: 1999 Catera Acting Strange! Help Please!!!



Chaotic94
01-15-11, 11:41 PM
Hello everyone. A friend of mine owns a Cadillac Catera and it's doing some odd stuff. I'll start by saying I know NOTHING about Cadillacs. I'm all about my Camaro. So consider me a noob lol. Anyways, it's not over heating. It's not blowing any smoke out the rear end. It's not running rough. However, her coolant does drop consistently. She has to add coolant to her car every 10 days or so. Also her oil dipstick looks good. Not milky at all. But oil fill cap has milky oil all over it. So does the tube where you fill the oil. When she brought her car to my house I popped the hood and there was steam coming out of the oil fill cap. I'm assume the milky oil there was just from the condensation from the steam. She does have a slight oil leak. About 5 drops after the car sat for 15 minutes. I'm not sure whats wrong here but I know it should have steam coming out of the oil fill cap.

Another issue it's having is that when she first starts the car in the morning when it's cold and drives, she says it takes a long time for her car to accelerate. As if it has a loss of power. She says it's fine once it warms up though. She said one day she had to hit the brakes hard to come to a stop and that when she stopped the tire light and ABS light came on. She said after she did that, it took her car a long time to accelerate too. That made me think that maybe her brakes are sticking. Any ideas? She said she had to turn off the the car and restart it to get those lights to shut off.Please help me out here. Replies are greatly appreciated! And thank you so much in advance!

mdksupra
01-16-11, 12:10 AM
Sounds like you have several problems. I would bet the coolant is coming from the Heater Control Valve. Do a forum search for Heater Bypass Valve. If you find the valve's not leaking, the problem could be more serious.

The loss of power is coming from the transmission skipping 2nd gear and starting in 3rd. Hence, no power when taking off. Restarting the car, resets the cycle. I've yet to figure out whats causing this problem in my car.

If the ABS light comes on you may have yet a 3rd problem, which may be the ABS sensor or the EBTCM. Electronic Brake and Traction Control Module.

Take the car to Autozone and have them check the codes when the Check engine light is on.

(edit) and clean off the white milky shit in the oil cap. Could be from someone putting really old oil into it or something more serious if it's recurring.

Chaotic94
01-16-11, 12:29 AM
Thanks for the reply!!! The coolant isn't actually leaking. It's disappearing. Like into thin air. I'm not sure where it's going. But there was NO coolant under the car.

mdksupra
01-16-11, 12:46 AM
Thanks for the reply!!! The coolant isn't actually leaking. It's disappearing. Like into thin air. I'm not sure where it's going. But there was NO coolant under the car.

The problem is the coolants going somewhere, not disappearing. Now I will tentatively say that I think you're gonna need a new head gasket in that catera. The milky oil cap makes me think the coolants leaking into the oil. I'd like someone with more experience to answer you before you take this to heart... but I'm pretty positive thats whatsup.

(edit) check the oil level. is it OVER-FULL? If so, its overfull because the coolants in there.

(double edit) I used to have a 96 Z28 I did the headgaskets on twice... What kind of a Camaro guy are ya if you've never done head gaskets? hehe Just Kidding

(triple edit) oh and smell the exhaust smoke with the car running. Does it smell like coolant?

Chaotic94
01-16-11, 01:02 AM
Hahaha well luckily my Camaro, with 185xxx has yet to blow up. Besides the point, the exhaust doesn't smell like coolant. No smoke at all either. I checked the oil level and it's normal. My opinion is that the milky oil cap is from the condensation from the steam coming out of the fill cap. But why is there steam coming out of her fill cap? That's the new question. I'm not considering head gaskets yet because 1st, there aren't any signs or a blown head gasket aside from the milky oil cap. But the oil on the dipstick was fine. AND she said the car has been like this for 2 weeks. If it were a head gasket, it would be f***ed at this point but it still runs great. 2nd, I really don't want to have to buy a head gasket set for a Cadillac because the head gasket set I priced for my Camaro was $50. A head gasket set that I priced for the Catera is $300... Yeah. I don't have that kind of money. Nor does she. So we're hoping it's NOT a head gasket issue. lol

