: 2000 Catera Head gasket replacement

02-06-11, 09:27 PM
We just purchased a 2000 Catera that needs a head gasket. We have done this before on other vehicles but weren't sure if the Catera would be any different. Any advice, instructions or helpful hints would be greatly appreciated. Also, where is the thermostat located in this vehicle? Thank you!!

02-07-11, 05:55 PM
its the same motor as saab 3.0 v6 and saturn l300 in case you need to see a mech. feware familier with teh catera.. your post is visible so just be patient and u will likely receive some good replies.

02-14-11, 11:05 PM
Hello there. I've done 2 jobs like that, on both of my cars. Not necessarily easy, but definitely doable. Make sure you have a second car to drive for a few days. You will need: head gasket set, head bolts, thermostat (located in front of he intake manifold on the block ;) ), water pump, timing set, new hose clamps (you really don't want to put the old ones back on...), a machine shop (to shave the heads). Also get new studs and nuts for the exhaust manifolds, a tube of silicone, sand paper, brake parts cleaner. I also recommend a new radiator upper hose, if yours is bubbled or shows any kind of wear and tear. Need to have a set of rather large Torx bits and sockets and a torque wrench. Tool set with extensions and U-joint is needed. Shop manual is a good idea; I have all 3 for the '97s... which, enginewise, would be the same, except for timing, I believe...
DIY will run you around $700-800. Don't even want to know what mechanics would charge... Might as well buy a brand new 3.2L...
Run into any problems- send a message.

02-18-11, 06:05 PM
I thought the same thing, but was the heater control valve.

02-18-11, 09:35 PM
Also a rather common problem that I have heard of, but not experienced, is the coolant bridge

02-27-11, 11:14 PM
First you need Torx and External torx sockets. Pretty easy to come by if you don't have them. You can get away with using a socket or wrench on some (crank bolt to turn engine over was a regular socket and some were too cramped to get a socket on so I used the tighest wrench possible)

I just finished the job.. a quick rundown...

Drain coolant... and oil (I had to unbolt the oil cooler lines to get the rear coolant intake pipe bolts that goes to the back of the engine block.)

Remove o2 sensors from midpipes. Remove midpipes (2 bolts on each exhaust manifold, 1 bolt holding in the middle, and 2 bolts in the back where it means the rear of the exhaust).

Label all vacuum lines, coolant lines on both ends so you know where they go after easily... Then disconnect them all.

Remove air box, TB, intake piping... then intake plenum, remove intake manifold, injector harness, remove intake spacer which is underneath.

Remove belt... open up wire harness plastic runways.... remove wires out of them. Remove coils... remove belt.. remove pulleys.

Remove coolant cross over that goes from head to head. Remove coolant intake tube behind coolant cross over (hard to get to from the top so I undid the oil cooler lines to move them out the way). On the way back on I put them in easily with an impact gun on low setting from the bottom with a long extension and a swivel. Saved me 30 minutes of wrenching 1/16th of a turn at a time lol... so try them from the bottom first.

Remove timing cover.

Remove timing belt.. remove all tensioners, waterpump.

Remove the valve covers

Remove all the cam sprockets and I labeled each one in a bag to make sure they go back in the same place (no sure if necessary).

Remove rear timing cover

Coolant elbow with thermostat in the front which is behind the rear timing cover. Unbolt the bolt that holds dipstick, the coolant elbow, and little bracket. (that bolt is a pain to get back in later have fun!!)

Remove cams

Remove heads (mine were removed with exhaust manifolds still bolted on along with head shields as well as installed that way a little wiggling etc but it was easy)

... done

Clean block sealing surface up (alldata said not to use a prep disc or metal scrapper)

Install heads.

Timing is easy once you do top dead center on cylinder 1 (passenger front). You check your mark on the crank and it should be facing 6 oclock (down) and in line with the mark on the bottom there.

Install cams I did mine so that the timing marks on sprockets (sprockets don't get installed yet) were nearest to the marks on the back of the timing cover but putting the cam lobes in a position to not press down on lifters. Torque down all camshaft caps to 12Nm I think (lol I just did them a little tight since my torque wrench is useless at that low setting). Put rear timing cover on. Put sprockets on.. tensioners. Leave them all loss though so you can put the belt on. Line up your sprockets according to the timing marks the best you can. My belt had timing marks on it too which helped a great deal! I put the belt on the crank in the right spot according to the belt's timing marks... shoved a rag between the crank sprocket and the bottom there so the belt doesn't move. I put a wrench on the crank pulley and tied it to a couple of AC lines with electric tape and put a piece of wood in front of it so the socket doesn't pop out... yep that was my hold the crank in place method.

Put the belt on 3 sprockets in the proper place and then for the 4th one I used the Torx bit and turned clockwise on the adjacent sprocket so the belt got tense but it couldn't move back the crank was locked. It gave me plenty of room to slip the belt on the 4th sprocket. Adjust the tension on all tensioners SO THAT ALL TIMING MARKS ARE AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE!!! I don't know if that's important but if you tighen one tensioner too tight 2 cams may be 1/4" off the timing marks etc... so just get them all all close as possible (takes 15 minutes of playing not really hard). Tighten all bolts.. all tensioners... install water pump (now is the time to put a new one with new o-ring.. use oil or silicone help promote the seal)..

Install timing cover back and the rest is just buttoning up.. my hand hurts lol. I will see if I can post up Alldata instructions for you tomorrow but not sure if it's frowned upon as it's copyrighted.