Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)
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Cadillac Catera and Cimarron Forum Discussion, Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues) in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; ...
  1. #1
    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
    ExcursionBoy1984 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    I have been looking to buy a 2000-2001 catera sport but not have had much luck in finding one close by, but I just found one about 150 miles away from me its a black 2000 catera sport with 121000 miles on it he is asking $1850 for it, this is his discription of what is wrong with it, what are your thoughts guys

    It runs but has problems. I tinkered around a bit with it and when I disconnected the air flow the car would run. So, I’m selling it as a project or parts car.

    he says that when the mass air flow sensor was connected in the car would either run rough or not run at all. but once he disconnected the air flow sensor the car ran fine.

    what should I do, and is this a fix I could do myself.

    Luke

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    AHazzardToAll's Avatar
    AHazzardToAll is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    Man, I was just thinking about picking this one up myself. It does sound like it could very possibly be just a bad mass air flow sensor by how he describes it. I didn't think it was a bad price at all. The MAF is very easy to replace. I found advance auto to be the cheapest place to get them. I believe it was right around 80 after you take the core back.

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    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    yeah i am going to go ahead and buy it

  5. #4
    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
    ExcursionBoy1984 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    yeah i am going to go ahead and buy it

  6. #5
    elvin315's Avatar
    elvin315 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    Quote Originally Posted by ExcursionBoy1984 View Post
    yeah i am going to go ahead and buy it
    Smart move. Sounds like an easy fix plus a black Sport is the most desirable Catera there is. At least it is to me. I liked the Catera as soon as I saw it in 1996 and absolutely loved the Steinmetz Concept Car, but quickly dismissed the thought of buying one. At over $30,000 it was too rich for my blood at the time. Plus Cadillac's stupid Ziggy promotion made a joke of the car before it had a chance to establish itself in the market. Why would anyone buy a car that wasn't even respected by its division? It wasn't a homegrown Cadillac project. The Catera was forced on them by GM. They hated this car. Still do. It's based on the Opel Omega (B), specifically the Elite and MV6 trim levels. A German sport sedan bred to fly down the Autobahn and to attack twisting alpine roads.

    So what does Cadillac do? Add 400 lb. in "chassis reinforcements" and sound deadening for a “Cadillac feel”, de-tune the engine from 210HP down to 200HP, govern the top speed to 125MPH from 150MPH, delete the 5-speed manual transmission, and soften the suspension from autobahn to boulevard. Compared to most American cars the Catera was still a sport sedan in the German mold just not what they got in Europe. To Cadillac's credit, the lessons learned from the Catera experiment led to a better CTS. A true match for the Euro sport sedans. By the way, CTS originally stood for Catera Touring Sedan. Cadillac won't admit it today but when the CTS was first proposed, that was its name. Just like STS (Seville Touring Sedan) and DTS (Deville Touring Sedan). But that was before the Catera was labeled a flop by the media.

    The Catera is often mentioned along with the Cimarron as one of the worst Cadillacs ever but that's not fair. The Cimarron was a Chevrolet Cavalier, 4 cylinder engine and all, trimmed to look like a Cadillac. They later fitted it with a V6 but made no other substantive changes to improve the car and justify the price they were asking. It was an economy car, poorly built, with none of the excellence buyers expected. The Catera was a bonifide luxury sedan from Opel in Germany. Little changed, other than the added weight, and engine and suspension tuning, from the Omegas sold there. A few Cadillac badges and some body colored trim turned them into Cateras. Lightyears better than the Cimarrons but once the connection was made nothing, not even the facelift and Sport versions would remove the stink. Not saying the Catera didn't have problems just that she wasn't the fraud that the Cimarron was. If Cadillac was truly serious about competing against BMW, MBz, and Audi they could have fixed the problems.

