View Full Version : Catera finally died

Po Pimp
12-18-08, 04:22 PM
The serpentine belt broke on the highway last friday coming home from work. I was in the far right lane on a strech of the road where it is six lanes wide. So the car overheated a little before I could get to the emergency lane all the way on the left side. Got a new belt as I conviently broke down in visual site of an advanced auto parts store. The car drove home fine. The next day I started it up to go get something to eat. Got about half way into town and could tell something was a miss (lacked power) so I turned it around to get it home. Right as I turned back on my road the CEL started to flash, I felt a slip, clang clang and then it stalled. Needless to say it was the tensioner locking up and the timing belt advancing. I know I got some intake valves bent and most likely a messed up piston or two.

Don't feel to bad for car. It did hit a little over 219,000 miles before this happened. Still not sure what I am going to do with the car yet. I have the tools and know how to rebuild the engine. Lately I have been doing some research and kicking around the idea of doing an electric car. The Catera doesn't really make a good canidate because of the weight and the automatic transmission. I guess we'll see because a free donor car is always a good way to start.

12-18-08, 05:18 PM
Sucks to hear, but good luck on your electric idea.

Don't feel to bad though, I watched a 2006 STS die in front of me today.

12-19-08, 07:55 AM
That sux but you got a great milage out of it, I guess you can pick up a used engine for around 1000$, but I have seen them for less on ebay...

Just pull it out drop a new one in and you will be good to go... Maybe even drop in a CTS motor... and try to get the Manual trans swap...

Po Pimp
12-19-08, 11:40 PM
You know I think I could have gotten more mileage. I really think the overheating may have been what sent the tensioner to seize. Guess I will never know for sure. Ran good tell it died.

I think I will just dump another engine in it. I actually bought an old Pontiac Fiero for the EV conversion today ($500 and it runs okay). Never thought I would be excited about a iron duke in a Fiero but hey. Kind crowded around the house right now. Broke down 97' Catera, 02' Deville, 84' Fiero, 700 VFR and my buddies Virago which I was in the process of fixing. Guess the only thing I am missing to look more redneck is to put one of them on cinder blocks.

Thought about the manual conversion. I just really am looking forward to the next project so I don't want to spend to much time on the car. Believe me the body and interior do show signs of the mileage. Looks like crap but I will probably end up driving this thing tell it gets totaled, stolen or is burnt down. I don't know why but I just like this car you know.

Po Pimp
12-27-08, 06:23 PM
I am starting to reconsider my engine options now. It seems as though an old quad-4 or newer ecotec mounted to a manual transmission may be what I shooting for this car in the future. That may mean it takes a little longer as I want to get this electric car going but that will give me time to plan out my attack.

I can obtain various 4-cylinders and manual transmissions from a local junkyard for reasonable prices. Even if I have to rebuild it would still be cheaper then messing with the L81 it seems. A lot of these 4 banger options have similar power and ultimately I would probably lose 100-200lbs from the conversion.

I really like the Quad-4 as there are already an abundance on adapter plates that can be obtained over the internet. The can mount to old 5 speeds from say a camaro....etc. It looks at this time as though I would have to also buy the kit to move the alternator and flip the intake manifold. The engine is already around 200 HP to begin with. I think if I utilize the exhaust wisely I could get it to the same power potential with the benefits of the extra economy. I guess we'll see.

12-28-08, 02:23 AM
Lots of nice Cateras out there. Why not just buy another one. Like your old one or even a nicer one. I'm gonna be buried in my Catera. :^)

Po Pimp
12-28-08, 08:30 PM
I don't really see a point in getting another Catera if it has the same engine. The whole time I had that one I wanted more power and better MPG. The GM 2.2L ecotec already came equipped in the Opel Omega in later years. It can mount to the 4L30-E. In that set-up it was able to obtain 23 city and 32 highway MPG. Now that particular engine would be less power then I would want. There is little trouble in getting that engine up to 220-250 HP in a cheap fashion. Mount that sucker to a 5 or 6 speed transmission. Then it can get up and go when I want it and have the availability to get more economy any other time (which is about 95% of my everyday driving).