mdksupra
01-16-11, 02:11 AM
Hahaha well luckily my Camaro, with 185xxx has yet to blow up. Besides the point, the exhaust doesn't smell like coolant. No smoke at all either. I checked the oil level and it's normal. My opinion is that the milky oil cap is from the condensation from the steam coming out of the fill cap. But why is there steam coming out of her fill cap? That's the new question. I'm not considering head gaskets yet because 1st, there aren't any signs or a blown head gasket aside from the milky oil cap. But the oil on the dipstick was fine. AND she said the car has been like this for 2 weeks. If it were a head gasket, it would be f***ed at this point but it still runs great. 2nd, I really don't want to have to buy a head gasket set for a Cadillac because the head gasket set I priced for my Camaro was $50. A head gasket set that I priced for the Catera is $300... Yeah. I don't have that kind of money. Nor does she. So we're hoping it's NOT a head gasket issue. lol

2 weeks with the same problem and shes still driving it?

mdksupra
01-16-11, 02:47 AM
Google this:

Date: 09/01/2001
Component Name: 060000 ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
NHTSA #: 010602009
SUMMARY: SOME OWNERS MAY COMMENT ON A LOSS OF COOLANT, LOW COOLANT LIGHT ON, AND / OR ENGINE OVERHEATING. *TT

AL Cool Dates
01-16-11, 03:10 AM
I'm thinking shot oil cooler dude, that would kind of explain the milky oil cap and dipstick. Have you noticed any oil in the coolant in the coolant tank? If so then that is a possibility.
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. Worn out coolant is to blame. Acids in the coolant attack the gaskets.

mdksupra
01-16-11, 03:12 AM
I'm thinking shot oil cooler dude, that would kind of explain the milky oil cap and dipstick. Have you noticed any oil in the coolant in the coolant tank? If so then that is a possibility.
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. Worn out coolant is to blame. Acids in the coolant attack the gaskets.

I think Al nailed it on the head. View this thread also:
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-catera-cimarron-forum/134961-looking-98-catera.html

waco-brian
01-16-11, 08:46 AM
head gasket yeah,, dex cool eats gaskets,, dont beleve me ? look it up

Chaotic94
01-16-11, 11:01 AM
She doesn't use DexCool. She uses Prestone 50/50 premix. And I didn't know there was such thing as an oil cooler. That would explain if the oil is getting abnormally hot and shooting steam up her oil fill cap, right???

Chaotic94
01-16-11, 11:42 AM
Ok so at this point, I don't think it's a head gasket. I think it's something else. There is only milky oil on the fill tube and fill cap. The oil in the oil pan is good. I checked it 4 times yesterday. Also there are NO other signs of a head gasket. No smoke, cars isn't running rough, no bubbles or exhaust smell in the antifreeze, and the car is running at normal temp. So what else is left to weed out? Oil cooler? What else am I looking at. Also if it is the oil cooler, where can I find one? I looked on Oreilly's and AutoZone. I found nothing. Once again, replies and insight are greatly appreciated.

AL Cool Dates
01-16-11, 12:16 PM
Ok so at this point, I don't think it's a head gasket. I think it's something else. There is only milky oil on the fill tube and fill cap. The oil in the oil pan is good. I checked it 4 times yesterday. Also there are NO other signs of a head gasket. No smoke, cars isn't running rough, no bubbles or exhaust smell in the antifreeze, and the car is running at normal temp. So what else is left to weed out? Oil cooler? What else am I looking at. Also if it is the oil cooler, where can I find one? I looked on Oreilly's and AutoZone. I found nothing. Once again, replies and insight are greatly appreciated.