    As for those problems, if you want a Catera I say shop carefully. Within days of buying mine, in November 2006 at 48,000 miles, I had to have the Heater Bypass Valve replaced after it puked most of the engine's coolant. I didn't do my homework. Had I known about the Catera's inherent problems I'd have had the dealer inspect and replace it prior to my taking possession. I saw a pretty car at a great price. A German sport sedan in Cadillac trim. I later had the leaking camcover gaskets replaced. The crankcase breather clogged, forcing oil past the gaskets, and onto the exhaust heatshields where it burned and smoked. Two years later the Crankshaft Position Sensor (CPS) failed and left me stranded. The '97 - '98 Cats had the most problems. Some were addressed, but not necessarily cured, in '99. The 2000 - 2001 models are less trouble prone but not perfect. When you find a Catera that looks good on the outside, here's what to look for on the inside.
    1. Have Cadillac check the VIN for the cam-belt tensioner bulletin #02041A. This is critical. If the tensioner seizes the belt will break and the pistons will bend the valves. All 24 of them. This service must be done every 4 years/40,000 miles.
    2. Have the Heater Bypass Valve behind the engine inspected for leaks. Better yet have it replaced regardless. It's not expensive as Cadillac parts go and the labor is easy. If you wait and it leaks it will puke all your coolant. When that happens it can also damage the DIS ignition pack on the '97-'99s.
    3. Check the engine oil for coolant contamination. It will appear as a cream colored emulsion residue under the oil filler cap and maybe the dipstick. Wipe it off and drive the car at operating temp for 30 minutes. If it doesn't reappear it was probably normal water condensation and boiled off. If it reappears it could be antifreeze. Another indicator is oil in the coolant reservoir. That means the oil cooler is leaking and needs replacement. A laborious but relatively cheap repair if you do it yourself. Improved coolers were introduced in '99.
    4. With the engine running, check the coolant tank for bubbles or an exhaust smell. That's probably a blown head gasket. It's not that common but does happen. We suspect worn out coolant is to blame. Acids in the coolant attack the gaskets.
    5. The cam cover gaskets can leak and drip oil on the exhaust heatshields and create smoke. This is too expensive to leave to Cadillac. Order the gaskets and have a trusted local garage do the work or DIY. Cleaning the crankcase breather relieves the excess crankcase pressure that blows oil past the gaskets.
    6. Check for tire wear front & rear. Cupping or feathered edges indicates the need for a 4 wheel alignment. It could also mean worn/split front suspension arm bushings. OEM replacement bushings are available as well as polyurethane substitutes. New front suspension arms come with the stock bushings and ball joints already installed so that's an option too. An aftermarket eccentric bolt will extend the front camber adjustment's range by +/- 1 degree over stock to help bring it to where the tires wear evenly. Eccentric rear suspension bushings for the last Pontiac GTO, adjustable for caster and toe-in, will do the same for those tires.

    There are other things like weak door stays, cracked brake switches, and HVAC control malfunctions. Search the forums for more info. Most irritating are the computer gliches and sensor failures which leave you stalled and stranded. Given the level of electronics in cars today and the harsh environment they operate in I doubt the Catera is worse than other cars. A failure is never an easy thing to endure but this is the 21st century and electronic controls are here to stay. Thanks to the database, on this and other Catera/Omega sites, information is available and you can go to your chosen service facility armed with knowledge. I mention these things in the interest of honesty but aside from the HBV, CPS, and cam cover gaskets I haven't experienced any of the other stuff. My Catera Sport scoots like her tail was on fire and handles like she's on rails. But remember, you're looking at cars that have been out of production for almost 10 years. Lots of wear and tear could've occurred if the previous owners didn't take care and perform the maintanence properly. Shop wisely.

    Sounds bleak doesn't it? Don't get me wrong. It's not all gloomy. I'm just a "bad news first" type of guy. I love my Catera. Some call the styling dated and bland. Sue me. I like it. It's soft and streamlined compared to the new edgy origami-like stealth fighter look Cadillac is pushing nowadays. And what about the "Japanesque" type styling the Germans have adopted with all sorts of accent lines and weirdness? Just look at the MBs and BMWs. They make me gag. The Catera's '97-'99 prefacelift models have a more aerodynamic form with a steeply sloped grille and low profile hood. Their rear treatment features full body width tail lights. The 2000 model year, (sometimes mistakenly called the Omega (C), introduced facelifted front & rear facias, side mirrors, as well as a restyled interior. The grille was more upright with a slightly raised hood for a more formal look to better match the rest of the Cadillac line. The tail lights were converted to separate corner units with LED turn signals. Not quite the traditional razor thin Cadillac "Tail-Fin" lights but closer to them than full width lights. The Catera was never a big seller so there is nothing here in the way of styling upgrades beyond custom wheels and some tacky chrome body trim. There is still some body stuff from Irmscher, Steinmetz, and others in Europe for the Omega but it's rapidly becoming scarce.

