: Should I consider an 01 Catera with 102k miles for $3k?



Black Hole
09-21-09, 12:07 PM
I'm looking for a cheap, reliable, decent looking daily driver. My options are a slew of not so great looking Carolla's, Camry's, and a slew of other domestic sedans....most of which have 100k-150k miles on them.

I found an 01 Catera, black, loaded with everything except navigation with just over 100k miles. Good black exterior, good gray leather interior.

I test drove the car and was impressed. It was quiet, smooth, had decent power, and overall seemed to be a great car for the asking price of $3600.

The car has had regular maintenance done. New battery, rear axle pinion seal, lower control arm bushings and alignment (it was eating tires), but no major work since he's owned it dating back to 06. There is an airbag light that's on though.....

I spoke with the seller who said that he was "motivated" to sell the car as it's just an extra car that sits on the street.

I spoke to 4 local mechanics who all said to stay away from the car due to it's bad reputation. I've read mixed reviews online where some people love the car and others hate it. Then again, these same mechanics hate anything Mopar, Audi, BMW, and basically anything not Toyota, GM, or Ford (because they're easy to work on).

What is your opinion of the 01's? Is $3k a good price on the car?

The last thing I want to do is drop $3k on a lemon that's going to cause me headaches. While this looks better than a 150k Carolla, I know I can spend the money on a Toyota and I can drive the wheels off it for the next few years without too much risk of major mechanical repair expenses.

wamanning
09-21-09, 01:57 PM
offer $2.5k.

JRomano
09-21-09, 05:30 PM
I got mine for $1400+tax at a repo auction, I never would have bought it otherwise. They are good cars, but they have a bad rep because the 97-98 had a poorly designed timing belt tensioner. Also parts are harder to find or more expensive because they come from Germany or England. The engine is also English built and uses all Torx and E-Torx hardware which I would say most domestic mechanics are not used to and I'm sure just sets them in a "mood" about working on it.

I would not pay more than 2500 for one unless it has good maintenance records and everything else checks out.

catera00
09-21-09, 06:08 PM
No. I bought one with 50K miles on it and it does nothing but break all the time. Very expensive car to maintain. Mine is anything BUT reliable. I love mine when its working. But it seems to always have a coolant leak and/or a check engine light requiring $1,000 or more to fix it. I call it the $1,000 curse. It rides like a dream but it takes a lot of maintenance and often needs expensive parts. Just my opinion. I say walk, if not run away from it. You will constantly be putting $$ into it. They are motivated to sell it cause its a pain in their butts I guarantee it. And this is from someone who loves the Catera. Maybe mine breaks more than others but I doubt it.

Matera97
09-21-09, 06:20 PM
if you pass this up, give the sellers info and location. I need to upgrade...lol

ondale
09-21-09, 09:41 PM
I have 2001 Sport with 94k, have done the head gaskets and in process of doing the brakes. I get parts cheaper off ebay, but none the less, it is pricey to maintain. Here is what I think, if the owner is a long time Catera owner and the exterior and interior of the car in great condition, offer the 2.5k. Having owned a 97 and now 01 Catera, I maintain the cars and would like to think they are reliable if maintain. However an 01 BMW, Mercedes, and Catera will all be expensive to maintain and repair.

Cadi Cat
09-21-09, 11:20 PM
I have a 2000 sport and love it! 171k bought it with 56k almost 5 years ago. Last time i put some dollars in it was at 132k, new timing belt ($300) and before that at 86k, rebuilt ebtcm and also tie rods, ball joints, control arm bushings drop links... all that front end junk ($650). I have done all my work myself except for the timing belt. Oh and I forgot to mention that my power steering pump died around 73k ($35-used). But I think that was due to doing doughnuts in the snow. lol Presently i'm due for a wheel bearing i just ordered for $60-ebay. And I just bought a set of goodyear eagle F1 tires 2 months ago ($800). so.... 5 years 120k miles later that brings the total to less than $2000 in repairs including awesome tires. I'm okay with that! :-) It's seeping oil through the valve covers but hardly any at all and the shocks and struts are getting a little weak. but what car with this milage doesnt? I'm counting on getting another 50k at least out of it. No rust and everything still works. But I suggest talking the seller down to at least $2700. This person is asking too much.

