new here, have questions on 2000 Catera
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Cadillac Catera and Cimarron Forum Discussion, new here, have questions on 2000 Catera in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Hey all, I'm new here to the forums. Great info on these boards. However, I have a few questions for ...
  1. #1
    Jea3cd is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    Hey all, I'm new here to the forums. Great info on these boards. However, I have a few questions for those that know this car.

    First off, I'm an old mechanic, and former crew member to a NHRA Pro Stock team. But I haven't really turned wrenches in the last 10 years, other than typical maintenance on my GMC Jimmy, and wifes Pontiac Montana. I do still have a well stocked toolbox. That just a little run down so you know I'm at least a little mechanically inclined.

    Last year, my wife and I lost our business, so I started working part time for Penske, at a used car dealership. I saw a '98 Catera on the lot, and wanted to test drive it, to replace my gas guzzling Jimmy. I fell in love with the car, but not for $6K. So about 8 months ago, or so, the dealership got a 2000 black Catera, from the auction, and said nothing worked in it, no power, engine wouldn't turn over, ect. ect. They towed it in on a Penske trailer, and when they pushed it off the trailer, they ripped the lower part of the bunmper wth the fog lights.

    So a few months ago, the car is still sitting there, so I went and asked my boss and asked if I could buy the car as is from him. He said I could have it for $600 bucks. So I'm about to pay for the car now. But the mechanic told me to go play with it, before buying it. So the car is mine, I just haven't paid for it yet.

    So the other night, after hours, and the boss and mechanic not in sight, I put an jumper pack on the car, wiggled the main power line, and bam, the radio came on, all the lights lit up. I turned the key, and it started up.

    The car seems to be very well loaded, with a sun roof, bose cd/cassett, tan interior, no body damage other than the front bumper, all the same mag wheels on it. Very nice looking car, if it got a little TLC.

    When I really looked under the hood, it has stains around the over-flow bottle, where the radiator cap is. The engine ticks, like a lifter. But the oil is dark, not milkey.

    So here is my questions:

    1. Do you guys think the engine might be okay, it idles fine, other than that ticking? I'll do a pressure test on the coolant system, but like I said, with the stains on the right side of the car, it looks like it might have overheated and maybe somebody opened the cap?

    2. I'm finding it hard to find the front bumper, in black if I can for it. Where would be the best place to find a bumper for it?

    3. What kind of gas mileage can I expect from this car on the highway? I live in Florida, so its all flat driving at 70mph or so.

    4. I see on Ebay they have cross drilled rotors with pads, is it worth it, or save up for GTO brakes? Any modifications to put them on?

    5. The weather stripping around the front windshield is dry rotted bad, where can I get a new one, without having to sell my GMC to pay for it? ;-)

    Thanks all.

    Joe

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  3. #2
    R-Caddy's Avatar
    R-Caddy is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    Hi Joe. Welcome to the board.
    I do not have all the answers, but I will try to help a little.
    1. What is the mileage on the car? Try changing the oil first and some of that ticking may go away. If it does not smoke and lose coolant, chances are that it hasn't overheated... too much.
    2. Try eBay and local junk yards for the bumper.
    3. With a good running car you can expect anywhere from the advertised 24mpg to 28mpg or so. They do much better on the highway than they are supposed to. City driving is a little tricky, but an easy pedal should return 17-19mpg.
    4. 2004 GTO calipers with brackets and hoses are almost a bolt-on deal. You will have to cut a little bracket off the hose, but that's it. If you do upgrade to GTO front calipers, you can use stock size rotors, but will have to get either 04 GTO pads or C5/5 Vette pads. Otherwise, those eBay rotors are OK, they just look different. I have GTO calipers on both of my Cateras and am very happy. I say get the rotors but save of the GTO calipers and pads.
    5. The favorite sites to get parts are gmpartsdirect.com and rockauto.com . Take a look at both.
    Otherwise, enjoy the sunroof, BOSE and drop a line if you have any questions.
    Good luck,
    Aras

  4. #3
    Jea3cd is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    Thanks R-Caddy

    The car has 113K on it. I'm sure its been almost a year since it was driven last. Is there anything else I should look at, before paying for the car? The rear ends and tranny's okay in these things?

    I don't have lots of money to put in this thing, but all the time I need to fix it. I just rebuilt the rear end in my Jimmy, rebuilt the top end of the 4.3 with 225K on it. It runs great, but I'm back in College, and driving almost 130 miles a day, at 14 MPG or so. I could take the wifes Montana @ 22 MPG or so, but she really doesn't want to take the Jimmy. So if I can get 25 MPG with this Caddy, thats great.

