: just got a new 99 catera, starting problems! help please first caddy

01-11-11, 12:55 PM
hey guys whats up im new to this forum and im reaaaaly new to american cars esp. caddies. i have always been a front wheel drive japanese car kind of guy when it comes to doing repairs, those cars are a walk in the park, especially the older obd1's. Me and my friend just bought a 99 catera from another friend of ours who used to drive this thing all the time then they parked it up somewhere and it had a broken window. The car sat there for almost a year now maybe even longer but we recently tried to get this thing to start up again, clean it out, fix it and get it to run. I have NO idea how to mess with these cars really so i need all the help i can get from this forum please. I havent messed with it too much we just towed it over to my place yesterday. I tried hitting the battery with a boosterpack/jumper cables/ And a battery charger, nothing doing all the lights turn on inside, but when you turn the key it just sounds like something is spinning there is no cranking no nothing. The security light inside keeps blinking and this is a spare key that we got made somewhere. I also remember last year whenever we tried to start it the alarm kept going on so someone disconnected the fuse for it or something but im pretty sure it was put back in. Other then that im pretty lost as to why it won't even crank and why this security light keeps blinking, i will be obtaining the original key today, maybe there is a chip or resistor in there? Thanks again guys in advance i really appreciate all the help ! thanks

01-11-11, 04:37 PM
each key is programed internally. the key can only be cut and programed at the cadillac/GM dealer.

the security is flashing because it knows you do not have the correct key. The alarm would be sounding if you had the fuse in. so thus the alarm is activated, jsut no sound due to the fuse. You have to have a correctly programed key. I HIGHLY rcomend installing a new battery, not jumping the car. these cars are funny like that.. I am not very aware of how to work with security.. but with the correct key.. if thats the issue, car should start. If you do not have a remote you have to manually unlock the car with the correct key from the driver door, otherwise that will activate alarm and security.

Please be clear.. this is not an "american car" it has an american badge, but the car is built and assembled in germany! it is more like a BMW. I have had many mechanics say there are a lotta similarities to it and volvo also.

01-11-11, 08:39 PM
hey man thanks for the promt reply i really appreciate it. I managed to get the original key today with the remote, but the remote might be dead but i dont see why the key that i have now shouldn't work :crosses fingers: i will find out tomorrow! thanks man ill get back to you

01-11-11, 10:40 PM
hgqguy is right about the car being German. It's an Opel Omega B so include that when searching for info. Also, The Catera has nothing in common with Volvo which until recently was a Ford product. It shares the engine with SAAB & Saturn, and transmission with BMW (actually it's a GM tranny that BMW uses).

Once you get her started there are things you must attend to on your Catera. They suffers from leaking oil coolers and camcovers. Especially fatal is the timing belt and its tensioning pulleys. There's more but I don't want to scare you.

If you're planning performance mods don't bother buying any performance chips from europe because they won't work. The Opels use a different ECM. The best places to spend your money are the suspension, brakes, exhaust, and intake. The engine isn't well suited for turbos or superchargers but NOS is easy to fit.

Read my write-ups at CateraOwners.Forumotion.Com (http://cateraowners.forumotion.com/) for more stuff. That site was created by a member here to try and organize the advice here.

Don't let what I said discourage you and your buddy. The '99 received a revised oil cooler and belt tensioner, throttle by wire, and suspension updates . I have an '01 Sport that I truly love. Makes a trip to the market feel special. Sure, she has her problems but with regular maintenance and TLC she'll treat you right.

01-12-11, 01:08 PM
ok so i tried out the original key with no luck, the original keys remote works opens the doors/trunk ect. i tried unlocking the door with the key and tried to start the car. im getting no luck all i hear is something that sounds kind of like a fan running whenever i turn the switch, but nothing happenes, no cranking no nothing. the security light blinks when i try to turn the key all the way but i dont know what this means. I dont hear the alarm either, like say if i try to open the door when its "locked" i dont hear any alarm or anything going off, it might have been disabled but i dont know how to check which fuse or where it is. help please i need to get this car started! lol

01-15-11, 07:38 PM
I think the security may still flash til the car is running.. so it does not seem like a security issue. the fan is turning on so the car is getting power. It does not sound like its the theft system.

It sounds like the starter itself is bad... did you check the battery cables? I know that they are comman to go bad. corrosion and so forth.. thats the next cheepest fix... after that it really sounds like a starter.. maybe get a used one at a salvage yard.. I hate the trial by error thig cause it can run a bill up..

since the car is getting power I would check the pos battery cable to tthe starter.. cause its obviously grounded so its not the neg cable. try to tap on the starter with a hammer while your friend tries to start the car.. not to hard though... Other than that I dont have any ideas... does the radio power on?? if it does Im almost posative its not a security issue..