accelerate and seems very hard on the engine. Engine doesn't shift at all. If I simply turn the car off and restart it usually return to normal. Still unsure what it causing this.

    This usually only happens when I'm parking in my carport. If I'm idling (not accelerating but cruising about 5MPH) and I turn very sharp, the car will sometimes turn off.

    When my engine is cold and I immediately reverse out, not sitting and allowing the engine to warm, I have to give it alot of gas or it chugs like it wants to stall out. Only when I reverse. My engine doesn't seem to ride any rougher than when I first got it. When it's cold, the engine revs a little higher and shifts a little rough, but that goes away after just a couple minutes. The manual actually says this is normal? Nothing major, just curious.

    Oh and both my front heated seats don't work. First just my drivers side, now both. Drivers side doesn't even light up, but made a click inside the dash when I pushed it. I *think* the passenger still lights up but never heats. Not sure if it makes that same click.

    My car also has that rear window shade thing. That worked for about a month after I got it. I've had it for 5 years and it hasn't worked since.

    Not only these issues, I love aftermarket stereo's and this car is a huge pain! I can't even get the door panels off to replace speakers! There seems to be a screw where the manual door lock, up by where the window meets the panel in the back corner, that I just can't get to! Not only that, supposedly their was an adapter for the cd player to hook directly to an aftermarket unit. Well, once it was all hooked up, engine wouldn't roll over. Could have been clueless install, I went to CC to try to save a couple, probably my first mistake. I figured a CD player would be easy enough. I would have done it myself, but I don't know anything about replacing a Bose system.

    I'm looking at over $1k in this car just in the last year! If anyone has any tips or suggestion, I'd love to hear them.

    I have not changed the Oil Cooler, I have no idea what to look for if I should or not.

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  3. #2
    investor74 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
    Automobile(s): '97 Forest Green Catera
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    Quote Originally Posted by 99Blacklac View Post
    If I would have known about this car before I bought it, I would have passed on it!


    My local mechanic says I also have crappy/no vacuum while the engine is cold. He said the brakes barely work until it builds vacuum? I have no idea, not at all mechanic savvy..

    When a mechanic tells you this, it usually means that it is time to get a new mechanic. The brakes have nothing to do with the engine vacuum.

    For the engine related problems, you need to run an OBD scan and see what diagnostic error codes pop up. A place like Advance Auto can do this for free, or you can buy an inexpensive OBD scanner. Could be O2 sensors, fuel filter, MAF, etc. All of your engine problems could be related to one part.

    If you can get your engine problem(s) fixed, forget about the other issues. Get the emergency brake fixed also. Old high mile cars break. My Catera is 12 years old this month and the engine runs fine. The trunk release hasn't worked in two years and I won't spend money fixing it, I just use a string. On another old car I have, a back window that won't open, I live with it.

  4. #3
    99Blacklac's Avatar
    99Blacklac is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): '99 Cadillac Catera
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    He admits he knows nothing about Catera's and refuses to work on them, but occasionally helps me out if he can. I usually go to a Caddy dealer, but I've been there so much lately, I just don't have the $$ to pay for their service this time.

    I will go to AA and have it read though.

    Also, that local garage mechanic I go to said there was a very small amount of coolant in my oil, but not enough to worry about now. But I'm wondering why it's their in the first place and will it get worse?

  5. #4
    AHazzardToAll's Avatar
    AHazzardToAll is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    coolant in your oil would be an oil cooler. Check under the common issues thread for it, i think it's in there. if not just do a quick search, you can find out solutions to a lot of your problems with that route.

  6. #5
    99Blacklac's Avatar
    99Blacklac is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    Ok, thanks. I am somewhat aware of the oil cooler issue, just didn't know what the symptoms were. Good to know, but bad to know...

    Man, I thought these '99's were more reliable, I've had almost every major issue. I fear the tranny is next, I occasionally get the "limp home mode" and the mechanic said there was either plastic or metal in the tranny. I think metal shavings. Cross my fingers, tranny seems fine so far, but I know that doesn't mean anything.

  7. #6
    hvy
    hvy is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    Are you sure its not oil in your coolant ? When my oil cooler went bad in my 98 Cat I had oil in the radiator and reservoir never had coolant in the crankcase, oil pan or on the dipstick. The oil cooler is located under the intake manifold, after time (mine was 105,000 miles) the fins on the cooler gets carotid and a pin hole will develop once it starts it spreads like cancer. 7 months ago when I replaced mine the cooler (with all gaskets) was 500$ the Cadillac dealers (here in Phoenix) all wanted 1000-1500$ for labor. I found a independent shop ( they specialized in higher end domestic and European imports) did it for little less than 500$ labor got the complete job with oil change for 975$
    One more tidbit of info I learned from my mechanic is whenever you need a "dealer only part" get it from a GM or Chevy dealer NOT THE CADILLAC DEALER
    About 3 weeks ago the upper hose with goes from the reservoir across the hood and into the radiator broke, Coulter cadillac wanted over 60$ Sands Chevrolet got it for me in less than a day for 35$!