    I don't mind a fixer upper, as I still love to tinker with our cars. I was working at a Caddy dealership when these cars first came out, but never got to work on them, as they were new then. That's when I stopped turning wrenchs, and started working on computers.

    Thanks for the info.

  5. #4
    R-Caddy's Avatar
    R-Caddy is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    Make sure the A/C works fine. As far as transmissions go, these cars have poor ones. Drive and see if the transmission shifts OK and does not go in Neutral when you stop and then hit hard when you give it gas.
    Otherwise, I would do a timing belt job and water pump, thermostat. Front end repair isn't very expensive. Rear ends are OK, If the shocks are leaking, you can either get replacement air ride shocks or do away with those and put GTO shocks.
    Anybody else have any comments? I suggest you read the sticky topics on top and consumer opinions. Also keep in mind that the later model Cateras were more reliable than the 97-98.
    Keep us posted.
    Aras

  6. #5
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    This car is a HIGH maintanence vehicle. Don't buy it if you're not going to do work on it yourself.

    The DOHC takes a little getting used to, hopefully, that's what you're hearing.

    I can squeeze 24 MPG out of her.

    Call around and see if you can find the weatherstriping, I had my windshield and weatherstiping replaced by an auto glass company.

  7. #6
    Matera97's Avatar
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    I thought the ticking was my lifters as well when I first bought my caddy. Oil change fixed it up though. The last owners of my car neglected it like an unwanted step kid, but slowly the car is becoming worth more than what I paid for it. I've owned mine for about 2 years, and have only sank about 1500 into it. Alternator when I first bought it was the biggest at about 600, I needed to have the Neutral/Park Safety switch replaced which was about 300, and of course a year after owning it, my CPS needed to be replaced, which was relatively cheap for 60 and installed myself. I've just installed the GTO rear shocks and still feeling them out but they seem to be a worth while upgrade if the OEMs fail. There is a lot of info on this forum, and most members are quite knowlegable and willing to help you out. Welcome and enjoy!
    Matty

  8. #7
    Jea3cd is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    UPdate: Okay, I checked the oil, it was 3 qrts low. I added 3 qrts, and fired it up again. Still clacking away. It started to go away once warmed up, till it got warm, then it got loud again. I also noticed it was smoking from under the hood, but the car has been sitting for about a year. It got 2 dark for me to see, but I'm sure it needs valve cover gaskets, ect. ect.

    I did notice that when I took the oil cap off, it was very burnt oil, like the person before never changed the oil. Maybe never? lol...

    The outside of the car looks good, other than the from lower bumper. I see a bumper cover on Ebay for $68 bucks, but its off of a 1998, will it fit the 2000? The lister only has it listed for 1997 - 1999?

    The A/C isn't working, but it looks like an oil mess around the shrader valve, so I'll look into that tomorrow. But I couldn't get the vents to change from Defrost to the in your face vents, or to the floor. Any common issue for me to look at?

    The inside of the car is a pile. Like I said, the last owner NEVER took care of the car. I think they just kept their trash inside it. Shame 2, cause it looks so nice, if I can get it cleaned.

    The rear windows don't go up or down by power. I took off the door panel to see it needs new regulators.

    I did move the car in the parking lot. The ABS light is on, and the TCS?

    I'll get some pics tomorrow.

    I see a shop on Ebay that has rebuilt heads for this thing, at $275 each, US dollars. With 113k on the engine, is it worth doing the upper end, or just get a used engine with 48K for $1200?

    Thanks for any info you guys can give me, or any feedback at all. I do like the looks of it, and as far as my boss was consernd, he was going to part it out, or junk it.

  9. #8
    Cadi Cat is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    That engine is shot... sorry to say. 3 quarts low!? No wonder it's making noise. If you really like the car my advice is to drop in a good used engine. The abs/tc light is gonna cost you at least $230 or so to do it yourself. Take the module in and have it rebuilt. You don't need to worry about the tranny if it seems fine now. I've raced the crap out of mine at 174k and it's still solid. But have the fluid and filter changed. And lastly check the suspension real good. Most likley you'll need to at least rebuild the entire front end if you want to achieve good tire wear.

  10. #9
    R-Caddy's Avatar
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    It seems like your A/C panel is out. Give a used one a shot.
    As for the engine, you should be able to get a brand new 3.2 for about $1800. These 3.0 do burn some oil though. New heads are a good deal, but your rings and bearings are still going to be used.
    The bumper will have to be a 2000-2001.
    Window regulators. If they both don't work, I would look somewhere else besides the regulators.
    I guess consider the repairs a monthly payment for the next 2 years or so, hopefully less.
    Good luck,
    Aras

  11. #10
    Jea3cd is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    Update:

    I fired up the car again today, and it was much quieter today? So I played with the front bumper, and was able to repair it. It will need a new one, but I got it to the point that unless you knew about it, it looks fine.

