2001 Catera Myriad of Issues
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Cadillac Catera and Cimarron Forum Discussion, 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Hello everyone, I recently bought a 2001 Catera in AMAZING physical condition for just under $7k. It ran fine for ...
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    Smark is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Question 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Hello everyone,

    I recently bought a 2001 Catera in AMAZING physical condition for just under $7k. It ran fine for two solid months then it began to develop some issues in order of appearance:

    1) Car would not start 5% of the time, waiting ~20min would resolve the issue. Research (thanks to this forum mainly!) revealed it was probably a fuel pump issue. The car cranks but doesn't start. I planned on getting this fixed the following paycheck.
    2) Transmission shifting issues. Would randomly switch into sport mode without engaging the button. When NOT in sport mode it would also change gears at incorrect times.
    Code:
    Incident 1:
    	Driving 25mph, hear a loud thunk as it shifts into 2nd or 3rd gear
    	Pull up to a stop light seconds later
    	Pull away from stop light, car won't accelerate, feels like it's stuck in 1st, or is just rolling on it's own
    	Sport mode starts flashing without me engaging it
    	Was able to drive the car to a safe place 30 feet later
    	Restart car and it runs normally
    Incident 2:
    	Attempting to accelerate to approximately 40mph
    	At around 25mph I notice car is not shifting, give it a bit more gas
    	RPM climbs into 4k range, back off gas
    	Within about 2sec:
    		Sport mode randomly engages and flashes on dash
    		Check Engine light comes on
    		Car feels like it shifted down to 1st or into neutral
    	Drive it far enough to get to a stopped position
    	Restart car and it runs normally
    3) Low Oil Pressure. This is recent. See below.


    When the transmission started acting up I took it to AAMCO for their free diagnostic (despite the fact that local reviews said this place was terrible). I got the following information between the codes they gave me and online research:
    Code:
    Burnt Transmission Fluid
    1 -> 2 Soft Shift - Soft
    2 -> 3 Slows - Hard
    4 -> 4 50ft Flair - Flair Bump
    Codes:
    	P0335 - Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit Malfunction
    	P1700 - Transmission Control Module (TCM) Requested MIL Illumination 
    	P0730 - Incorrect Gear Ratio
    		Possible Causes
    			ATF level is too low, or the fluid is burnt or contaminated
    			ISS or OSS signal circuit has an intermittent fault condition
    			Inspect for debris in transmission pan or a sticking shift valve
    			Possible vehicle overloading, exceeding the trailer towing limit, or towing in overdrive events occurred (discuss with customer)
    	U2105 - Lost Communication with Engine Control Systems
    		Can't communicate with atleast one major system (Engine, Brakes, TCM)
    	P0727 - Engine Speed Input No Signal
    They quoted me $2500 to rebuild the transmission. This was obviously not necessary as all the codes indicated communication issues. I took it to a local (non-chain) transmission shop with good reviews. They confirmed (without me telling them) that the issues were 100% electrical and that a transmission rebuild was not necessary at this point. They checked all the connections and determined that there was a bad computer SOMEWHERE. They sent it to their Auto Electronics sister-shop. The electronics shop wouldn't drive it because the Oil Pressure light came on and he didn't want to damage the engine. The oil light had never come on for me and the gauge always read as normal. They put a manual oil pressure gauge into the engine and determined that the oil pressure WAS low. They gave up, charged me $223 and advised I take it to a dealer. I went outside to take it to a dealer when the car wouldn't start (see symptom 1). The car's hood was burning hot from the Arizona Sun. I took a cab home and I'll try again tomorrow morning, if it doesn't start then it gets towed to the dealership.

    Update 7/12/11: Went to the local transmission shop (where the car was left because it wouldn't start) at 8am. The car was cold to the touch and started right away without an issue. The starting problem is obviously at least affected by heat. Was able to drive it to a dealership a few miles away. The Oil Pressure level read normal, Check Engine light was off, shifting still felt "weird" but was better". Dropped it off at the dealership with the shopping list of issues. We'll see what their diagnostic comes back with. Stay tuned.

    I consider myself an intelligent person as far as troubleshooting problems, but I'm not very mechanically inclined, more of a technical person. What I'm getting out of all of these symptoms is that this is probably still an electrical issue and that ALL of these problems stem from a faulty circuit or computer somewhere. Does this seem like a reasonable assumption? Does anyone have any further advice or anything that might be able to help me out?

    This forum has been a great resource for me and I'm sure other people. Keep it up!

    Thank you for your time,
    Rick

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    AL Cool Dates is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    I have some knowledge about two of things you're talking about, the first one depends on if you got the fuel pump changed. If you did change the pump, from what I saw in your explanation (P0335 - Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit Malfunction), you have a bad CPS. Replace that and your startup issues should go away. The second with your tranny, you may want to have the tranny shop drop both pans, replace the filter and do a good flush and you may want to look into the connections with the TCM or replace the sucker. And a guess with the oil pressure, when was the last time you got an oil change? I know with my Catera, if I leave the car idling for a very long time, the pressure drops especially when the oil is dirty (not sure how true that is and it may just be my car). I got a liquid flush and some high mileage oil and that pressure problem went away. Well this is all my two sense, congrats on the car and trust me, she will test your patience!