    The Catera has a roomy, comfortable cockpit for the driver and I never hear the passengers complain (except for the poor unfortunate stuck in the rear middle). I frequently spend 6 hours or more behind the wheel and arrive without stiffness or sore spots. The front power memory seats are comfortable and supportive with too many adjustments to list (heated too). I just wish they had bigger bolsters. All Catera front seats were made by Recaro. Some came with their sport seats equipped with adjustable thigh support, and thicker bottom and side bolsters. Unfortunately mine didn't. Some cars came with heated rear seats as well. Even the side mirrors are heated. The HVAC has separate driver and passenger controls. The steering wheel tilts and has remote stereo control buttons. The cruise controls are on a separate stalk to the left of the wheel. The leather interior's styling is clean without Cadillac's traditional bordello plushness. It's very Teutonic. There were few options as the Catera was well appointed but there was an available sunroof, a power rear window sunshade, and of course the Sport package. The standard stereo was good but the optional Bose system was better.

    And then there's the engine performance. Compared to her direct competitors the Catera is overweight (3770 lb.) and underpowered (200 hp.) so 0 to 60 times suffered (8.5 seconds) but that only counts if you're planning to race her. For normal, and even slightly illegal, street driving she is a joy. In the transmission's Sport Mode the Catera accelerates quickly (once above 40 MPH) so watch the speedometer. You'll be doing 90 MPH before you know it. This engine loves to rev. She's a little thirsty though (17mpg - city/24mpg - highway). She'll drink Regular (86 octane) but really comes alive on Premium (94 octane). The ECU adjusts the ignition timing accordingly using knock sensors. In 1999 the engine received updates like Fly By Wire (FBW) throttle and Multi Ram Induction that carried over until production ended. Multi Ram Induction is a system of butterfly valves that manage air flow through the plenum for the best performance. Before 1999 it was called Dual Ram Induction. The new system added more valves to better manage air flow for optimum efficiency. FBW throttle is controlled by your foot but through the ECU via a Throttle Position Servo so that there is no hard connection to the gas pedal. The advantages? I'm not sure.

    Other than the K&N style intakes that add a raspy sound but little performance and a few free flowing mufflers there's not much engine stuff here for an orphan like the Catera. Check for Vauxhall/Opel stuff on British and Euro ebay but remember, the Catera uses a unique ECU so Omega performance chips won't work. There are owners exploring V8 engine swaps but those are still in the project stage (except for the magnificent 7.0 liter V8 Lingenfelter Catera) and a shadetree V8 install currently undergoing testing.

    The 4 speed electronic transmission shifts smoothly and has a Sport Mode that lets the engine rev to redline before shifting to squeeze every horse out of it. It uses some sort of adaptive logic but what that means, I haven't a clue. There's also a Winter Mode that locks out 1st and 2nd gears for less torque to the wheels meaning better traction from a standing start in the snow. It disengages above 30 MPH.

    The Catera's brakes are good and compare well with equivalent sport sedans but can be made even better. Luckily the last Pontiac GTO and the Catera shared some Opel ancestry. The dual piston front calipers & brake hoses from the 2004 Pontiac GTO are a direct bolt-on. A big improvement over the Catera's smaller single piston units. Combine them with slotted performance discs and C5 Corvette high performance brake pads, and you'll have all the braking power you'll ever need. The rear brake calipers use dual opposed pistons and are even better than the GTO's single piston units. Just fit them with good pads and you're good to go. Of course like most cars today the Catera has 4 wheel ABS braking. What most don't have, and the Catera does, is Traction Control that prevents wheel spin on slippery surfaces by applying the rear brakes to the spinning wheels.