    My boss let me have a bay with a lift on it, for the next week, so in came the Caddy. I figured I'll try changing the oil and filter, and put some good oil in it, and see what it does. Once on the lift, I noticed the entire underside had oil on it. After looking into it, it looks like the valve covers are leaking, and maybe the oil sending unit, and the oil pan. I never got under one of these cars. Looks sweet. Front end is tight. Looks like a sensor wire in front, on both sides are disconnected. I didn't look 2 far into that yet.

    When I dropped the oil, it wasn't as bad as I was thinking it would be. But when I took the filter out, it looked like OEM, and it fell apart with lots of debre in it. I mean lots of crap, most likely oil that has hardend, and loosend up. I decided to drop the oil pan at that point, and it was nasty inside. I cleaned it up pretty good, and noticed that the oil pickup screen was 2/3's clogged with same sludge, and hardend burnt oil.

    I didn't fire it back up, since I cleaned it really good, and RTV'd the pan back in place. I'll fill it up with oil tomorrow, and see how it goes. I'm adding Valvoline high mileage oil, with a detergant to help clean up the engine. I'll change it again in a few hundred miles, if this works. But with as bad as it was, I feel this might do it, for the time being.

    I'm not worried about the rusted brakes, or the air ride. I got a set of 04 GTO calipers and brackets. I'll get the cross drilled rotors for it next week, once I know the engine department is working. I'm also going to install the GTO shocks and struts, but new. I think that is what I read from R-Caddy, that works? I was also able to restore the headlights, and fog lights with this 3 part lens cleaner that the dealership uses, and they look almost new.

    Thanks for the tips, please keep them coming. I did take a few before pics of the car. I'll get them up later tonight.

  12. #11
    Jea3cd is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    R-Caddy, if I do end up needing a engine, should I just rebuild this one, since I have the shop, and built engines before like the small block and big block chevy's, or is that 3.2 a direct drop in, and computer works with it?

  13. #12
    Jea3cd is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera





    These are the before pics

  14. #13
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    DO NOT GET CROSS DRILLED ROTORS!!!

    Tell you why in a second.

    I have a buddy, another engineer who was all about brakes at one point and he went to a bunch of seminars and and tried to lear a ton about them... so then he ended up with power slot rotors on his car...

    Couple months later he tells me he went back to stock rotors because he warped them and he did some high quality testing and his car dropped 5ft form the stopping distances 60-0ft...
    So now he swears by the stock rotors.

    Figures the holes create distortions and reduce rotor mass... and we all know that the brakes convert kinetic energy into heat... so the bigger the heat sink the better thus OEM rotors are the best.

    GTO Calipers/C5 Pads, and some fresh OEM rotors is all you will ever need.

    Maybe you can get some from Rockauto for the rear too.

    Otherwise as for your engine do a complete flush again after 500-600mi dont try to save 20%.

    That engine might live after all.

    I would do a tranny flush as well, and a rear diff service.

    Then see about those lights, maybe get a nice scanner. they sell the AUTEL MS509 for 100$ on amazon and it reads all codes.

    Other then that just enjoy the car. It will be fun little project car.

    Mine has not seen the dealer since I have owned it. All repairs done at home with very basic tools.


    If the engine fails look into a 3.2L with manual trans. Get the European pedal assembly with the master cylinder and do a full manual swap on it.

    I hear its a piece of cake.

  15. #14
    Jea3cd is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    Thanks CateraMV6. I have a MAC tools scanner already, so code reading isn't an issue. I did notice on your brakes that you kept the stock rotors. Wasn't sure why. Now I know.

    For the rear, is 80-90 weight okay, like most other GM rears?

    Thanks for the info

  16. #15
    Jea3cd is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: new here, have questions on 2000 Catera

    Okay, more updates:

    I fired up the car today, and it sounded much better. No more oil leaks from the pan either. I was also able to JB Weld the fog light brackets, and cleaned them up, and re-installed them. The head lights cleaned up almost as good as new, with a headlight restore kit the dealership had.

    I'll drive the car around the parking lot tomorrow, and start cleaning it up. If that all seems good tomorrow, I'll order the valve cover gaskets. But I was reading on another thread in here, or maybe on Craigslist about the valves and timing belt. If the belt goes, this is a zero tolerance engine? Meaning the valves will bend if the belt goes? Should I just go ahead and do the belt, while I have the valve covers off? It looked like I might need to take the top part of the intake apart for the valve cover gaskets?

    I just didn't have the time today to look it up on Alldata.

    CateraMV6, I love that front end on your car, will the bumper fit the Caddy grill? Or is that Opel only?

    Thanks

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