CateraMV6
09-22-09, 12:16 AM
Fist off... the 2001 was probably the most reliable one you can get, as all the problems had been polished off.

Mine was bought at 59K and now just 3 years later has 135K and still ticking.

Had to do Timing belt, Tires, Tie rod ends, bushings, MAF sensor, oil changes but outer then that nothing major... the suspension parts will help keep the alignment in check and will keep the tires from being destroyed. Otherwise if timing belt hasnt been changed you need to spare a few hundred fro that.

Outside of it, its a solid car and I can prove it with my odometer. I plan on taking mine all the way up to 200K before giving it away to someone.

If you can talk him down a few hundred I would say go for it.

I hesitated to buy a 00 White Sport with 70K on the clock for 3300 from OHIO and I am still kickin myself for that.

Black02SLPSS
09-22-09, 02:03 AM
I would probably go for it, but the first thing I would do after getting it is change the timing belt, if it has not already been changed. Seems like a good deal to me.

Hey CateraMV6, off the top of your head do you know what all was changed after the 97-98 cateras that made them better? I know someone mentioned that the timing assembly was updated, along with the oil cooler? Do you happen to know of anything else?

CateraMV6
09-22-09, 04:31 AM
I would probably go for it, but the first thing I would do after getting it is change the timing belt, if it has not already been changed. Seems like a good deal to me.

Hey CateraMV6, off the top of your head do you know what all was changed after the 97-98 cateras that made them better? I know someone mentioned that the timing assembly was updated, along with the oil cooler? Do you happen to know of anything else?

Timing Belt Tentioner updated 98-99 somewhere in there,
Throtle bodies, from mechanical to Drive by wire,
Coils went to Coil on plug design...
the MAF sensor was changed to a 5 wire design instead of the 4 wire.
Intake manifold was changed too,
New valves for the multi ram system were used.
The oil cooler was updated.

These are just a few of the ones I can think of off the top of my head, there was a ton of other changes that we didn't quite see, mostly dealt with previous faulty wiring etc....


97 1 star
98 2 star
99 3 star
00 4 star
01 5 star

This is how I would rate them in reliability with 5 star being the best...
both 00 and 01 do well, and even late 99s seem to be holding up as well, but the 97-98 had issues and many people hate them because of the high repair bills.

If you can fix some of the items by yourself you will save a good chunk of money.

Black02SLPSS
09-22-09, 12:44 PM
Interesting, was wondering this because i have a brand new 3.2 litre engine that was originally intended for a cts that i got off of ebay for a replacement, so thats what i was wondering about. One thing i would like to do is swap engine and transmission harnesses for a newer design like off an 01, so i can use the coil on plug design, instead of that coil in the back and plug wires. The longer intake would be cool too, might even make a bit more power. One thing i would like to see someone do is machine out the upper plenum where the throttle body goes to make one big opening, and put a single blade throttle body on it. That would definatly help throttle response out and most likely add a few ponies.

Black Hole
09-24-09, 06:58 PM
Well, she's sitting in the garage. $2,750 after he was asking $3,600.

Air bag light is the only issue with the car that I've found.

I've owned a few $30k cars in the past, and while it's obviously not the fastest car I've owned (my last toy was a 490 rwhp / 477 rwtq nicely modded '03 Cobra), it is the most comfortable, smoothest, overall best riding car.....and that's after 75 miles so far. :)

Black02SLPSS
09-25-09, 01:51 AM
Well, she's sitting in the garage. $2,750 after he was asking $3,600.

Air bag light is the only issue with the car that I've found.

I've owned a few $30k cars in the past, and while it's obviously not the fastest car I've owned (my last toy was a 490 rwhp / 477 rwtq nicely modded '03 Cobra), it is the most comfortable, smoothest, overall best riding car.....and that's after 75 miles so far. :)

What all did you have done to it? Cold air, S/C pulley and a tune? Im hoping to get an 03-04 cobra for my next toy :yup:

neiljmoore
09-25-09, 09:51 AM
these cars are a curse . I just got an estimate of 1100.00 to change the thermostat. mine has an intermittent miss in the engine that no one can figure out, I just put 2K in it for front end maintenance. control arm bushings, tie rod ends, sway bar links. and new rotors. and shocks. Now the brake light on the dash and the airbag light just came on. the cd changer crapped out. its leaking oil into the spark plug galleys ..,..... on and on . YES ITS EXPENSIVE I paid $175.00 for a set of plug wires,almost $300.00 to buy a new coil TWICE in the last 6 months. and thats cheaper than the dealers. STAY AWAY!