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    Smark is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by AL Cool Dates View Post
    I have some knowledge about two of things you're talking about, the first one depends on if you got the fuel pump changed. If you did change the pump, from what I saw in your explanation (P0335 - Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit Malfunction), you have a bad CPS. Replace that and your startup issues should go away. The second with your tranny, you may want to have the tranny shop drop both pans and do a good flush and you may want to look into the connections with the TCM or replace the sucker. And a guess with the oil pressure, when was the last time you got an oil change? I know with my Catera, if I leave the car idling for a very long time, the pressure drops especially when the oil is dirty (not sure how true that is and it may just be my car). I got a liquid flush and some high mileage oil and that pressure problem went away. Well this is all my two sense, congrats on the car and trust me, she will test your patience!
    I did not get the fuel pump changed. I figured the startup issues had to do with the CPS or a computer. Since we've established that there are definitely electrical issues I would say it's a good bet that it's the CPS or the computer which interfaces with the CPS. Computer issues then the fuel pump going bad seems less likely than just computer issues. The only hole in that theory is: does the CPS issue seem like something that could be resolved by just waiting 20min?

    I have never had the oil changed as I've driven it less than a thousand miles. We checked when we first bought it and the oil was still very clean. I'll look into the high mileage oil and a liquid flush. Thanks!

    Thank you for your time,
    Rick

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    AL Cool Dates is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    The CPS tends to act up when it gets too hot and waiting for it to cool is usually when you can start the car. I just heard people waiting longer than 20 minutes though. Another suggestion i got from another Catera driver is using a heavier weight oil for the pressure, the hot temps thins out the oil so the oil pump can't keep up the pressure.

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    Smark is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by AL Cool Dates View Post
    The CPS tends to act up when it gets too hot and waiting for it to cool is usually when you can start the car. I just heard people waiting longer than 20 minutes though. Another suggestion i got from another Catera driver is using a heavier weight oil for the pressure, the hot temps thins out the oil so the oil pump can't keep up the pressure.
    The temp issue is exactly what I'm experiencing. If I start it at 8am to go to work it runs. If I park it at work under a tree it starts fine, if not it doesn't start. This is why I think if I show up at 8am and try and start the car it'll work. Oddly if I'm driving and I stop somewhere to go into a store and come out it starts immediately. So I guess a combination of heat and not running recently affects reliability. I'll definitely look into the heaver weight oil. Thanks AL!

    Thank you for your time,
    Rick

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    libbysman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Rick: Your tranny situation sounds eerily like mine (posting right under yours). I'd be very interested to see how you get it resolved. Best of Luck, Brian

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    investor74 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Just a thought on your transmission problems. I know that the transmission control is super sensitive to the battery voltage in the car. When I had a failing alternator, my transmission started to act up. Replaced alternator, no trans problems for about 5 years. A failing battery or bad battery cable may also account for it. What voltage is your voltage gauge showing? I like to see at least 13.5 volts.

  9. #8
    Smark is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    libbysman: I'll definitely post as detailed a resolution as I can once it's fixed. I dropped it off at the dealership with the shopping list of issues.

    investor74: The battery gauge isn't labeled but if I recall it the needle usually stays between 1/4 tick above the read and the halfway tick. So a little on the low side. If the top of the lower red area is 12v then we're probably right there. I suspect the top of the lower red is 12v, 14v is the middle tick, and 16v is bottom of the top red area. I've never really had any battery issues to my knowledge, the car ALWAYS cranked just the same. The battery also looks brand new, at least physically.

    I've also started updating the original post with progress updates to help out future people who may have one or more of these symptoms. Thanks again guys, you've been very helpful!

    Thank you for your time,
    Rick

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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Hey Guys .. In reading your posts... here is the answers as fixed my car..
    the not starting... you have the aswer... it is the CPS replace the sensor, your car will start fine all the time. It is NOT your fuel pump!!! dont waste money.

    Transmission is kicking into fail safe mode due to lack of communication on the elctrical end.
    I would highly suggest haveing your controll modual replaced.. I think there are 2.. maybe someon else can help me out on that one..
    I think there is a bcm, or tcm and and ebcm... I dont recal the terms exact... but I belive one is more for the transmission and the other is for the entire car.

    if its the last one.. you can remove, send and have rebuilt with a 5 yr warranty for about $700 total job. kaustin had his done severl years ago.. he has sold the catera, but he still comments... send him a private message!