  8. #7
    kaustein is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    In general all cateras are a piece of crap. If I can go a month without something going wrong, I am happy.

    Cut your loses and get rid of it.

  9. #8
    Army_MP_From_MO's Avatar
    Army_MP_From_MO is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
    Automobile(s): 1999 Cadillac
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    Quote Originally Posted by kaustein View Post
    In general all cateras are a piece of crap. If I can go a month without something going wrong, I am happy.

    Cut your loses and get rid of it.
    And you're asking for help with your Cat why? Sounds like you need to take your own advice, if you're handing it out to someone else.

  10. #9
    kaustein is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    I too have problems, that I why I am asking for the help. You have to be honest and accept the fact that the car has very nice features, but a really, really bad reliability record.

    I can't afford to get rid of the car now. But the issues that I have aren't major and I can live with them or take it to the dealer for repair. But the fact remains the same. No matter how much you or anyone may love the car, the truth is the car in general is a piece of crap! In 2000 the car sold for about 35k. I have less than 115k on an 8 year old car with every option except heated rear seats, and the car retails for about $3300. That price reflects the reliability of the car.

  11. #10
    AHazzardToAll's Avatar
    AHazzardToAll is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    price reflects bad advertising, and the fact that the catera project fell through. I'm glad it did or my cat would have cost me A LOT more. Good price for a really nice car. And if it's so crappy how'd it win car of the year several years in a row in europe? The catera was pushed on cadillac by gm, cadillac didn't even want it at first, and they never took it seriously. I mean, a duck? The caddy that zigs? Sounds like someone went home and asked their 11yo daughter to make up the logos for them......

  12. #11
    kaustein is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    Read the reviews of the car at Edmunds.com. Now don't get me wrong what causes me the most grief with the car is the reliability foactor. It sucks. Constant problems and I am not the only one.

    Here is a partial list.

    Drivers door check, weld broke off.
    3 tie rods,
    2 MAFs
    2 o2 sensors,
    armrest cup holder doesn't stay closed.
    Chrome peeling from the wheels,
    2 broken rear springs,
    leaking fuel filter,
    abs module,
    loses seat memory,
    sunroof decides to close on it's own,
    Drivers window switch broke,
    4 sets of brake/rotors for front in 58k miles,
    front window leaked because the set pins were never removed when installed.
    drivers door lock doesn't work.
    The "gray" coat on the ashtray, armrest and other scrapes off,
    Hinge on fuel door broke,
    ...and so on and so on

    On the plus side,
    My wife likes it,
    it is comfortable to drive,
    Stock Radio, trunk mounted cd, speakers great.
    Only one small area of rust near quarter panel, but has been fixed,
    Car looks good when clean, waxed, and summer chormes on it.

    But for a car that cost close to 35k when new, I would have expected much better with only 114,000 miles on it. I had a ford p/u with 167,00 on it and the cel never came on. This catera... well at least a dozen times.

    OBTW I bought an 06 gmc p/u to replace the ford with and the cel has come on 6 times already. Last two times the vent solenoid replaced and before that the cylinder head due to leakage. GM still needs some more quality improvements. Thankfully the gmc emissions is still under warantee. If not, I'd be screwed.

  13. #12
    Southern-Hospitality is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    You know why your car breaks down? Because (by listening to what you've said) you don't trust it. I trust my car 100% and the only problem I ever had with it was the Crankshaft sensor.

    When you say you drive a piece of crap, you really drive a piece of crap. If you respect your car, it respects you.

  14. #13
    kaustein is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    I am glad your car is fine. But come on and be honest. Look at all the people who post problems on this forum! I am glad that I found this site because you guys have save me at least $1200! But really...look at all the people who do have problems on a car that sold for 35k.

    I was marketed for 5 years and they never fixed the reliability issues, but GM wants me to buy another Caddy. Hell I'd rather get my prostrate check by captain Hook than buy another Caddy!

    Again, if it wasn't for the reliability issues the car would be worth well more than the 3k is now. But the facts of the matter are this,...the car is a piece of crap when it come to reliability! Other than that it is fine!

  15. #14
    AHazzardToAll's Avatar
    AHazzardToAll is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    U got a lemon. and the radio an ashtray scrape because it was a smoker's car. So far as front brakes n rotors, someone drove the car really hard, and had to ride the brakes a lot. (like dragging from one light to the next then riding the braked for a more extreme example) But it's not only from driving it hard, just not taking care of her right. I ride my girl pretty hard sometimes, but i take real good care of her too. lube, oil, n filter every 2.5k miles, and i do it myself to make sure it's done right, i Use premium fuel, make sure all the filters are clean, so on and so fourth..... MAF can go bad from dirty air filters, chrome peeling on wheels can be from sitting outside in the winter, i won't go on..... good luck tho, if you can get her running right she'll treat you real nice.

  16. #15
    AHazzardToAll's Avatar
    AHazzardToAll is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: '99 with issue after issue, and still more...

    and it's an opel, not a caddy. It's like saying i'd never buy ford because of my merkur.....

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