Black Hole
09-25-09, 01:01 PM
Cobra had ported blower, 2.8" upper pulley, 100 mm idler pulley, CAI, offroad X, catback, heat exchanger, and SCT dynotune. New owner made 510/498 with the same parts and a slightly more agressive tune even on the special Kalifornia gasoline (he's a marine stationed out there). Also had the other common mods...lowered, 10.5" rear wheels with 315 mm rubber, shifter, IRS pumpkin brace, subframe connectors, etc... She'd go high 11's in street trim with just a 5 minute swap of drag radials onto the rear.

It was my baby, but I barely drove it and finances forced me to let it go last September. I recently sold my 00 Sahara that was lifted on 33's and setup for some decent offroading.

Now I just have the Catera as my daily driver and an '04 Harley VRod....and as you can guess, she's not stock either! :D

CateraMV6
09-25-09, 03:20 PM
Cobra had ported blower, 2.8" upper pulley, 100 mm idler pulley, CAI, offroad X, catback, heat exchanger, and SCT dynotune. New owner made 510/498 with the same parts and a slightly more agressive tune even on the special Kalifornia gasoline (he's a marine stationed out there). Also had the other common mods...lowered, 10.5" rear wheels with 315 mm rubber, shifter, IRS pumpkin brace, subframe connectors, etc... She'd go high 11's in street trim with just a 5 minute swap of drag radials onto the rear.

It was my baby, but I barely drove it and finances forced me to let it go last September. I recently sold my 00 Sahara that was lifted on 33's and setup for some decent offroading.

Now I just have the Catera as my daily driver and an '04 Harley VRod....and as you can guess, she's not stock either! :D

Sounds like you are not one that keeps their cars stock and in that case you may want to stay away from the catera because there aren't any aftermarket parts for it except a few from the GTO ...

Black02SLPSS
09-25-09, 03:23 PM
Sounds like you are not one that keeps their cars stock and in that case you may want to stay away from the catera because there aren't any aftermarket parts for it except a few from the GTO ...

Maybe not catera specific aftermarket parts, but you can make a turbo system work, or a centrifical supercharger work, you will just hafta fab up the plumbing for it. That or do nitrous. Anything is possible :halo:

Black Hole
09-25-09, 07:47 PM
Sounds like you are not one that keeps their cars stock and in that case you may want to stay away from the catera because there aren't any aftermarket parts for it except a few from the GTO ...
I hear ya.

The Catera will remain stock aside from buffing out the yellowed driver side headlight, possibly replacing the cracked passenger side mirror cover, tinting the windows, and probably replacing the stereo with something MP3/iPhone compaitable.

This is my daily driver.....I still have the Harley to play with. :cool2:

CateraMV6
09-25-09, 09:09 PM
If you are interested in stereo upgrades hit me up... I used a GM45-PA11 unit to hook up my ipod and I also have an external 3.5mm jack for music out of my phone...

Workes well and cost around 60$ plugged into the factory CD Changer input...

Matera97
09-26-09, 12:27 AM
That GM45-PA11 is a decent piece of equipment, the only problem I see is no RCA out, or sub-out. Unfortunatly I'm not running a Bose system, so I don't have the speaker cables in the rear deck to run any additional wiring with ease. I think I would still require and different head unit.

eastsidercaddy
09-27-09, 02:10 AM
Well, if ANYONE has questions related to the headunit swapping just hit me up... figured out the hard way you have to remove the sound processor and small amp they have stock and bypass the wires. Fortunetly i have access to alldatapro and also have all the pinouts/ wire colors you need to crimp together and have a nicely working sound system. Off topic but im putting in a set of 15's!!!:thumbsup:

eastsidercaddy
09-27-09, 03:23 AM
Last comment is off topic and is now placed in a thread that deals with radio details.. sorry

Black Hole
09-27-09, 01:44 PM
Last comment is off topic and is now placed in a thread that deals with radio details.. sorry

No problem.

I'm looking to upgrade the audio system....sort of.

No time to post details now, but I did start another thread a couple of days ago.