Yeah, Oil cooler is the only thing left that can be a possibility. Go to www.RockAuto.com, they have it for $204.00. I've ordered from them before (timing belt kit) and they are pretty good. You may want to change out your HBV and Thermostat also (optional if you have the cash, they are very accessible during this job) while you're in there. Since the plenum will have to be removed for the job you may want to order the Intake Manifold gasket sets also, they will need to be replaced. Once completed, it's best that you have the engine and cooling system flushed to get rid of any gunk that you may not see. You dont want to have all this work done and everything goes bad again because of left over crap in the system.

Chaotic94
01-16-11, 12:33 PM
Thanks! And yeah I have ordered parts for my Camaro from RockAuto.com before. They're great. Also does the Oil Cooler need a gasket? Or does it just bolt up and call it good? Other than that I just need an Intake Gasket Set, new oil, new antifreeze, and the optional thermostat? What is the HBV? I'm sure I know what it is but help me out on the acronym. lol

AL Cool Dates
01-16-11, 12:50 PM
Thanks! And yeah I have ordered parts for my Camaro from RockAuto.com before. They're great. Also does the Oil Cooler need a gasket? Or does it just bolt up and call it good? Other than that I just need an Intake Gasket Set, new oil, new antifreeze, and the optional thermostat? What is the HBV? I'm sure I know what it is but help me out on the acronym. lol

The HBV is the Heater Bypass Valve also known as the Heater Control Valve. The Oil Cooler usually includes two small gaskets.

Chaotic94
01-16-11, 12:52 PM
The part on RockAuto.com doesn't say if it includes the gaskets... =/

elvin315
01-16-11, 01:05 PM
I've noticed no one has told you where the oil cooler is. Believe it or not it's inside the engine block, in a coolant gallery, between the cylinder heads.

The leak give-away is a creamy emulsion under the oil fill cap, floating in the coolant tank, or on the dipstick. The "mayo" under the cap or on the stick could be a false alarm caused by water condensation in the crankcase. Check again after the engine is fully heated. If it's water it will have boiled off by then.

If the "mayo" isn't gone you have a leaking oil cooler. Left it its own and you'll burn the engine bearings, score the cams, and basically any and all metal to metal contact surfaces. The radiator will also clog with this gooey crap. The following links are to instructions on replacing the cooler.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-catera-cimarron-forum/213494-leaking-engine-oil-cooler.html?ktrack=kcplink

http://www.vauxhallownersnetwork.co.uk/showthread.php?63566-Changing-the-Oil-cooler-on-an-Omega-V6-Pics-to-follow

Chaotic94
01-16-11, 01:18 PM
Thanks for that info. I'm going to look at her car again today and get rid of the gooey crap under the fill cap and have her drive it around to see it it reappears. If so, looks like I have an issue on my hands. I was told by someone that the oil cooler is under the upper and lower intakes. I have a friend who is a master mechanic at a Cadi dealership. He said he would do the work on it for $75 if her and I bought the parts for it.

Chaotic94
01-16-11, 05:57 PM
:bump:

mdksupra
01-16-11, 11:17 PM
Thanks for that info. I'm going to look at her car again today and get rid of the gooey crap under the fill cap and have her drive it around to see it it reappears. If so, looks like I have an issue on my hands. I was told by someone that the oil cooler is under the upper and lower intakes. I have a friend who is a master mechanic at a Cadi dealership. He said he would do the work on it for $75 if her and I bought the parts for it.

$75???? :thumbsup: WTF are you waiting for? This is so damn cheap for all that labor.
Buy your hbv, gaskets, oil cooler and other stuff they recommended and have ur friend do that shit asap before he changes his mind. While ur at it ask him what's wrong with my trans going limp lol

Chaotic94
01-17-11, 12:34 AM
He just put a clutch in my Camaro for $50 lol. He's awesome when it comes to that stuff. He likes the work to keep him busy and he gets a little pocket change. :D

AL Cool Dates
01-17-11, 04:08 PM
He just put a clutch in my Camaro for $50 lol. He's awesome when it comes to that stuff. He likes the work to keep him busy and he gets a little pocket change. :D

Sounds like it isn't the money for him, he loves this stuff. I wish I knew someone like that.