    Oil pressure.. IDK. if the car is not getting pressure.. its not:thin oil... its simply not pumping... perhpas your pump is weak?? I would change tranny and engine oil, and CPS and go from that point!!

    your car has 2 differant oil pans also.. so get the right one when you order your kit, or get a tube of permatex to make your own gasket.

    also your tranny is a "fill untill" so its not easy to refil without the proper siringe tool

    Dont take the car to the dealer... look for mechanic aroudn that have cateras.... ones who work on them know them.... and will charge fairly... i foudn a great one in rochester finally.

  11. #10
    kaustein is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    I'll be honest with you. Did you research the Catera before paying 7 grand for the car? I don't care as to what the condition is. Sadly there is no Catera on the face of the earth that is worth 7 grand. The problem isn't how the car looks, but the reliability issue of the car.

    CPS is a common problem. Also if possible try to find someone you can trust to work on the car. Caddy dealers do not like the car and will quote outrageous prices in the hopes that you don't get the car repaired there.

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    Smark is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    For some reason I can't edit the original post. Oh well, here's the latest.

    Update 7/13/11 at 12:00pm: Just called the dealership. They said there's nothing wrong with the car and that the odd shifting was normal for an older car with this model. I don't buy that the transmissions has a switch that just happens to start acting erratically at a certain mileage. The previous place apparently cleared all the codes. I gave them the codes AAMCO had given me previously in hopes that they could do something with that. If they can't then I'll drive it until it acts up and bring it back. They're not charging me for a diagnostic which is nice I suppose. They said the oil pressure was normal for a this car. They way he explained it made it sound like a Catera's oil pressure is lower than other cars in general, but my oil pressure was perfect for a Catera. They're calling me back later today to see if the codes I gave them helped out. In all fairness it did drive 100% normally the 2mi I drove it from the transmission place to the dealership. The starting issue still exists though.

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    Smark is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Update 7/13/2011 @ 18:00: Got the car back from the dealership at no charge. They said just hang onto it until it acts up and the check engine light comes back on. They visually checked all the parts that the codes I gave them indicated. I drove it around for a solid half hour and there was still some slight transmission issues, but nothing I couldn't live with long term. Hardly even noticeable. It didn't switch into sport mode automatically and started the first time all 5 stops I made.

    Update 7/13/2011 @ 19:30: Well got invited to dinner with friends, car won't start. Everyone I've interacted with in this situation is so incompetent. The computer doesn't have codes so OBVIOUSLY there's nothing wrong. Back on point, I don't think the CPS issue is heat related. I remember an instance at 8pm a few weeks ago when it wouldn't start, and now tonight the engine is cold to the touch. How can I talk to a service tech and tell them "here's what I'm seeing, trust my word, here are the codes, fix it.". I mean they fixed cars before computers right?

    I'll keep you updated if it acts up again. Even if this hasn't been resolved quite yet I hope some people are getting some ideas and information from this thread.

    Thank you for your time,
    Rick

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    kaustein is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by AL Cool Dates View Post
    The CPS tends to act up when it gets too hot and waiting for it to cool is usually when you can start the car. I just heard people waiting longer than 20 minutes though. Another suggestion i got from another Catera driver is using a heavier weight oil for the pressure, the hot temps thins out the oil so the oil pump can't keep up the pressure.
    Not necessarily true. Mine acted up in the dead of winter, which compounded the problem because froze ass off waiting for the tow truck. Of course when the tow truck got, it started.

  15. #14
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    elvin315 is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Stop being stubborn and change the CPS. It's just a short cable assembly. The sensor mounts next to the oil filter and the connector lives behind the engine, under the scuttle. It costs less than $50 and is easy to replace. The cable runs near the exhaust manifolds. Too near. The exhaust heat cracks the wire conductors. Heat expands the wire's plastic insulation and opens the circuit. When it cools it makes contact and the car will start. The assembly comes wrapped in an aluminum foil shielding. I always advise adding more and routing the cable farther from the exhaust.

    There is a long but helpful thread regarding the transmission's Limp Home Mode trouble. I'm including the last page where the problem might be fixed but I suggest reading the whole thing. Earlier in it the Neutral Safety Switch in the transmission shift linkage was mentioned to be at fault but before buying one I'd wait for Chris Heath to get back from vacation. Ask him to supply you with that mysterious email covering the test procedure. In the meantime you could try diconnecting the EBTCM. That controls the ABS & Traction Control. It doesn't affect the braking other than defeating the ABS/TC. If the Limp Home disappears then that module can be shipped out and rebuilt. The address is in this thread.

    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...ips-2nd-4.html

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    Smark is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Catera Myriad of Issues

    Well I finally just ordered a CPS from Autozone for $50. It should be at my local store in about 26hrs. Using the instructions in THIS thread, I should be able to replacement with little trouble. Here's hoping it works! I'll post again tomorrow to let everyone know how the replacement went.

    In other news, the transmission issues have still be in the background. No randomly switching into sport mode, but you can tell the transmission is only functioning at 90%. Still has a little bit of that "searching for the right gear" feeling once in a while, but nothing I couldn't live with for the life of the car. I'll keep an eye on this though. Right now the priority is the starting issue.

    Thank you for your time,
    Rick

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