    If you prefer an even sportier ride and sharper handling then you need a 2000 - 2001 Catera Sport. Cadillac finally returned to the full Opel MV6 suspension. It's stiffer, but not harsh, and tuned for the backroads. There is less body roll than with the standard Catera and the Sport's wider 235/45-17 low profile tires (standard size was 225/55HR16) keep the car planted. There was a 1999 Catera Sport but it was an intermediate step to this one. The '99 Sport had firmer damping and stiffer springs that became the 2000 Catera's base suspension. Even firmer and stiffer components were used for the 2000 Sport. The '99 Sport had unique 16 inch alloy wheels, front Recaro seats, re-contoured rocker panels, and a rear wing. The 2000 - 2001 Sports came with a satin silver grille instead of chrome, unique 5 spoke 17 inch alloy wheels, a rear wing, satin silver interior trim in place of the standard faux wood, and exclusive HID headlights for superior lighting. Magazine road testers at the time praised the Catera Sport and called it comparable to Europe's best, meaning BMW.

    Still better handling is available through the aftermarket for any year Catera, Catera Sport or otherwise. Suspension upgrades include stiffer Eibach, Vogtland, or Intrax lowering springs plus Koni, KYB, or Bilstein struts & shocks. GTO springs, front & rear, will fit along with its rear shocks, but not the struts. Suspension tower braces are available from Germany or the UK. Believe it or not Polyurethane bushings for the BMW M5 and Pontiac GTO/Holden Monaro will fit the Catera and greatly improve steering response and handling, in addition to extending the replacement intervals over the original rubber ones.

    As I said before, I love my Catera. The engine performance, the handling, the comfort, the styling, all of it, but don't let me sway you. She has issues. It all boils down to this: If you're looking for a dependable daily driver, the kind of car you can park and forget at the end of the day. One whose maintenance schedule you can ignore. A car you can subject to abuse, then the Catera isn't for you. If you want a true German "driver's car" that, like a thoroughbred horse, requires some attention then .............. Willkommen.

  7. #6
    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    He also mentioned there maybe a short as the radio and the windows are shorting out i hope this will be an easy fix also, besides that Once I pick it up on saturday it goes to my mechanic who works on cateras quite a bit, he recommends that i change the timing belt and the water pump at the same time (he is going to charge me $450 to do this including parts.)

    The catera is all black with a black leather interior so i think this one is rather rare. If i take care of this car should i get quite alot more mileage out of an engine that has 121,000 miles on it.

  8. #7
    AHazzardToAll's Avatar
    AHazzardToAll is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    Yes, it is one of the few 2000sports to have the recaro (sp?) seats. They came in the 1999 models but were replaces early in the 2000 year by the standard power memory seats. They are VERY comfortable, at least for me. Do a search for the k134 relay as far as the radio goes. My motor is at 145k and still strong. As long as you take care of it you should be good to go for a long time.

  9. #8
    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    I am looking forward to it, and being that it needs a couple things and some tlc makes me want it even more.

  10. #9
    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    hopefully it will be a fun daily commuter car

  11. #10
    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    i plan to get the gto spoiler for it, and the europen omega sport grille

  12. #11
    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    and smoking out the back tail lights

  13. #12
    CateraMV6's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    Go to autozone and order a MAF sensor for Saturl LW300, it should be 72.99 and just put that on your car, its the same unit as on the catera. Look up some of my posts here or on cateraowners.forumotion.com

  14. #13
    AHazzardToAll's Avatar
    AHazzardToAll is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    Autozone never had it available (cat or l300) which is when i went to advance

  15. #14
    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    so it was definently the mass air flow sensor that was causing the car to turn off, replaced it last night with a brand new one and now the car runs great, ordered the multifunction switch off of gmpartsdirect.com for $53.00 but i got an email today stating it is on back order hope it wont take too long to get, as i want the radio back and I really wanna close my sunroof.

    Luke

  16. #15
    ExcursionBoy1984's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a 2000 Catera Sport (But it does have issues)

    i also noticed i do have a small oil leak so this is something i really need to fix before i start driving it daily. still not bad for a 1300.00 luxury car

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