Chaotic94
01-17-11, 05:31 PM
Ok so here's an update on the situation. She took it to the local hole in the wall shop. She told them what it was doing and they said it was a head gasket. I vote "BULLS***" They didn't even run tests on the car. They diagnosed it without even touching her car or glancing over at it. She thinks that just because the "shop" said its a head gasket, that its a head gasket. I'm still voting on the oil cooler. Anyone wanna give me some insight? I mean honestly, there's no smoke coming out of the tail pipes, its not running rough, there's no exhaust in the antifreeze, or anything like that. Just some milky oil around the fill cap and some steam coming from the fill cap. Ideas???

AL Cool Dates
01-18-11, 07:37 AM
Ok so here's an update on the situation. She took it to the local hole in the wall shop. She told them what it was doing and they said it was a head gasket. I vote "BULLS***" They didn't even run tests on the car. They diagnosed it without even touching her car or glancing over at it. She thinks that just because the "shop" said its a head gasket, that its a head gasket. I'm still voting on the oil cooler. Anyone wanna give me some insight? I mean honestly, there's no smoke coming out of the tail pipes, its not running rough, there's no exhaust in the antifreeze, or anything like that. Just some milky oil around the fill cap and some steam coming from the fill cap. Ideas???

Dude if you drove it around and the gooey crap is back on the oil cap and dipstick then its your oil cooler, you have more than enough proof and insight from the people here who actually own the same car and you have a mech who will do any of the work for a fraction of the cost. Do not let some hole in the wall bulls*** shop who really doesn't know crap about this car dick ride your girl out of her money, they are doing the typical women don't know crap about cars so lets take her money routine.

mdksupra
01-20-11, 08:48 PM
:thepan::stirpot::yeah::peeking::usflag::caddy:


Dude if you drove it around and the gooey crap is back on the oil cap and dipstick then its your oil cooler, you have more than enough proof and insight from the people here who actually own the same car and you have a mech who will do any of the work for a fraction of the cost. Do not let some hole in the wall bulls*** shop who really doesn't know crap about this car dick ride your girl out of her money, they are doing the typical women don't know crap about cars so lets take her money routine.

sometimes you need to explain to women that most of the time NON-experienced CATERA mechanics are just guessing.

AHazzardToAll
01-20-11, 11:40 PM
:thepan::stirpot::yeah::peeking::usflag::caddy:



sometimes you need to explain to women that most of the time NON-experienced CATERA mechanics are just guessing.

This couldn't be any more true. I know more about the car than my local cadillac dealer. I quit going there after i drove off the lot after an oil change, with only 5qts.... I started doing my own after this happened a 3rd time.....

hgqguy
01-27-11, 04:53 PM
Wow guys, I was just reading the whole posting here.. I was very impressed with everything.. i was thinking to myself the oil cooler.. cause the coolant had to be going somewhere inside the motor. and witht eh steam in the oil cap.. bingo.. what else could it be.

I noticed the original poster mentioned price of headgasket set and all.. You just gotta look at it as.. parts.. or whole new car??

sometimes its better to swallow even a Grand, than to start over with another used old car...

but yeah.. gotta be oil cooler.. otherwise interal coolant leak.. and seems it would show in the oil..

I used to have a grand am.. that had an external intake leak for 18 months.. never went internal.. and I ddi repair it, but it still had a milky residue under oil cap.. a small amount is normal I guess due to condensation.. esp in colder temps, car warm, cools, warms cools...

let us know if the oil coler does the trick!!

Hey man.. I just noticed the post where friend will do it for $75... come on man.. just take it to him and have him do the work!! seriously.. $75?? plus parts.. what total of $500
that is so cheap.. and for all that work!

I hope the next post is from him saying work is done, car is great

eddielane71488
02-02-11, 12:52 PM
I had the exact same issue with the collant and it was two blown head gaskets... i did ignore the problem for a while though.... Also when i drained the oil for a change, there was water then oil that came out of the pan, but no milky gunk in the pan ot on the dip stick. just on the filler cap.